Tawasul – National Suggestions and Complaints System
eGovernment Authority, Kingdom of Bahrain

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
In recent years, Bahrain has emerged as one of the strongest champions of eGovernment in the Gulf Region. The Kingdom has a wealth of experience replacing time-consuming paper-based processes with the end-to-end online services customers now expect and demand, thus justifying the countries global leadership in online service delivery. Despite its many advances, handling of complaints in the most appropriate way to ensure the comfort of its customers became a question in the mind of national leadership. Under traditional models, there were no common channels for citizens, residents, businesses and visitors to contact and interact with the government and provide positive feedback for change. Registering a complaint with a government department was a lengthy, confusing and above all fragmented process. Different departments often had highly varied complaint procedures - united only by their dependence on large numbers of forms and complex, time-consuming procedures. In many cases, if the correct official was not available to address the issue, those registering the complaint would have to wait weeks to receive a response or even have to travel to a government body in person to receive their answer. Because the old complaint system was so difficult to navigate, it often alienated key social groups. Business, for example, simply lacked the time to navigate this complex system. Moreover, they were hardly motivated to do so as they had little faith that their feedback would be acted upon. At the same time, the voice of the physically handicapped and elderly was often left unheard as they simply were unable to travel to government offices in person to make complaints. Even when complaints were registered, government departments handled them piecemeal according to their own systems. Some departments were not connected to a complaint management process at all, while those that did used only manual or partly-automated mechanisms to manage submissions. This fragmented and manual process made it virtually impossible for Central Government to evaluate the performance of individual Ministries, let alone receive a holistic view of overall performance as there was no central mechanism for capturing comments and developing insights. At the end of the day, the opportunity to capitalize upon synergies between departments was missed, and thousands of staff hours were spent addressing submissions individually. Citizens were unhappy because they felt the pain of delayed responses, and central government suffered because it was unable to use citizen feedback to generate improvements across the whole of government. In short, the old complaint management approach represented a series of missed opportunities to improve services, monitor performance and ultimately deliver increased customer satisfaction to citizens.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
In response to the challenges of the existing complaint management approach, His Highness the Crown Prince of Bahrain and the CEO of Bahrain eGovernment Authority (eGA) decided to innovatively reform the old, fragmented system. Their response was to create the National Complaints & Suggestions System (referred as Tawasul), a key project under the Kingdom of Bahrain’s eGovernment Strategy (2011-2016). The principal objective of the new system is to create an integrated, fully automated complaint and feedback solution that can be utilized across all Government entities under Kingdom of Bahrain. The solution strategy was developed into a well-coordinated progressive plan focused on a clear end goal – delivering the solution to the customers. Effective People, Process, Technology and Quality processes formed the main pillars of the stratgy. To implement the solution we took great care to ensure the pillars remained intact and efficient at all times by: • Choosing the right project team with the right experience and energy to deliver a solution of this magnitude • Raising the capacity of ministry users through extensive trainings and continual training methods. • Defining the optimum process to deliver the solution and continuously build on our learning’s. • Utilizing proven technology that already successfully runs our eGovernment Program to prove its worth again. • Giving importance to the quality of the solution to ensure that it provides its service in both positive and adverse scenarios The new system is expressly designed to achieve transformational change in the way Complaint Management is addressed across the whole of government by deploying a unified front-end Customer Portal for the customers to submit any Complaints, Enquiries or Suggestions. A back-end Government Portal monitors a complaint from the moment it is registered through to successful resolution. Key features include: Customer Portal 1. Single Entry Point – Unified national portal allows citizens to submit their complaints about all government services and departments. 2. Anytime, Anywhere Access – Citizens can submit enquiries, complaints or suggestions to any governmental entity at any time, day or night. 3. End-to-End Complaint Tracking – Citizens are provided with a tracking number that will enable the user to follow the progress of their submission. 4. Satisfaction Monitoring – Government regularly publishes national surveys in order to measure customer satisfaction level of a particular Government entity. Government portal 1. Integrated Complaint Management – Back-end platform integration allows all government entities to manage and respond to the registered complaints, enquiries and suggestions without large change management. 