Ministry of Security and Public Administration

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
With the IT advancements made in the 1990s such as the internet, Korea created an e-government website and fully used IT to deliver better public services. As Korea completed this phase in the early 2000s, the website increasingly served as a liaison between the government and the public, while more participation opportunities instilled a high level of motivation in people to be involved in public administration. In 2009, the pervasive use of smartphones triggered mobile Big Bang, empowering people to share information and communicate on smartphones anywhere, anytime. This change was also witnessed in the e-government services, shedding light on the need to improve accessibility and convenience of e-government. The public also began to make their voices heard, going well beyond the limits of passively using information obtained from the government, and demanding administrative services to suit their needs. Today, the government has to share and address not only national policies, but also a wide range of issues people face daily through effective communication with the public. Before the launch of the Reporting on Site service, the staff in charge had to often contact the person who reported a concern, and fact-check the complaint before proceeding. The staff also had limitations when notifying the complaint outcome, as the status was only made available via mail or the internet. As seen from here, the poor complaints system and the lack of necessary tools to efficiently address public concerns acted as obstacles to building speedy and convenient administrative services. In the past, people were drowned in procedures, as they had to find the right organization, visit the website, and register as a member. Worse yet, people had to describe the locations and situations in writing, and were left with no other option but to track their own complaint status. These inconveniences failed to provide the marginalized groups – the poor, the elderly, children, and disabled persons in desperate need of government support – access to public services, pushing them into further isolation with no available channels of communication with the government. The often slow and insufficient feedback to the hardly-submitted complaints hurt communication between the complaint handling staffs and the petitioners, which eventually corroded people’s trust in public services. As the Korean government currently subsidizes smartphone plan fees of the marginalized people to ensure they don’t feel left out, more groups of vulnerable people now use smartphones. As of 2013, about 67.6%(36million) of Korea have smartphones, the highest smartphone penetration in the world. The number stands in sharp contrast to the global average of 14.8% – Korea’s figure is 4.6 times higher – and it is thus no exaggeration to state that almost all Koreans, including the marginalized groups, use smartphones. For this very reason, the government strongly felt the need to offer a smartphone-supported complaints lodging system that enables everyone to evenly use public services, suggest policies, file complaints anytime, anywhere, and to track the status of their complaints.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The ‘Reporting on Site’ service is a collaborative outcome of the central government led by the Ministry of Security and Public Administration (MOSPA) and the local governments. With the aim of reaching no.1 in the field of smart government in the world, MOSPA’s main functions are to create a comfortable environment for the public through solid cooperation between municipalities and central government. To fulfill its duties, the Ministry planned, secured the budget, and carried out this project developed to create a smartphone-supported one-stop complaint and communication center by consolidating user-unfriendly local complaint centers. The Ministry designed a mobile application with an easy to use, intuitive, and clear UI experience to streamline the complicated and protracted complaints reporting and handling process, thereby enabling everyone to easily use the system from any places at anytime. The app is available for free for all providers and O/S. The nationwide launch of the ‘Reporting on Site’ service allowed all complaint handling staff in the local governments to reduce time spent redressing complaints as they benefited from easier determination of the concerns and delivery of the outcome. Such improved work efficiency has encouraged complaint officers to best deal with complaints, leading to faster and satisfactory outcome for the public. As a service targeting the entire Korean population, the ‘Reporting on Site’ service has provided a new, simple, and streamlined mobile channel to the public who, in the past, were hesitant to lodge complaints, not knowing how and where to make suggestions or complaints. Now, people can simply fill out the complaint form, attach an evidence photo, and press the submission button for the respective municipal officer to review the case. This breakthrough process has not only provided an accessible service, but also boosted public-people communication. The simple and convenient procedure also uses the new ubiquitous device – smartphone – to offer field-based services, thus reaching out to the marginalized groups, including the elderly, children, and persons with disabilities, who usually have limited access to administrative bodies. The ‘Reporting on Site’ service improved both the ease of the people and the productivity of the staff. In the past, public officials responsible for dealing with complaints had to go through so much trouble to handle the cases, including the verification of the locations and the facts on the phone. The ‘Reporting on Site’ service provides a report along with evidence photo or video, as well as an accurate location of the site using GPS, removing duplicate verification processes. Complaints lodged via the app are immediately passed to the staff in respective cities/districts/towns through their e-complaint centers as the app is linked to the city/district/town administrative information system (Sae-ol administrative system). Complaint handling staff then address the concern and register the outcomes on their administrative information system, which are made available in real-time to the public to view. The turnaround time has been reduced from the initial 5 days to 3.5 days by 1.5 days, and the government was also able to save about ₩ 3.5 billion in administrative costs as site visits to examine the scene were no longer required. Meanwhile, the development of a single window complaints procedure linked with the city/district/town administrative information system (Sae-ol administrative system) allowed civil servants to boost work efficiency. The mobile service can certainly be a good example of Trust Government, as it supports the complaint handling staff on an on-going basis and drives public-people partnership, as well as of Good Government, as it ensures an open government.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
