MSA feedback to public consultation: A Social Vision for Malta 2035
Research and Evaluation Unit, Research, Policy and Operations Division,
Ministry for Social Policy and Children’s Rights (MSPC),
The Malta Sociological Association welcomes the policy process leading towards a Social Vision for Malta 2035. In this regard, would like to make the following proposals:
1. Malta’s social vision should mainstream regular social impact assessments across all policy levels, across the board. SIAs should also be an integral part of the monitoring process of this vision, and in particular of the mid-term evaluation report.
Various methods, both quantitative and qualitative could be used within social impact assessments. SIAs should involve the participation of different stakeholders. Analytic indicators should be provided, and the entire process should be subject to peer review by independent experts in the field. This could help identify shortcomings and possible improvements to the same SIA. SIAs should not be one-off exercises: They should be ongoing processes which engage with various stakeholders and which report back so as to ensure effective policy processes. They should also use complementary research methods so as to ensure reliable and valid data. We refer to international SIA standards, for example those set by the International Association for Impact Assessment:
2. The Social Vision needs to factor-in the impacts of current and possible future contexts and situations which may result in new opportunities, risks, challenges, vulnerabilities and precariousness. Presently, these include Climate Change, Covid-19. the invasion of Ukraine, and the gig economy.
3. The Social Vision needs to dovetail with other policy priorities at global, European, national and local levels, such as the EU Green Deal.
4. The Social Vision needs to factor in Malta’s status as a small-island state and related factors such as hyper-personalisation, patronage, stigma and community.
5. Investment in professionals and workers working across the various fields of social policy, should be strengthened. Workers who are not unionised should not be excluded from such investment, and special attention should be made to combat precariousness.
6. The roles of local communities, the voluntary sector, civil society, NGOs, and social movements should be acknowledged and factored-in across the board.
7. Evidence-based policy making should be the guiding thread across the board, before other considerations such as a-priori ideological judgements on issues and policy prescriptions. Academia and the research community should play an integral part in the policy-making process.
8. Local and regional governments should have stronger roles in social policy, particularly in matters related to public space, accessibility, community life and local development.