The beginning of the Department of Social Services

The Department of Social Services was established on 1st February, 1948 in accordance with the recommendation in the VIIth Sessional Papers of the report of Sir Ivor Jennings Commission appointed for the purpose on 10th July, 1944.  The basic task of the Department was to ameliorate the prevailing social services and development of proposals by the Commission.

The Sir Ivor Jennings Commission was vested with the functions relating to social assistance and to examine the conditions of service, payment of Workmen’s Compensation, expansion of relief services to mothers and explore methods of coordination and to explore methods of implementation of the social protection relating to the following that were handled by the Department of Social Services then

•    Pensions during old age
•    Provide relief during illness and disability for long periods
•    Provide relief during periods of loss of employment
•    Payment of a pension on retirement
•    Payment of a pension to widows and orphans.

The basic purpose of establishing the Department of Social Services published in Government Gazette dated 21st September, 1947 was considered to be the establishment of a system of social security.  Since there was no financial provision in that year, the implementation of the system of social security was postponed and the Department of Social Services were established in 01st February, 1948.

The initial Departmental structure

Mr. B Ponniah, Additional Secretary of Labour and who served as Secretary to the Sir. Ivor Jennings Commission and of the Lanka Civil Service was appointed as the Acting Director of Social Services effective from 1st February, 1948. On a request made on good relations with the Government of New Zealand Mr. D T Grandson who had experience in social security was released to take over duties for three years as the Head of the new Department and Mr. Grandson assumed duties as the Director of Social Service and the Commissioner of Workmen’s Compensation on 13th July, 1948. 


The initial staff was comprised of the following

Director of Social Services
Mr. A T Grandson

Deputy Director
Mr. B Ponniah

Assistant Directors
Mr. J.V.T.De Fonseka
Mr. S B  Senanayake

Inspectors of social services