Implementation of the new Public Service strategy for the next five years started today, during a conference held as part of Public Service Week 2022, themed ‘Investing in Quality’. The conference focused on Artificial Intelligence, Data and Information, and Service Facilitation, with participants divided into cohorts to discuss the measures outlined in the strategy relating to these areas.
Delivering the opening speech of the conference, Principal Permanent Secretary Mario Cutajar said that the strategy, titled ‘Achieving a Service of Excellence’, contains 45 measures that build on what has been achieved during the past nine years to transform the Public Service into one of excellence. Among the measures discussed today was the role of Artificial Intelligence in the Public Service; measuring and improving the concept of First Contact Resolution to serve clients immediately; and the implementation of other measures such as the Once Only Principle, where clients are asked to provide their details only once, not having to repeat the same information on various forms for different services.
Mr Cutajar said technology offers unlimited possibilities and the benefits include a personalised service, easier processes and informed decision-making based on scientific data. The great amount of work accomplished over the last nine years that led to accessible public services anywhere and anytime is largely due to an unprecedented investment in technology.
The new strategy which has now started being implemented lists a series of measures that will revolutionise the way the Public Service manages and retains data. At the same time, in every step taken, priority must be given to ethics and to accountability in such a way that clients are given the opportunity to access what data the Public Service possesses about them, how it was used, by whom and when. Clients will also be kept informed about the progress of their applications or requests in real time, among other measures, Mr Cutajar said.
He also mentioned that there were 3.5 million interactions between the public and servizz.gov during 2021, with 272,000 walk-ins at regional hubs, 833,500 phone calls, 44,600 emails, 54,200 Maltapps downloads, and 2.5 million website views.
A memorandum of understanding was signed just before the start of the conference, providing for training of public officers leading to increased knowledge in the field of Artificial Intelligence.