e-SmartBox : To enhance labour related public service delivery (MOL Smart & Smile)
Office of the Secretary Ministry of Labour

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Since labour is the most important economic drive, good care has to be taken by the government. Ministry of labour (MOL) is responsible for labour related public services which include employment promotion, skill development, social security, worker compensation fund, labour protection and welfare. These jobs have been mandated to several departments and divisions under MOL to provide the services. However each service delivery unit locates in different location. Service receiver must know where to access a specific service. Especially in countryside this becomes a significant difficulty since people don't know where to access a specific labour related public service. To enhance labour service accessibility MOL service counters had been established. The counters performs as a single window to access all kind of labour related public services. The service procedure starts from, go to see a staff and request for a specific service, to receive and to fill out a request form, to provide additional document if required, to finish the service, and lastly to do a satisfaction survey. This procedure takes averagely 25 - 35 minutes for each service access. However since more than 130 types of labour related services have to be delivered, working staffs (servants) have to learn a lot of things. The staffs have to be intensively trained to be able to deliver those services. Unfortunately in many cases the working staffs don't stay in their jobs long. They tend to change their jobs when they get better ones. Training new staffs to provide such high variety of services becomes an obstacle to deliver continual good services. So far the number of service accesses increased ; 299,901 in 2010, 351,077 in 2011 and 488,401 in 2012. However the degree of service satisfaction gradually decreased, 92% in 2010, 91% in 2011 and 90% in 2012. The result of problem analysis indicates that two main problems arise. One problem is that paper based document process is tedious and time-consumed. The other is the low service capability due to staff changing problem. All labour from the poor, illiterate, disabled, elderly, immigrants who should have equally access to labour related public service were affected by these problems. For examples, they may want to consult what benefits they should obtain by law, they may want to find a job if they are unemployed or disabled, they may want to know how pension should be paid and so on.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
In 2013, ministry of labour (MOL) proposes the project called ‘Enhancing service delivery of MOL service counter'. Its mission is to solve problems mentioned above to improve the performance of MOL service counter. A consultant team from Thammasat university had been hired to assist the project’s mission. Three types of services can be delivered at a service counter; the first type is consultation service, the second is the complete one-stop service, and the third is referring service. The first type service is to provide law, regulation, and knowledge including case-based consultation to people. This type requires staffs to understand all available knowledge to consult people. The second type is to provide a service-specific request form and let people fill it out to complete the service. Most of them are personal information; first name, last name, birth date, address, and so on. This type requires staffs's knowledge of all available request forms and their how-to-fills. The third type is the service which could not be delivered by the counter itself, it has to be referred to corespondent unit. All types requires staffs to learn a lot of things in order to raise their capabilities. Additionally various degree of staffs' experiences may cause inequity of service quality or misleads. To solve this problem a knowledge committee and task-force for MOL service counter has been established. The committee is mandated to formalize basically required knowledge for counter staffs. The committee consists of labour related experts from all departments under MOL. The committee had been working collaboratively with MOL service counter staffs and finally formalized a set of basic knowledge for service counter. The knowledge become formal labour related information for consistent service quality to all people. The e-SmartBox is a hardware and software combination designed to handle the knowledge database and to automate request forms generation. It is a plastic box with a smartcard reader, a web camera and a key pad inside which can be procured anywhere at low cost. Here is how it works to automate request form generation. 1. Firstly service receiver insert his/her citizen ID card. (All Thai people do have the card) 2. The personal information is retrieved. No more basic personal information will be asked. 3. The staffs key in some key words to find proper services from knowledge database. 4. If it requires a request form, partially filled request form will be print out via printer. 5. If document's copy or person photo is required the attached camera will be used to take the photo. 6. Finish the service by print out MOL service slip to the receiver. 7. To survey satisfaction the attached key pad is used. The working process of MOL service counter has been reengineered and deployed. So far the service delivery has been improved significantly.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
