Nixon Getcheo, CIO at Commission of Administrative Justice - Automating the Ombudsman


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Nixon Getcheo, CIO at Commission of Administrative Justice spoke at the CIO Africa Event 2013

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  • "Ombudsman" is a Swedish term dating back to the 1800’s. It means a person who has an ear to the people. It is used world-wide to designate impartial, confidential and independent offices that receive inquiries and concerns from groups of people, and work to achieve fair solutions. The term ombudsman is used to communicate to the widest possible community and is not intended to discourage others from using alternative forms of this word, such as ombudsperson or ombuds. SPQR is an initialism from a Latin phrase, S enātus P opulus q ue R ōmānus ("The Senate and People of Rome ", see translation ), referring to the government of the ancient Roman Republic , and used as an official emblem of the modern day comune ( municipality ) of Rome. Tribune was a title shared by elected officials in the Roman Republic . Tribunes had the power to convene the Plebeian Council and to act as its president, which also gave them the right to propose legislation before it. They were sacrosanct , in the sense that any assault on their person was prohibited. They had the power to veto actions taken by magistrates, and specifically to intervene legally on behalf of plebeians. The tribune could also summon the Senate and lay proposals before it. The tribune's power, however, was only in effect while he was within Rome. His ability to veto did not affect regional governors. Because it was legally impossible for a patrician to be a tribune of the plebeians, the first Roman emperor , Augustus , was offered instead all of the powers of the tribunate without actually holding the office ( tribunicia potestas ). This formed one of the two main constitutional bases of Augustus' authority (the other was imperium proconsulare maius ). It gave him the authority to convene the Senate. Also, he was sacrosanct, had the authority to veto ( ius intercessionis ), and could exercise capital punishment in the course of the performance of his duties. Most emperors' reigns were dated by their assumption of tribunicia potestas , though some emperors, such as Tiberius , Titus , Trajan and Marcus Aurelius had already received it during their predecessor's reign. Marcus Agrippa and Drusus II , though never emperors, also received tribunicia potestas . By extension from the Roman historical experience, some modern politicians have been called "Tribunes of the People." The analogy is mostly with the original function of the Tribunes as champions of the downtrodden and disadvantaged in Roman society, rather than with the later technical Roman governmental usage giving legitimacy to Imperial power
  • An ombudsman (conventional English plural: ombudsmen ) is a person who acts as a trusted intermediary between either the state (or elements of it) or an organization, and some internal or external constituency, while representing not only but mostly the broad scope of constituent interests. An indigenous Danish, Norwegian and Swedish term, Ombudsman is etymologically rooted in the Old Norse word umboðsmaðr , essentially meaning "representative". In its most frequent modern usage, an ombudsman is an official, usually appointed by the government or by parliament but with a significant degree of independence, who is charged with representing the interests of the public by investigating and addressing complaints reported by individuals. Modern variations of this term include "ombud", "ombuds", "ombudsperson", or "ombudswoman". Investigates maladministration. Examples might include unreasonable delay, rudeness, failure to follow proper procedures, bias, knowingly giving advice which is misleading or inadequate, and refusing to answer reasonable questions. When an ombudsman investigates a complaint he or she can either uphold (find it in the favour of the person who has complained) or not uphold it (find that the organisation complained about has not behaved wrongly). The ombudsman can usually recommend redress: a sort of compensation for what has gone wrong.
  • Successor to Public Complaints Standing Committee (PCSC)… The Commission on Administrative Justice was established by the Commission on Administrative Justice Act 2011(hereafter referred to as the Act) pursuant to Article 59 (4) of the Constitution of Kenya. CAJ is a Commission within the meaning of chapter 15 of the constitution and has the status and powers of a commission under that chapter. The mandate of the Commission can be summarized in 9 broad categories; Quasi-judicial mandate to deal with maladministration. Ensuring compliance with leadership, integrity and ethics requirements. Litigation and quasi- judicial functions. Reporting Obligation. Training of Government Ministries Departments and agencies. Resolution of inter-governmental conflicts. Provision of advisory opinions and recommendations Promotion of Constitutionalism and Human Rights advocacy and; Performance contracting
  • A good complaints handling system is a vital part of ensuring that the public receive the service to which they are entitled.   It helps to avoid discrimination and inequity in public service delivery. Effective monitoring of complaints may act as a valuable source of feedback to the government, highlighting aspects of service delivery which fall below the standard the government aims to achieve. Complaints handling which is prompt, efficient and responsive will greatly enhance the government’s image with the public and may turn critics into admirers.   Conversely, complaints handling which is long-winded, inefficient or defensive will invariably damage the government’s efforts to provide responsive and timely services to the public.   In recognition of this the Government of Kenya established the Public Complaints Standing Committee (PCSC) in 2007 which was later constituted in 2011 as an independent commission – The Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) to receive and take appropriate action in relation to complaints brought against public officers and institutions   Public awareness and technological advances have lead to an avalanche of complaints requiring an automated system to be able to effectively register and deal with these complaints.   The success of such an initiative lies in two areas:   Suitable tools – Process improvement software needs to be unobtrusive and reliable otherwise the users will soon circumvent it.   Experienced Personnel – Suitable tools alone cannot change processes if the users are unwilling to change. Implementing of such solutions requires experience in dealing with users and making them converts of the improved processes.   CMIS is a comprehensive web-based complaint management system that has helped effectively track and manage all customer complaint processes and track open product complaints to ensure timely resolution and proper corrective action.   The project was initiated to streamline the complaints resolution process in response to criticism from the public on the turnaround time from complaint intimation to final resolution.   It was recognized that delays arose due to the communication between CAJ the office and the public bodies against whom complaints were raised were manual and primarily through physical letters.   With CMIS, this process has and will continue to be vastly improved as the communication will be electronic and in real time.
  • CMIS was from inception designed as a web-enabled solution. It is easily integrated with a web form so that complainants can raise their issues on the website. The web form can be as detailed as required for effective reporting of complaints.   Complainants can be updated via email.   For complainants without email, a built-in SMS engine allowing status updates via SMS a valuable feature as more people in Kenya today have access to SMS than email.
  • Once a complainant’s details are in the database they will not require to be re-entered, only updated for information that has changed. Any subsequent complaints from the same complainant are linked and easily accessible by a click. Immediately information is saved, it is available in real time to anyone on the network.   On each case, a task list can be created, with each task having a due date and time and the officer handling can set the system to send them reminders via email for due tasks. Any advice given can be logged as a remark which will be linked to the case. All officers will have a uniform interface to ensure standardized approach to the complaint resolution process.   Other departments can easily be incorporated into the solution because it has been designed with the capability to support multiple business units.   The system can be setup so that a complaint lodged against a certain ministry can be assigned to a resource in that ministry. That ministry will be able to view, resolve and update that complaint and can update the complainant directly from the system. The ministry in question is only ably to view complaints related to that ministry (both open and closed). They will not be able to see complaints for any other ministry or government agency. CAJ on the other hand and any other party they may authorize can have a global view of all the complaints for all the ministries.   Tasks created for each case can be assigned to different people for complex cases that require input from different resources.
  • During the complaints resolution process, any delays trigger escalation notifications to management who are able to intervene and provide guidance. Notifications can be set to be sent through either email or SMS and the duration can be configured to match each situation. Management also benefit from extensive and very flexible reporting integrated into the system. Reports can be scheduled to be sent via email to management as PDF’s.
  • Objectives o facilitate easy, efficient and effective access to the agencies services at devolved levels by establishing one stop complaints referral centers.(A model for devolving services) To establish functional and accountable linkages between existing complaints and referral mechanisms for prompt complaints resolution To re-route complaints and reports prior to processing by any of the agencies to the relevant agency for prompt action and provide direct and accessible feedback to members of the public. To facilitate a coherent public understanding of roles and mandates of the commissions. To generate credible and reliable data to enable interventions and collaborative action amongst the complaints handling agencies and other relevant users. Key Strategies Establishing one stop complaints referral centers Automating and integrating existing referral mechanisms Review of internal procedures and process to enhance accountability and turnaround time Jointly facilitate public understanding of the roles and functions
  • Investigative, complaints handling and educative mandates Kenya National Commission on Human Rights-KNCHR National Cohesion and Integration Commission-NCIC Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission -EACC Commission for Administrative Justice – CAJ Education mandate: National Anti-Corruption Campaign Steering Committee - NACCSC Transparency International-TI
  • Nixon Getcheo, CIO at Commission of Administrative Justice - Automating the Ombudsman

