'Safety Sinmungo': A Safety-Keeper in My Hand
Ministry of Public Safety and Security

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
a. The problem before implementation Risks are everywhere. However, it is impossible for government to find and manage everyday risks. There were many cases in which citizens were unable to determine ‘where’ and ‘how’ to report risks although they wanted to report such risks to the government. Even if they had found hazards, they left the situation as it was. Generally, local governments and related agencies received complaints regarding safety in daily life. However, all such risks were not handled immediately, and there were even delays. This was because procedures varied depending on the agencies, and also it was due to the silo-based approach of each agency. Therefore, there was a need for a common platform that immediately connects a variety of stakeholders to the appropriate agencies in order to report risks. b. Why an innovative solution was required? It is essential to prepare for minor risk in daily in order to prevent major accident. In accordance with ‘Heinrich’s Law’, before every major disaster that causes a major injury, there are 29 accidents that cause minor injuries and 300 indicators before the major disaster occurs. In Republic of Korea (Korea), we have missed potential dangers and had past experiences of losing lives and property with the large-scale incidents such as Sampoong Department Store collapse (1995) and Sewol-ferry disaster (2014). In 2014, the Ministry of Public Safety and Security (MPSS) established the ‘Master Plan for Innovated Safety Policy’; as a part of this policy to prevent large-scale accidents, the application ‘Safety Sinmungo’ was launched(Dec 2014). This ‘Safety Sinmungo’ has been created for the purpose of making society safer through the active participation of citizens in tandem with governmental accountability.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
a. (Everyone – 7 Days): Anyone can easily report any risk anytime and anywhere via ‘Safety Sinmungo’ application using both a mobile embedded camera and GPS; the government should then handle all reports received within 7 days, or otherwise inform the complainant of the detailed improvement plan. b. (Participation & Governance): Participation is the most important factor in ensuring this initiative succeeds, and ‘Safety Sinmungo’ offers features such as screen magnification and voice recognition services for the elderly, disabled and the vulnerable, with ‘Safety Sinmungo’ having also secured a shared governance arrangement through cooperation with various stakeholders. c. (Policy Mix for Top-down & Bottom-up Approaches): The combination of both 1) ‘Nationwide Safety Diagnosis’, government-led system for inspecting national infrastructures implemented nationwide every year and 2) ‘Safety Sinmungo’, citizen-led system in which citizens report everyday risks to the government anytime makes our society safer and more resilient.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
a. Eliminating blind spots through citizens’ participation Through ‘Safety Sinmungo’, 245,000 safety reports and suggestions have been received and 242,000 cases (98.4%) have been processed. With the MPSS and other related agencies promoting ‘Safety Sinmungo’, many citizens became users of the application and actively participate in identifying risks in daily life. Currently, more than 1.6 million people have downloaded ‘Safety Sinmungo’ (as of Mar 14). b. Enhancing accountability by responding promptly to citizens’ need ‘Safety Sinmungo’ initiative is a unique system for people to report the risks, and people are able to monitor all the processes of the report received through this initiative. This allows citizens to know where and how to report safety risks and it is now possible to conveniently submit such reports at ease without complicated authorization procedures or the provision of private details. Furthermore, once the report is received, it can be processed “within 7 days”, and the results can be received by SMS other channels. This is a dramatic increase in accountability and responsiveness to the people. In the case of local governments, public officials respond more quickly and cordially to citizens because the performance results are reflected in institutional reviews. c. Improving the equity of safety services for the vulnerable The term ‘Sinmungo’ means a large drum that was hung on a gate of the royal palace during the Joseon Dynasty (1392~1910). Regardless of financial or social status, EVERYONE beat the drum when unfair situations happened, and it made their complaints known DIRECTLY to the King to be REFLECTED in national policies. ‘Safety Sinmungo’ is a system that implements the value what ‘Sinmungo’ was trying to pursue. Therefore, ‘Safety Sinmungo’ was so named. Accidents are more common in areas with concentrations of vulnerable social groups such as in low-lying areas, traditional markets, and old apartments. As a result of hazard –reporting campaigns around such area, most accidents are prevented. In fact, most of the reports received are closely related to elements in the lives of ordinary people such as retaining walls, embankments, falling rocks, traffic lights, street lights, pedestrian safety, illegal parking and so on.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
