E-gov makes a small advance with police clearance

| 17/05/2017 | 23 Comments
Cayman News Service

Senior Analyst Programmer Ian Skerrett, a member of the Computer Services applications development team

(CNS): The government has launched a new online application process for police clearance certificates which joins a slowly emerging suite of public services being provided online. Although officials have been talking about expanding e-government for almost a decade, it is still moving very slowly and only a small number of fees or payments to government departments can be made via the internet. But in this case, the redesigned portal and police clearance application process allows people to pay the fee as well as deal with the paperwork online.

Officials said in a government release last week that the new service and other e-government services that are emerging are a collaboration between the e-Government Unit in the Cabinet Office, the Computer Services Department, and in this case the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS), with strategic direction from the e-Government Steering Committee. The sites can be accessed at eservices.gov.ky .

As part of the electronic application process for police clearance certificates, users will be able to pay securely online and government will not collect or retain card information. At the moment the RCIPS processes around 150 applications for police clearance certificates a day, or 3,000 a month. 

Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose said the revamped process will reduce the inconvenience to customers by eliminating one of the two trips previously required to the records office. It also streamlines the number of data systems with which RCIPS staff must engage from six to two.  

Commissioner of Police Derek Byrne said, “We believe this will have a strongly positive impact on our customers and our staff, who have often had to sacrifice lunch breaks to ensure that customers are served in a timely way during the cumbersome manual process. The efficiency of the online process reinforces the type of accessibility and convenience we are striving to provide to the public as a modern police service”

Premier and Home Affairs Minister Alden McLaughlin said increased provision of e-government services was important to the growth of the Cayman Islands economy. 

“For that reason our goals in establishing the e-government programme were that it should improve customers’ experience, by reducing the time and costs of service delivery. Other goals were to enhance public perception of the civil service and increase the Cayman Islands’ competitiveness with other jurisdictions,” he said.

Acting Governor Franz Manderson, who chairs the e-Government Steering Committee said the decision to prioritise the project had followed research into needs of the public and stakeholders within government about which local services should be provided online.

“We believed that it was extremely important for us to thoroughly assess existing needs and to develop an evidence base that would inform our work before proceeding,” Manderson stated.

The creation of an e-services portal facilitates links to the existing services hosted by government agencies, such as the Departments of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing; Lands and Survey; and Planning; as well as the National Workforce Development Agency and the General Registry. While some services require registration, others, including applications for police clearance certificates, do not. Designers have also built-in a range of display options for the public to aid in finding the services they require.

MHA Acting Chief Officer Michael Nixon said that the e-services portal and online police clearance certificates project reflects a new strategic approach to the deployment of Computer Services Department resources. Director Simon Spiers committed web development, application development and security teams, to work on the projects under the leadership of e-Government Director Ian Tibbetts, and the e-Government Steering Committee.

Next up for e-government will be refinements to the online police clearance certificates process, the publication of a draft national strategy, procurement for the physical infrastructure of an e-government platform, and the presentation of recommendations for an electronic identification component to the e-Government Steering Committee, officials stated in the release.   

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Comments (23)

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  1. annonymous says:

    What other option of payment will there be for individuals who has no computer or credit cards? Lets face it there are individuals who fall in that category.

  2. Solomon Grundy says:

    Yet still so much more than big mouth self professed e-govt guru Foolio was ever able to achieve.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wow, this guy is most certainly a DJ. What, is he moonlighting?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wow I just used this new system it was amazing and I have my police record in. ” record” time.

    I am happy to see that e services is moving forward. I wish the election was tomorrow. PPM all the way.

    I never going anywhere near the credit card UDP and the independents who continue to spew venom with no solutions.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I was in there a couple of times over the last week and walked out because the line up was so ridiculous. There was teething problems as well the first couple of days with the online system that have thankfully been fixed.

    Being infinitely more intelligent than most of the government decision makers, I struggle to see why customers can’t type their details into a portal, pull a ticket and go to the counter to pay. As it currently stands, the customer manually populates a form then the worker types that into their computer. A stupid waste of time and money and such an easy fix.

