| 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.