All people of aged 7 to 70 do have citizen ID cards at no cost for years. Personal information is stored electronically in the card and can be retrieved for use. The wide use of the cards is very limited. The computer software for public services developed today tends to be designed in an on-line or stand-alone style. Very little software development effort to facilitate and to enhance servants-based service delivery. This initiative introduce a unique idea of using the combination of ordinary computer accessories and citizen ID card to facilitate servant-based (human-based) service delivery to enhance its efficiency and quality. The main problems include tedious and time-consumed paper-based document problem and knowledgeable servants shortage. The ‘e-SmartBox’ initiative solves those as followed. The first solves paper-based document process. The second solves service quality. 1. Reducing time required for filling out various request forms, making copy of document and satisfaction survey by using smartcard reader, web camera and key pad. 2. Frequently asked questions (FAQ), service provision guideline and corresponding knowledge items have been collected and organized into electronic format (MS excel file) by knowledge committee for MOL counter service. This knowledge is deployed with e-SmartBox to assist servants.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The project to improve MOL counter service had been approved with the following purposes. 1. To improve efficiency of the public service delivery and response public requirement 2. To improve the capabilities of the service provider servants 3. To enhance service delivery satisfaction The strategy includes 1. The knowledge committee had been established in March 2013 to build fundamental knowledge for MOL service counter. The committee consists of experts from all departments and divisions of ministry of labour. A consultant team from Thammasat university has been hired to facilitate the committee. 2. A series of meeting have been conducted (March – June 2013) as followed 2.1 The 1st Meeting collect all required knowledge and information in order to be classified and grouped 2.2 The 2nd Meeting determine service framework, list of knowledge and new service working process 2.3 The 3rd Meeting review methodology and make time plan for implementation 2.4 The 4th Meeting review knowledge, FAQ and develop e-SmartBox equipment and software with new work process 2.5 The 5th Meeting demonstrate and review the newly developed e-SmartBox and software with new work process 2.6 The 6th Meeting conclude the knowledge, FAQ and software to implementation 3. e-SmartBox has been designed, developed and deployed (April – July 2013) . 3.1 Requirement collection 3.2 Design of a new working process with new equipments; a box with smartcard reader, web cam and key pad 3.3 Testing and review the e-SmartBox design 3.4 Software development using java technology 3.5 e-SmartBox production for all service counters in Thailand 4. Staffs’ training (July 2013). All staffs have been developed with one day intensive training and do workshop with e-SmartBox 4.1 Two classes of training for MOL service counters staffs have been organized 4.2 e-SmartBox testing period has been start 5. MOL counter service advertisement (July – December 2013) 5.1 To promote new service improvement to let people know, a number of advertisement have been executed. 5.2 Advertise in channels; MOL web site, labour magazine articles, new papers and other multimedia.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
MOL permanent secretary is the initiator of the project. He formed the project ‘e-SmartBox : Enhancing MOL service delivery’ and mandate Ms.Anyikar Nisaphadorn who is the director of MOL service counter to conduct the project. The main supporters of the project include labour experts from all departments and divisions, the consultant team and all servants of MOL service counters. The experts collect required knowledge, consider the process and plan through a number of meetings. The consultant team facilitates the meeting activities by preparing documents and develops hardware and software. The labour experts are from department of employment promotion (DOE), department of skill development (DSD), department of labour protection and welfare (DLPW) and social security office (SSO) which are under ministry of labour. The most important stakeholders are the people who access the services from MOL service counters around the country. They are about 550,000 per year to access 51 MOL service counters. They include employers, employees, self-employed and unemployed people. This initiative depends on the knowledge from the various experts. A good collaboration of those experts is required in order to produce high quality and up-to-date knowledge for servants. In this project knowledge committee was set-up from experts of various departments and divisions. This initiative also promotes partnerships for public service delivery. All Thai people have citizen ID card by law at no cost. It promotes equity to access high quality public services to everyone. It enables service delivery to wider population than before by adapting the initiative to more service units at low cost without any limitation. Service delivery satisfaction survey has been executed on every service delivery by just press the button on the e-SmartBox. The satisfaction survey results will be processed in an on-line real-time manner. This provides direct feed-back from citizens.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Ministry of labour expenses 1,265,500 Baht to support this project as followed 1. e-SmartBox hardware and software development 749,500 Baht 2. Meeting of knowledge committee 60,000 Baht 3. Staff training 220,000 Baht 4. Advertising and promotion: 236,000 Baht 5. Public announcement Human resources include 1. Working group: 8 persons 2. Knowledge committee: 16 persons 3. Consultant team: 8 persons 4. Service staffs: 51 persons 5. Other supporters: 20 persons

