Sociālā dienesta centrs Bolderājā

Considering the significant increase in the number of clients and future projections, the Riga Social Service is planned to be reorganised, improving the existing service provision and facilitating the work of social workers. This was announced on Wednesday, September 14, to the members of the Social Affairs Committee of the Riga City Council.

"Given that the Riga Social Service is the main institution where the city's residents turn for social assistance and services, it is important for us to think about the service's staff and the quality of its services. The number of beneficiaries is growing all the time, but finding staff was becoming increasingly difficult. That's why we addressed the shortcomings in the social worker pay system by raising the salary of social workers to the national average for two consecutive years. This has borne fruit, with more people recruited than leaving in recent months. This trend had not been observed for several years. Now it is logical to take the next steps and we are ready to make a number of changes to improve the quality of services and staff working conditions," says Viesturs Kleinbergs, Chair of the Social Affairs Committee.

The more serious challenges currently facing the Service are the increase in the number of clients caused by the war and the energy crisis, the shortage of qualified social workers, high staff turnover, the overload and unequal distribution of the workload of social workers, uncompetitive salaries, the emergence of new social risk groups and the need for new social services.

To ensure that the quality of assistance and services is not compromised by a lack of resources and overloaded staff, measures such as introducing a two-tier organisation of social work, providing social assistance at a higher intensity, and evaluating day centres and community centres by outsourcing some of their functions are planned.

The two-tier organisation of social work

The idea is to create a new customer flow organisation by defining the customer flow organisation process – how the customer gets to the employee according to the target group and case classification. It is also planned to introduce a classification of client target groups and cases, with quantitative indicators for each classification per 1 staff member, defining the workload.

This will help to balance staff workload, reduce anxiety among staff about whether they are able to do all the things they are required to do (both with their own clients and with "non-clients"), potentially reduce staff turnover and burnout, and create opportunities to retain staff and attract new staff. It will also be possible to ensure the provision of quality social work services, to use a psychosocial approach, to carry out preventive work with low-risk families in order to prevent an increase in risks and vulnerability

Provision of social assistance in situations of increased intensity

The number of customers is expected to increase during the heating season, which makes it necessary to plan the organisation of customer flow, provide easier procedures and longer decision-making times.

In the first half of 2021, the Riga Social Service received 79,934 applications from Riga residents, and 13,197 more in the first half of 2022, in addition to 24,535 applications from Ukrainian refugees. It is expected that the number of applications for housing maintenance assistance will increase significantly this autumn and winter.

Evaluation of day centres and community centre

Coordinating the work of the day centres of the Riga Social Service requires substantial administrative resources, as well as motivated and professional staff resources in the day centres and the community centre. The Service has experienced staff shortages and inability to fill vacancies not only in the territorial centres, but also in the day centres and the community centre, which has a significant impact on the capacity and quality of the services provided.

To improve the situation, it is planned to outsource the Day Centre and the Community Centre, maintaining the existing service delivery concept, as well as to purchase a service for youth work, as the range and scope of services with young people and their families is insufficient.


Such solutions would allow to retain existing staff and attract new qualified specialists, to ensure the quality and accessibility of the services provided by the service, to improve the existing social work system at municipal level, to develop alternative social services for existing and new target groups, to reallocate resources for core activities, to plan work in a context of increased work intensity with reduced resources and to reduce the administrative burden.


Author: Mārtiņš Vilemsons – Project Coordinator at External Communication Division of Riga City Council Communication Department, e-mail: