VIEWPOINT- Service delivery worthy of public acknowledgement

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IT’S not often that public servants get acknowledged for services they provide every day for the benefit of Solomon Islanders. 

They work under stressful conditions, often struggling with equipment that don’t work. 

And, they get paid peanuts.  Yet they are the first to be criticised for a slip in service delivery, just because the phone didn’t work or it was so hot to do any work.  

Anyway, if it’s worth anything, I wish to share this experience I had with an IRD officer and an FID officer. 

On Thursday 17th June, 2021 I was sent an email by the Ministry of Commerce asking me to complete the vendor form and revert to them. 

Because I had another preoccupation to attend to I didn’t see the email until later in the evening.

I opened the email, completed the vendor form and send it back to the officer who had emailed me. 

In the email I said I had completed a similar form previously so I thought my TIN number would be at the Treasury Division. 

Next day which was Friday 18th June, sensing that something was not quite right I opened my email and there was a reply to my email. 

The officer had insisted that their accounts has to have a copy of the TIN letter to be attached to the requisition for payment of my fees which they were sending down to MOFT. 

That definitely was a problem for me as I had misplaced my copy of the TIN letter.

Anyway knowing exactly where I can get a replacement I rushed down to the IRD not bothering to check the time. 

At the gate I was told its lunch time but the officers sometimes work during lunch so I can go in and tried my luck.

I went in and sure enough the officers had left for lunch.  Counter 4 was the right counter to get assistance from.

Seeing it empty I gave an audible sigh of disappointment and sat down to take a rest on the benches provided. 

As I was resting, the person who had been served at Counter 3 (manned by another IRD Officer) walked by clearly satisfied at the service he received. 

I looked at the good lady officer as she was setting off for lunch. 

She looked back at me and respectfully asked, can I help you?

I nodded hopefully, she waved me over and I quickly beckoned across to Counter 3.

“Sorry wantok”,  “I need a TIN letter but I see you are heading off for lunch.” I said. 

“Oh”, she said “woman na hem save but hem go for lunch na”.

“Write come name blo U” she asked.

I reached for a slip of cut paper left there at the counter for that purpose and wrote out my name.

She took the paper, typed on her computer and she read something from her screen. 

“Yea that one” I said.  I heard her printer humming and discerned she was printing.  The next minute she handed me the very letter I was after.

I took it happily, and thanked her graciously.  As I was heading back to my vehicle I couldn’t help appreciate the wonderful attendance I just witnessed. 

A great change in customer service and a commitment to service delivery! I looked up to the skies and silently said “Thank you Lord”.  I know these were small steps in what could be a broad domino effect that can improve service delivery in the public service.

I got into my car and drove off to the FID, the agent that needed the letter. 

I went to the FID office and looked in at the counter. 

I saw the officer I wanted to see was not there so I turned to go back when at the corner of my eyes I saw another officer approaching the counter. 

He opened the window and confirmed to me that Sially had gone to do an errand at the school where her kids attended. 

He saw I had papers with me and asked if he can help.  I told him what I wanted and he took the papers. 

He tried to photocopy something for me but their machine didn’t work.  He asked me to wait as he hurried to another room.

He returned with the photocopy and apologized. I thanked him and left really touched that I had been served during lunch time. 

This was a huge turn around. 

Before, lunchtime is lunch time, no work and one had to come back at 1pm, sometimes much later. 

This is really different, I was smiling as I left.

Whoever is helping to change customer service delivery in both offices has my full support and best wishes. 

I say bravo, well done and Good luck! 

Continue the good work for our nation…..