PATA-(Get Public Services Information)
Directorate of e-Government

The Problem

The Directorate of e-Government in the Presidency and Cabinet Affairs Office is charged with providing services to the Citizens through the use of Information Technologies. The principal concern of developing this system was based on the need for providing services to the citizens. According to the development blue print, Kenya vision 2030, ICT has been identified as necessary in raising productivity and efficiency levels and also critical for accelerating economic development.
Most government information is treated as confidential, not freely acquired, is inaccessible and remains untraceable. At the moment there are challenges of finding where information about a particular service is and in what form. In some cases, little useful information is available to the citizens which are sometimes out of date. Government services which involve contacts with several departments or agencies are disjointed and the citizens often feel shunted around. There is no interfaces between the services which are normally related and the citizens have to incur huge costs to get the services that could ordinarily be got from a one single shop. Delays associated with the big queues only to gather information on a particular service are a common occurrence therefore undermining the economic productivity of the citizens. It should be borne in mind that this is sometimes information from interrelated departments which normally provide information in silos thereby making citizens undergo unnecessary processes compounded by bureaucracy.

In the cases where there are customer care desks there are unsatisfactory and do not have full accurate information as there are not integrated within the various department/Ministries thereby compounding the problems. At the same time there is a natural human tendency of not gathering information for fear of humiliations especially in during human interaction in a public place.
In order to access these services the citizens are forced to travel long distances which sometimes are unnecessary. The journey is also prohibitive for the people in the low cadre of the society since it requires travelling for a long journey at huge costs just in the name of seeking for information. For those with limited finances and literacy levels, access to Internet remains a problem and the increasing use of such technology may discriminate against such groups. The system has also embraced the language barriers of the citizens and is bilingual utilizing the two national languages in Kenya therefore ensuring that everybody is able to access the information.
Based on these scenarios, the Government needs to be more proactive in providing better approaches of providing information to citizens given the current information delivery mechanism. In this context information ought to be presented in a more presentable cost effective manner given the increased use of IT as an access channel of offering Government services.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The initiative is about providing information about the Government services to the citizens through the use of mobile technologies. Initially this information was not published anywhere and in case it is published it is only through the traditional communication channels. To make matters worse, the bureaucratic nature of the Government prohibits the citizens access the information of these services. This has resulted in cartels or brokers charging the citizens exorbitant fee in pretext that they will assist the citizens get the services including only information which is ordinarily free. The high penetration of the mobile has provided a good opportunity for the Government to offer the services through the mobile platforms.
Before rolling of the project, citizens could not access the information through the use of the mobile phones despite the high penetration rate of over 65% in Kenya. Similarly this information could only be provided through the traditional channels in which the information only reaches a paltry percentage of the population. In cases where the information is available on the websites only 4% percentage of the population (according to the 2009 Kenya census) was able to access the information. This information is however available to over 70% of the population given the high penetration of the dispersion channel.
The systems have an inbuilt monitoring system since it is accessed through the mobile operators in which they share the number of the users assessing system through their database with the Directorate of e-Government. This information has continued to assist us do enhancement on the content requirements as well as strengthen the reach of the targeted population by carrying out the necessary publicity. The geographical location, literacy and exposure to technology of the users are carried out a demographic analysis of the data from the mobile of operators.
The system also gather complains on the services provided by the Government in which they are eventually transcribed and forwarded to the respective agencies for actions or remedial measures.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The solution was a brainchild of the Directorate of e-Government given the huge responsibility bestowed on it to provide services to the citizens through use of ICTS. The stakeholders of this system included the service ministry and agencies who are normally the custodian of the information normally sought for by the citizens. These ministries and agencies include the
i. Ministry of State for Immigrations and Registration of persons whose mandate is to issue national identity cards, passports as well as birth and death registration,
ii. Kenya revenue authority that is charged with information related to the taxes and providing document like the driving licences, pin registration, vehicle registrations among other.
iii. The Ministry of Lands was also a key stakeholder because of the information related to land ownership as well as registration.
iv. The other stakeholders involved were the National Social Security Fund and National Health Insurance fund who are charged with the provision of social security and health services respectively.
v. The Kenya National examination council was also another key due to the role they play in conducting examinations at various levels as well as issuance of the educational certificates in these levels.
vi. The technological counterparts for this project included the consultant firm, mobile service providers as well as the communication commission of Kenya that which is mandated to issue the premium numbers used for this service.

