JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Registrar General’s Department (RGD), is undergoing a transformation with a number of initiatives that has helped to improve service delivery and reduce the number of customer complaints.
  • A recent survey undertaken by the agency indicates a 95 percent customer service satisfaction. It also revealed that 87 percent of the respondents agreed that Customer Service Representatives gave accurate and clear information to the public, while 80 percent said that the RGD staff members were courteous and pleasant.
  • Today, certificates can be delivered within 24 hours or three days of application using the Express Service at the RGD, compared to previous years when there were crowds, long lines and touts promising quicker service.

The Registrar General’s Department (RGD), is undergoing a transformation with a number of initiatives that has helped to improve service delivery and reduce the number of customer complaints.

The entity, responsible for storing records of birth, marriage, still birth and death in Jamaica, began its service enhancement plan in 1999 when it became an Executive Agency of the government.

A recent survey undertaken by the agency indicates a 95 percent customer service satisfaction.  It also revealed that 87 percent of the respondents agreed that Customer Service Representatives gave accurate and clear information to the public, while 80 percent said that the RGD staff members were courteous and pleasant.

The increased use of technology has gone a far way in improving service delivery at its head office located at Twickenham Park, St. Catherine and nine regional offices across the island.

Persons are able to make online application and payment for services such as birth, death and marriage certificates as well as genealogical research in the comfort of their homes and offices. This is a marked difference from 10 years ago when both local and international customers could only submit applications by visiting an RGD office or by mail.

Customers welcomed the move and statistics show that between 2008 and 2015, the RGD received a total of 514, 170 online applications.

The Agency also introduced an Application Tracking System, in April 2003, which allowed the client to track the status of an application from submission through production and delivery.

Today, certificates can be delivered within 24 hours or three days of application using the Express Service at the RGD, compared to previous years when there were crowds, long lines and touts promising quicker service.

Production Manager at the RGD, Desmond Davis is encouraging persons to use the online services.

“It would make it a lot easier for the other persons who we have to deal with, like those who are coming in with a Late Entry of Name and a Correction of Error or a Late Registration,” he said.

Speed Turn Around Times

There is also the introduction of the, “Quick Print” application developed for repeat customers requesting birth, marriage and death certificates.

Mr. Davis explains that if the application was made for certificates that have been issued before and the information on the system is correct, these documents are easily retrievable and can be generated quickly within the stipulated delivery time.

Apart from the online access, the agency now has a Mobile Customer Service Unit aimed at taking the RGD’s services to persons who are unable to visit its offices, especially those in rural Jamaica.

When the unit goes out, customers can apply for birth, death and marriage certificates and receive guidance with record updating services such as late registration, late entry of name, addition of father’s particulars (status), correction of error and re-registration.

The RGD has also developed a weekly schedule for its outreach programme, which targets senior citizens and pre-natal clinics.

In addition, it has instituted the Free First Birth Certificate aimed at having all children named and fully registered as another major initiative.

“If you register your child and name your child within the birthing institution then you are given a free copy of the birth certificate,” Mr. Davis explains. He adds that this was implemented to ensure that registrations are done and the father’s particulars added to the certificate

In 2007, the agency introduced Bedside Registration in 32 birthing centres island wide. Prior to this, approximately 50 percent of fathers attended the registration to add their particulars. As at March 2014, bedside registration reached 98 percent for children born in birthing centres.

Mr. Davis says these initiatives have impacted the operations of the agency, and the RGD is now seeing a decline in application intake at its offices. Previously, he said the agency was forced to implement more than three shifts per day to meet the needs of its customers.

“Today, we don’t have so many applications, so we don’t have many shifts. In those days we would have had over 360,000 applications per year in 2001. Our applications have fallen off and now down to  188,466 in 2014, ” he says, adding that the influx of persons for birth certificates usually occur before a new school year, farm work programmes and any other major annual event.

Public Education

Public Education is also a big part of its service delivery. The agency keeps the public informed through its radio programme, “RGD and You”, postings on Facebook and Website.

The entity has been recognised for its good customer service efficiency and won the award for the Best Modernised Entity in the Public Sector Customer Service Competition 2012/13, which falls under the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Programme (PSTM).

The competition is one of the strategies implemented by Government to achieve higher levels of service delivery in public sector entities.

“They have shown that they are dedicated to serving the customer better and have come up with new initiatives to try to improve the quality of service the customers are experiencing as they interact with them,” Acting Senior Director of the Modernisation Programme Implementation Unit of the PSTM , Cabinet Office, Michele Gordon-Somers says.

The transformation and modernisation of the RGD also forms part of the PSTM. It is one of several public sector entities that have participated in a number of Business Process Re-engineering seminars organised by the Office of the Cabinet.

Mrs. Gordon–Somers says the seminars are a critical component in the PSTM programme, which has a mandate to create a public sector “that is proactively service-oriented and focused on ensuring that continuous improvement of its services is maintained.”

“They are also on our customer service monitoring and evaluation system so they have taken part in the training we have put on at MIND for implementing the system and they took part in the whole process of setting KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and targets and standards,” she added.

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