a. Creativity ‘Safety Sinmungo’ represents the only case of a government creating a publication to receive notice of and handle risks in all areas. For instance, the ‘fixmystreet’ application operated by an overseas civic organization only receives complaints about public facilities and is deficient in assuring the completion of reports. ‘Safety Sinmungo’ promotes citizens’ participation and establishes governance under the slogan of “My hazard report saves both my family and neighbors”. In this way, it plays a significant role in building safe environments. b. Functional Innovation ‘Safety Sinmungo’ has fundamentally transformed government policy. This initiative has established a structure in which citizens actively participate and the government resolves reports in the shortest possible time. Due to the rapid response of the government, accountability has also been dramatically heightened. Additionally, everyone can easily report risks anytime and anywhere through ‘Safety Sinmungo’. It also provides features for the disabled such as voice recognition and caption service. ‘Safety Sinmungo’ received an award of ‘excellence’ in an Accessibility Assessment for the Disabled given by Ministry of the Interior, Republic of Korea in 2015. In addition, multi-lingual ‘Safety Sinmungo’ services are currently being prepared for the convenience of foreign nationals.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
a. Implementer MPSS is the key implementer of this initiative. More specifically, it is implemented by the Safety Sinmungo Management Task Force of the MPSS; this team is composed of personnel dispatched from the central and local governments. Nonetheless, MPSS is NOT the only implementer of this initiative. Since the risk reports need to be assigned to the suitable organizations for processing, cooperation with other agencies is a key success factor of this initiative. b. Size of the population affected by this initiative Every citizen living in Korea is affected by this initiative. This includes 51.7 million people in the territory of the Korea and 1.71 million foreign nationals. Considering that the initiative builds safer environments for the people, future generations will receive a great benefit from the ‘Safety Sinmungo’ service.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
In order to develop and implement the ‘Safety Sinmungo’ system, there were three phases: service design and implementation (phase 1), service enhancement (phase 2), and service stabilization (phase 3). During phase 1, the service design and implementation phase, various stakeholders were gathered, financial resources were secured, and above all, service safety was prioritized. In phase 2, the service enhancement phase, the MPSS actively promoted public participation to expand public participation and stabilized the application service. Finally, in phase 3, the MPSS plans to institutionalize measures such as mileage system phasing so that this service can be established as an aspect of safety culture. a. Phase 1: Service Design and Implementation (September 2014 ~ February 2015) Initially, the ‘Reporting Channel for Safety’ was temporarily added on September 30, 2014 to existing civil complaint systems for public convenience in reporting risks. In order to deal with complaints reported, ‘Complaint Response Management Team’ was created in September 2014. Subsequently, there was a need to establish a separate reporting channel, and ‘Safety Sinmungo’ system was established based on information technology in November 2014. The web page (December 12, 2014) and mobile phone application (February 6, 2015) were launched thereafter. b. Phase 2: Service Enhancement (March 2015 ~ March 2017) The launch of the ‘Safety Sinmungo’ system has augmented the convenience of safety risk reporting functions for various citizens including the elderly and disabled. In 2015, the MPSS developed a system integration plan for ‘Safety Sinmungo’ and MPSS has been carrying out service enhancement as planned since 2016. Furthermore, ‘Safety Sinmungo’ has been pre-installed on newly launched mobile phones after September 2016 so that citizens can use easily without being required to download the application. c. Phase 3: Service Stabilization and Promoting Safety Reporting culture (April 2017~) One of the main purposes of this initiative is to establish ‘Safety Sinmungo’ as representative of all systems for maintaining the public safety so that the service is accepted as part of relevant culture. For this, the MPSS is endeavoring to incorporate a mileage and reward system for those who report risks. In this way, the MPSS plans to enforce contents related to life safety so that anyone can easily and proactively report threats.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
a. The Design of the initiative ‘Safety Sinmungo’ was established with the whole support of the stakeholders. It was launched by active participation of more than 20 safety related agencies. In order to strengthen the cooperation and get the opinions of stakeholders, meetings of affiliated institutions took place. Therefore, ‘Safety Sinmungo’ has established shared governance arrangement by cooperating with various stakeholders for implementing ‘Safety Service’. Currently, the MPSS is building safety reporting channels on the websites of each department of central and local governments, municipalities, and public institutions such as The Anti-Corruption & Civil Rights Commission to link all safety reporting system to this ‘Safety Sinmungo’. As a result, reporting channels have been established on the websites of more than 60 public institutions. b. Governance constitution The MPSS has established broad governance structures for implementing ‘Safety Sinmungo’. Government, public institutions, citizens, NGOs and corporations have also supported the implementation of ‘Safety Sinmungo’. For example, Samsung and LG Electronics opted to pre-install ‘Safety Sinmungo’ on their newly launched mobile phones. Many corporations have been voluntarily participating in ‘Safety Sinmungo’ related activities such as screening