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Abu Dhabi launches new support for low-income families

In June 2018, His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, tweeted to his 2.3 million followers that a new government authority – the Social Support Authority (SSA) – would offer financial assistance and employment support to low-income families.

The authority had no name, no infrastructure, and no approved policy or budget. However, it did have an experienced leadership team with a clear vision, and a commitment to launch applications for eligible Abu Dhabi residents at the start of 2019.

No time to lose

In just two weeks, a combined SSA and Deloitte team from the Middle East, Portugal, and the UK was assembled with a clear mandate: launch the flagship programme in less than six months.

To establish a new government entity within such a tight timeline, the combined team wrote the public policy, designed a new organisation, and developed its processes in parallel. To provide a simple, paperless application process, the SSA brought together a wide range of government partners to design a fully integrated digital platform, which we helped build and deploy.

Recognising that we would be engaging with vulnerable families, the team worked closely with the cross-government customer service centre, equipping them with the guidance and tools required to support applicants.

An exciting journey

Between November and December 2018, the SSA successfully recruited more than 40 employees across all front, middle, and back office functions. We worked with the new staff to test the digital platform and ensure it was ready for public launch.

In the first week of January 2019, the Social Support Authority launched the financial support programme across the Emirate of Abu Dhabi; within weeks, it received applications from thousands of families.

The first payments were made in April 2019, and the programme is now expanding to provide non-financial support to working-age individuals to help them into employment.

A number of the programmes are focused on supporting women and ex-convicts to gain employment, many for the first time, with the aim to enable all citizens to live a dignified life.

This is the start of an exciting journey for the Social Support Authority, and we’re proud to have been part of it.

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