The Importance of Good Governance

More than ever, there is a requirement for efficient, effective and accountable public administration, for “good governance”, for all public administrations, and perhaps even more so, this applies to social security administrators.

The Antigua & Barbuda Social Security Board (ABSSB) is among the 183 members of the International Social Security Association (ISSA). The ISSA has a unique role in the world of international organizations as it brings together more than 350 organizations across more than 150 countries. Additionally, it is a dynamic institution that adapts to changing realities and constantly matches its activities to the evolving needs of member organizations.

The diversity in governance practices around the world is a reflection of differences in the political, social, economic and cultural histories of countries. There is common recognition, that good governance in social security administration is aimed at delivering what is mandated and ensuring that what is delivered is responsive to the evolving needs of not only the individual but also the society. Improved education and new technologies have increased the expectations of the public for accountable and transparent administration, including constant improvements in the delivery and performance of social benefits and services.

In the context of social security administration, the ISSA defines governance as the manner in which the vested authority uses its powers to achieve the institution’s objectives, including its powers to design, implement and innovate on the organization’s policies, rules, systems and processes, and to engage and involve its stakeholders.

In order for Social Security Systems (SSS) to effectively fulfil their primary mandates of collecting contributions, making benefit payments and expanding coverage in keeping with the demands of changing societies, a good governance structure is paramount.

In fact, the ISSA aligns its definition of good governance with those that underscore the exercise of authority and power. Moreover, the governance framework that has been developed in the Good Governance Guidelines (GGG) for SSS attempts to span the entire range of responsibilities of both the Boards and the Management in social security administration. The framework describes social security administration in terms of four broad governance areas:

  1. financial sustainability;
  2. sound investments;
  3. member coverage and contributions, and member benefits and services; and
  4. resource management, in particular, human resources and information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure. (ISSA Good Governance Guidelines for Social Security Institutions, 2011).


Social Security Boards and managers have specific and important roles to play in the success of their respective SSS. For instance, in relation to the governance structure of the Board, the ISSA cites, “the powers and responsibilities of the Board should be clearly delineated from those of the Management. There should be no areas of ambiguity, dilemma or conflicts of interest.” In addition, it also shares, “the Board should ensure that the institution is performing its mandate efficiently. It should establish a set of standards and benchmarks to evaluate Management’s administration and implementation of the social security programmes.” (ISSA Good Governance Guidelines for Social Security Institutions, 2011)

In 2013, the ABSSB began implementing necessary legislative changes. It should be noted that since the Institution’s inception in 1972, no major changes were made to its legislation. However, as populations age and economic conditions evolve so to should SSS. As a consequence, the ABSSB intends to continue reforms in the near future. Fundamental to these reforms will be the adoption of good governance principles, which will be critical to the successful implementation of these reforms and more importantly, the sustainability of the Institution.

If there is a particular aspect of Social Security that you would like discussed, please contact the Social Security office at:

Know Your Social Security
The Antigua & Barbuda Social Security Board
P.O. Box 1125
St. John’s, Antigua
or email us at: