While government is a massive entity with many moving parts, ultimately it exists to serve the individual citizen.
Previously, the design of the public sector had been informed by legacy systems and bureaucratic heritage, but as we find ourselves engulfed not just by a dangerous pandemic, but by the fast-paced digitisation of society, government will increasingly need to be future-thinking to continue delivering the level of service anticipated by citizens.
COVID forces contactless government
The enforced lockdowns that have been in place to protect citizens from the coronavirus have also forced the public sector to reconsider the way it functions. Renewing of car and drivers’ licences, registering children for school and even logging issues with one’s nearest municipal centre are processes that should no longer require in-person interactions.
The voting public makes use of their mobile phones to do everything from banking to ordering groceries, so why should it not be the same when it comes to local government?
Platforms for the public
While digital solutions might not be able to encompass everything government does in one platform, in part due to the fact that different departments own different touchpoints with the public, they can go some way to addressing a number of citizen needs in one place.
For example, Boxfusion’s Smartgov For Citizens app is a tool that allows residents of specific municipalities to log issues with their local call centre, be it an emergency such as a fire, or a maintenance issue like a burst water pipe. Furthermore, this tool is designed to close the communications loop, allowing citizens to see when the issue has been resolved. It also provides a platform for officials to communicate with contractors, issuing orders and tickets from one place.
This app has been rolled out in municipalities around South Africa, including OR Tambo in the Eastern Cape and iLembe in KwaZulu Natal.
Similar digital tools have been developed to address other areas of governance, including health and policing through the Mpilo and MySAPS apps. As with the SmartGov For Citizens app, these platforms allow both officials and citizens to communicate with each other, log concerns, manage stock keeping or find their nearest clinic or police station and contact details thereof.
Putting the public first
According to a recent study conducted by McKinsey, residents are nine times more likely to trust their local government when they are satisfied with the level of service delivery they are receiving.
Prioritising citizens means a move to government that is increasingly digital. For more on how Boxfusion is delivering automation within the public sector, please take a look at our Smartgov for Citizens page.