Registration and Complaints Handling Mechanism (BF0005)
Action Plan: Burkina Faso Action Plan 2017-2019
Action Plan Cycle: 2017
Lead Institution: Ministry of public administration, employment and social Welfare (MFPTPS)
Support Institution(s): 5 ministerial departments concerned, UNDP, World bank, OCS
Policy AreasCapacity Building, E-Government, Public Participation, Social Accountability, Sustainable Development Goals
What is the public issue for which the commitment is made to address??: Absence of complaints or recourse mechanism at the level of public administration Poor citizen involvement in the improvement of public administration; What is the commitment?: Stake : Citizen involvement in the improvement of the quality of public administration Overall objective : improving citizen involvement in the provision of public service Expected result : 5 ministerial departmenst have at their disposal mechanisms for complaints recording; How will this commitment contribute towards addressing the public issue?: This commitment will enable to: • Provide the reception services of ministerial departments with mechanisms for complaints recording • Process the complaints of users • Improve the quality of public administration The reception services of ministerial departments will be provided with computer hardware and office consumables. Therefore a skilled personnel will be trained so as to strengthen these services. All this will enable to receive appropriately users and collect their complaints. Furthermore a platform will be put online to directly collect complaints. All the complaints will then be processed and appropriate responses will be publicly posted and enforced. Then users will contribute to improve the quality of public administration.; Why this commitment is relevant in terms PGO values?: This commitment is appropriate because : • it creates a space where citizens will come and inquire about public action • it contributes to conflict prevention • the opportunity offered to citizens to give their opinions on the quality of public service provision is a form of citizen involvement • the processing of users’ complaints enables the administration to report on its management, therefore accountability.; Additional details: • Connection with Line 1 of PNDES • Connection with the ten year strategic plan of administration modernization • Connection with the national Strategy of good governance promotion • Connection with ODD 16
IRM Midterm Status Summary
5. Setting up a registration and complaints handling mechanism within ministry departments
Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:
“Setting up a registration and complaints handling mechanism within ministry departments”
Stake: Citizen involvement in the improvement of the quality of public administration
Overall objective: improving citizen involvement in the provision of public service
Expected result: 5 ministerial departments have at their disposal mechanisms for complaints recording
Provide reception services of 5 ministerial departments with a mechanism for complaints recording
Setting up an online platform to collect opinions/complaints of citizens
Setting up a committee for complaint processing
Start Date: November 2017 End Date: June 2019
Editorial Note: the commitment description provided above is an abridged version of the commitment text, please see the full action plan here
Context and Objectives
This commitment seeks to increase citizen engagement for improving public services and address limitations citizens face in filing complaints with government agencies. In 2016, Burkina Faso ranked 143 out of 191 countries in the E-Participation Index (EPI), with a score of 0.2373 on a scale between 0 and 1.  This metric measures the extent that civil society can access government information and services through online tools and participate in decision-making processes. Burkina Faso’s score suggests civil society does not fully benefit from online government services. According to the latest available figures from Burkina Faso’s Ombudsman Office, as of 2014, 338 out of 560 non-resolved complaints (58.38%) concerned government agencies and ministries.  A government source noted that citizens sometimes have difficulty accessing public services due to inappropriate and inconsistent registration and management of complaints by civil servants. This challenge has led to recriminations by the citizens against civil servants.  A member of the Technical Implementation Committee stated that government agencies merely forward complaints among themselves, pushing citizens to appeal to social media to publicly express their frustration.  In the 2017−2019 OGP National Action Plan, the government acknowledged the absence of a complaint mechanism at the public level. 
To that end, the commitment’s objective is to improve citizen involvement in the provision of public services. The government expects that registration tools for submitting complaints will be available within five ministerial departments. This commitment includes the following activities: a) providing reception services in five ministerial departments with a mechanism to record complaints; b) setting up an online platform to collect citizens’ opinions and complaints; and c) setting up a committee for processing complaints. Through these activities, the government aims to provide citizens with tools to submit complaints, as well as to effectively address citizens’ complaints regarding the provision of public services.
This commitment is relevant to the OGP values of civic participation, technology, and innovation for transparency and accountability. Activity number two uses a technological tool−an online platform−for registering and processing citizens’ complaints. The platform will foster public engagement with ministerial provision of public services. In the same vein, the commitment is relevant to the OGP value of public accountability as activity number three envisions developing a special committee for addressing complaints from users. According to the action plan, “all the complaints will then be processed and appropriate responses will be publicly posted and enforced.”  A government self-assessment states that the committee tasked processing complaints will “verify that all complaints submitted receive an appropriate answer; make recommendations to technical structures to improve the management of complaints; [and] prepare a periodic report on complaints management to be shared with ministries and institutions representatives. The creation, powers and faculties of this committee will be defined by decree.” 
As written in the action plan, the activities and expected results of this commitment are specific enough to be verifiable. However, the commitment doesn’t clarify what ministerial departments will be involved, nor whether the complaint registration tool and the online platform are meant to be the same.