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The output of the project include 1. Knowledge committee has been established and functioned well 2. The knowledge items include 2.1 351 FAQs to support staffs 2.2 650 items of knowledge to support staffs 2.3 133 types of services which are provided at counter service 2.4 4 working processes have been redesigned and developed to conduct service delivery 2.5 16 types of service request forms can be produced, automatically filled 3. E-SmartBox tools have been developed and deployed in more than 50 service points 4. More than 100 staffs have been trained for e-SmartBox readiness 5. Advertisement output include 5.1 3,150 brochures 5.2 300 posters 5.3 1 magazine article 5.4 51 advertising boards 5.5 4 TV program records 5.6 Public announcement 6. Service time has been shorten from 25-35 minutes to less than 5 minutes by using e-SmartBox 7. Service receivers' satisfaction increased to 95 percents.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
To ensure the project performs well the followings were put in place 1. MOL service counter's staffs reports the result of service delivery together with problems to working group. So far no problem has been found. 2. After staff training there have been tests in 3 categories; e-SmartBox using skill, positive thinking and service mind. The testing results indicate they understood well and their service skills have been developed. 3. Service receivers satisfaction surveys have been conducted. The survey result indicates that 95.83 percent has been pleased with the services.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Most Thai people aged 7 - 70 years do have citizen ID cards by law at no cost for years. Personal information is stored in the card in electronic format and can be retrieved for use. For the time-being the wide use of the cards is very limited. The computer software for public services developed today tends to be designed in an on-line or stand-alone style to serve citizen directly without human involved. Very little software development effort to facilitate and to enhance servants-based service delivery. This initiative introduce a unique idea of using the combination of ordinary computer accessories and citizen ID card to facilitate servant-based (human-based) service delivery to enhance its efficiency and quality. Law and regulation are also obstacles which hardly be changed in short period. With this initiative no hurdle of law and regulation exists since it uses the legacy paper request form based methods. The e-SmartBox tool is used just to improve the efficiency and effectiveness and to free staffs from knowledgable requirement and leave a few difficult services to the knowledgeable workers. This characteristic makes administration transformation easier.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
In no more than 700 words describe the impact of the initiative. Provide concrete examples for how the initiative made a difference in the delivery of public services. Describe how the improved delivery of public services had a positive impact on the public. Provide information on how this impact was measured. This initiative includes two components. One is continual collaborations of labour experts from various service providers. This produces a qualified up-to-date knowledge to support service delivery. The other is e-SmartBox, the hardware and software combination tool. This facilitates service delivery to be easier and efficient. Key benefits resulting from this initiative includes 1. Labour confronts with many problems caused by economic crisis. The problems include unemployment, unknowing of benefits from social security fund and workers’ compensation fund, unknowing of labour protection law, access difficulty of public service and etc. This initiative solves/mitigate those problems. The software system e-Smartbox help providing plenty of knowledge for servants. It eases the access of public services by shortening service process and assisting staffs with up-to-date knowledge. The overall time-consume for one service delivery is shortened from 25-35 minutes to less than 5 minutes by using e-SmartBox. The e-SmartBox tools have been developed and deployed in 51 MOL service counters. This initiative is now planned to be improved to support more than 37 service delivery units next year. So far the service receivers' satisfaction increased to 95 percent. The e-SmartBox software can be executed both on-line and off-line mode by just copy and run. This initiative can be expanded further easily with low cost. The service quality is exactly higher or equal to existing paper request form based services. 2. This initiative can be extended to more MOL counter services easily by producing more e-SmartBox tools. It can also be extended to more service providers other than MOL counter services. For example it can also be performed at municipality and other local government offices to enhance their service capabilities. Knowledge items can be modified to fit to the need of service provider units through electronic files. New knowledge items can be created in MS excel sheet file format (.xls) and import to the e-SmartBox software directly. New request forms can be added/modified by using Adobe's public document format (.pdf) and can be configured without technical programming skill. The knowledge items and request forms should be reviewed and made up-to-date by corespondent knowledge workers.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
