Technology and transformed governance in Indonesia

From mobile apps to SMS, new communication technologies are offering hope for improved public service and increased citizens’ participation in government decision-making in Indonesia. But there are still pitfalls and challenges to overcome.

Improving public service delivery and quality remains a mounting challenge for the Indonesian government, especially at the subnational level. Initiatives such as Open Government and the increased use of information and communication technologies offers sources of new communication channels and hope for better governance.

One example of this type of innovation is LAPOR! (Layanan Aspirasi dan Pengaduan Online Rakyat), the government’s official national complaint system at both national and subnational levels. Between June 2015 and February 2016, we investigated examples of the system’s use in Bojonegoro (East Java) and Indragiri Hulu (Riau Province), with both case studies providing some important lessons.

LAPOR was introduced in 2011 to enable citizens to file reports or complaints regarding public service delivery. Users may air their grievances through three channels: a website, text message (SMS), and a mobile application. After six years, LAPOR has 285, 444 users, and has registered more than 1.29 million complaints — 75.15% via SMS, 21.5% via the website, and 3.35% via the mobile application. The system has also integrated 87 government agencies or ministries, 44 state-owned enterprises, five regional governments, and 10 provinces.

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