Re-Structuration Of SII – I: Components Of The Decision Making Process

By Prof. Dr. A. Gurhan Fisek

Institutions, when they turn to re-structurational activities, are involved in such endeavours on behalf of something. Put it differently, the self-statement (mission) of this re-structuration should be specified first. This self-statement does not come on the scene suddenly; rather, it enriches and ripens itself through the tenets of experiences that the related institution goes through, the traps it falls into or through the drawbacks that it gets stuck on. It may even be that it is influenced by previous re-structuration enterprises, whether successful or not.

When we turn to the Social Insurance Institution (SII), it is possible to observe almost all of them. Since 1946, the institution has fallen into several traps, missed several trains, got suck on various drawbacks, and has become a subject-matter of various enterprises on institutional re-structuration.

The re-structuration process was started after the Statutory Decree No. 616 became enforceable; however, this practice is still carried out as if this statutory decree is still in force, although the Constitutional Court decided on its annulment (and set aside 6 moths for the new arrangements to be carried out by the new government). Additionally, it is a clear-cut fact that the government would like to transform this into a law exactly as it is (Box No.1).

Thence, it is necessary to scrutinise the Statutory Decree No. 616 in detail, and to question its self-statement. I will try to do this with these series of articles; touch upon the “administration machine” of the institution that has been re-formed recently.

With respect to the Statutory Decree No. 616, one may notice that there are three committees constituting the administration machine. These are:

  • General Assembly;
  • Administrative Board;
  • Health Enterprise’s Executive Committee.

For many years, SII bureaucracy and intellectuals have been complaining about the fact that SII has been compelled to act in accordance with the interventions made by the Ministry or some politicians, rather than acting in accordance with its own desires and responsibilities. They have been also expressing their discontent on the fact that these interventions have spoilt the operation of the institution, messed its balance up, and caused the institution to lose its autonomy. As an antidote for these interventions, it has been put forth for consideration that the institution should have an “autonomous” character and institutional structure.

When we examine the membership composition of the General Assembly, we observe such a structure in which premium payers have a great majority. This is a hope-provoking condition from the point of the system. Because, these people are responsible for both themselves and for the base of the institution paying all these premiums. In this way, General Assembly members are inspected by the base, that is to say by the premium payers of the institution.

Membership composition of the General Assembly appears as such:

  1. Governmental representatives: 7 persons
  2. Union representatives representing employees of the institution: 4 persons
  3. University teachers representing the Council of Higher Education: 2 persons
  4. Representatives from 3 confederations of labour unions

whose members count the greatest number: 15 persons

  1. Representatives from 3 confederations of employers’ union

whose members count the greatest number: 15 persons

  1. Labourers working in foreign countries and

having been appointed by the government: 2 persons

Here, what we are going to point out is the harmony of the composition of these three committees forming the “decision making process”. Yet, we are not going to question why the government makes choices in the name of workers working abroad; and why the representatives from the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, the Under-secretariat of Treasury, and the Prime Ministry High Inspection Committee are included and represented in this committee. It is what we want to demonstrate that the two thirds of the General Assembly members are composed of the ones who keep the institution standing through their premiums.

Let’s examine the membership composition of the Administrative Board this time:

  1. Chairman of SII;
  2. SII Directorate – Directorate General of Insurance Affairs;
  3. DII Directorate – Directorate General of Health Affairs;
  4. One member recommended by the minister to whom the Under-secretariat of Treasury is bound;
  5. One member recommended by the minister of Labour and Social Security;
  6. One member representing workers’ circle;
  7. One member representing employers’ circle;
  8. One member representing the ones receiving their salary and income from the institution.

Composing the Administrative Board, there are 5 members attained by the government, and 3 members paying premium. Also, it should not be forgotten that the person representing people receiving salary and income from the institution is chosen from the General Assembly; and that these people are represented by 2 members chosen among the employees working in SII General Directorates of Health and Insurance Affairs by the union in which employees of the institution are represented most; and hence, that they pay their premiums to the Retirement Trust, not to SII. Here, the strange thing is that the membership composition of the General Assembly in inverted here, in the Administrative Board. In other words, it can be observed that two thirds of the members of the Administrative Board are composed of the ones that are appointed by the government.