While mobile created advancements in communication and information sharing, the new paradigm reveals changes that involve collective intelligence from communication, sharing, and collaboration. The ‘Reporting on Site’ is an interactive service to jointly tackle inconveniences in life, to contribute to the local environment and people can help improve services. The inconvenient complaints reporting procedure changed simplicity with photos or videos. While the photo/video attachment allows for the accurate information transfer, GPS-based location data eliminated unnecessary steps such as contacting the petitioner for accurate information or referring to the map. The case is then automatically sent to the staffs in charge through the internal system (Sae-ol administrative system), allowing them to examine the location and the photo to resolve the problem accurately. The petitioners can view the progress and satisfaction survey, and other complaints and outcomes. The outcomes and status are available for sharing and viewing on the ‘Life Information Map’that is community mapping service that offers various life information such as safe streets, daily life and policy information on its map-based community, and enables the public to share and communicate their experiences and public data offered by the government, thereby addressing issues and creating services with collective intelligence.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Although the development of the service was headed by MOSPA, the project has been carried out in partnership with numerous bodies to ensure the establishment and delivery of a more powerful service, and the effective promotion of its use. As for the contents design, MOSPA collected suggestions from central administrative bodies such as the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, and the Police Agency to explore areas where the application can be put to good use, and has strived to provide a sophisticated service by discussing improvement measures during the National Task Strategy Council meetings. Since over 90% of requests made via the service fall under the responsibility of the lower-level local governments that provide a communication touch point for residents, the local councils take charge of classifying the requests by complaint handlers, who then deal with the cases as quickly as possible and inform the petitioners of the outcome. The upper-level local governments supervising the lower-level local governments review the complaint status, and ensure the issues are resolved without delay. Also, during the 2011 trial period, the lower- and upper-level governments collected feedback and suggestions from the public, making the service more stable and convenient. Under MOUs with Korea Saemaul Undong Center, the Right Livelihood Central Council, and Korea Freedom Federation, the Ministry expands its effort to promote the service, and to encourage the public to actively use the service. MOSPA has also provided a platform to raise public awareness and promote understanding of the service by setting up booths at local and global events such as ‘FESTA 2013’ and the ‘Global e-Government Forum 2013’ co-hosted by the UN.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Since the implementation of the ‘Reporting on Site’ service in 2012, about 200 thousand people have downloaded the application, with 180 thousand complaints and policy suggestions. The figure goes up to 375 thousands when including internet and phone complaints, which is a 24% increase from the previous year, before the launch of the service. In Jan 2012 when the service was on its initial stage, 11% out of total complaints were filed via the service, but the number rose to 31% in Oct 2013, bearing testament to its success. In fact, the number keeps growing. The explosive growth in usage has contributed to improving administrative services and local living environment by engaging the public in the policy making processes, and benefitting from the public-people collaboration. By making the complaint outcomes available on the ‘Daily Life Information Map,’ thus ensuring cases are managed in a transparent manner, the service makes people’s life more enjoyable, convenient, and safe. Currently, the application is used to improve local communities. For instance, the government has increasingly enhanced schemes and policies to improve the local environment of neighborhoods with frequent complaints. Installing CCTV cameras in areas commonly reported for illegal parking or illegal trash disposal, and establishing neighborhood watch patrols following reports on sketchy places around the school zones to ensure children’s safe commute are some examples of the Ministry’s endeavor to make the lives of the people comfortable and fulfilling. One of the key benefits to the public is the drastic reduction in the lengthy complaints submission time involving collecting evidence, finding the right body, and filing complaints. The application reduced the time spent in making a complaint by an average of 0.2 hours per case, from the initial 3.5 hours spent on the internet or the phone to 3.3 hours. The service also shows significant economic benefits, with the streamlined process considerably lowering social costs. In fact, when applying the reduced complaints registration time (3.3 hours) to the labor cost per hour by person, a total of ₩ 5.9 billion was practically saved annually. The application also reduced the average turnaround time from the previous 5.1 days to 3.7 days, saving annual administrative costs usually spent in on-site examination and travels by approximately ₩ 3.5 billion. Continued promotion of the service and higher usage will keep bringing down social costs, laying the foundation for a potential investment in a much-needed welfare system.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Improving awareness and encouraging the public who had a long-standing distrust and suspiciousness in the cumbersome, non-transparent complaints procedures was difficult. The public was reluctant to address concerns about local communities, but through activities that promoted public engagement, more people have now become users of the service. Considering that it is a smartphone application-based service, the Ministry created SNS accounts to promote the service and share case studies, thereby widely communicating its effects and goals. The SNS activities were selected as the best ministry campaign and received a prize from the minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism. The Ministry also encouraged more public participation by enforcing the ordinance that requires offenders to pay a share of their fines to the complainants as reward in more regions. Reporting illegal throwing of cigarette butts onto the ground via smartphone is such an example. At first, public servants on the front line were reluctant to promote the use of the service, as they were afraid the easy-to-use complaints reporting application would increase workload. Officials responsible for dealing with complaints also tried to keep the old service, used to the existing procedure. In response, the Ministry organized vice-governors’ meetings and training for civil servants in 2012 where it convinced the persons involved that although the absolute number of complaints may increase, the GPS and photo assisted app would allow faster handling of the cases. As a result, MOSPA was able to successfully relieve workload and tackle negative perception. Soon, public officials not only started to make the best use of the service, but also show an increasing level of satisfaction, resulting in the winning of the ‘Best Complaints Management Case’ awarded by the minister of Security and Public Administration in Nov 2012.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The initiative made a difference on three major stakeholders: the public, public servants, and local communities. Convergence between the recent IT technology and government services has enabled the public to communicate with the government anywhere, anytime. Today, people don’t need to know the right public body within their jurisdiction to enter complaints. LBS automatically classifies and forwards the reports to the right staff, and the results are later sent to the petitioners via the application and SMS, boosting interactive communication. Since its release in Jan 2012, about 280 thousand people have downloaded the application to date, with about 200 thousand complaints and suggestions submitted via smartphone redressed. In Oct 2013, 31% or 17,147 cases out of a total of 55,056 cases were resolved via the service, making it a new community solution to assist residents. Complaint handlers are now able to swiftly and accurately address the requests once complaints are submitted, using LBS and video evidence. The staff have also benefitted from reduced administrative workload, as the need for additional enquiries to the petitioners over the phone and on-site inspection to examine the scene has significantly decreased. As a result, the mobile service has reduced the average turnaround time for a single case from 5.1 days to 3.7 days, and is expected to save annual administrative costs usually spent in on-site examination and travels by approximately ₩ 3.5 billion. The service also eliminates similar or duplicate requests as the public can search and view other people’s requests and their handling status, hence preventing waste of government resources. At the same time, it enhances public trust in the government, as the publically available user satisfaction survey results motivate the staff to assume accountability. Active public participation carries huge significance in that it not only provides a sense of satisfaction to the public but also improves the living standards of respective local communities. More requests are now made on the overall safety and development of local communities, other than general complaints concerning illegal parking, road damage, etc. Cases in point include intensive crackdown and CCTV set-up in dangerous places around school zones upon public request. Active public participation also creates a synergy effect, highlighting the value of public-people collaboration. Details of the complaints are made available on the ‘Daily Life Information Map,’ enabling the public to access a wide range of information. The service has improved mutual communication between the government and the public. The public has better access to the complaints procedure by submitting their cases via the streamlined system, and is more determined to actively improve their local communities by simply taking photos of any inconveniences with their smartphones anytime, anywhere. The application service has created a positive climate where the public voluntarily engages in improving their quality of life by communicating with the government, encouraging the government to value feedback and placing importance on communication. By welcoming more suggestions and complaints, the government was able to devise people-centered effective and practical schemes as well as policies, which in turn, created a reinforcing positive feedback loop. The ‘Reporting on Site’ service moves away from a system where people have to look the outcomes up, and allows them to view the progress and results on their handheld devices in real-time. The service has enhanced public trust in the government, while facilitating the staff in the municipalities to deal with less complaints in a more accountable and speedy manner. The improved communication is now the driving force behind societal advancement. The Ministry also added a bikes-only road complaint option to the service in January 2013, with about 1,100 cases lodged to date. The new option has been well received by cycling club members, and is evolving into one of the government’s representative complaint handling system, in liaison with the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport’s road-exclusive complaint reporting service, ‘Report a Road Problem.’ Also, MOSPA linked local governments’ fine auto impose system for illegal parking to the service, with some self-governing bodies improving their system so that fine can be assessed immediately upon complaint submission.