2. Automated Complaint Management – Automated process escalates complaints if a response has not been received within the Service Level Agreement (SLA). 3. Performance Dashboard – National Leadership and Government actors can access a highly visual dashboard that displays the performance of the organization on managing complaints as well as measuring progress against KPIs. 4. Continuous User Training – Comprehensive training is provided to all system users to ensure a highly skilled and highly capable complaint management team in every Ministry. By deploying these functionalities, the Complaint Management System harmonizes procedures across all government services and departments, and makes it easier than ever before for all social groups within the Kingdom to make their voice heard. Instead of needing patience, perseverance, and time to provide feedback to government, citizens can now register their views with the click of a mouse. Instead of needing to piece together a hodge-podge of sporadic data in order to understand and improve the way in which government is working, leaders can now use an overarching view to improve real-time performance across the whole of government.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
The new system uses a range of innovative technologies and approaches to advance whole of government operations: •Predictive Analytics: Automatically identifies common complaints and flags them to managers for agile and proactive service improvement. •Easy Integration with Existing Services: System provides Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) which enable any government service to seamlessly integrate the portal into their own websites or services. •Simple, User-Friendly and Responsive Interfaces: Customer-facing and back-office functionalities make it as easy as possible to submit manage and resolve complaints. The Customers can seamlessly open the interface in any device and the responsive design will adjust to the screen size of the device. •Alerts and Escalation: The system is configured to handle alerts and escalation of cases based on predefined SLA for the respective Entities. Thus it ensures the regulation and enforcement of the Process •National Leadership Custom Interface: The solution is developed to serve all strata of users and considering its national importance a robust interface was designed to allow national leadership to monitor customer satisfaction and perform custom analysis as and when required.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The System was developed following an extensive service development methodology combined with Project Management tools: Phase 1: May 2013 – Planning – The first phase of the project was dedicated to the planning of the initiative. In addition to the consultation of all key stakeholders, planning entailed the creation of a detailed vision for the finished Complaint Management System, engagement of key personnel and resources to execute the project as well as creating an effective timeframe. Phase 2: May to June 2013 – Process Design – The second phase of the project was dedicated to conducting a detailed design of the process from the perspective of integrating the system across the whole of government. The key actions in this phase included harvesting stakeholder needs, identifying the appropriate form and functionality for the system and preparing an in-depth project plan used to inform all development work. Phase 3: May to August 2013 – Technical Design & Development – The third phase of the project encapsulated all development work to deliver the finished system. In addition to the technical design of both the systems back-end and front-end interfaces, the phase deployed a prototype of the solution that was subjected to numerous rounds of technical testing to ensure that functionality was correctly working. Phase 4: September to October 2013 – Testing & Training – This phase of the project subjected the Complaint Management system to rigorous testing by both customer and government actors to ensure that all functionality was correctly working and met both user and technical requirements. Finally, the phase ensured that continuous training was implemented among staff to build their capacity to use the system effectively. Phase5: Dec 2013 - Monitoring and Enhance – The final phase involved obtaining feedback from the initial set of entities and identified opportunities for improvement. Carefully devised plans were created to upgrade the functionalities of the system. Throughout all the phases of implementation, a number of specific development steps were taken to ensure that the project was successfully delivered: • Business Case: A Business Case was used to identify the key objectives of the system and also help create the scope and budget for the solution. The Business case was shared with Ministry of Finance for relevant budget allocation and payments in the later stage. • Service Notification: Service Notifications were used internally at eGA to notify the CEO and Directors about the new service. This functionality provided a high level description about the nature of the Project, the major stakeholders of the project, the type of the services in the project (G2C, G2B, G2G) and the channel in which the project will be deployed. • Service Description: Service descriptions were used to build a common understanding of the project among key stakeholders. It included the Project Name, primary and secondary stakeholders, the high level as-is and to-be process, the type of services within the project, the service level, the volume of transactions per year and the list of forms or documents required as well as the technical maturity of the entity with respect to the project • Business and Functional Requirements: Business and Functional Requirements were used to provide detailed objectives, benefits, measures, names of organizations affected by the service, assumptions, constraints and risks associated with the service being implemented. • Unit Test: Unit tests were used to evaluate every aspect of the service to ensure that they complied with the rigorous standards of the eGovernment Authority for quality and usability.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
To implement such a transformational system across the whole of government, it was necessary to consult with the full range of internal and external stakeholders to ensure that the system delivered an effective, unified process which could be used across all government departments: (a) NATIONAL LEADERSHIP: • Crown Prince Office: Monitoring and supporting the initiative. • Bahrain Center of excellence: Advisor on the systematic implementation of the solution. • Ministry of Finance: For approval of the project budget (b) eGovernment Authority - Implementation conducted by the following teams: • Service Delivery: Design, Develop and Deploy • Business Process Reengineering: Define and Refine Processes • PMO: Project Administration • Marketing: Portal Design • NGI Team: Upgrade NGI Infrastructure • Quality Assurance (QA): Change Control • National Contact Center: Complaints Channel • Support team: Maintenance (c) Entities part of Tawasul - Customer facing departments, PR and Customer service centers of : • eGovernment Authority • Ministry of Housing • Ministry of Social Development • Ministry of Works • Ministry of Labor • Ministry of Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning municipalities • Ministry of Transportation • Central Information Organization • Telecommunication Regulatory Authority • National Health Regulatory Authority • Ministry of Health • Ministry of Foreign Affairs • Ministry of Finance • Bahrain Exhibition and Convention Authority • Ministry of Culture • Institute of Public Administration • Central Bank of Bahrain • Information Affairs Authority • Ministry of Education • General Organization for Youth and Sports • National Authority for Qualifications and Quality Assurance • Capital Governorate • Ministry of Industry and Commerce • Supreme Council For Women • Social Insurance Organization
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Financial Resources: All work was covered with an annual budget from the Ministry of Finance. The main costs generated by the project focused on training, marketing and shared maintenance. Key details include: * Implementation timeframe: 6 Months *Estimated cost of the system: 175,000 BHD ($464,000) * Estimated annual maintenance cost: 15,000 BHD ($40,000) Based on analysis and detailed budgeting, and taking into consideration the availability of technical and human resource at the time, the cost for the project came in at a mere 35,000 BHD ($83,000) . (b) Human Resources: The team consisted of the following personnel from the eGA and participating government entities: * Project Manager responsible for resource management and business continuity * BPR specialist provided the AS-IS and TO-BE * Business Analyst delivered the system prototype * Technical Analyst created suitable architecture * Developer part of the service delivery team to develop the software systems * QA and Testing team to ensure end to end quality assessment of the system. (c)Technical Resources (infrastructure): The solution was designed to be seamlessly interoperable with all the different Ministries of the Bahraini Government. Therefore, the technical design was carried out within our Websphere Infrastructure used to design different government computer systems. The following specific aspects comprised the technical design of the solution: *Websphere Process Server: A server that provides a runtime environment produced in a business-driven development process. Technically, WebSphere Process Server is mounted on top of WebSphere Application Server and extends the WebSphere Enterprise Service Bus. *Websphere Integration Developer: An integrated development environment for building applications based on service-oriented architecture (SOA). It is the authoring tool for WebSphere Process Server and WebSphere ESB V6.0. *Websphere Business Monitor: Used to monitor the business matrix like rune time reports, dashboards and score cards. *Websphere Business Modeler: Provides a powerful business process modeling, simulation, analysis, and reporting features to help optimize the performance of our business processes *Websphere Service Registry and Repository: Provides service registry and repository functions for service-oriented architecture (SOA) enterprise applications. This software enables service lifecycle governance to help optimize productivity and resources in an SOA environment. The front-end services were provisioned as a virtual portal on the websphere portal of the Kingdom of Bahrain - Bahrain.bh.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The Complaint Management Solution ensures that no citizen, business or visitor is excluded from making a simple yet meaningful contribution to the improvement of the Bahraini Government. The anytime, anywhere approach and smart, responsive management system allows a unified, accessible complaint management system to be shared and deployed by all government departments: Collaborative Improvement: The system with its capabilities has helped government departments concentrate on improving their customer relationship management and provision of services. Ministries now feel that “complaints should be perceived as means to improve services”. Further, the shared system promotes collaboration across departmental boundaries by identifying best practices, facilitating shared approaches and making it easier to understand the results in a visual way. Culture Change Management: Users in different departments are fully accustomed with the new services and workflows. Through a successful combination of both direct training and a ‘train the trainer model,’ the system has successfully fostered a culture of continuous learning, development and improvement. The output of the solution is becoming evident in terms of users starting to trust the online submissions of Complaints. Integrated, Cross-Departmental System: The production of a unified system that can be simply and inexpensively deployed for all government departments has been a major success factor for the initiative. Through a scalable, harmonized system Bahrain will be able to achieve significant savings in time, cost and effort across the whole of government. Maintenance and upgrades also become simple and controllable. The implementation of this project allowed the development of a standardized and refined process for handling complaints, enquires and suggestions within individual entities and ultimately across the whole government of Bahrain. Improved Customer Satisfaction: A simple, accessible portal has made it easier for all citizens, businesses and visitors to access consistent, effective complaint management. The improved notification and feedback mechanism for the closure has increased customer interaction and satisfaction. Improvement of Government Services: The Complaint Management System has made ‘smart’ tracking of customer suggestions and identification of the most repeated complaints a reality. This functionality enables Government entities to review their services and apply feedback in order to improve their provision in direct response to customer experiences. A key example of this improvement is the Service Management Group (SMG) in eGovernment who have taken the most frequent complaints and customer feedback to review and improve the services provided by the eGovernment program of Bahrain.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Defining Service Levels: Each entity planning to utilize the capabilities of the system has to define the Service Levels they are planning to maintain in their interaction with the customers based on priority of the case. These service levels are reviewed based on the business of the Ministry and the type of service they provide. Performance Dashboard: The Complaint Management Portal is designed with a highly visual dashboard that provides real-time updates about the performance of different organizations across the whole of government. In addition to giving government leadership an overview of the performance of different departments and Ministries, the dashboard also provides an idea of how the system is optimally utilized to give value to customer queries. Dedicated Monitoring Team: The system has a dedicated monitoring team which manages the dashboard and ensures the consistent delivery of high quality service. The group has been designed to take an overview of cases and ensure high quality delivery. The team is staffed by the eGovernment authority with the support of professionals from across the government ministries. The team ensures the Complaint Management Solution is monitored from a 360 degree view. All the identified issues and improvement opportunities cycles through relevant teams to implement and refine the solution. The Statistics the national leadership look into are (with latest values): • Total Complaints & Enquiries: 2259 • Total number of Complaints Open: 166 • Total number of Complaints Closed: 2093 Closed Complaints & Enquiries Based on SLA : • Exceeding SLA: 799 • Within SLA: 1294 Open Complaints & Enquiries Based on SLA • Exceeding SLA: 94 • Within SLA: 72 Case Analysis report and System upgrades: The entities undertake internal analysis of their performance against the defined SLA and also review how each department within the entity is performing. They also provide suggestions for the improvement of the system. The technical team conduct periodical surveys to understand any new and refined requirements needed to upgrade the system and hence the quality of delivery. The solution, with the help of close monitoring techniques, has traveled a long way across the maturity scale comparing its initial state with its current behavior.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Administrative Obstacles: Challenges: • Stakeholders initially unwilling to provide required inputs to collaborate in the configuration of the system • Delay in approvals for the User Acceptance Testing and for the process flow • Unavailability of critical resources in different entities during implementation Solution: Creation of a Service Management Group to directly interact with top officials of different government entities and provide daily status updates. Technical Limitations: Challenges: • ‘Contact Us’ form within the portal gave customers the wrong impression about where to submit complaint • Initial form design was incompatible with some Ministries • Technical costs of adding new Ministries was high • The auto-generated Complaint Management Application screens were not sufficiently user-friendly or customizable • Initial Dashboard and KPIs Templates did not serve management requirements Solution: A process study was conducted to create a common workflow satisfying the majority of scenarios. A separate virtual portal with branding was designed to help customers identify the solution more easily. Customer