(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 main objectives of the this initiative was to ensure that information that is not normally in the public domain is provided in a cost effective manner and is readily available for the citizens to make the make informed choices and decisions.
The strategies used were to identify the most sought information by the citizens and then package the information. The next stage was to ensure that enough publicity is conducted and to permeate to all levels of the society by using all channels of publicity at disposal.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
This project started by taking a desk study of the channels that Kenyans would like to use to get Government information. This was built on the technological changes and demands by the Kenyan Citizens taking keen interest and advantage of the mobile penetration in Kenya as a key channel of delivery services. This was again informed by the existing usage of the mobile platform.

A survey of the most sought for services by the citizens was undertaken to determine the information. The portfolio of the services increased from the obvious ones had anticipated initially.

Thereafter, the Directorate of e-Government applied for premium numbers from the Communication Commission of Kenya. Considerations were made on the cheap calling rates compared with other parts of Africa as well as the world at large to come up with this initiative. The numbers applied for are related to the services provided for by the Government for ease in publicity as well as recollection by the populace

This was followed by the development of the terms of reference for the consultant for this project and subsequent procurement of the consultant.

The content for this system was thereafter collated from the agencies/ministries by the consultant based on the results of the needs assessment survey. This resulted in recording of the content, trials and verification and the eventual commissioning of the system. These agencies continue providing us with the information per the customer requirements as we upgrade the system on the need basis.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The main obstacle associated with this system is the necessary publicity that is required to reach a high percentage of the population. This again is coupled by some level of illiteracy that would not allow all the population access the services.

Just like very many interactive systems, the information sought for in the systems is not 100% accurate and is sometimes hard access directly. This call for live agents’ that we are yet to put in place due to the financial implications and the interagency coordination challenges.

Inadequate financial resources to carry out the publicity to carry out the necessary coverage as well as hire live agents continue to be a challenge.

(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
The solution was deployed by hiring a consultant at a cost of USD 60000. In order to make the sure that it reaches as huge population the necessary publicity was carried out through the use of the communications channels available. This so far has costed the Government approximately USD 50000 and has remained continuous to reach a substantial percentage of the population. The technical human resource has continued to support the system. All the components of the systems were funded by the exchequer.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The system is supported by the users through the normal calling charges charged by the mobile providers to cater for the link to the mobile services providers as per our agreements. This is an environmental friendly system that is guided by the regulatory framework that is overseen by the communication Commission of Kenya. Since the system cuts across the entire public service the there is little duplication at the national front. However similar systems are expected to sprout on various services that are not necessarily of similar nature.

The deployment of e-government services is far less advanced in the developing country like Kenya than in countries with sophisticated infrastructure. It is the desire of the Kenyan Government to build on learning from the developing world. The success of this service is likely to depend on the interactions of cultural background, literacy levels, technological medium and the nature of the service. In a developing context cultural factors are particularly important for the successful deployment of this type of electronic services.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
This being the second year of the initiative we have seen an increase in the number of users which has been commensurate with the level of publicity.

Whereas popular culture has already adapted to technologies such as the Internet in most developed countries (and has in turn shaped those technologies), the cultures of developing nations need more careful consideration when these technologies are being employed. Another factor to consider in the developing world is the relative scarcity of financial resources and general infrastructure. Proliferation of this kind of system requires massive publicity and calling rates has to be affordable to the citizens.

Traditionally IVRS are very complicated systems and relevant accurate information has to be provided to make the system have impact. Therefore continuous monitoring of the usage is necessary in order to organize the content information in terms of the most sought services for efficiency and cut costs on the users.

Cost effective analysis have to carry out need and the rollout of the programme is dependent on the literacy levels of the targeted society. The youth forms the biggest chunk of the potential users and the system has to offer better prospects than the upcoming technologies like the social media.

This initiative was a great a success due to the special focus of the services being provided, very little harnessing of efforts by the agencies providing this information was required since this is a technological specific initiative in which the Directorate of e-Government has an overall responsibility. Finally, the political support of e-Government played a key role towards the success of the project.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Directorate of e-Government
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Nandi Loyford Murithi
Title:   Mr.  
Telephone/ Fax:  
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Postal Code:  
Country:   Kenya

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