Enhancing Subnational Implementation Of Public Access To Information And Complaint Handling

Three men standing around a table in a session for signing the commitment to implement the work plan related to PPID and SP4N-LAPOR!

Three men standing around a table in a session for signing the commitment to implement the work plan related to PPID and SP4N-LAPOR!

“Public information disclosure and effective complaint handling are pre-requisite for good local governance and public service improvement.” 

Benni Irwan, Head of the Information Center of the Ministry of Home Affairs 


Freedom of Information and complaint handling mechanisms are not new in Indonesia. Indonesia enacted the Law on Transparency of Public Information in 2008, which guarantees that citizens have maximum access to public information, with only limited exceptions. The Government of Indonesia has established its Online Aspiration and Complaint Service as a part of the National Public Service Complaint Handling System, SP4N-LAPOR! (Sistem Pengelolaan Pengaduan Pelayanan Publik Nasional – Layanan Aspirasi dan Pengaduan Online Rakyat), since 2013. However, while there has certainly been progress in the implementation of the two basic governance principles of transparency and public participation, various areas for improvement are identified.  

USAID ERAT identified this issue in its national and provincial-level Local Governance and Public Service Assessments conducted in 2021. Many subnational governments are still reluctant to provide access to information, let alone actively disseminating information to their citizens. The SP4N-LAPOR! platform is not widely known or used by citizens to actively raise complaints about public service performance. While the subnational governments have incentives to establish Public Information and Documentation Management Officers (Pejabat Pengelola Informasi dan Dokumentasi, PPID) as well as to adopt SP4N-LAPOR! and assign its subnational operators, they do not have adequate incentives for ensuring these are well implemented.  

USAID ERAT has included improving access to public information and complaint handling performance in its overall implementation framework, but until August 2022 the response from the subnational governments had been lukewarm. The situation changed after the Information Center (Pusat Penerangan or PUSPEN) of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MOHA) started taking action. PUSPEN is responsible for supervising and improving the capacity of PPIDs and SP4N-LAPOR! operators at the subnational level.  

In September 2022, PUSPEN managed to get a circular letter issued by its supervisor, the Secretary General of MOHA, to request all six provincial governments and 30 local governments supported by USAID ERAT to appoint persons in charge (PICs) for improving access to information and complaint handling mechanisms as a part of the Activity. This was followed by a workshop held in Surabaya in February 2023 to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by the provincial and local governments and to formulate detailed action plans to enhance their performance on access to information and complaint handling.  

PUSPEN of MOHA also used the workshop to enhance collaboration among the central government ministries and agencies jointly responsible for improving access to information and complaint handling. The Ministry of Administrative and Bureaucracy Reform, which is responsible for overall SP4N-LAPOR! implementation, was represented by its Deputy Minister for Public Services and the Assistant Deputy Minister. The former opened the workshop and emphasized the importance of increasing SP4N-LAPOR! performance, as its response rate was still 75% in 2022, while the national target is 90% in 2024. The commissioners of the national Ombudsman and Central Information Commission, together with prominent academics and civil society activists, as well as good-performing subnational governments also presented their views, opinions and experiences to more than 100 participants from the six provincial governments and 30 local governments supported by USAID ERAT.  

USAID ERAT facilitated the participants of the workshop to discuss progress, challenges, and efforts to improve the implementation of SP4N-LAPOR! and public information disclosure and to formulate action plans.The support is continued after the workshop. A WhatsApp group was established for all PICs, relevant USAID ERAT team members, and the Head and staff of PUSPEN of MOHA to allow intensive coordination.  

The workshop was a game changer. The workshop inspired the subnational governments to get on their feet and begin implementing the action plans. USAID ERAT and PUSPEN of MOHA received abundant requests from subnational governments in supporting the implementation of their action plans, particularly in improving their SP4N-LAPOR! performance. Some of the support was provided within less than two months after the workshop. In addition to improving the capacity of SP4N-LAPOR! operators in responding to complaints in a timely manner, several local governments were supported to improve the inclusiveness of the complaint platform by expanding outreach to communities, including vulnerable groups such as persons with disability (PWDs).  

USAID ERAT, in partnership with PUSPEN of MOHA, as well as other relevant ministries and agencies will continue supporting the subnational governments in improving public access to information and complaint mechanism performance, as well as in improving the capacity of the central government in monitoring and providing supports to the subnational governments to maximize outcomes.

    Share this article on :

    Related Articles

    Wordpress Social Share Plugin powered by Ultimatelysocial