video clips to promote public awareness. In addition, the Volunteer of Community Safety Monitor (a nationwide NGO), the Green Mothers Society, 11,563 with 60,000 elementary and junior high school students, and the General Insurance Association of Korea have been actively participating and supporting ‘Safety Sinmungo’ and its related campaigns. c. Voluntary participation of citizens In the case of the Volunteer of community Safety Monitor, it is noteworthy that they are organized by voluntary public participation to protect communities. It handles approximately 2,000 reports per month and is comprised of a diverse range of people from ranging from elementary school students to retirees. The number of members is approximately 80,000, and it has been increasing every month. Accordingly, diverse people have been working altogether to promote safety and institutional resettlement.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
a. Prevention of major incidents Since the launch of ‘Safety Sinmungo’, 241,912 reports out of 245,881 received have been addressed (rate of 98.4%); due to this handling ratio, a number of large and small- scale accidents have been prevented (September 30 2014 ~ February 28 2017). For example, there have been a fewer accidents occurring due to a tight bend on Route 2 in front of the Gwanyang Terminal; it was possible to prevent large-scale human accidents through road maintenance following a report from a citizen via the ‘Safety Sinmungo’. In the case of Route 13, one report mentioned the risk of falling into a deep reservoir when driving at night; therefore, a guardrail was installed to prevent future accidents. By applying previously mentioned ‘Heinrich’s Law’ (1:29:300), it is estimated that this initiative has helped prevent major incidents. b. Promoting public awareness of safety through citizens’ participation Safety consciousness of citizens is one of the most essential factors for preventing risk because safety is not guaranteed by government efforts alone. The participation rate of people in reporting risks has increased every year. The average number of reports received in 2015 was 203, but it more than doubled in 2016 to 432 cases. Currently, official records indicate that more than 1 million people have downloaded the ‘Safety Sinmungo’ application in the shortest time. Ultimately, the greatest achievement of this policy is the governance. All concerned institutions have been endeavoring to implement this initiative due to the increase in safety accountability among local governments, business entities, and civic organizations. c. Expanding safety services for vulnerable people and creating safety-related jobs This initiative focuses on improving the quality of life of vulnerable groups. ‘Safety Sinmungo’ enables vulnerable groups to promptly receive administrative services without discrimination. These administrative services include improvement of safety and hygiene levels without incurring many opportunity costs. It has also contributed to the creation of jobs related to disaster management including those for renovating and repairing risk-prone facilities.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
a. Multi-stakeholders participation ‘Safety Sinmungo’ is not a system through which the MPSS responds to all the complaints received. The agencies that need to respond to the complaints of the people include local governments and public institutions such as the Korea Expressway Corporation, and Korean Electric Power Corporation (KEPCO). In the beginning, there had been several difficulties in improving the service through this new ‘Safety Sinmungo’ system because there were great number of stakeholders participated. However, it has become possible to coordinate their interests and to build system through the continuous consultations because both government and public institutions acknowledged that managing potential risks rapidly is one of their primary responsibilities. b. Lack of public awareness in the initial stage of ‘Safety Sinmungo’ application The second obstacle was the difficulty of publicly promoting the ‘Safety Sinmungo’ application due to insufficient budgetary resources for public relations. In order to overcome this obstacle, a public campaign to encourage the downloading of the ‘Safety Sinmungo’ application has been launched. It subsequently achieved a record of 1.6 million downloads within 27 months. Currently ‘Safety Sinmungo’ is the most frequently downloaded application among those released by public institutions in Korea, and a video clip for promoting ‘Safety Sinmungo’ has been ranked first in average daily views among the YouTube contents of public institutions (http://youtu.be/NBRGvjKoTM0). c. Controversy over pre-installing ‘Safety Sinmungo’ application on mobiles ‘Safety Sinmungo’ application is being pre-installed on the newly launched mobiles of Samsung and LG Electronics. Regarding this practice, there was an opinion that it was overly compulsory for consumers. However, since ‘Safety Sinmungo’ was implemented to protect public safety, it was possible to convince stakeholders through a serious of discussions. Finally, pre-installation of ‘Safety Sinmungo’ on mobiles was made possible and this application is now pre-installed on new mobile phones in Korea.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
