The ICT Authority in conjunction with the Commission on Administrative Justice (CAJ) has today conducted a virtual training of the ICT Authority Management and staff on Public Complaints Resolution and Access to Information. The training was graced by the Authority’s CEO Dr. Katherine Getao and Victor Ongaya, a resource person from the CAJ.
While giving her keynote speech, Dr. Getao appreciated the fact that the public sector is publicly funded by citizens who pay direct and indirect taxes and with this, it is important for public servants to deliver the best possible outcome to the citizens of this country.
The ICT Authority Head also explained key points regarding handling of public feedback by public servants, stating;
“Handling public feedback is an important part of showing respect to citizens who have generously trusted us to be public servants by continuously providing us with resources and thus deserve to be served in the best possible way.
Listening to stakeholders is a business principle in customer and shareholder relations and is required by the constitution and various laws such as the Public Officers Ethics Act, Administration of Justice Act, and is consistent with African values such as showing respect to others. Therefore, we have every motivation to handle public feedback in the best possible way.
Handling Public feedback requires us to clearly communicate to stakeholders our mandates, values, activities and results as well as our standards which guide our interactions with them and results of delivery.”
Dr. Getao highlighted that it was important for the public to well informed about ICT Authority in order for them to give feedback regarding the services offered by the government agency. The Authority’s Multilingual Customer Service Charter, website and social media platforms act as avenues of information for the public.
The CEO also appreciated the efforts by the ICT Authority in providing information to the public such as the Public Campaigns and Communication Committee, Access to Information Committee, website, newsletter and stakeholder engagement meetings.
She also stated that public feedback is only possible when convenient communication channels are provided for stakeholders to give the Authority feedback.
Dr. Getao also mentioned that the ICT Authority has a friendly reception area as well as a Contact Centre on 23rd flow and that the Authority is looking at introducing free numbers so that those giving feedback do not incur cost.
While concluding her keynote speech, Dr. Katherine Getao said,
“Feedback is of no value if we do not respond effectively; take time to understand a feedback, design a response, and address the issue successfully, implement it and communicate the result to the complainant to get their concurrence on whether the steps taken by the authority have addressed the complain/feedback. This is return will help in building and maintaining our reputation as public servants as well as learning from our mistakes and recording them to prevent future occurrence.”
Dr. Getao stated that she hoped that through the training, ICT Authority management and staff will grow in implementing the public feedback system.
Mr. Victor Ongaya, from the Commission on Administrative Justice conducted the Public Complaints Resolution and Access to Information. He stated that the Commission was established in 2011 by parliament where the human rights and equalities was subdivided separately into 3 commissions to handle human rights, gender and equality and also the administrative issues.
He mentioned that the Commission supports good governance and an appeals for national integrity system, a mandate that is shared by all complimentary commissions. He added that, the Commission’s mandate is to:
Handle public complains which is a mandate for all Ombudsman across the globe. The commission covers all public entity and public officers at both the national and county level of government. They act upon receipt of complains from members of the public in certain cases.
Promotion of access to information and protection of personal data for all public and private bodies.
Mr. Ongaya also explained the functions of the Commission which include but are not limited to:
To ensure that there is good administration in the public sector which is subdivided into two: a) ensuring internal public complaint management. This are the complains received from the stakeholders b) act as an external complaint body. These are the complaints that are beyond the mandate of the public institutions.
To conduct investigations of the complains. The investigations are divided into two; a) systemic investigations- they are issues that are cultural in an organization such as corruption. The commission carries out this investigation to ensure there is not a reoccurrence of the same complains, b) specific investigations: they are done on a case by case basis. The findings are used as the remedy for the complains.
While giving feedback on Mr. Ongaya’s presentation, Dr. Getao highlighted that it was important for the Commission to broaden the term complaints, given that most of the feedback received by the ICT Authority from the public are not necessary complaints but suggestions of innovations and suggestions of improvements to make things better through digital. She also stated that it was important to have a law to encompass the aspect of handling suggestions, innovations in a positive way.
Also present in the call were the ICT Authority Directors Rosemary Ndiritu and Zilpher Owiti, Heads of Departments and ICT Authority staff from all the 47 Counties.