Background to the programme
The RECONNECT association was created in Paris in 2008 by Eric Chatry and then joined the SOS Group in 2010. The initial project aimed to offer answer phones for highly excluded people in order to help them keep contact with their families and facilitate their efforts to reintegrate with society through work. Faced with competition from phone companies, RECONNECT became interested in the problem of digitally storing administrative documents. 3 findings have motivated this change of direction: the loss of papers by people in precarious situations; the time spent by social workers to address these losses (20-30%); and the level of non-use of rights in France (25% for the RSA and 30% for the CMU). In September 2015, RECONNECT launched its innovative service, a solidarity cloud designed entirely according to the needs of homeless people and their helpers. From January to March 2016, the platform available at www.reconnect.fr was used as part of the Paris town hall’s plan for cold temperatures especially in winter gyms.
Objectives of the programme
Reduce the problem of people losing administrative documents with the aim of:
- Fighting against the non-use of rights from people experiencing exclusion, including homelessness
- Making time for social workers to enable them to devote more time to support
- Members registering as a "RECONNECT Relay": they’re social organisations such as CCAS, day centres, homeless shelters ...
- Public targeted: adults in precarious situations, especially the homelessness
- Services offered: Opening of a personal account on which any document can be safely stored online
- Operation: scans or photos of documents to save on to the personal space which can be shared directly with social workers
Quantitative and qualitative results from the implemented actions
Appraisal in April 2016:
- Around 300 recipients’ accounts created
- 100 professional accounts created
- 45 member organisations throughout France
- Project recognised and valued by the public authorities: the leaders of the association were received by the Mayor of Paris, work with DRILL on testing during the winter period ...
The special feature of RECONNECT is to allow each user to share their documents with the social structures of their choice. The beneficiaries have complete control of their space: changes and removals are possible at any time.
Partnership(s) developed in the context of the programme
- SOS Group
- Operational: La Croix-Rouge, Aurore, Samu social de Paris, Saint-Benoît Labre…
Difficulties and/or obstacles encountered during the programme’s implementation :
- The administrative organisations don’t yet recognise original documents in digital form. Even if the scan does not serve as the original, it does make many processes easier.
- Scanning documents is a time-consuming operation for the social organisations.
- Difficulties in integrating this type of tool into the daily practice of social workers
- Reluctance to use digital tools
- Issue: internet access
Solutions used to overcome the difficulties and/or obstacles :
- The RECONNECT mobile application allows the documents to be photographed directly from a phone.
- Role of the facilitator: training for social workers to take ownership of the tool and support the organisations to make their declaration to the CNIL (National Commission for Digital Technology and Liberty)
- Data protection: domiciliation of servers in France (French law is applicable) + monitored by a law firm specialising in digital law
- Recruitment of a trainee in order to conduct a survey of social workers to identify the levers to encourage use of the tool
Suggestions for future improvement :
- Promotion of the tool during soup runs
- Create new partnerships to diversify the public using the tool (refugees, older people, former prisoners, female victims of violence...) and services (aid simulators, sending of housing certificates, alert system by phone…)
- Translation of the tool into different languages: English, Arabic, Farsi ...
Summary of factors responsible for the programme’s success :
- Economic model :
> Free service for beneficiaries
> Annual subscription system for social centres: financial contribution proportional to their budget (0.1% capped at €1900 annually)
- The possibility to safeguard personal documents (eg. Photos) is often the trigger for inclusion in RECONNECT.
- Membership of the SOS Group: access to its extensive network and support with management tasks
To know more
Video presentation of the association: