Seferihisar, Turkey

2016-12-31 11:14:43

Public Card Financial Aid System aka Seferikart

Background Information

The Public Card is as a welfare activity coherent with the Sustainable Development Goals. The project has a mission of supporting people in need without exposing their condition to the community.

In order to start the project, we needed to fulfill detailed bureaucratic procedures, make new legislations for the municipality and had to have them approved by the Turkey’s National Court of Auditors.

Goals of the Initiative

Intermediate and long-term goals:

Intermediate-term

•We aim to organize activities to encourage more people to get public cards

•To increase the number of contracted retailers to 80 percent of the total amount of local retailers.

•Citizens will be able to borrow books from library and rent bicycles via public cards

Long-term

•To encourage people to perform voluntary services by awarding them with collected points, which they can use for using public services such as concert tickets and beach entrance. The people may choose to perform various duties from public garden maintenance to cleaning public facilities or giving Greek language lessons depending on their abilities.

•To increase solidarity between citizens by enabling the society in general and the people in prosperity (contracted retailers) to assist the less fortunate.

•To protect the consciousness of human: fighting poverty, increasing the welfare of the people and encouraging students to pursue their education, therefore enhancing their chances to contribute to the society.

•To strengthen the power of the producer by sales.

Parties and Partners to the Initiative

The public card project involves partnerships.

Inner stakeholders were the Social Welfare Directorate, Financial Services Directorate, and Information Technologies Department, which worked in collaboration to finalize this innovative project.

Some private stakeholders were small-scale local retailers, which applied for being contracted dealers to the public card system. As of July 2016, there are seven markets, five stationary shops, two clothing markets and two coal/LPG dealers are engaged in the system.

Besides the formal institutions, we worked with technical service providers for the operations of the POS machines, ATM cards, software update and SMS services.

Resources Used for Implementation

•The village heads and municipal committees worked together to identify the card user group.

•An SMS system alerts the users when the amount is being transferred to their cards.

•POS infrastructure has been financed by the municipality’s own resources and 16 POS devices have been delivered to the contracted retailers.

•Municipality Information Management System (Probel) has been revised to integrate with the new POS software.

•ATM cards and card printing machines were provided. The public cards have been printed and distributed to the target group.

•The local retailers applied for being contracted dealers.

•The municipal team and contracted retailers were given training by the software company.

Eight kiosk devices were purchased and installed at various areas in town. The menu and content of the kiosks are being developed by the municipal staff.

Innovation for the Initiative

We describe the initiative as revolutionary due to its functions, which allows citizens to access and use the aid.

It’s also revolutionary in terms of changes made on the technical infrastructure of the municipality and the legal changes made on the municipal procedures, which had to be approved by Turkey’s National Court of Auditors.

Considering the few municipal assets with regard to the small population of Seferihisar, supporting between 400-500 families each month, is a brave decision to make even for a social democratic municipality.

Innovation has been applied in

The innovation is being applied in a composition of financial strategy and administration with great support from technological tools. Seferihisar Municipality made financial and administrative arrangements to allocate the municipal taxes to the Public Card program upon receiving the necessary permissions from National Court of Auditors.

Obstacles and Solutions for Innovation

The most important problem seemed to be the resistance of citizens and the lack of request to new system. Since the citizens used to shop with cash, cards were distributed to people, who need financial assistance and their behaviors were observed and some probations were applied. After making the necessary changes to the card system, the card users adopted the public card, started to use it and new users applied for getting the card.

The public card system had high start-up costs and requires a lot of office work and financial resources to follow up. So regarding the required work and financial resources, the municipality had to make sure to reach the right card users to prevent waste, also make the card owners use the card regularly. 

The number of card users was around 1,400 at the start of the project; it had to be reduced due to misuse. From last year on, the municipal staff started to visit every applicant one by one in order to make sure that the data they provide is right.

Outcomes and Assessments

The public card was delivered to 434 disadvantaged citizens and 3,500 students in 2016. As the municipality we are fully devoted to our duties as fighting against poverty, improving the quality of life and enabling social and educational equity. Therefore the public card has been and will continue to be a powerful means to help these causes. The project has also contributed a lot to the development of small-scale retailers.

The public card’s non pre-paid, city card version is being used by the citizens of Seferihisar at the municipal kiosks to pay taxes, provide feedback on municipal services, use the city-bike rental service and the beach facilities.

Methods Applied

24/7 working of POS devices is a must for this kind of a system. Some extra measures had to be taken to improve system security. We will improve the system in the long run to combine 3G internet connection back-to-back with fiber net. It is planned that, if there will be any problem on software or hardware, the server will be structured within Vmware Vmotion or Cluster shape on twin servers to provide unlimited service for the public card system.