24-Hour E-Services for the Public
Ministry of Public Administration and Security

The Problem

Since 2002, the Korean government has offered the e-services system G4C for online delivery of public services as a key task for achieving an e-government. For several years following the launch of e-services, however, only a limited number of public services were processed online. Users also experienced inconvenience in having to visit multiple administrative offices to submit a range of complex documents (as many as 17 supplementary papers) to get things done.

Public institutions individually managed their own stored data, and the lack of integration caused applicants to submit the same documents multiple times to different offices, resulting in wasted time and cost. Such inefficiency also plagued public institutions, which had to store a massive volume of documents that led to higher space and management expenses.

In 2008, however, the government's e-services took a big step forward, with 1,199 (24%) of about 5,000 services made available online. Much remained to be done for the full-fledged availability of e-services, however. The increasing number of multicultural families, a rapidly aging population and other social changes also highlighted the need for an overhaul and upgrade to the e-services system to cater to groups at a disadvantage in digital access (i.e. the disabled, naturalized citizens, expatriates, and senior citizens).

Against this backdrop, the government set out to develop a more advanced e-services system called Minwon 24 (24-hour E-services for the Public) by adopting fast-changing information and communication technologies (ICT) and promoting data sharing among public institutions. The savings from the initiative was an estimated 2.7 trillion won a year in social and economic costs, but more importantly, the 24-hour e-services held the promise of fast and convenient access to public services for every citizen whenever and wherever.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The full-fledged launch of the 24-hour e-services system in 2011 is expected to greatly raise public utility and convenience in public services and substantially cut social and economic costs. The key benefits are as follows.

The system was enhanced so that online public services can be processed entirely on the Internet, from application to delivery. As a result, users can apply online for 3,020 (61%) of 5,000 public services, of which 1,208 can be issued online. The system also allows the one-stop processing of 20 types of services on relocation, employment, marriage, real estate transactions and other areas directly linked with daily life, thereby eliminating the need to visit multiple offices. Institutions can also send documents serviced online to businesses.

The procedures for using public services have been greatly simplified through e-services, allowing the shared use of 92 documents such as transcripts/extracts of resident registration and substantially reducing the number of required documents and services.

<Key Outcome>
Classification : Key results
Shared use of public data : Replaced 30% (110 million sheets) of papers at 390 public institutions per year
Reduction of services : Down 14% (From 5,721 to 4,951)
Reduction of documents : Down 16% (From 17,251 to 14,470)

Efforts to enhance the efficiency of e-services were complemented by works to ensure equity and inclusion for groups that had been at a disadvantage in using the services. First, access to e-services was greatly improved for the disabled and 'remote support services' were offered to senior citizens and other groups having difficulty using the Internet. Fifteen types of e-services are offered in six languages -- Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese -- for non-Korean residents and naturalized Koreans.

Thanks to these efforts, the number of people using the 24-hour e-services has doubled from two years ago (35.85 million in December 2008 to 70.76 million in December 2010). The number of public service documents is expected to fall by 290 million sheets a year (or 67% of all documents). This is, in turn, predicted to cut social costs by 720 billion won and and carbon emissions by 82,000 tons a year. The initiative is also expected to contribute to the realization of One/Non-stop Green Service recognized worldwide.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
In March 2009, the modernization of the government's e-services was adopted as a key policy for strengthening national competitiveness at the Meeting for National Competitiveness chaired by the President. This was based on a pan-government consensus that digitalization of the public sector is promptly needed to enhance public access to the government and strengthen the competitiveness of both the nation and businesses. The initiative was launched following the establishment of a task force in May 2009 comprising government officials with specialized knowledge of public service delivery and ICT.

Prior to the launch of the task force, the Public Administrative Data Sharing Committee, the Public Administrative Data Sharing Task Force, and the Data Sharing Center in operation since July 2005 were involved in facilitating data sharing among public institutions. By closely cooperating with both the demand and supply side of public data and continuously expanding the data sharing system, both the committee and task force have been instrumental in laying the foundation for e-services modernization.

In the preparatory stage, the government established the initiative's directions by collecting the views of a group of university professors specializing in institutions and systems. Also gathered were opinions and requests from a group of housewives in charge of monitoring public policies and from other groups of users for reflection in system improvement. More recently, the newly launched campaign entitled 'Find Imperfections in the 24-Hour E-Services' not only helped improve the system but also promoted it to the public. As such, the initiative was implemented with the participation and communication of various stakeholders.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The purpose of modernizing the 24-hour e-services system was to reduce user inconvenience by building a seamless system that makes available online most services and allows greater data sharing. To achieve this goal, the following strategies were used.

Securing and maintaining strong momentum from top leadership

The Meeting for National Competitiveness chaired by the President in March 2009 drew support from the President as head of the administration. The meeting also established a consensus among leading Cabinet ministers.

Overcoming resistance and obstacles by engaging stakeholders

The government raised public awareness of the initiative by engaging and consulting with staff at data-holding institutions and inviting them to workshops. On security concerns raised by public institutions, the Regulations on Data Protection were enacted in 2008 and took effect under a direct order from the Prime Minister. Other complementary measures were taken progressively.

Presentation of a blueprint and setup of an organization for systemic approach

To ensure efficient implementation of the initiative, a clear target was set for each implementation stage and reported to the Meeting for National Competitiveness. The initiative was implemented by an organization of experts specifically created for this purpose rather than using existing organizations and personnel.

Improvements in both hardware (e-service platform) and software (law and institutions)

The legal and institutional basis for e-services was improved for the legal validity of electronic documents, digitalization and standardization of public documents, and exemption and/or reduction of e-service fees.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
Initiation of integrated e-services platform (2000-03)

In November 2000, the ‘Plan to Improve Public Service Procedures’ was established to target the five major areas of public service closely related to everyday life: residence, automotive, real estate, tax, and business. From December 2001, 393 public services became available online.
* E-services G4C (Government for Citizens), www.egov.go.kr

Expansion of e-services (2004-08)

The expansion of e-services was implemented in three stages, with 1,199 services going online in 2008.

Modernization of e-services (2009-10)

Following the report on the E-services Modernization Plan at the Meeting for National Competitiveness in March 2009, an action plan was established in May 2009. From June 2009 to December 2010, 770 services were either merged or abolished and the system was upgraded to offer 3,020 services online.

* On August 2, 2010, the integrated platform for e-services was renamed Minwon 24 (www.minwon.go.kr).

The system for shared use of public data was enhanced to be more user-friendly and shared with an increasing number of institutions. In 2010, 390 institutions (in addition to public administrative agencies, this number includes 50 public institutions and 16 commercial banks) had joint access to 92 documents.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Given that public services were offered by various offices, gaining support and cooperation from the institutions was not easy. The public was also reluctant to use e-services for fear of leakage of personal information. The difficulty for socially disadvantaged groups in using e-services was another challenge.

Difficulty in collaborating with public institutions

Public institutions expressed fears that their databases could get hacked in the process of system linkage. Substantial reluctance was shown by public officials in adapting to the new system. To assuage such fears, the government introduced institutional and system improvement measures and highlighted the effects of reduced workload and higher public utility. By getting the relevant institutions to work together in the initiative, their concerns and needs were promptly identified and resolved.

* A legal basis for shared use of public data was inserted in the eGovernment Act. In December 2008, the Guidelines for Shared Use of Public Data were enacted.

Fears over leakage of personal information and other security issues

This problem was overcome by providing complementary legal and technical measures for online submission of documents.

* For example, the revision to the eGovernment Act in February 2010 gave validity to documents issued on the Internet and introduced anti-forgery measures such as the time stamp, 2D barcode, authenticity number and anti-copy mark.

Digital access for disadvantaged groups

E-services were improved to enable the visually impaired to read onscreen content and e-documents by voice recognition. An online assistance service and specialized software (widget) were developed to provide information on welfare benefits to the disabled. Fifteen types of e-services were offered in foreign languages for non-Korean residents and naturalized Koreans. A one-stop e-service site was also launched for multicultural families as well as distance support services to assist people without proper Internet access.

Another factor hindering the initiative was the passive approach of data-holding institutions to link their DBs or systems due to hacking fears. Getting data-using institutions to adapt to new work processes was also difficult. To assuage fears and persuade the parties involved, the government introduced institutional and system improvement measures and highlighted the effects of reduced workload and higher public utility. Representatives of data-holding institutions were also invited to participate in the task force so that their concerns and needs could be promptly addressed in the process of developing the new system.

Continuous campaigns and education were also instituted to promote e-services and raise awareness on security.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
Since the ‘Plan to Improve Public Service Procedures’ was established in November 2000, the initiative cost 75.78 billion won through November 2010 for 15 improvement projects (64.73 billion won) and system repair and maintenance (11.06 billion won and approximately 2.1 billion won per year).

From 2009 to 2010, 19.77 billion won was spent to digitalize all public services that can be offered online. In this process, various e-government technologies were applied including e-certification, e-payment, e-issuance and standardization of e-documents, security, system linkage, DRM (digital right management), encryption, network security and mobile services.

From 2005 to 2010, approximately 40 billion won of the e-government budget went to raise the sophistication of the public administrative data sharing system. This helped avoid duplicate investment in linking the DBs of public institutions.

In human resources, the Public Administrative Data Sharing Committee comprises members from the public and private sectors. The task force in charge of data sharing and e-service modernization is operated by staff dispatched from relevant agencies. System building and maintenance are outsourced to IT specialists in the private sector and a group of internal and external experts are consulted frequently to maintain a comprehensive system.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Increased traffic by offering a dynamic system

Launched in November 2002, the government's e-service system has been improved continuously over the last nine years. Though small in the beginning, the number of users has markedly gone up over the years.

<Traffic of 24-Hour E-Services>
Year Members Visits Applications
2002 131,000 6,384 1,445
2009 3,585,000 20,354 66,218
2010 7,076,000 38,158 80,065

The system will continue to evolve through more demand-side services, timely application of new information technologies, and stronger protection of personal information.

Global interest in e-service benefits

Many countries have expressed interest in Korea’s 24-hour e-services. Developing nations that are keen on benchmarking the initiative have asked the Ministry of Public Administration and Security to share its experience and technology to enhance their administrative transparency and fight corruption. (* In 2009, 520 officials visited Korea from countries like Japan and Vietnam.)

Based on the benefits of increased efficiency in work processes through data sharing among public institutions and the offering of as many public services as possible online, Korea has reached “Stage V (integrated processing)” of the UN’s Global E-Government model. Japan has also benchmarked Korea’s e-service model.

Korea’s valuable experience in planning and implementing the e-service initiative can be a successful example for other countries to follow.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The lessons learned through the e-services initiative are as follows:

First, a strong and sustained leadership is needed at the national level. The E-services Modernization Initiative gained strong momentum through presidential support and commitment following a report to the President in 2009.

Second, an inter-ministerial system of collaboration that shuns self-interest is critical. In the initial stage, most public institutions were negative toward data sharing with other institutions. As more institutions took part in the building and use of e-services, the initiative gained consensus as they recognized the benefits of higher productivity and reduced public inconvenience.

Third, it is necessary to change how public officials perceive and receive the new system. The adoption of e-services was initially met with great reluctance for fear of increased workload and security issues. These jitters were overcome via explanation of the initiative’s benefits and security measures and through continued awareness programs and education.

Fourth, offering better e-services requires that process improvement go side by side with institutional improvement. Synergistic effects can be generated through institutional improvement that enable merging or abolishing unnecessary or duplicate requirements, simplifying document requirements, and streamlining the process of data usage.

Fifth, system developers must keep track of changes in ICT technologies and market trends. The sharp increase in the number of smartphone users and other rapid changes in the business environment have significantly increased demand for mobile-based services. Thus, adaptation and optimization of e-services in line with the fast-changing climate are crucial.

Finally, the government must establish an effective partnership with the private sector. From identifying the public services to be offered online to upgrading the system, dynamic communication and cooperation with private companies, organizations and experts were instrumental in Korea’s modernization of its e-services.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Public Administration and Security
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Yun Jeong Kim
Title:   person in charge  
Telephone/ Fax:   +82-2-2100-4458
Institution's / Project's Website:   +82-2-2100-4449
E-mail:   yjkim00@korea.kr  
Postal Code:  

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