Public Information and Complaint Service Unit Yogyakarta City
Pemerintah Kota Yogyakarta

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
Known as Education City, Yogyakarta always strives for improving its citizen’s intellectuality and critical thinking. The society expects Yogyakarta City Government to conduct dynamic developments and realize a channel for communicating their aspiration. Conventional method of sharing ideas through direct meeting was considered ineffective in for its bureaucratic nature and its inability to cover a large part of the society. In the past, the only way for the people to voice their ideas and criticism was through a formal meeting between government representatives and the society held once a year. The government has had various initiatives to eradicate corruption, collusion and nepotism; it was difficult to ensure its effectiveness if the society refuses or is reluctant to give inputs. Added to the limited scope and frequency of society-government communication, was the poor attitude of many government apparatus in providing services. It was a widely accepted fact that many government officials expected excessive admiration from the society and required services instead of providing them. This has eventually created a condition in which civil servants felt that such communication deserve little priority and the society were reluctant to initiate any form of communication. Even after the ideas and inputs were polled through the annual meetings, its follow-ups must go through various bureaucratic processes. There were no means of monitoring the stages in which their ideas were implemented or accommodated. Its eventual consequences were society’s ignorance: they were not interested to voluntarily participate in solving various social problems. Some even use government’s poor attention to their aspirations as the basis for evading compulsory duties such as property tax payment. The society believed that the sole party responsible for development was the government since their contributions were not acknowledged. Those factors combined have resulted in government’s poor performances in various surveys. The society doubted the quality of the services because they cannot know for sure if their interests were included in the processes of providing it.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
Yogyakarta City Government are now aware of the importance of improving its performance, increasing the quality of its services and realizing good and clean governance. The three are impossible to achieve without society’s active participations, and one thing could improve such participation is broadening the scope of society-government communication. Through intensive two-way communication, it is expected that the social environment will be encouraging for investment and development. Its initial aim is to create territory that is free from corruption, collusion and nepotism. H. Herry Zudianto, then The Mayor of Yogyakarta, periodically visited the society to have a direct conversation with them. The objective of that monthly meeting was to find out what services were expected by the society but not yet included in the government’s development planning. The society used the opportunity to communicate their idea to the mayor and other government officials presented it the visits. Due to the abundance of information collected in those visits, the mayor commissioned a hot line service for public information and complaints, which were initially embedded in the organization structure of Single Window Integrated Service Unit. It was then formalized as a separated service unit named Public Information and Complaints Service Unit (PICSU). PICSU is responsible for managing information and complaints received from the society, reporting them to the respective units in Yogyakarta City Government and monitoring their follow-ups. The details of PICSU’s responsibility are as follows: • Accepting reports, complaints, criticisms, inquiries, and suggestions that are submitted by the society through various media provided by Yogyakarta City Government. • Distributing the information to various Government Service Units. • Socializing the responds or clarifications from other units. • Mapping the problems rose in the process of information and complaints polling and initiating efforts for its solution. • Reporting its activity to the Mayor periodically. The responsibility for monitoring the operation of PICSU was initially laid in the hand of the Mayor but was transferred in 2009 to the Vice Mayor. The presence PICSU is socialized through various media and by ensuring that all government service counters display the address and phone numbers for filing complaints. The numbers and the address are 0274 561270 for phone calls or facsimiles; for electronic mails; and Public Relation and Information Division Jl. Kenari 56 Yogyakarta for snail mails. In 2004, PICSU has also accepted text messages through 08122780001 and provided its own website ( After eight years of operation, PICSU has brought positive changes in Yogyakarta City, as shown by the following indicators: • Information, complaints and inquiries to various government units can be easily submitted. • The increasingly good attitude of government officers to serve the society and the fact that they are committed to respond the complaints at the latest 2x24 hours after the information and complaints are received. • The ability of the society to monitor the performance of the government officers thus increasing the quality of the services. • Easing the process of prioritizing the society’s need. • Increasing cooperation between various government institutions.