| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
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. Therefore, a robust interface was designed to allow national leadership to monitor customer satisfaction and perform custom analysis as and when required.
• Easier features in the Mobile App: Utilizing all smartphone features (i.e. photo snapping, address detection, photo gallery, saved customer profile, etc)
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
In response to the challenges of the existing complaint management approach, Information and eGovernment Authority (iGA) has taken serious steps to reform the old, fragmented system through adopting innovative systems and policies. Their response was to create the National Complaints & Suggestions System (referred as Tawasul- meaning communicating in Arabic), 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. In addition, the system to be supported by high-level government policies to regulate the complaint management process.
All users of Government services in Bahrain and even users of government services outside Bahrain (eVisa) for example have been affected by the solution.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Phase 1: May – Dec 2013
Idea generation and Planning – Brainstorming and planning of the initiative by iGA team with the consultation of all key stakeholders to create a detailed vision for the finished Complaint Management System.
Process Design – Conducting a detailed design of the process from the perspective of integrating the system across the whole of government.
Technical Design & Development – 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.
Testing & Training – Pilot version of Complaint Management system went live for iGA eServices. The idea was expanded in coordination with Bahrain Center for Excellence (under prime Minister office) and the another Ministry has been added to the system (Ministry of Health for 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.
Monitoring and Enhance – Feedback from the initial set of entities and identified opportunities for improvement analyzed. Carefully devised plans were created to upgrade the functionalities of the system.
Idea diffusion and Expansion – After analyzing the feedback points and improvement opportunities, and with the support from First Deputy Prime Minister Office and Bahrain Center for Excellence, all service oriented government entities have been added to the system with a clear process, training, and policies to ensure the optimum performance by all entities in dealing with their cases in Tawasul. Each entity in Tawasul will have their own platform, users, and cases to be handled by their own team. However, there is a leadership dashboard available with the First Deputy Prime Minister Office highlighting the overall performance of government entities in dealing with customer complaints.
Phase 2: Jan 2014 – Dec 2015
The all-new and revamped system has been launch by the Crown Prince, First Deputy Prime Minister on January 2014 urging citizens and residents to communicate with the government through Tawasul. The system has been promoted vastly by iGA Marketing & Communication Directorate though all integrated communications channels as well as through cross marketing via government entities involved in Tawasul.
Phase 3: Jan 2016 – Present
More improvement in the back-end and front end - Throughout the experience of all users in Tawasul from all government entities, and from the feedback received from customers using Tawasul, another master plan of improvements and developments has been implemented reflecting the learning curve from phase 2. More facilities has been created for the users at the back end and the customer can re-open the case from his side if the solution is not sufficient.
Development of a very user-friendly and innovative Mobile Application – The application idea been developed to give more convenience and timeliness to the citizens and residents to use Tawasul on-the-go any-time and anywhere. In addition to the case submission within 30 seconds, and utilizing all smartphone mobile technologies such as saving customer profile, Tawasul mobile app has an innovative feature called ‘Fix-to-Go” that allows the user to snap any public issue (public road fault, water sanitation issue, etc.) and just select one of the icons that describe the issue. The case will automatically be submitted to the responsible entity (with the ability to re-transfer the case internally to another entity) and the coordinates of the address will be generated through the mobile GPS.
Tawasul is an in-house project developed by iGA team. The only part of Tawasul that has been outsourced to a specialized company is the front-end design in order to ensure a trendy and user-friendly design is maintained.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
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, First Deputy Prime Minister Office: Monitoring and supporting the initiative’s performance and business continuation.
•Bahrain Center of excellence: Advisor on the systematic implementation of the solution.
•Ministry of Finance: For approval of the project budget
(b) Information and 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, business owner, communication with all users from all entities
•Quality Assurance (QA): Quality management and Change Control
•National Contact Center: Complaints Channel and support
•Technical Support team: Maintenance
(c) Entities part of Tawasul - Customer Care unit in each entity to receive their cases in their task inbox and assign it to the responsible groups in their respective ministry and follow up for solution within the agreed SLA. Total entities 31 public entities.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
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.
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
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
- 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: The Service Management Group was created to provide daily status update and empowered to directly interact with top officials of different government entities.
- ‘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 common workflow satisfying the majority of scenarios. A separate virtual portal with branding was created to help customers identify the solution easily.
- 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.
- 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.