Collaboration, innovation set to improve service delivery

Thursday, August 23, 2012

East London - Collaboration, innovation and integration will be crucial in government rendering quality services to citizens.

This was the notion that emerged on the second day of the 6th Centre for Public Service and Innovation (CPSI) conference in East London. The two-day conference is expected to demonstrate that innovation brings value, internal efficiency and practical solutions to service delivery challenges.

Speaking under the theme 'Lessons from the Private Sector', Director of Consulting at Deloitte, Anele Mtshemla, said government ought to take advantage of new technologies available to improve service delivery and implement cost cutting measures.

Mtshemla referred to a pilot project by the Department of Correctional Services (DCS) aimed at addressing overcrowding in prison. The pilot project, called Electronic Monitoring (EM), has been implemented since February 2012 and 150 prisoners have been included in the project.

"Offenders are held in correctional centres at a cost of R200 per day. With this innovation, the cost will be decreased significantly," said Mtshemla.

After research was done, including scrutinising EM systems in other countries such as America, preparations for a 12-month pilot project kicked off late in December 2011.

The company, that was awarded the R6.5 million tender on 21 December 2011 for the year-long pilot, Engineered Systems Solutions (ESS), is a local company that has a footprint in Israel where this particular monitoring system has been developed.

Since December, the company has established a centralised control room in Pretoria,
already tagged about 106 offenders and tested the system. It is also responsible for training DCS officials in managing the control room on a 24/7 basis together with operators from the company.

According to Mtshemla, prisoners who are facing minor offences will be released and a bracelet will be fitted on their ankles or wrists.

"There will be conditions attached to their release and mostly those conditions will be similar to their parole conditions."

Speaking under the same subtheme, Capitec's Head of Marketing, Sbusiso Kumalo, said that one of the ways government could manage to improve on their service delivery was if it closed the gap between its clients and itself.

"Even in the public sector, there will always be a gap between you and the people you serve and the only way you can understand what people need is if you live and operate amongst them. You need to have a deep understanding of your customer," he added.

Kumalo also had advice for various government departments and said the following:
ú retain local talent
ú instil a culture of risk taking
ú promote collaboration between various deportments
ú breaking of silos.

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