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Public Information and Complaints Service Unit followed the development of information technology by utilizing SMS Gateway since 2004. It was the first in Indonesia and was for a while the only one. It has allowed more efficient delivery and compilation of information and complaints to other government units, while at the same time facilitated immediate responds for various inquiries. PICSU has been especially effective thanks to the fact that majority of the society have owned cellular phones, thus for them, filing a complaint would be as easy as texting a message to the number that has been made available in public places. Another factor in PICSU’s success is the presence of tourists visiting Yogyakarta: they too can utilize the SMS Gateway and contribute to the betterment of the city. Inputs coming from tourists or visitors are particularly useful when we take into account the need to compare the quality of public services provided in Yogyakarta and in other cities; we have made a significant progress by utilizing such inputs. SMS Gateway is the most important medium for information and complaints: 94% of the information and complaints are filed through SMS Gateway, 5% through PICSU’s website and 1% through other media.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Yogyakarta City Government, in cooperation with Society for Research and Development of Community Economy (an affiliate of Swisscontact Indonesia) designed a system of accepting public’s complaints and formalized in Public Information and Complaints Service Unit. Its information management must adopt the latest development in the development of information technology. The system was developed soon after PT Exindo obtained the right for the procurement of the application and for training its future operators. The application was inaugurated in January 31st 2004. In the first year, it was concluded that SMS Gateway was the primary medium used by the society and we furthered the development through: • Designing the feedback features for SMS Gateway responds automation: developed by the information technology consultant. The responds comprise of formal acknowledgement to its sender and access code for monitoring the follow-ups of the information and complaints. • Filtering the text messages and forwarding them to its respective government units. The Mayor Regulation dictating the implementation of the system explicitly requires the units to provide a 2x24 hours respond for every inquiries made by the society. • Complex information and complaints that require the involvement of more than one government service units are to be responded, at the latest, in 6x24 hours time. • Yogyakarta City government periodically list ten worst Service Units in terms of information and complaints responsiveness to discourage any of them from ignoring the need to respond to the text messages. The first step of PICSU’s operation was to introduce it to all Service Units while emphasizing that it is aimed at facilitating communications between the government and the society and at increasing public participation. The presence of PICSU has been extensively socialized through pamphlets, posters, banners, newspapers and magazines, televisions and radios. The socialization has also been conducted through seminars in District and Municipal levels and among communities of activists and professionals.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
• All member of the society in Yogyakarta City, which also includes visitors who are concerned with public services in the City. • Government Service Units that provide responds and follow-ups to the information and complaints submitted. Decision makers can utilize the database from PICSU as consideration in their work. • Various communities and society figures as the partner of the government in maximizing the utilization of the system. • Vertical government institutions such as Provincial Government, Ministries, and Ombudsman. • Private institutions, other regional governments and academic professionals whose interest is in the management of public complaints and the participation of the society in general.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Financial resources deployed in this program are allocated from the annual budget of Yogyakarta City Government. The appropriation has been increasing each year, with IDR319.245.600 for 2014. Beside routine operation of the unit, the allocation is used for financing the production of radio talks, for the Unit’s operation in district level and for the honorarium of system operators in other Service Unit. Competent human resources are necessary in the operation of the Public Information and Complaints Service Unit (PICSU). It’s system administrators, which consist of civil servants with certain level of mastery in computer science and information technology in Public Relation Division of Yogyakarta City Secretariat, is the front liner of PICSU’s service. The administrators’ responsibility is to accept, verify and distribute the messages to system operators in other Service Units. The administrators have comprehensive knowledge on the organizational structure and job descriptions of all service units in Yogyakarta City Government. Consequently, they are authorized to erase text messages that are beyond City Government’s jurisdiction and to block cellular numbers that send abusive messages. System operators in other Service Units are assigned to manage information and complaints forwarded from PICSU’s administrators, to verify its relevance with the unit’s job description and to forward them to their supervisors for follow-ups. The operators too must have comprehensive knowledge on their respective unit’s job description in order to run such function. Another requirement for system operator is adequate mastery of