Improved efficiency in the delivery of government services?
St Andrew’s Tax Services Center
Given my recent experience in accessing government services, I am led to ask the question: Has the efficiency of government service delivery improved or are fewer people seeking these services? I like to think it’s the first.
Having entered the St Andrew Revenue Service Center building at 11:00 a.m., I was able to renew my motor vehicle registration and leave in less than 19 minutes.
After doing other errands along the way, including taking my COVID-19 booster shot at St Joseph’s Hospital, I arrived at the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) on Duke Street around 2:00 p.m. After a brief wait outside, I was in and out of the building within half an hour. This after receiving an SMS from the RGD indicating that the document, for which I made a request under the 10-day service, was ready for collection.
I then went to the National Insurance Scheme office on Ripon Road and likewise the service delivery was smooth so it took me less than half an hour to get my problem be treated.
Of these three cases, my piece of the cheesecake goes to the RGD. This, not because of the aforementioned interaction, but because I was able to apply for the service online while being very professionally assisted by a customer service representative via their online chat. During the conversation, links to the relevant forms were shared with me. I filled out the forms on the spot and made the payment electronically. Just about at the scheduled time, I received a text message stating “Pick up the certificate between 7:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. Take a valid ID or a passport size photo signed by JP [justice of the peace] along with your receipt. Lot # 211-7703.” In my opinion, this is world class and deserves all the kudos.
I believe, however, that the time has come for these social services to be merged into one agency, possibly a National Social Services Agency (NSSA), to include the National Identification System (NIDS), et al . In such a scenario, all the above-mentioned services could be made accessible at all locations. This would mean there would be more places to access these services, so travel time and gas consumption would be minimized, thereby decreasing demand for this valuable and expensive commodity.
Also, if other service providers adopted the RGD model, there would be fewer people entering buildings. My recollection is that the RGD delivered its product to the delivery point designated by the customer. This is worth reconsidering, even if this service has to be outsourced to a third party and the customer pays.
In summary, being able to transact at three government offices in less than a day, without undue stress, means we have come a very long way.
Glendon G. Newsome