Professional Contacts between the Social Service Departments and Nonprofit Organizations – Exploratory Study

Study Background
This report examines the professional contacts between the social service departments and the nonprofit associations that provide services to the departments. This exploratory study was conducted as part of a broader study that examined the development of a conceptual system for classifying the types of supportive service provided by the social service departments. The current study provides an additional perspective on the relations between the departments and the nonprofit sector.

The Study
The study included a preliminary review of the literature on the role of the nonprofit sector in the provision of social services and interviews with directors of the social service departments and representatives of the nonprofit organizations in four localities (Jerusalem, Ashdod, Herzliya, and the Yoav regional council) on the monitoring and regulation by the departments of the services provided by these organizations and the professional contacts with them.

Among the findings:

  • The relationship between the departments and the nonprofit organizations is complex and not always perceived in the same way by the two sides.
  • Representatives of the nonprofit organizations were satisfied with the informal supervision that exists today; in contrast, the directors of the departments were interested in a more systematic monitoring system.
  • Department heads reported various types of consultation patterns with the nonprofit organizations as well as cooperation with them in developing services.

Contribution of the Study
The study points to two possible directions for development: Creating a more systematic infrastructure of supervision and monitoring of the services provided by the organizations; and an in-depth examination of the interrelationship between professional consultation and cooperation in service development. The study has helped the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services to identify and clarify issues relating to the departments’ work with the nonprofit sector.

The study was commissioned and funded by the Research, Planning and Training Division of the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services.