communication skills. They must provide replies for individual inquiries, and in doing so, must use polite but effective language. Both Administrators and Service Units’ Operators are part of PICSU Operational Team, which coordinates periodically to ensure proper communication and cooperation. Member of the Operational Team are assigned to the job by Head of Public Relation Division of Yogyakarta City Secretariat, and their assignment letters are renewed each year after an evaluation process. Another key component in the operation of PICSU is the Management Team, which consists of the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, City Secretary and Deputy of City Secretary. The team is responsible for policy making, ensuring the availability of funds for the operation of the Unit, and evaluating the performance of each service units in responding inquiries and complaints. Telematics and Information Technology Division of Yogyakarta City Secretariat is responsible for system maintenance. The division provides technical supports such as hardware provisions and procurements, software developments, and network maintenance to ensure to connectivity between all Service Units and operators in district level. Although PICSU is active only in working hours in weekdays, the system is runs 24 hours every day; thus the Division is also responsible for procuring decent Internet connections.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The outputs are: • The ability of Yogyakarta City Government to communicate and channel the aspirations of its society. The fact that the system allows low cost channeling of society’s voice, and that the inputs are forwarded directly to all Service Units, increases the chances for healthy communication between the government and the society. • The society is facilitated to monitor the government in providing public services. The society, for whom public service is provided, can submit their complaints with very little barrier and a guarantee that their complaints will be followed up. In the past, complaints were difficult to be channeled due to the open nature of conventional reporting methods while the society were intimidated by the prospect of openly criticizing government officers. • The ability of the Government to structuring and planning their policies by using the collection of various information and complaints received from the society. When faced with the need to prioritize one policy over the other, the amount of complaints received in certain period of time, with proper weighing and adjustments, can be used for taking a decision. The information can also be used to evaluate the performance of each unit in Yogyakarta City Government.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The evaluation for Public Information and Complain Service Unit’s operation is run by Management Team that consists of Mayor, Deputy Mayor, City Secretary, and Deputy of City Secretary. The basis for such evaluation is the reports submitted by the Coordinator of the Unit on the timeliness of responds and follow-ups by each Service Units. The Team would rank the performance of each Service Units, and the lowest ten would be announced and receive a formal discontentment from the Mayor. Other evaluation and monitoring methods are: • Internal reporting, in which PICSU compile the submitted information and complains and reporting it monthly to the Mayor and the Heads of every Service Units. From time to time, PICSU will compose memo regarding complaints that deserve special attention. • Customer Satisfaction Survey. • Quarterly meetings with business associations, in which PICSU executives discuss matters that need coordination with private institution. • Publishing the reports, in which submitted complaints are made available for private, communities and society figures by limiting exposures regarding the submitter’s identity. • The information and complaints submitted regarding the service provided by the Unit.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Providing respond for public’s inquiries through Public Information and Complaints Service Unit was initially considered as an unnecessary addition to Service Units’ job description. Acceptance has steadily been increasing with the efforts to socialize its advantages and the fact that each unit had experienced certain level of improvement after incorporating the complaints in their routine operations. The availability and performances of system Operators in the Service Units is another challenge. Their performance has been found to be decreasing with time, since receiving and forwarding text messages every day are often considered dull and unchallenging. Performances are also compromised by the fact that being an operator is seldom a main job for a civil servant. The seemingly random distribution of information and complaints submitted to one Service Unit and another. Operators in the Service Units with little or no messages are the least motivated. To solve the problems, System Administrators are encouraged to motivate them so that they will realize that their respond is the representation of their Service Units and Yogyakarta City Government as a whole. Another challenge is presented once new operator in Service Units is assigned to the job. Problems ranging from difficulties to operate the application and poor computer skills can cause serious problems. System Administration plays another important role here; they are expected to provide guidance and assistance for new operators.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
