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Tuesday, 15 October 2019

Egypt: Public service offices can now be rated

Fed up with the bureaucracy and red tape of state services? Mai Samih reports on a new website that rates them

Mai Samih , Friday 14 Dec 2018
Hala El-Saeed
File Photo: Egypt's Planning minister Hala El-Saeed (Photo: Al-Ahram)
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Egyptians can now evaluate the quality of the civil services provided to them by the government. The website Rate Your Services, www.rateyourservices.gov.eg, was recently launched by the Ministry of Planning to try to improve standards.

Minister of Planning Hala El-Saeed launched an experimental version of the website on 6 December.

“This comes in light of the state’s strategy to achieve sustainable development by improving the quality of services presented to citizens as well as creating a participatory environment between the citizen and the decision-maker,” noted a ministry press release.

The final version of the website is to be launched by the end of the month; a mobile application is also in the making.

Another aim of the website is to create a scientific method of measuring the quality of services of the government’s administrative system to encourage continuous development in governmental departments.

“This is to determine the concept of transparency and halt corruption,” El-Saeed said, adding that it also aims at bringing down any possible barriers citizens may face while receiving government services.

The website allows people to rate six public service offices in their districts: traffic departments, health offices, civil status departments, supply offices, educational departments and technological residential centres.

There are five criteria by which to assess the quality of the services given by these offices: environment and business facilities, system of communication with the public, workflow monitoring, ease of obtaining data about the service provided and the behaviour of the employee.

There are sub-criteria to make the evaluation more accurate and comprehensive. Under the criteria of environment and business facilities, for example, the service recipient can rate the site’s capacity to accommodate a large number of visitors, if there are facilities for the disabled, if the office is air conditioned and if there is easy access to drinking water.

So far the offices that have received the highest ratings have been the health office in Qelta, Assiut, the IT centre in Kafr Al-Sheikh, the supply office in Toson, the Civil Status Department in Karmouz, the Traffic Department in Al-Aougra and the Educational Department in Boulaq Al-Dakrour.

“I think this website is an example of the new way of thinking by the government in terms of including citizens in decision-making and in improving the services they present,” says Doaa Abdel-Salam, a housewife.

The temporary website is open to any ideas from the public. It is also linked to a complaints section.

As for future plans for the website, head of Rate Your Services, Hanaa Abdel-Meguid, told Al-Ahram Weekly, “there is an English-language Rate Your Services website which is under construction and will be launched with the final Arabic version.”

In addition, each governmental department will be equipped with a large interactive screen connected to the Internet for people to rate governmental services on the spot.

Abdel-Meguid stressed that the assessments on the website are not meant to harm employees but to upgrade their performance.

* A version of this article appears in print in the 13 December, 2018 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly under the headline: Public service offices rated

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