This initiative includes two components. One is continual collaborations of labour experts from various service providers. This produces a qualified up-to-date knowledge to support service delivery. The other is e-SmartBox, a hardware and software combination tool. This facilitates service delivery to be easier and efficient. - Financial sustainability e-SmartBox hardware consists of easily procurable standard computer peripherals at low costs. They includes web camera, smartcard reader and key pad. It costs around 50US$ which is very low. To maintain the facilities low financial support is required. The e-SmartBox can be used with any ordinary personal computers. For the software side, up-to-date knowledge items and request forms can be produced/reproduced easily using MS excel file without any technical computer programming skill. Therefore the initiative is financially sustainable. - Social and economic sustainability Presently Thai people communities concentrate around big stores/shops/markets. Many people go to big stores/shops/markets to buy food and necessities after work or after school. The transportation is very convenient from/to big stores/shops/markets. Most people don't want to go to government offices just because to access public services. At the time-being on-line public service through the Internet may be too early for Thai people since not all people feel confident to access. Most MOL service counters locate in big stores/shops/markets and can be accessed with high availability. The e-SmartBox tools have been deployed in all counters and tend to be expanded. This initiative is much suit and sustainable to Thai social and economic. - Cultural sustainability Thai people are generally not diligent. They don't like filling out paper-based request forms to access public services. However they still feel more confident with paper-based services than paperless ones. The e-SmartBox tools free them from writing and bringing documents, while providing them confident services. This initiative perfectly match their culture thus is culturally sustainable. - Environmental sustainability The e-SmartBox hardware consists of standard computer accessaries. They can be procured/maintained anywhere by anyone. Materials used in e-SmartBox can be reused and replaced easily. They can be used together with all existing ordinary computers. The reusability is greatly increased. Thus this initiative is also environmentally sustainable. - Regulatory sustainability This initiative assists services delivery without any changes of existing lows and regulations. Thus this is regulatory sustainable. The initiative is also transferable because 1. Despite of diversity of knowledge required for service delivery the e-SmartBox helps staffs with up-to-date knowledge. This initiative can be transferred effortlessly to other units. 2. The design of e-SmartBox hardware is simple. The materials required for hardware are open-standard and easy to find; web camera, key pad and smartcard reader. The reproduction of the equipment can be performed without difficulty. 3. This initiative can be adapted to other types of public services other than labour related services by replacing or adding more knowledge.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
Lessons learned from this project include 1. Team work is the most important success factor. Without leadership of the permanent secretary, without hard effort of the mandated working group, without a good facilitation from consultant team, without good coordination of the knowledge committee or without effort of staffs, this initiative will never been success. The methodology that supports good team work collaboration becomes the most important factor to conduct the project. 2. People hate change. The change always comes up with resistance. To overcome the resistance to convince people to do the change is the peak of difficulty. To achieve this the followings are important; positive thinking, proactive action and service mind. 3. In this project Data link between departments and divisions have not been developed and embedded in the e-SmartBox software system. Those include individual employment history, individual skills and qualification, social security information, protection and welfare history and so on. Those capabilities must enhance further quality of service. The capabilities should be developed further in the future. 4. In this project, automatic reporting and monitoring system have not well facilitated. It must be great if the reporting system and monitoring system have been developed to automate the administration and management process. 5. This initiative should be utilized to other service delivery units in order to maximize benefits from public services to people.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Office of the Secretary Ministry of Labour
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Anyikar Nisaphadorn
Title:   Ms  
Telephone/ Fax:   +66 2 232 1320
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   mol.cts@gmail.com  
Address:   Mitmaitri Road, Din daeng
Postal Code:   10400
City:   Bangkok
State/Province:   Bangkok

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