Wednesday 2 December, 2020

Online processes drive the efficiency of the government in Cayman

Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under‑Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs has said that “The pandemic has renewed and anchored the role of digital government — both in its conventional delivery of digital services as well as new innovative efforts in managing the crisis.” 

This has certainly been the case of the delivery of online government services in the Cayman Islands.

In his delivery of the 2019 annual report of the Ministry of Commerce, Planning and Infrastructure, on October 14, Hon. Minister Joey Hew detailed a variety of digital services offered by the Cayman Islands Government. Needless to say, the foundation that was built in the months prior to the pandemic ensured the successful and efficient delivery of government services during the shut downs and lockdowns of the pandemic.

In 2019, the Department of Planning refined its online planning system to offer enhanced features. The planning portal now facilitates most of the Department’s planning activities, from the issuance of certificates of occupancy to payment collection.

It has reduced the need for members of the public to attend the planning counter and has allowed technical personnel to focus on substantive areas of work rather than administrative duties.

One of the main advantages of the online planning system is the ability to track processes. Documents entering work queues are date stamped. They have a movement trail that is auditable, and there is backup capabilities to ensure documents are not misplaced or deleted. These features have delivered significant improvements to staff and customers, including timeliness of service and enhanced customer experience.

In 2019, the E-Government Services Unit completed significant work on the National Identification System with the register of natural persons which is a key prerequisite project to uniquely document all residents of the Islands electronically. Work also progressed on the Government’s X-Road initiative, which is crucial to the development of various online systems that augment Cayman's overall system security.

E-Services have enabled cargo customs to process over five thousand monthly declarations. Ninety-two percent of these are now completed through the online process.

Similarly, over ninety-six percent of company registrations, annual reports and director changes are now being processed digitally.

The online criminal records certificate process was one of the E-Government Services early projects.

At the Department of Vehicle and Driver’s Licensing, text message reminders for expiring vehicle licences help to ensure compliance with the law. Nearly 8,000 reminders were sent out during the first full month of operation, and the system continues to assist the public by reminding them of expiring documents in a timely manner.

More recently, the General Registry commenced its rollout of e-services to various clients. This is part of an initial launch, which will be expanded through further development.

"E-Government allows us to deliver more services within shorter periods than would be otherwise be possible using conventional service delivery methods. The small unit is making a big impact as we journey along the digital sphere through strength and prosperity," said Minister Hew.

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