If implemented as planned, the commitment will provide a previously absent mechanism for processing complaints at the public service level and address the low level of citizen engagement to improve public service delivery, although not to a full extent. Therefore, the potential impact for this commitment is graded as minor. According to a member from Burkina Faso’s Permanent Secretariat of Modernization of Management and Good Governance, the committee will monitor the status of complaints received and responses provided through statistics and reports. Institutions will have 10 days to address citizens’ concerns and citizens will be able to call upon officials if the deadline is not observed. In his view, the commitment could help improve the quality of public services by communicating with users, taking into account citizens’ recommendations, and promoting a culture of good governance within public officials.  Nevertheless, the commitment lacks specifics on deadlines, the committee’s functions (particularly regarding responding to complaints), the development of monitoring and evaluation statistics, and guidelines governing the use of the complaint registration tool.
The commitment does not describe the procedure, methodology, or regularity of the committee reports. The commitment lacks a specific activity describing how the committee’s statistical system will collect data, be maintained, and be used to provide both the government and citizens with current data. The commitment also lacks a budget line for maintaining the online platform. While the commitment and additional information sources provide an indication that the report has a public accountability component, there are still some aspects that could be improved. The action plan does not mention which five departments will be involved, nor how their staff will be trained and equipped to address an influx of e-complaints. There is also no activity describing how they will transition from processing paper-based complaints to online requests.
This commitment aims to increase citizen participation by providing citizens a mechanism for complaints about public services. As the UNDP and the West Africa Panos Institute  stress, in order to encourage citizen participation in e-governance initiatives, this has to be explained and understood by citizens as well as leaders. 
The commitment could be potentially impactful in the long term if the complaints mechanism is effective. It could provide citizens with tools to demand better delivery of services from government institutions. However, the scope of this commitment could be expanded by clarifying which ministerial departments will be involved and by including clear mechanisms for providing responses to citizens’ complaints. IRM recommends the following suggestions:
- Explicitly state which ministerial departments will develop the mechanisms for processing complaints.
- Develop a monitoring and evaluation system of statistics, derived from the online complaints platform, to track how many complaints are received, processed, pending, and delayed, in order to detect bottlenecks and improve management.
- Include specific activities to counsel citizens on submitting applications, train civil servants for processing and managing complaints, and support the government in addressing both online and paper complaints.
- Clarify the difference between the complaint registration tool and the online platform tool and describing their maintenance procedures.
- Elaborate on the committee’s oversight functions, procedures, and goals.
- Establish complaint centers for individuals residing in the provinces, given that these citizens constitute the majority of individuals who submit complaints.  Since the complaint systems will be incorporated within the five ministerial departments, rural citizens may be prevented from submitting if the ministerial departments are located at the capital city.
 The E-Participation Index assesses how a national government performs at enabling participation by providing individuals with information; how well a country engages individuals in debating policies and services; and how effective a country is in empowering citizens with decision and policy-making opportunities. United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations E-Government Survey 2016 (New York: United Nations, 2016) 141, 142, 171, http://workspace.unpan.org/sites/Internet/Documents/UNPAN96407.pdf.  “2014 Activity Report”, Burkina Faso Ombudsman’s Office, 2014, http://www.mediateurdufaso.org/les-rapports.html. Pp 26-28.  Government officials, email from Sidi Barry (Permanent Secretariat of Modernization of Management and Good Governance) to IRM researcher. 26 February 2019.  Tinto Idriss (Open Burkina Project), interview by IRM researcher. 15 February 2019.  Ministry of civil service, employment and social welfare (Burkina Faso), 2017-2019 National Plan of Actions (OGP, Oct. 2017) p. 13, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/sites/default/files/Burkina-Faso_Action-Plan_2017-2019_EN.pdf.  Ministry of civil service, employment and social welfare (Burkina Faso), 2017-2019 National Plan of Actions.  Open Government Partnership, 2017-2019 National Action Plan Implementation Report (Nov. 2018).  Government officials, email.  E-Governance and citizen participation in West Africa: Challenges and Opportunities (UNDP, West Africa Panos Institute, 2009) 74, http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/Democratic%20Governance/IParticipation/e-Governance%20and%20Citizen%20Paticipation%20in%20West%20Africa%20(UNDP-IPAO%20Report%20English).pdf. (Since the 2000s, The West Africa Panos Institute has been working in the region to support media, communication and public spaces. It is affiliated with the Panos Institute in Paris, that has supported political pluralism in media. See http://www.presseetcite.info/ressource/associationsgroupes-dinfluence/institut-panos-paris.)  E-Governance and citizen participation in West Africa: Challenges and Opportunities (UNDP, West Africa Panos Institute, 2009) 74, http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/Democratic%20Governance/IParticipation/e-Governance%20and%20Citizen%20Paticipation%20in%20West%20Africa%20(UNDP-IPAO%20Report%20English).pdf. (Since the 2000s, The West Africa Panos Institute has been working in the region to support media, communication and public spaces. It is affiliated with the Panos Institute in Paris, that has supported political pluralism in media. See http://www.presseetcite.info/ressource/associationsgroupes-dinfluence/institut-panos-paris.)  Malick Lingani, Member of the OGP Technical Committee for Implementation, interview by IRM researcher. 14 February 2019.