| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
As the service is linked to the existing city/district/town administrative information system (Sae-ol administrative system), the Ministry has been able to boost work efficiency by streamlining the complaint reporting process and cutting down on complaint handling procedure development costs.
The service not only automatically forwards complaints to the right handling staff, but also transfers them to the right body even when a report is submitted to the wrong body.
When a person registers a case, the location is also automatically sent to Sae-ol system, allowing the staff to handle with the situation in the office, with no need to visit the site. As such, the service offers intelligent and real-world mobile features such as LBS, assisted GPS, and camera, and applies the technologies to public services.
The ‘Reporting on Site’ is a free application.
Mobile phone owners who wish to use the service can simply download and use the free application on app market, regardless of OS version and provider. Users can also immediately use the service upon completing authentication after entering the name and phone number, without the need for member or resident number registration.
The process is very simple. The petitioner selects the type of complaint he/she wishes to make, fills out the form, and takes a photo of the scene using his/her smartphone. The GPS then automatically positions the location and displays it on the map. The user can also specify a certain location on the map or look up by address for location change. The complaints procedure only requires a few simple touches on the screen, enabling even the elderly and the children who usually struggle with smartphones to easily access and use the service. The ‘View Sample’ feature also guides first-time users to easily learn and follow the procedure.
The features not only allow the public to make requests and suggestions to the government, but also make the status and outcomes available for the people to view. Users can decide whether or not to disclose their cases when reporting their concerns, and if users decide to make their cases public, information other than the petitioner’s identity, including details of the complaint, status, and the outcome become available to everyone. Other users can view the categorized cases by performing a keyword search, and also take a look at the survey results.
Since the complaint status, outcomes, and survey results are made public, complaint cases are addressed in a fair and transparent manner. Furthermore, additional measures are implemented in neighborhoods with frequent complaints, by for instance installing CCTV cameras or conducting intensive parking enforcement patrols in areas commonly reported for illegal trash disposal or illegal parking.
Under MOUs with a few civic groups such as Korea Saemaul Undong Center, the Right Livelihood Central Council, and Korea Freedom Federation (KFF), the Ministry expands its effort to promote the service, and to encourage the public to actively use the service.
Civic groups such as The Society for a Better Tomorrow and KFF have also jointly promoted the service, providing training and demonstration during a vacation training program for college students. Students showed huge interest and made suggestions, commenting that the service was very convenient, helped them to easily report inconveniences, and that they would definitely use it more frequently.
MOSPA also leads the process improvement effort by launching and running the ‘Service Frontier’ – a group of university students – to encourage the use of the service and identify any areas of improvement.
| 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?
Since the service development in 2010, systems were established in Busan, Daejeon, and Jeju, leading to the abolishment of the cumbersome member registration process such as entering the resident registration number and address.
By running a pilot-program in the Gyeonggi region between Nov and Feb 2011, the Ministry took a user-led approach to offer an intuitive and easy-to-use UI, and developed the ‘Reporting on Site’ service in Dec 2011, following a public demand survey.
In 2010, $32,300 USD (35,500,000) of the central government budget was spent to consolidate several channels provided by the local governments into a single channel on a single web platform. Later on, from 2010 to 2012, about $244,500 (269,000,000) was spent to develop and disseminate a smartphone-supported mobile service with new technologies integrated in the app.
Given the challenges municipalities face to maintaining a nationwide common standard system, the central government fulfills the task, while introducing enhanced features and OS updates to the service. The 2013 annual app maintenance budget was $17,890 (19,000,000).
All self-governing bodies decided that the government – system developer – should secure and manage the budget for service maintenance to ensure consistent work flow and efficient budget implementation.
As the central body took ownership, the municipalities and the public were able to use the service for free, and self-governing bodies have been able to contribute to their local communities by investing the saved budget in other digitalization or welfare projects.
Although the development of the service and the features automatically forwarding complaint reports to each local government’s complaint handling systems incurred costs, the complaint handling procedure is linked to the existing municipal systems, hence requiring no further expenses for service operation.
As for manpower, the existing local government officials manage the app service upon training, thus there is no need to hire more staff.
The local complaint handling staff have been able to handle more work by using real-time mobile and GIS features instead of phone or mail.
The average turnaround time has been reduced from 5 days to 3.5 days, saving annual administrative expenses by about 3.5 billion KRW.
The ‘Administrative Information System Working-level Council’ was also formed for the initiative, involving numerous organizations such as MOSPA (organizer), self-governing bodies (actual user), and Korea Local Information Research & Development Institute (system manager). The council makes decisions on system improvement, task guidance, and operation measures, with the stakeholders saving labor and financial costs through an effective way of working.
Technology-wise, while the previous Native app was dependent on a specific platform and was not scalable, the new application is based on HTML5 (Hyper Text Markup Language 5), a W3C (Worldwide Web Consortium) standard. As the new service is interoperable regardless of the platform (IOS, Android, Windows, etc.) and can re-use the software, it saves maintenance costs and secures scalability.
Going forward, the Ministry plans to reflect the complaint handlers’ feedback to the system to improve the service and create a suggestions menu on the ‘Daily Life Information Map’ service to collect feedback anytime.
| 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?
Digitalization initiatives are assessed by measuring the effectiveness and ROI of the establishment, operation, organization, and management results, which are the outcomes of the initiative.
A task force consisting of central and local governments was formed to discuss and review the appropriateness of the design, to conduct supervision, a final test, a pilot test, and to evaluate the extent of conformance of the progress and the outcomes. The initiative applies CBD (component based development), while a PMO (project management office) team was launched to regularly monitor the outputs by development stage to study the appropriateness of the improvement areas. The team also conducted regular preliminary risk assessment through simulation.
Service maintenance and repair staff also regularly monitor errors and areas of improvement, and the task force has optimized the service by updating multiple smartphone OS and applying the service to new devices.
Availability of the initiative was also determined by assessing e-government project outcomes with the assessment criteria including: user satisfaction, administrative service usage rate, and visitor number. Targets were delivered in all indicators.
The research firm Gallup Korea conducts an annual satisfaction survey, receiving feedback and suggestions from the public, and leading to an accurate evaluation system.
During the 2009-2012 system development phase, MOSPA enabled local staff to check the process and timeline through the process management system, and also share the task manual and training materials to promote the service and user engagement.
MOSPA and KLID also signed a Service Level Agreement (SLA) to measure the service level monthly. SLA has 5 indicators, including reporting compliance, service reflection, and service improvement, and has scored high to date, at over 98 out of 100.
Meanwhile, the software full lifecycle encompassing service request, handling, and system allocation is managed on the process management system (Sae-ol plaza), and the outputs will be systemized in 2014 to ensure stable maintenance.
The team also adopted the concept of Human-Computer Interaction for a reliable service, with the objective of building the most efficient complaints reporting and handling interface for the entire population.
Meanwhile, MOSPA monitors the satisfaction results and provides training and memos to the municipalities to ensure the staff handle and respond to all cases in a swift and kind manner, thus improving the overall service quality.
The local staff also make sure there is no missing or delayed complaints by checking the unattended complaint status or statistics on the administrator account.
| 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.