The paper presents the analysis of the sector of social service of the Republic of Belarus with a special focus at the key actors of the sector. The analysis of the sector of social service for the population of the Republic of Belarus is one of the sectoral analyses performed by the “Office for the European Expertise and Communications”.

Effective social service is the prerequisite for the development of society in any country. Beside the assistance to the people who due to some reasons find themselves in a situation where they cannot ensure themselves a normal (as viewed by the society) life, it also implies activities to prevent such situations.

Social service can be provided to certain groups/categories of people or it can be targeted (based on the actual needs of people) and thus it can either be oriented at identified categories/groups of people or at certain individuals, should their personal or family circumstances be estimated as sufficient for the provision of social service or social assistance.

An essential component of social service is the parties involved. The state is the primary decision maker. However, the patterns of its cooperation with other actors — non-governmental organizations (including faith-based and international), for-profit organizations and individuals, which can/must be able to conduct advocacy and implementation of social service projects — can differ. These discrepancies are clearly visible at the level of different national systems and states.

In the case of Belarus, despite a well developed social service system, the issue of the cooperation of its primary actor — the government — with other actors remains open. Currently this cooperation is based rather on the soviet-era principles, when the government was simultaneously the decision maker and the primary implementer.

The social service sector in the Republic of Belarus as part of this analysis is understood as a totality of all organizations and individuals involved in the provision of social service aiming to help people who find themselves in difficult circumstances, facilitate their adaptation and/or re-socialization. As well as the operation of various organizations targeted at the amendment and improvement of the laws regulating this area.