    • Anonymous says:

      As frustrating as it is I will continue to use the antiquated manual system as online in addition to uploading your passport pic page, you also have to submit a passport sized photo. An unnecessary extra step and expense.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How secure is this system???

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is a good small beginning to formalize a platform for service delivery.

    However, I would like to strongly suggest that government does not computerise processes just because they exist. Really take a look at the process and debate what is actually needed. Using the Police Clearance process as an example. A computerized application process is great WHEN a physical certificate is needed, e.g. job application. However, why are these needed in some cases? Take the GOL application. Why can Immigration (Labour Authority) not simply do this electronic enquiry themselves as part of the GOL application vetting process? It would take about 10 seconds for the enquiry into the relevant database. No paper. No multiple trips for the applicant. Same fee. Better service.

    Please do not computerise an existing process just because this is “how it is done”. Ask why. Make the needed changes to the relevant laws. Allow government departments to cross reference information from other departments as necessary. Stop multiple visits and paper transfer. This government information exchange exists in many processes which cause their clients pain. Eliminate these where possible. That will make everyone more efficient.

    • Anonymous says:

      These obvious things would have been done by any competent company. Unfortunately the PPM and Mr. Ian Tibbetts are trying to do this by hiring more civil servants rather than outsourcing to professional in this industry as recommended in the E&Y report.

      I am very disappointed that the PPM has not done what was promised in their manifesto in 2013. This doesn’t give me confidence that this time will be any different. They have proved that civil service bloating is more important to them than supporting local jobs. Mr Suckoo would not have let this happen.

      • Anonymous says:

        If it was done hastily and then insecure you/we would find that more troubling. Granted the progress may have been slow. But if they now have a secure & stable platform on which to build other services that is a much better solution.

        Constructive criticism is more preferable. I’ll bet you made sure your home had a good foundation.

        • Anonymous says:

          Are you implying that E&Y recommended creating it hastily and insecure? As Caymanians we expect it to be both secure and professionally designed.

          We are not a second class people. Certainly both are possible in 4 years unless the government puts more emphasis on civil service politics than delivering what the voters deserve.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Another government empire building exercise. Vote these guys out!

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am just an expat working for CSD but I am glad to see Mr. Tibbetts giving us more work, even overtime pay. For awhile there we were worried that government might get private sector to do some of these egovernment projects.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Is this the best PPM and Mr Tibbetts can do after 4 years?!? Eliminate one of two trips to the police station and save a few lunch breaks for civil servants! Typical rubbish from government bureaucracy.

    What ever happened to the E&Y recommendation to outsource these things so we’d have real progress? Let private sector provide these services so we get quality egovernment service instead of using this as one more excuse to grow civil service.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Another PPM failure looks like their egovernment director doesn’t understand what we need. Come talk to us next time instead of sitting in your office making up more processes to waste our time.

  12. Anonymous says:

    But will certificates needed for immigration and visas disclose all convictions, including “extinguished” convictions, as required by the United States and other countries laws?

    • Anonymous says:

      Not just other countries laws but ours too! For years the police have been issuing clean police clearance certificates to Cayman immigration even though they know some of the persons applying have old convictions. They know the court has ruled that even spent convictions should be disclosed to the Cayman Immigration authorities, but hey, if the police want to do it their way, even if that might mean facilitating a breach of our laws, what are we to do?

  13. Anonymous says:

    I seem to recall the present PPM Government promising a broad e-Government initiative shortly after they took office in 2013. Am I correct? Anyone?

    If so, why has it taken almost their complete term to implement this process in only a single department? Seems like PPM is going head-over-heels in their last few months to address their 2013 Manifesto, which appears to be mainly electioneering, while rushing to create and implement policies without much thought, which will impact us all.

    Nothing rushed can be well done, including our country’s governance!

  14. Anonymous says:

    This announced system is a waste of money. If this is the best this government can deliver after 4 years they should be ashamed. I still have to go to the police station to get the clearance, and now you want me to add to that work to also get my ID documents scanned and uploaded! And then I have to take the paper from the police station to Immigration.

    Immigration should get the police clearance themselves we shouldn’t have to be involved at all! Come on guys, don’t insult our intelligence with this amateur stuff.

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