    1. 1. Presented by Nixon Mageka GecheoChief ICT officer – Commission on Administrative JusticeAUTOMATING THEOMBUDSMAN
    3. 3. IN KENYA, ROLE PLAYED BYCOMMISSION ONADMINISTRATIVE JUSTICE (CAJ)The Commission investigates complaints received frommembers of the public against Government institutions,inter-governmental conflicts or on its own initiativemay investigate any matter arising from the carrying outof an administrative actionIs independent, impartial and provides a free serviceInvestigates complaints when something has beenhandled badly or unfairly, making someone suffer asa result
    5. 5. Step 1Public lodges Complaint with CAJ
    6. 6. Step 2Complainant interviewed and requestedto provide supporting documents
    7. 7. Step 3CAJ determines that issue is withintheir mandate
    8. 8. Step 4Issue is logged into CMIS and Assignedto MDA Liaison
    9. 9. Step 5MDA Seeks to Resolve Matter WithComplainant
    10. 10. Step 6If Matter Not Resolved Within 20working Days it Escalates within GOK
    11. 11. localredressintegratedReportcentrecomplaintinpreliminary analysisbyEACCKNCHRNCICCAJKNCHRNCICNGECOthersDirect feedback/Information flowinter-agencyroutingifseek more inform/feedbackstopfeedbackEACCre-routingCAJStoopINTEGRATED PUBLIC COMPLAINTSREFFERAL MECHANISM OBJECTIVES
    12. 12. Participating Agencies