Issues: Challenges: • Too many numbers/channels for the customers to choose from. They are different for each Ministry. • Customers found it difficult to track the status of their requests • Limited service window and service availability • Few communication channels Solution: A common portal was designed and implemented for the whole of government to be the single interface for all the Ministries in Bahrain. Regulatory Problems: Challenges: • No unified system for government complaints, suggestions, and enquiries • No standardized processes and lack of automation • Different departments handle common complaints, suggestions, and enquiries independently • No proper documentation for the request handling cycle Solution: Customizable dashboards were delivered to every department and Central Government to facilitate a joined-up overview of system performance across the whole of government.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The Complaint Management System is designed to harmonize the process of making, managing and resolving a complaint across the whole of the government. The System has enabled government entities to process 70 % (aggregate across all the entities) of their cases with in the SLA. The benefits of the system are significant for both the complainnt and the government: Benefits to Complainant: • Simple to Find: Customers now have a single window through which to raise a complaint/enquiry/suggestion across different ministries which helps improve customer service levels • Greater Social Inclusion: The simple, anytime accessible system has made it easier for vulnerable communities including the less-abled and elderly to register a complaint from the comfort of their home. • Improved Service: Request handling time has been significantly reduced by having a single system properly and quickly handling and managing the request. At present over 285 complaints have been successfully resolved with 82% originating with citizens. • Anytime, Anywhere Access: Customers can submit requests 24 hours a day through different communication channels like the web portal/call center/newspaper and radio/Facebook and Twitter • Full Transparency: Customers have the chance to provide feedback on the request resolution as well as receive status updates throughout the request lifecycle Benefits to Government: • Collaboration Across Departments: The system provides the capability for government departments to work together to better address complaints and replicate best practices. • Standardized Processes: Standardizing the process of receiving complaints, enquiries, and suggestions across the different ministries and the re-routing of those requests for quicker resolution • Reduced Work Load: The system reduces workload by properly assigning complaints, enquiries, and suggestions to the concerned entity • Improved Complaint Handling: Through the continuous training of staff members, the system has delivered more effective management of requests from end-to-end • Enhanced Reporting: Real time data has allowed government leadership to get a holistic perspective of performance and compile accurate reports with ease • Increased Efficiency: Properly assigning complaints to the right department/section ensures that employees have more time to focus on resolving the complaints The benefits of the service have been realized and measured through the following unique aspects of the solution: 1. Complainer Details Capturing: • Option for capturing the complainer personal and communication details. • Provision for the complainer to be given an identification number. • Option for anonymous complaints. 2. Multiple Forms for the Respective Ministries & Authorities: • Flexibility to have custom forms for the different Ministries and Authorities. • Each form will follow a custom work flow. • Service levels have to be configured for each form based on the criticality matrix. 3. Two-Tier Tracking and Tips: • Option for any complaint registered to be viewed and tracked from the Ministry / Authority level and by the regulator • Mechanism to display graphical identification of criticality and impact for ease of administration. • Tool to provide a side index of similar complaints for assisting faster resolution. 4. Auto Escalation • Any open complaint if not attended for a period of time should follow an auto escalation mechanism as configured in the tool. 5. Audit Trail for the Complaint Tracking • Tool should have the option of keeping the history of the comments and conclusions arrived for the compliant. • Option to reopen a complaint has to be present • Track ID to be generated as a token for the complainer to track his/her complaint at any point of time. 6. Complaint Closure & Feedback • Option for capturing the reason for the closure and the agreement made with the complainer. • Provision for complainant to provide feedback on the resolution provided to the customer by the concerned entity. 7. MIS Reporting • Ability to design random custom reports. • Standard reports with graphs.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The Complaint Management System is designed as a ‘process-based’ solution. This design means that the system is simple to replicate for new Ministries, other governments or even private businesses. As a whole of government system, the solution has been replicated numerous times already across Bahrain’s government departments to great success. The scalability and transferability of the solution is ensured through every aspect of the design: 1. Process demand: The system has been designed to optimize complaint management with minimal manual input and optimized work flow 2. System demand: The system has inherent demand for certain integrations to achieve its goal this will be considered as system demand 3. Regulatory demand: The requirement to satisfy the local and international regulations. 