a. Diversifying delivery of public service This initiative is based on cutting-edge software technology and provides public services through the 'Safety Sinmungo' platform. Citizens no longer need to visit a city hall to request the repair of a fallen street light in front of their homes, nor do they have to call a city hall using their phone. Citizens can simply take a photo of the risk using their mobile phone and then press the ‘submit’ button of the ‘Safety Sinmungo’ application. The report with the geospatial information reported by GPS is accepted to the concerned department, and notice of the results will be sent to the person who reported the safety risk within 7 days. b. Accommodating the needs of vulnerable people including female citizen Economically disadvantaged and socially vulnerable groups are more likely to receive administrative services. ‘Safety Sinmungo’ provides customized reporting services to the hearing and visually impaired. For the visually impaired, a voice recognition function is provided; this makes it possible to report risks solely by voice. Other functions necessary for vulnerable groups will be supplemented later this year. In addition, for women, various report types such as those regarding domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sex trafficking can be received. Moreover, the installation of CCTV systems at toilet entrances, and the maintenance of street lights for the security can now be assured. c. Encouraging citizens’ participation (All Citizens Become Safety Keepers) With regard to ‘Safety Sinmungo’, active public participation is essential because it is a responsibility of citizens to make society safer. In order to encourage public participation, each local government organizes a safety reporting campaign and/or hosts contests and presents awards for risk reporting experiences using ‘Safety Sinmungo’. Additionally, students who use ‘Safety Sinmungo’ and report risks from their daily lives have their activities recognized as volunteer work. Further, each organization sets a regular safety campaign period for ‘Safety Sinmungo’ and provides incentives to people who report critical risks through the application.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
a. Improving accountability In the past, reports of risks were usually received and handled by local government offices or local agencies so it was somewhat difficult for the central administration to identify issues. Dealing with the complaints received was often delayed because the procedures for handling reports varied among agencies, and there were no coherent guidelines for such procedures. Moreover, the silo-based approach of each department also caused delays in processing complaints; these problems caused a lack of accountability. However, the launch of ‘Safety Sinmungo’ made it possible to inform people through the application which agency handles a given reports. This has improved accountability dramatically. b. Improving Integrity ‘Safety Sinmungo’ strengthens integrity by disclosing all processes for dealing with complaints in every stage through various channels such as the webpage, application, and SMS service. In the past, there were cases in which the stakeholders interfered in the complaint handling process to such a degree that they sometimes intentionally delayed or even ignored the complaints received. In addition, there were complainants who exerted undue pressure to improve certain facilities for personal gain. Currently, however, every citizen can easily report risks anytime and anywhere through a mobile application or web page and all processes are publicly disclosed. Therefore, there is no room for corruption related in the risk reporting system. This also improves confidence in the government by providing complainants with specific plans for improving the risks. In addition, this system not only receives reports regarding risks, but also accepts and handles safety policy suggestions, thereby promoting transparent communication with the public. These efforts have been well received by the people. According to a survey of 'Safety Sinmungo' users, only 5% of respondents were dissatisfied with this service, and 91.4% of respondents expressed their willingness to recommend the ‘Safety Sinmungo’ system to others.

 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)
a. Women and Girls There are many areas that can be reported via ‘Safety Sinmungo’, but that area directly benefits women and girls is the report of sexual crimes, violence and matters pertaining to life safety areas. The MPSS receives reports regarding domestic violence, sexual harassment, and sex trafficking through this application. In addition, the MPSS performs facility checks such as those regarding the installation of CCTVs in blind spots and the maintenance of street lights so as to protect women and girls from potential dangers. b. Economically disadvantaged The economically disadvantaged are most likely to be exposed to poor housing and public facilities; thus it can be confidently said that they have received the greatest direct indirect benefits from this policy. Complaints from penurious areas were often delayed due to a lack of budgetary resources and administrative personnel. Since ‘Safety Sinmungo’ was launched, however, elements of poor living environments such as street lamp failure and road degradation in areas have significantly improved. c. Socially vulnerable ‘Safety Sinmungo’ offers services such as voice recognition, screen magnification, high-contrast screen, and captioning to increase its accessibility for the disabled. In addition, multilingual versions for foreign nationals will be provided within this year.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of Public Safety and Security
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Junghyo Kang
Title:   Manager  
Telephone/ Fax:   +82442055171
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   jhkang1230@korea.kr  
Address:   #532-1, 17-2dong, 13 jeongbu 2 cheongsaro
Postal Code:   30128
City:   Sejong
State/Province:  
Country:  

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