Three project experts from Tallinn visit Uganda

Foundation Tallinn Development and Training Centre (TDTC) organized a visit to Uganda from 13.01.2019 – 22.01.2019 during the course of the developmental co-operation project “The founding of Uganda’s one-stop-shop public service delivery centres and building their capacities on the example of Tallinn” for three project experts from Tallinn. The study visit was in accordance with the approved action plan of the developmental co-operation project. As experts from Tallinn Ülle Purga, Jana Viital and Member of the Board of TDTC and project manager for the Ugandan developmental co-operation Kalle Sepp attended the study visit.

During the developmental co-operation project’s study visit, experts from Tallinn first had the meeting with Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Public Services (MoPS) of Uganda Mrs. Catherine Bitarakwate Musingwiire and the project team from MoPS, with whom they discussed questions and key areas regarding the objectives and activities related to the ongoing developmental co-operation project and the study visit of Estonian delegation. During the year 2019, MoPS is focused on the development of two regional service centres in cities of Kasese and Mbale. Funds for the development of these service centres are allocated in the MoPS budget. MoPS is commited to introducing and developing the “Service Uganda” concept and emphasizing importance of development of public service delivery among the other associated municipalities.

Estonian/Tallinn project experts held centralized training for senior specialists of MoPS service delivery centre and departments and for the officials from municipalities of Jinja, Entebbe, Mbale, Kasese and Gulu. At the training there were participants representing new associated Municipalities of Lira, Hoima and Arua in order to exchange current practices and experiences in the field of service delivery in operating pilot centres. Training focused on the organization of workflows, customer care, service providing and technical solutions at the service delivery centres (one-stop-shops). All in total there were 35 participants.

The highlight of the this time study visit was the launching ceremony of the first “Service Uganda” Service Delivery Centre at Ministry of Public Service on 15th of January 2019th. New service hall is first of it´s kind in Ugandan Public Service and is an important milestone in public service delivery.  The opening ceremony was attended by the Chair Person Public Service Commission of Uganda, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries of the Ministries, heads and senior officials from the partner municipalities of the ongoing project and senior officials of the Ministry of Public Service. In his opening speech Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa, the Minister for Ministry of the Public Service Uganda, thanked Republic of Estonia and City of Tallinn for a significant contribution in current achievements regarding opening the first “Service Uganda” Centre and for the efficient ongoing co-operation towards modernizing the public service in Uganda.  Public service delivery concept was introduced to public as the newly launched service hall (one-stop-shop of MoPS) introduced public services and technical solutions and providing those to the invited guests and the media channels.

Before official launching, Estonian/Tallinn project experts had an opportunity to meet and have discussion about ongoing developmental co-operation project with the Minister for Public Service of Uganda, Hon. Wilson Muruli Mukasa. Minister thanked the Estonian/Tallinn experts for successful co-operation, support and contribution and confirmed Uganda’s further will and interest in continuing the co-operation in fields of improving the Public Service delivery in Uganda.  Later Estonian team attended the press-conference held after meeting with the Minister. At the press-conference Hon. Minister and Permanent Secretary for The Ministry of Public Service and the senior officials responsible for the project „Service Uganda“ introduced the concept and future of establishing the regional service centres in Public Service in Uganda.

After the official launching project expert Jana Viital lead a team-meeting with Records Office officials and ICT staff to discuss achievements and results since last videoconference meeting. Team has been working together continuously and significant actions have been taken towards improving the information exchange and flow within the ministry. Team agreed on further co-operation details and timeframe for further procedures. After the team meeting the project expert Jana Viital conducted a training session with senior officials responsible for organizing records management and standardizing information flows, also IT specialists responsible and records office representatives and technical specialists who deal with information management and mediation of documents on a daily basis were attending.  During the presentation, the expert introduced the principles and standards of information management and workflows in Estonia. During the session participants discussed and compared general EDMS principles (Electronic Document Management Systems) and mapped the basic needs for developing more efficient digitalization of MoPS document management and modernization of information management standards and workflows. For document management MoPS uses a module within IPPS (payroll and pension information system) which was specificly developed for the purpose of digital document handling and digital repository, but can only be fully implemented after some primary improvements.  At the meeting, the primary needs for improving module were mapped and proposals were given to the IT officials for further, In addition, the methods and possible solutions in unification of information management and improving general internal communication flows were discussed and introduced. In total 15 members attended the training. It was agreed that the participants would continue as a team involving representatives from different departments responsible for organizing information management and providing support systems and necessary information regarding describal on general standards and regulations.   After the training, the project expert got acquainted with the ministry’s document repository and was had great overview of manual and digital procedures, the tools in use and the challenges of digitalizing information management. Estonian/Tallinn project experts will continue to advising MoPS technical team in the field of information management with the aim of reducing the bureaucracy of the agency and unification of information handling and more standardized workflow procedures.

Estonian/Tallinn project experts visited municipalities of Jinja, Mbale and Gulu. During the visit the project team engaged with Mayors, Town Clerks, City Councillors, heads of city government departments and executive officials. Project experts had meetings, trainings and project presentations on the topic of development of public services and the establishment of service centres and organization of their work procedures.

Experts had a meeting in Jinja where over 30 participants attended. Local government leaders and one-stop-shop Service Centre coordinators once again recognized the need for more efficient co-operation and guidance between MoPS and Municipality of Jinja. Jinja Service Centre supervisor Brenda Kadhaya introduced Jinja Service Centre and its current performances, work-related issues, and future training needs. The service centre currently has reception hall and reception desks with officials providing 4 different services daily. Service hall uses internal telephone for interacting with departments and has active reception/registration of applications. There are separate service desks for “mayors and town clerk receptions” and they are planning to add at least 8-9 new public services to the service centre.  The staff at Jinja Service Centre noted the importance of organizing joint meetings, networking and discussions with representatives from MoPS and other Service Uganda pilot centres staff in order to exchange experiences and learn from each other – following the example of the meeting and experience exchange held in Kasese earlier. The Town Clerk of Jinja confirmed that the local government has additionally assigned official to co-ordinate the project of service centre, as well as has allocated funds for the development of the service centre. The city showed the will of city government to allocate a plot for the construction of a new regional service centre. The following training visit was agreed on the topics of training offered by Estonian project experts: customer service and implementation of document management principles.