4. User demands: Integration of complaints is done on the basis of the user demand to other channels of service provisioning The sustainability and interoperability of the Complaint Management System is ensured through full compliance with the e Government standards National Enterprise Architecture Framework (NEAF): • Better alignment of Business Strategy and Information Technology: Enterprise architecture enhances the alignment between the Business Strategy and Information Technology utilized to support the strategy. Enterprise architecture provides a strategic context for the use and development of IT system in answer to the ever changing needs of the business. This also provides an improved traceability from business requirements to the IT systems supporting those requirements. • Improved integration and interoperability: Enterprise Architecture through Reference Architectures, Standards and Guidelines would provide guidance for enhancing the integration and interoperability of the IT systems. This would provide benefits such as o Reduced complexity of information systems o Reduction in the software and data redundancy o Enhanced enterprise information sharing by ensuring that accurate information is available to the government bodies and other organizations as and when needed. • Better return on existing investment, reduced risk for future investment: Enterprise Architecture provides a structure and capability for reducing the complexity in IT infrastructure. Also, by ensuring that the existing investments are best utilized, it ensures improved return on investment in existing IT infrastructure. By establishing the context, Enterprise Architecture provides the flexibility and capability to make decisions to make, buy, or out-source IT solutions, thus reducing the overall risk in new investment and the costs of IT ownership. • Faster, simpler, and cheaper procurement: By providing coherent plans that make the information governing procurement readily available, Enterprise Architecture ensures that the buying decisions are simpler. The procurement process is faster - maximizing procurement speed and flexibility without sacrificing architectural coherence.

 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)
As a National initiative the solution is developed in an optimum way, but continuous improvements are part and parcel of any large scale project. Throughout the implementation of the Complaint Management System, the government was keen to capture and learn all available lessons. These lessons have been used to improve planning for future whole of government initiatives. Lessons Learned: That can be used in other similar projects Conceptualization: Identifying the right stakeholders and their involvement at all the stages of the project especially during conceptualization is very important. Planning: Planning for exception based on risk factors develops more accurate plans and also helps in planning alternatives during roadblocks. Communication: Timely communication of the status of management as an output of team meetings helps the project gain the confidence of both the development team as well as with management. Graphical Milestone tracking sheet: An extensive plot sheet where delivery status is updated on a matrix alignment, helps to quickly identify where the project is in terms of each entities involvement. Request for Information activity: A detailed analysis of the RFI response from the leading vendors helps refine solution objectives and features. Quality control Checklist: A detailed checklist used for all unit tests, functional tests and the security tests ensures the system passes all documented quality and validation criteria before it is delivered to the end customer. Lessons Learned: Opportunities of Refinement Divided teams: The physical seating of the development teams in two places led to both missed and duplicated communications which added additional cost to the project. It’s suggested that management look into collocated teams for future large-scale projects. Capacity Plan: The same resource being assigned duplicate tasks led to complicated priority mapping and conflicts in time lines. A suggestion has been made to have a public capacity plan sheet for understating the assignment of the resources. Video conferencing: The ability to do video conferencing with important stakeholders who are geographically disperate will help improve faster, more collaborative decision making to support the implementation cycle. Improvement Opportunities: • Quality of the dashboard can be improved to cater to new design concepts like the Ajax based interfaces. • The Information richness of the application can be improved with more analytics, more detailed frequently asked questions. • The national authentication mechanism can be used to provide more features like live chat, video chat etc. • Customer satisfaction surveys should be included to understand and evaluate the value we are providing to the customer. • GIS system can be used for more interactive location based cases. • Mobile Apps for location-based issues should be used, this will make the system more powerful and handy.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   eGovernment Authority, Kingdom of Bahrain
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Ali Darwish
Title:   Chief of Customer Care  
Telephone/ Fax:   +97333388810
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   adarwish@ega.gov.bh  
Address:  
Postal Code:  
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