Special social counselling
During our work in social areas we have established that in many situations we are able to find a solution to certain problems, but complete correction is not possible without changes at a level of local systems and national policies. We actively cooperate with public administrations as well as local and central political representation. We cooperate on local education plan creation as well as preparation of new laws or amendments to current ones.
Our goal is to change the system of education to prevent the children from the disadvantaged families dropping out of school. We struggle to create fairer laws.
The publication Passivity – Weight Load or Challenge? The Role of the School Operator in the Fair Accessibility to Education that we published in 2014 is a perfect example of our efforts to influence decision makers. The main aim of the publication was to create a set of measures intended primarily for primary school operators with an ultimate emphasis on the practical applicability and minimal cost either financially or in terms of capacities.
We offer similar assistance with local educational policy planning, directed at nursery schools. In 2014, as part of the project Let’s go to nursery school! And together with eight other non-profit organisations in 16 towns we prepared local catalogues of pre-school education recommendations. Like the previous publication, the catalogues aim to help identify and implement effective instruments to assist nursery school operators in creating a system which would provide timely prevention against children falling through the system’s net, while these are the children who need preschool preparation most of all.
We encourage the media to cover the issues that we encounter in our work. In September 2016, for instance, we published analyses which illustrate how many children in the Czech Republic do not achieve a smooth transition to primary school due to insufficient pre-school preparation. We also dealt with the topic of premature dropout from school which has reached alarming numbers mainly in some of the regions.
Fairer debt recovery
Our activities in the area of formation of legal and sublegal regulations were preceded by a number of analyses and media campaigns directed at cultivation of the legal environment in the field of debt recovery. In 2009, we started to investigate the contractual conditions of non-bank entities. We built on our experiences in the field, where our clients very often faced aggressive campaigns of non-bank credit firms. By comparing nine basic different parameters, we first created the Index of Predatory Lending, followed by the Index of Ethical Lending, once fundamental changes had occurred.
We published the Index regularly until 2013. It became an effective tool that helped persuade the targeted companies on their own accord to simplify the contractual conditions, soften claimed sanctions, omit the use of the arbitration clause, and exercise ethical principles far more than is required by the law. In 2013, we stopped publishing the index because the targeted entities had started behaving in a similar way as banks.
We have also actively focused on the transparency of money lending, the immoral system of rewarding lawyers for recovery of minor debts, the privatisation of justice in the form of the arbitration clause and free competition of bailiffs and the unregulated non-bank credit market. We collaborated on amendments leading to a fundamental revision of the laws such as significant reduction of lawyers’ fees, a ban on arbitration clauses in consumer loan agreement, fundamental regulation of non-bank entities and a range of other companies.
In the course of our analytical work we tackled other topics apart from education and debts. All publications published by our Social Integration Programmes can be found in our library.