E-Citizen platform helps Indonesian citizens’ response to the COVID-19 crisis

March 24, 2020

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Jakarta, March 24th , 2020 – During the crisis period like the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, transparency of information and citizen feedback can make invaluable contributions to an effective national response.

In Indonesia, a platform called SP4N-LAPOR! (Sistem Pengelolaan Pengaduan Pelayanan Publik Nasional-Layanan Aspirasi dan Pengaduan Online Rakyat) -- National Public Service Complaints Handling System allows Indonesian citizens to send directly from the comfort of their mobile phones their feedback on the quality of public services and voice their views on how to improve them. With support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), this National Complaint System is now being turned into a channel of direct communication between the Government and citizens to send vital information on COVID-19 and receive questions and ideas on how Indonesia responds to the pandemic.

UNDP’s support to the System is carried out under a partnership with the Korean International Cooperation (KOICA) and the Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucratic Reform (KemenPANRB). The Partnership aims to enhance the digitalization of the platform and expand it by connecting it to all subnational governments of the country(34 provinces, 98 cities and 416 regencies). It’s also part of UNDP’s role to improve the delivery of quality public services and advance progress in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

SP4N-LAPOR! helps citizens file their recommendations or complaints and to direct it to a relevant government institution. For example, if the feedback is related to a health concern at the national level, it will be delivered to the Ministry of Health or relevant district offices. Multiple channels can be used to do this, including smartphone applications (LAPOR!), website (https://www.lapor.go.id/) and text messaging.

Since the COVID 19 crisis broke out in Indonesia, the system has been used to provide Indonesian citizens real time information on the virus, Although there is no exact number on the reach of the system, SP4N-LAPOR! does have a significant number of hits with average daily feedback at 564, according to the KemenPANRB.

After the first COVID-19 cases were confirmed on March 2 in Indonesia, SP4N-LAPOR! focused on providing information on preventing the spread of the virus, such as frequent hand washing and social distancing, uploaded on the app in the form of infographics. The materials have also been disseminated via SP4N-LAPOR!’s official social media channels, including Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. UNDP has also been working closely with KemenPANRB to develop relevant materials about self-quarantine with guidelines from the Ministry of Health, and the information is available on SP4N-LAPOR!’s social media channels.

Serving its core mission as a citizen platform, in the past three months, SP4N-LAPOR! received over 240 COVID-19 related feedback messages and the inputs from citizens through LAPOR are rising rapidly. Feedback received included actionable recommendations to tackle the virus. “Government should adopt a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic to speed up the testing process”, one concerned citizen wrote. Other creative ideas include launching testing facilities at various public places such as cafés and car parks to reduce waiting time at hospitals.

Some recommendations have contributed to developing effective policy. Many citizens sent feedback requesting more awareness materials on social media and WhatsApp to prevent the spread of the lethal virus. The Ministry of Health took up these recommendations and subsequently prepared relevant materials in collaboration with provincial health offices and civil society organisations.

As Indonesia now faces the challenge to halt the spread of the COVID-19 virus, it is clear that public demand for transparency and an accountable system has become stronger than before. With its strong emphasis on transparency and civil participation, SP4N-LAPOR! is becoming an impactful platform in handling the COVID-19 pandemic. UNDP, KOICA and KemenPANRB will continue stepping up efforts to strengthen the system so citizen’s voice can be heard and contribute to the effectiveness of the national response on COVID-19.

Written by Suyoung Hwang, Marketing & Communication Officer at UNDP Indonesia and Muhammad Iqbal, Monitoring and Reporting Officer at UNDP Indonesia

Edited by Tomi Soetjipto and Ranjit Jose.