A new report, launching think tank the Serco Institute in Saudi Arabia, has found that citizens and residents in the kingdom are overwhelmingly happy with the quality of public services they experience.
Based on analysis of a nation-wide survey of KSA citizens and residents, the Serco Institute found that 84% of people described themselves as being ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ happy with the government services they had used in the past two years.
The think tank, established by international public services organization Serco, has a core offering in the Middle East of workforce, data and digital asset management and has been set up to research public service design, development and delivery. This will help governments create better and more innovative solutions across various services for citizens and residents.
On the launch of Serco Institute in the kingdom, Mona Althagafi, County Director – KSA Serco Middle East, said, “We are very excited about the launch of the Serco Institute in the kingdom. The insights they generate will help the Government and their partners, such as Serco, deliver the services citizens and residents want. In an increasingly complex environment, the insights of the Serco Institute will help identify the innovations, ideas and issues that define government services now and in the future. Perhaps most central to the delivery of world-class government services is citizen experience. Through our user-centred design agency, Experience Lab and now with the addition of the Serco Institute, KSA can benefit from both direct citizen insight, in addition to international public service expertise in designing the future of government services.”
The think tank’s report, ‘Transformation, Digitization & Happiness: Public Opinion on Government Services in Saudi Arabia’, is the first output from the Serco Institute in the region with a series of reports and research planned for release throughout the year.
This report outlines findings that people are now more likely to access services digitally due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The first-of-its-kind research also indicates that whilst people are mostly happy with KSA government services’ current quality, they want them to be quicker, simpler and more transparent. All of which is a focus of the country’s government services reform agenda, as set out in Vision 2030 and supported by various government agencies and initiatives, including the YESSER e-government programme.
A close relationship was also found between the happiness of residents and citizens and the quality of government services. Commenting on the survey results on Serco’s podcast, Eng Basem Aljedai – CEO Government Innovation Center (Govx Hub), said: “Looking at the survey results, we can see that 80% of respondents feel their happiness is relative to the quality of government services. In order to achieve citizen happiness through these services, we have to look at the quality of the infrastructure. In the kingdom, we are proud to say we have a strong infrastructure on which we can build strong services. Citizens and residents can easily access these services from anywhere in the world and have their applications processed remotely, raising the level of their happiness.”
Central to the report’s five recommendations is that the KSA Government is on the right path as they continue to transform government services. The report outlines that this should be done carefully, using service user insight, the support of the private sector and other external partners. This is particularly important, the research finds, due to the close relationship between government services, happiness and trust.
Serco Institute Director Kate Steadman said: “Our first-of-a-kind survey has found that citizens and residents are overwhelmingly happy with the quality of government services they are receiving – and the Government is on the right track when it comes to its focus on increasing digital access.
“Users want quicker, simpler and more transparent services. With greater digital access, a focus on Vision 2030, and supported by the work of YESSER, government services are set to continue to evolve to meet the demands and appetites of Saudi Arabian citizens and residents.
“However, our research also shows that the trust of citizens and residents is fragile, and with one bad experience, they can lose faith in government services– which in turn also impacts their happiness. It is important, therefore, that the Saudi Arabian Government draws on all the insights and support possible as it continues its transformation agenda – from developing a deep understanding of user experience, through to leveraging the innovation of the private sector.”