Ministry of Interior

The Problem

The communication between the Ministry of Interior and the general public needed to be more interactive.
We at the Ministry felt that we can make better decisions when if we get feedback from the general public.
Source of information to public where the public can also give feedback (for example, traffic department can inform the public about a new diversion etc.)
Reach out to more people by using emails, SMS, BBM service apart from the Tawasl website. This is one of the services that the ministry would provide to the general public.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
Based on the above problem set, the IT team proposed a website loosely based on a forum. Here the different directorates of the Ministry of Interior can have their individual sections on the website and update it with topics for discussion. For example, the public can discuss about an idea for a proposed/implemented law. Based on responses the government can make amendments to it if required.
To summarize the goal is to have an effective and constructive interaction between the ministry and general public.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The Solution was proposed by the Head of IT-Section to the General Director-Ministry of Interior Court and it was implemented by the IT-Section of the General Directorate. The Whole process was done in-house and new features or amendments to the system are being done by the same team.

(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.
As we know that the Guiding Principles and pillars for Vision 2030 are
• Sustainability
• Competitiveness
• Fairness

In accordance with the 2030 vision to improve transparency and Fairness between the government and the general public, the Ministry of Interior approved this project, wherein the site will act as a platform or rather a common ground where the general public could directly interact with MOI and vice versa. We further decided not to restrict this interaction to only the website; hence the public will be able to interact through SMS, Blackberry and Email. Two main driving points while creating the website was to make sure the website is as user friendly as possible and to create a site that the visitors can relate themselves to. The website can also be used as a testing ground and also to fine tune new and existing policies. The website was further enhanced to make a platform for delivery of regular updates relating to urgent issues, for example, advice subscribers through SMS to take alternative routes due a traffic accident etc.
Towards this end the ministry, apart from creating the site, as now put in a dedicated team to update the site regularly. This team is currently undergoing training, to assure that they give proper, precise and professional output. When in full capacity the team will be working round the clock throughout the year. Since the site was completely developed in-house, the ministry is capable of bringing faster, effective and efficient updates to the functionality and design of the site. Hence we will bring in Competitiveness for better services for the General Public.
The Ministry’s directorates of Police Media and Public Relations will further create and assist in propagating the website through the use of various media outlets and also will help in advertising and marketing the website in the launch phase. This will help us in our sustainability towards the project.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
o Project planning, feasibility study: The basic idea for the website was proposed in the October, 2009 when the initial brainstorming process started.
o Systems analysis, requirements: Defined project goals into defined functions and operations intended. Analyzed end-user information needs.
o Systems design: The system design was done by 3 different teams.
- Graphics: The graphics team designed the website templates (6 different templates were created and then one was chosen). Building up layouts and designing logos and icons.
- Development (.net): Section prepared the functionality and work flow of dynamic data. Also started preparations for different communication with various third part vendors on SMS and blackberry service integration with the website
- Database: Based on the workflow planned for the site, the DBA creates database structures and related procedures.
o Implementation: The real code was written during this phase.
o Integration and testing: System got tested by various users to check any bugs or errors.
o Acceptance, installation, deployment: at the moment the project is still going through final testing by end users. We expect the website to go live very soon.
o Maintenance: It's an ongoing process: changes, correction, additions, and moves to a different computing platform, upgrades from database versions and more. This turned out to be the least glamorous and perhaps most important step of all. The changes through time to make it dynamic, many new modules were added and audit trails were created. Extensive reports were produced as per requirements. Even today if there is a need there is always new feature added into the system.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
The most notable obstacle we encountered for the website was concerning SMS and Blackberry communication.
Since Blackberry doesn’t allow third parties to use BBM, we had to look for an alternative. Finally we decided to have blackberry devices and transmit the messages through that. End users (public) can subscribe to BBM number from the website for that individual section.
As for the SMS the obstacle was that we had to deal with the three operators and sort out how we could communicate through them for bulk SMS notifications.

(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 Hardware, Technical and human resources for designing, developing and hosting the website were already available.
The Benefits are: we own the source-code of all our work, and we don't have to outsource any of our projects as we have all the expertise in-house.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The ministry has put in a dedicated team to update the site regularly by the hour. This team is currently undergoing training, to assure that they give proper, precise and professional output. When in full capacity the team will be working round the clock throughout the year. Since the site was completely developed in-house, the ministry is capable of bringing faster, effective and efficient updates to the functionality and design of the site.
Other government organizations and agencies can also use this site as a model in creating a similar site tailored to fit them. Since this is complete in-house project we are capable of assisting anybody in creating and maintaining the website.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
Since the website is still not live, we have no means to access this factor at the moment. However, the feedback we received internally in the testing phases within various sections in the ministry brought a lot of positive feedback and ideas for enhancing the performance of the site.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Interior
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Ahmed AlMannai
Title:   Head of Public Relations  
Telephone/ Fax:  
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   isa.s.albinali@gmail.com  
Postal Code:  
Country:   Bahrain

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