Working with registration data
© UNHCR/Mark Henley
7.3 Registration data for protection programming

Individual case management

  • Case management refers to all the actions taken in relation to an individual or case over time, including referral to protection intervention, assistance, counselling and other follow-up based on registration and other data recorded in PRIMES. Case management at the registration stage is sometimes referred to as ‘protection frontloading’, meaning that protection and assistance needs are identified at the front end of case processing, ensuring an early protection response. Frontloading case management at registration is increasingly the norm as operations move from a linear case processing approach to emphasizing the protection impact of all actions undertaken with respect to populations of concern.3 Frontloading is focused on pursuing interventions, from the earliest stage, through a rights-based and needs-based approach, including socio-economic inclusion and livelihood opportunities as well as pathways to solutions, including those made possible through the Global Compact on Refugees.

    Case management at registration is most effective when an expanded registration data set is collected, for example, ICR or IEhR. It also requires a strong protection presence4 and registration staff trained to identify specific needs and refer individuals, as per SOPs, for further assessment via an established referral mechanism. Such a referral mechanism should be developed and agreed based on cross-functional consultation and in light of available services and interventions. Roles and responsibilities of each actor in the referral system should be documented and known to all involved (i.e. different functional units, external partners). The Referrals entity in PRIMES (both in proGres v4 and in RApp) facilitates referrals as follows:

    • Internal referrals (e.g. from Registration colleague to a Resettlement colleague) may be recorded and executed through the referral entity;
    • External referrals (e.g. from a Registration colleague to a Child Protection partner) may be recorded in the referral entity, but must be executed separately, for example, by email or other mechanism in place.

    All case management activities conducted by UNHCR should be recorded in PRIMES to ensure that the history of needs identified and interventions carried out are reflected in one location.

    3 See, for example, the RSD Strategic Directions paper.

    4 Where protection staff are not physically present at registration, a protection focal point must be easily reachable and able to meet with individuals as necessary.

Case identification

  • Case identification for UNHCR purposes refers to the analysis of multiple data sources, including registration data in proGres, to identify eligible cases for processes or programmes based on pre-defined criteria. Registration data should be complemented by other sources, for example, referrals, profiling exercises, household surveys, intention surveys, protection data, RSD and resettlement information. The aim is to identify the most appropriate intervention for an individual or family to address their needs, reinforce their capacities and exercise their rights.

    Case identification is often carried out for the purposes of identifying profiles for RSD or resettlement from the entire population of concern. The box below demonstrates the process of case identification for a specific resettlement profile.

  • Resettlement profile requested Case ID: proGres query to identify cases corresponding to the requested profile
    Refugees from Alphaland in Betaland who survived the 2017 massacre in Betaland refugee camp 1

    Screen-in criteria:

    • Country of Origin = Alphaland
    • Country of Asylum = Betaland
    • Process status = Active
    • Legal status = Refugee
    • Family size = High dependency ratio
    • Date of arrival between = [Define date period]
    • Addresses = Former address in country of asylum refugee camp 1
    • Specific need code = Active (for prioritization)


    Screen-out criteria:

    • Marital status = where married and age is under 18 years (Child marriage)
    • Polygamous marriage = where checked yes
    • Alleged perpetrator = where checked yes
  • Case identification using registration data as a primary data source can only be effective when data is of sound quality and relevance. The following analysis can help registration colleagues ensure that the right data is collected at registration to support case identification, and ensure it is appropriately utilized for this purpose by those who need it.

  • Using proxy data in case identification

    Proxy data or proxy indicators are indirect measures or signs that approximate or represent a trend in the absence of a direct measure or sign. For example, socio-economic vulnerability is not captured as a specific data element in registration interviews. However, there may be several indirect measures, or proxy data, recorded in proGres that may be combined as indicators of this vulnerability. Such indicators may include, for example:

    • Female-headed households, plus

    • Family size or dependency ratio5, plus

    • Education, skills and occupation information, plus

    • Specific needs

    • Age of household members

  • In this way, registration data represents a key data source for identifying protection and socio-economic needs for targeted assistance and interventions. Operations are recommended to consider proxy data in addition to specific data elements when using registration data for case identification. Furthermore, where additional information is required, registration data can help identify a suitable sub-set of the population to be sampled for surveys.

    5 The dependency ratio is an indicator that describes the economically active and inactive people in a family and is the relationship of dependents (non-autonomous adults, children and the elderly) to non-dependents (able-bodied, working-age members). As such, a dependency ratio greater than 1 means that there are more dependents than working age household members. (see UNHCR Vulnerability Assessment Framework at: