Supporting Local Authorities in the Provision of Social Services: A Model for the Identification of Suitable Local Authorities

This study suggests a model for the identification of local authorities (LAs) that could benefit from support to improve their provision of social services. The model focuses on two major LA services: Education and welfare. Three indices were developed for the model to characterize an LA, as follows: (a) its capacity to provide education; (b) its capacity to provide welfare; and (c) its financial-economic status. Each index consists of several quantitative parameters to characterize an LA in these areas. Out of Israel’s 255 LAs, indices of economic stability and professional functioning were constructed for 217 in the area of education, and for 244 in the area of welfare. The construction of the indices made it possible to divide these LAs into four groups, by economic stability (high or low), and by level of functioning in the area of service provision (high or low). According to the model, support for an LA is a suitable tool to improve services for the group of LAs that are economically stable but low functioning in the area of the relevant service. As a result of measurement, 41 LAs were found suitable to receive support in the area of education (16% of Israel’s total LAs), and 45 – in the area of welfare (18% of Israel’s total LAs). The findings reveal a strong association between economic stability and LA functioning in every area of service. Similarly, a strong association was observed between an LA’s economic stability and its functioning in the areas of education and welfare. Furthermore, a strong association was found between an LA’s socio-economic status and its levels of stability and functioning in the areas of education and welfare.