A survey on Consumer Satisfaction Index conducted by Gadjah Mada University has shown that Public Information and Complaints Service Unit has given positive contribution to the improvement of public service in general. It is viewed by the society as an improvement in public participation. The benefits are as follows: • Ease of access for the public to participate in monitoring the operation of its government. They are no longer required to go through complicated procedures to post question, ideas and complaints, nor must they be given uncertainty as to whether or not their ideas are being accommodated. • Improvement in government’s ability to identify public needs: complaints that have been received, and their corresponding replies and follow-ups by all Service Units are being complied in a single database. The database is an important tool for the government to design its policies, and plan a proper budgeting scheme for its implementation. • Ease the government in prioritizing policy: A collection of relevant and logical inputs from the society can change even the budget allocation priority of certain programs, either through the revision of the program’s appropriation or in the next year budget allocation. • Improvement in the quality of information and complaints service: this improvement has started when we obliged all Service Units to provide responds in 2x24 hours. An immediate respond to a complaint is the only way to guarantee public’s satisfaction, thus a formal reprimand from the upper management for the heads of Service Units is necessary. Immediate responds are also needed to convince the society that the government is working for them, to rebuke negative controversy, and to ensure public’s positive perception about the government. • The commitment of public servants to provide the services for the society has also increased. There has been a significant change in the attitude of public officers in positioning themselves in the society; they now view the society as customers instead of their loyal subjects. This improvement would accelerate the development to a more certain direction, and put the society in a more active role in public service. • A direct communication between the society and the government helps preventing authority misuse. The identities of information and complaints senders are protected, and they can be a reliable source for starting investigation of corruption cases inside the government; this fact help Yogyakarta City Government in creating a corruption free environment.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The operation of Yogyakarta City Public Information and Complaints Service Unit is regulated in a set of local and central government regulations. In national level, the most important guideline is probably Law No. 14 2008 on Public Information Transparency. Continuous socialization program has put PICSU in a special position in Yogyakarta society. Major government programs would surely increase the number of inputs we receive from the society. A 500% increase in text messages received through SMS Gateway was recorded during Civil Servant Recruitment Test and again during Mount Kelud eruption. It can be concluded that SMS Gateway is an important tool for the society to communicate with their government. Majority of information and complaints received by PICSU has indeed been in the form of text messages. Cellular operators charge a very small amount of fee, IDR200, for every messages sent by the society, which is a small price to pay for their involvement in creating betterment to their city or possibly for the betterment of service that they enjoy directly. Transportation, Communication and Information Office of Yogyakarta Provincial Government had set PICSU to be the model for complaints service in every Region in Yogyakarta Province. Kulonprogo Regency has even replicated the system in 2013. PICSU has received visits from various government institutions and facilitated academic studies on the system for a number of university students. The requirements for replicating the innovation are as follows: • Strong commitment, from both executive and legislative, to improve public service in their region, and to the attitude of its apparatus in providing services for the society. • Consistency from all Service Units in their region to operate such innovation. Staffs are expected to be consistent especially when assigned as System Operator in a Service Unit. • Cooperation between all stakeholders for its development and evaluation.

 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)
Government cannot develop a region single handedly. Public participation is needed to ensure the development is effective so all parts of the society can feel its impact. To that effect, communication between the public and the government is a must. The factor in the operation of Public Information and Complaints Service Unit is ease of access to channel the information and complaints; various means of communication must be made available so the society can chose what method suit their need best. Once communication line is opened, government must provide immediate follow-ups and ensure that the ideas are accommodate accordingly. The programs can easily be adjusted to suit the need of the public due to data availability. This way, the government can always adapt with the changes in the society. Yogyakarta City Government has learned that public scrutiny is not something to be feared. It can be utilized to create betterment and improve government’s accountability.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Pemerintah Kota Yogyakarta
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Ignatius Trihastono
Title:   Chief of Public Relation Departement  
Telephone/ Fax:   +6274 561270
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Jl Kenari No 56 Yogyakarta
Postal Code:   55165
City:   Yogyakarta
State/Province:   DIY

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