During the delegations visit to Mbale experts met the city leaders and later held a meeting and active discussion with over 25 participants. Presentations regarding service delivery development were done by Deputy Mayor, Town Clerk and the Project Co-ordinator of Mbale, Michael Malomo,  Mbale City Council Members, Departments and officials in different fields participated and exchanged their experiences and shared vision of service delivery development. Allen Kakama Mpiriirwe, Coordinator of Center for “Service Uganda”, as the representative of MoPS and all project experts from Estonia/Tallinn also made presentations on their experiences.  Mbale Service Centre already offers 10 different services and on the example of some other pilot Municipalities, Mbale organized separate desks for “registration of the mayor and town clerk reception” which has become very useful. Mbale allocated plot for a new regional service centre. Later after the training the Deputy Mayor and guests attending the session had a symbolic ceremony of digging „cornerstone“hole for new Regional Service Centre building. The project and detailed plans for the new Mbale Regional Service Centre is in the final phase of approval by the Ministry of Labor, funds for the development of the regional centre are allocated in MoPS budget. At the end of the training, it was agreed that the next Mbale training sessions will be conducted by Estonian/Tallinn project experts in the areas of customer care and document management. As a memorable incident, city leaders gave Estonian experts new – local Ugandan names, after the training session and discussion ended.

Lira introduced the potential Service Centre locations proposed by the local government to the project experts from Estonia/Tallinn and from MoPS and discussed the most suitable solution for building a service center.

In Gulu Estonian / Tallinn project experts met the Town Cerk and Deputy Mayor who introduced their views on establishing a service centre in Gulu. Gulu already has approved Project Coordinator and a service centre manager supervised by MoPS.  Expert team held a meeting and training for nearly 30 Gulu senior officials and departments. Deputy Mayor and leaders were also present so as service centre coordinators and officials. Presentations by Estonian project experts and coordinator of “Service Uganda” by MoPS, Allen Kakama Mpiriirwe raised a number of questions and discussions. Gulu already set up so called “mini one-stop-shop” in area of city planning. Officials in that field and the corresponding public services are brought together under one roof.  The leadership of Gulu has promised MoPS to allocate a free property located at City Government territory.

Debriefing Meeting was held in MoPS to discuss and summarize the Estonian delegation Mission. Discussions were attended by all MoPS developmental co-operation project and “Service Uganda” project leaders and CSCU leaders, as well by the officials responsible for  records office, ICT and electronical document management system IPPS. Aim of debriefing was to discuss the outcome of the completed training visit and subsequent project activities and agree on further actions. Allen Kakama Mpiriirwe, coordinator of “Service Uganda” presented her/MoPS review of the results achieved and the challenges ahead for the “Service Uganda”. Concept of public service delivery should be emphasized and introduced in various languages ​​in Uganda and published in the MoPS website. Also different media channels should be used by MoPS to promote and introduce the principles and fields of “Service Uganda” public service delivery to the public. It was considered necessary to create frequently asked questions section on the homepage of MoPS. For that it is necessary to improve the cooperation between different departments who´s services are provided in Service Centre.  Among else, it was agreed that all Municipal pilot service centres should keep standardized statistics of number and type of services delivered which would allow MoPS to summarize the project in order to develop and improve the services offered by service centres.

Regarding standardization and development of document management it was agreed that Estonian-Ugandan team continues networking between further visits via e-channels and videoconferences. The primary input for improving IPPS document management system module were mapped and proposed further steps were shared with ICT officials for forwarding them to  IPPS developers responsible (such features as indexing, file uploading, task official assigning, route and due date tracking, controlling, access restricticting and retention periods would support digitalization procedures).  It was agreed, that departments and officials involved in Document Management policies, daily handling and technical support continue cooperating and exchanging necessary information in order to describe needs and future procedures in creating and following internal standards. ICT-officials will make efforts towards implementing central e-mail server for MoPS officials in order to standardize workflows and improve internal communication (e-mails, calendars, room bookings etc).

The parties also agreed on the timing of the upcoming training visits according to the action plan. Estonian/Tallinn expert Mission to Uganda: April / May 2019 and Ugandan delegation´s Mission to Estonia: June/July 2019.  It was also agreed that the Programme of the future training visit include two-day joint training in Kasese for representatives of the Municipal pilots and new associated Municipalities: organization of service centres work, customer service and document management.  MoPS officials are planning to organize a 2-day teamwork session regarding development of information flows and document management: standardization and digitalization of document management and information flows, digital information exchange and improving internal communication procedures (e-mails, calendars, room bookings, etc). Conducting basic training for beginner daily users in cooperation with MoPS technical staff.

The MoPS project coordinator will immediately identify the members of the Ugandan delegation for visiting Estonia and the project manager of the TDTC will prepare the issues related to the training visit of the Ugandan delegation (Program for the visit, visa applications, flight tickets ect.).

Both parties confirmed their interest  and will for further co-operation after the end of this ongoing development co-operation Project, as well as even more extensive involvement of the CSCU (CSCU is particularly interested in organizing e-learning and training in corresponding programs following the example of Estonia/Tallinn).

Collaborative project funded by the Estonian Foreign Ministry’s Development Co-operation and Humanitarian Aid funds.