x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Dubai to raise service standards

Agency plans to lift customer satisfaction at 23 government institutions by next year.

DUBAI // The agency set up to improve public service delivery in Dubai has a plan to raise standards in 23 government institutions by 2013.

A study in 2008 and 2009 found that 81 per cent of the Dubai public believed government services needed improvement.

Further, "75 per cent believed that government resources could be better employed to provide public services," said Eman Al Suwaidi, director of the Dubai Model Centre for Government Services (DMC), which was launched yesterday.

The centre is the result of a 2010 order by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the emirate's Executive Council.

After a year's pilot phase, the centre was official inaugurated yesterday by Mohammed Al Shaibani, secretary general of the emirate's Executive Council. "We aim to be among the best in the world and enable government agencies to upgrade their services to a globally competitive level," he said.

The centre's pilot phase included evaluating services provided by Dubai Police, the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Municipality, the Community Development Authority and the Dubai Land Department.

In the RTA, for example, DMC evaluated customer satisfaction with Nol transport passes.

"The Nol cards had a 70 per cent customer satisfaction rate, and the minimum set by Dubai government is 75 per cent," Ms Al Suwaidi said.

The centre studied the Nol system and found problems with the ease of the card's use, the time it took to resolve a complaint, expertise of service providers, the time it took to reload credit at credit machines and the availability of information online.

"We were able to reduce the time it takes to complete one transaction from five days to three days, and the cost of completing a transaction was reduced by 72 per cent," said Dr Wafa Abu Snaineh, adviser to the DMC. "We are also currently developing a new system to refund the remaining amounts on the Nol cards to customers, which will save them significant amounts."

Commenting on the RTA project, the director general of the authority, Mattar Al Tayer, said: "The strategy implemented raised the quality of service by reducing costs and time to achieve them ... This had a positive influence on our customer base and after reviewing the results the authority decided to implement further studies and improvements across our services."

This year, seven more institutions will be evaluated and improved, including services at the Dubai Courts, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Economic Department, Dubai Naturalisation and Residency Department, Dubai Airports, Dubai Customs and the Mohammed bin Rashid Housing Establishment.

The centre will evaluate public services in these departments, implement strategies for improvement and inform the public of best-practice standards.

The centre has also worked with all 12 government departments - five from the pilot phase and the seven it is working with this year - to create service charters. The charters are documents that explains what services they provide, how long those services should take, and how to complain if something goes wrong.

"This is a sort of contract between the government service provider and the member of the public," said Dr Abu Snaineh. "It is the customer's right to ask for the service charter and be shown how a service is provided as well as the channels to complain and report problems."

Citizens and residents can now step in to 12 different Dubai government departments and demand to be presented with their service charter to ensure that their transactions are not delayed and improperly processed.

"It is the customer's right to ask for the service charter and be shown how a service is provided as well as the channels to complain and report problems," she said.

Dr Abu Snaineh said the centre was ready to play a critical role in Dubai's strategy. "Our focus on the public service sector was chosen because of its economic importance. Dubai has always developed great services and is striving to improve them," she said.

The solutions they come up with will be evaluated by both the customer and the service provider.

By the end of 2013, all 23 government institutions will be under the centre's evaluation and scrutiny, Ms Al Suwaidi said.

amustafa@thenational.ae