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The ‘Reporting on Site’ drives participation with a new platform for public engagement and a new mechanism. The service fits the global e-government trend and prioritizes communication, sharing, and collaboration. The service and the number of users are both expected to grow as the public shows stronger determination to jointly shape government policies and as a culture of communication and sharing via the internet and mobile devices flourishes. This is the very reason the Ministry is dedicated to improving the service UI and app features to deliver a user-friendly service, as well as to introduce a stronger institutional framework by revising applicable regulations. MOSPA is also keen to put perfection in the service by continuously improving the service, applying the changes in relevant guidance, manuals, and training materials, and reviewing the public’s satisfaction level. Complaints made in the early stages were mostly about public infrastructure, including street trees, streetlight, damaged road, etc. Now, the scope has expanded to a full spectrum of services such as welfare, environment, and safety, with the public making suggestions on the overall quality of life and the environment. Given this, the smartphone-supported complaint handling procedure has the potential to be fully used in other countries, including developing nations. In Oct 2013, the Ministry set up a booth at Japan’s Local Government Digitalization Fair 2013 held at Big Sight, Tokyo, and presented the instructions and progress of the ‘Reporting on Site’ service. Numerous self-governing bodies in Japan expressed interest in adopting the system that, by enabling mobile complaint submission, sharing the outcomes in tandem with internal complaint handling systems, allowing people to make policy suggestions and rating their satisfaction level, creates a virtual cycle. In fact, countries with complaint handling procedures and administrative services, advanced and developing alike, can easily adopt the service. The excellence of the service is well recognized in Korea. The project won the ‘Best Complaints Management Case’ awarded by the minister of Security and Public Administration, and received the NIA (National Information Society Agency) Outstanding Public App award. It also received credit from online users and experts for its contribution to promoting a responsible online culture and achieving service innovation, demonstrated by its winning of the ‘Best Public Service’ prize and several app awards, including ‘Korea Mobile App Awards,’ and ‘Smart App Awards.’ The grand prize bears witness to the exceptional availability and easy-to-use features of the service. In Oct 2013, Korea set up an exhibition hall at the E-government Global Forum, where live demonstrations of the service grabbed the attention of ministers, vice-ministers, and public officials from 50 countries. People-engaging e-government services have emerged as one of the key agendas developed by governments around the world to fully realize smart governments. Going forward, Korea intends to share its experiences and know-hows with countries in need of successful e-government cases to use as a reference. Also, by making the service accessible to everyone with a public API, the government aims to develop and apply a service able to improve public convenience.

 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)
The ‘Reporting on Site’ service has changed the role of the government in response to policy changes. Now, the government is able to use various assets in the society, to build an interactive government-people network, and as administrator of the network, to tackle public concerns in partnership with the public. Furthermore, in the past, the government faced difficulties in identifying the needs of the communities, thereby investing its energy in follow-up measures. However, the new system that incorporates public needs has allowed the government to take proactive actions. For instance, the government has been able to take preemptive measures by collecting overlapping concerns and feedback, revising schemes and laws accordingly, and meeting the different needs of different regions. The service has boosted trust in the government by simplifying processes, and has promoted partnership with private organizations and businesses. In short, the service has created a virtuous loop leading to higher public satisfaction and inspiring a more active public engagement. The increasing use of the service is evidence of the intended ‘public-people communication and cooperation,’ and it is our belief that the service will further support local community development. From its experience with the initiative, MOSPA was able to learn that without properly engaging the public, a public-oriented administrative service can never succeed no matter how convenient the service may be. The government is not only responsible to provide quality services to the public, but also to encourage their active participation and enthusiastically reflect their opinions. This is exactly why the central government’s role and the collaboration with local governments and the public is essential. MOSPA is currently expanding the service to allow civil servants to voluntarily examine and improve the local environment. In other words, the Ministry is encouraging public officials to identify and preemptively handle potential risks or inconveniences before a request is made, thus creating an active and accountable society. Proactive improvement is expected to enhance public trust in the government and promote communication, hence opening up more public-people cooperation opportunities. By developing an open API (Application Program Interface), the Ministry will also upgrade the service with mobile-specific services customized to each administrative body and take swift response to new laws and systems such as the ‘Report on Bike Road Inconveniences and Damaged Facilities.’ The Ministry will encourage the public and civil servants to contribute to local communities by expanding the service offering and improving the institutional framework, and eventually, stakeholders will voluntarily renew local communities and lift everyone’s quality of life. In this process, the Ministry will spare no effort to not only focus on the promotion of the service but also improve its features through satisfaction ratings and surveys to ensure the mobile application evolves into a people-based service, and takes root as an iconic communication channel connecting the government and the public.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Security and Public Administration
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Eunjung Son
Title:   Deputy director  
Telephone/ Fax:   +82-2-2100-3399
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   209 Sejong-daero(Sejong-ro), Jongno-gu, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Postal Code:   ASI|KR|KS013|SEOUL
City:   Jongno-gu
State/Province:   Seoul

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