Let’s take a look at the Health Enterprise’s Executive Committee. The relevant statutory decree preconditions that SII General Directorate of Health Affairs is allowed to establish “health enterprises”, and also to transform the existing ones into this position (Article 46). Providing health services, each health enterprise has a separate Administrative Board. These administrative boards are composed of the following members:

  1. Head of the civilian administration located in the province or district;
  2. Mayor (or his/her representative);
  3. Manager of the enterprise;
  4. Chief of staff in the hospital;
  5. The manager of technical or supportive services;
  6. Employees’ representative;
  7. Employers’ representative;
  8. The representative of the personnel working in the enterprise.

Here, the subject matter is not however much governors of a province or a district know about health issues or they have a right to direct the decisions on these enterprises established through the premiums. Or it is not about how the mayors are appointed to such a critical position that is open to populism, although they have a black mark on their employment record regarding the premiums, that they are responsible to pay, of the employees working in their behalf. In this circumstance, what we would like to point out is the harmony of the composition of these three committees forming the “decision making process”.

Once again, it is also strange that membership composition of the General Assembly is inverted just to contrary here. In Health Enterprise’s Executive Committee, approximately two thirds of the members are the ones appointed by the government. At that point, it should be discussed to what extent mayors do this job independently as a person who are elected by the community of the region; who are the representatives of the personnel working in the enterprise; and who may be charged with a duty in various regions of the country in which any occupational safety arrangement has not realised yet.

As you see, despite the two third majority of the premium payers in the General Assembly, the ones appointed by the government present the same majority in the Administrative Board, and Health Enterprise’s Executive Committee. In order to understand the reasons behind this divergence, we should examine the responsibilities of these three committees.

The General Assembly has no sanctioning power other than stating its opinions and suggestions. The Administrative Board, on the other hand, undertakes the responsibility of most superior administration, decision, authority and responsibility. If a regulation on the duties and responsibilities of the Health Enterprise’s Executive Committee is to be promulgated, it is clear that the committee would undertake the responsibility of related administration, decision, authority and responsibility, as the logic of this promulgation requires.

As it can be deduced from the explanation of these responsibilities, we may say that the authority of the government is exerted over the two thirds of the commissions undertaking the responsibility of administration, decision making, authorities and responsibilities; on the other hand, premium payers compose two thirds of the committees stating their opinions and suggestions only on the determined matters.

Under these circumstances, it is clear that self-statement of the re-structuration process aimed to be put forth through the Statutory Decree No. 616 is in order to sustain the existing administrative structure henceforth, as in the past, “for and in spite of the premium payers”. In the same way, this can be supported with the fact that the chairman of institution and institutional bureaucracy are all appointed by the central government.

Therefore, we can clearly observe that even the trace of an autonomous structure is present concerning these “administrative components” and that there is no such worry aiming to serve the “democratic SII” ideal (self-statement No.1).

At that point, we come across with a strange situation again; and this is the inertness of the confederations of labour and employers’ union representing the premium payers, and the indifference of the base.

SELF-STATEMENT NO.1 Put forth through the Statutory Decree No. 616, the re-structuration process has not any worry like serving for the achievement of the “democratic and autonomous SII” ideal.

Joining in the rest of the statutory decrees, the Statutory Decree No. 616, that is on the Re-structuration of SII, has been still in progress quietly and unobtrusively. Since the public opinion has been busy with many vital problems and since the labour-employers’ unions have been far from reacting against the situation, the seriousness of the situation has not been realised either by the high posts of approval or by the ordinary insured persons. It is only the SII employees suffering from the feelings of agitation, anxiety and vagueness…

Regrettably, the Statutory Decree No. 616 is to occupy a greatest place on my own agenda, as being contrary to the society. But what I find strange most is the matters related with the administrative power.

It is not something new that the Presidential Model is proposed for the administration of SII. It was, together with a detailed bill and regulations, prepared for the first time in 1979, when Hilmi Isguzar was the Minister of Social Security. However, this model was not realised during the ministry Period of Isguzar, and then, became a thing of the past; so that even it was re-proposed by Kemal Kilicdaroglu in 1994…

Yet, there are significant differences between the self-statement and organs of the Presidency Model put forth through the Statutory Decree No. 616 and the ones proposed in 1974. These differences are the subject-matter of another article…