Are Jamaicans being treated fairly when they carry out simple public services? And should the quality of these services be improved? The Simplifying Lives survey takes a look at the experience of Jamaicans when interacting with state agencies as they, for example, renew their drivers’ permits or enroll their children in school. This survey will help Jamaicans to understand what services should be strengthened first, what citizens value the most and what solutions will be the best for raising citizen satisfaction and trust in government. So, if you want the government to improve service delivery, participating in this survey would be to your own benefit.
Simplifying lives: How to improve the quality of public procedures?
The process to obtain and renew a driver’s license varies widely across the Caribbean and Latin America. In some countries a knowledge examination is required for every renewal, in others, it’s not. In one case, the license is valid for 4 years, in others for 10, and there is one case where it is valid for 5 years but with an annual payment required to maintain the validity. These differences translate to large disparities in the administrative costs for citizens and operating costs for the government.
Questions could be asked about the why these differences in regulations exist for a procedure that should be quite similar everywhere. It would also be interesting to assess the impact of these differences on the ultimate objective of safe transit and which is the best practice of all.
Let’s also consider another service that differs widely across the region, the application for retirement benefits. There are countries where all pensions are reviewed by the Comptroller’s Office before they are granted, while in others the Comptroller has no role and only few cases are checked automatically using a computer-based risk profile. It would be worth analyzing the variation in the cost-benefit ratio of these different control systems and, also, which is the best.
The Simplying Lives survey brought the information in these examples to light. The Inter- American Development Bank (IDB) project measures the levels of quality and satisfaction with the government procedures that citizens of Latin America and the Caribbean demand the most. The measurement comprises an internal vision (an evaluation performed with service managers on how the procedure is provided), and an external vision (a citizen survey aimed at understanding your experience when accessing the service). All the information gathered is made available to governments and citizens to support the efforts to improve public services.
In the first regional Simplifying Lives survey in 2015, 6 key procedures were analyzed in 6 countries. The results indicated somewhat low levels of quality and satisfaction. At the beginning of this year, the study was performed in Brasil, assessing 5 key procedures in 5 states, and the publication of that report is expected soon.
This second regional Simplifying Lives survey, being launched this month, features the participation of: Chile, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Uruguay and Jamaica, which will be participating for the first time.
And the services being evaluated are:
- Obtaining a doctor’s appointment in the public health system
- Reporting a theft
- Registering a birth
- Registering a child in public school
- Renewal of identity document (passport in the case of Jamaica)
- Applying for retirement pension (new in 2018)
- Renewing a driver’s license (new in 2018)
For the 5 services and 5 countries that are being assessed for the second time, this measurement will show how their performance has evolved.
From October 15 until November 30, we are executing the citizen satisfaction survey corresponding to the external vision of Simplifying Lives. This survey is distributed through social media and can be taken by those who have accessed any of the services under review, in the last year. If you meet these requirements and receive an invitation through social media, we want to know about your experience. You would be contributing to the improvement of public services, to better government and to the development of your country.
Alejandro Pareja is a Senior Specialist on State Modernization at the Inter- American Development Bank. He supports projects on digitization of public administration and government services, administrative simplification, non-financial public assets management, civil registries and identity, public registries in general, and measurements of quality and satisfaction with government services. Alejandro is a telecommunications engineer and PMP, with a long experience in business software implementation projects, business process design, BPM and e-government in Argentina, Mexico, Spain, Chile & Uruguay.