Since it was first established in 1993, the Environment Protection Reporting Center’s Public Nuisance Reporting Management System has been responsible for handling the public nuisance complaints that are submitted by members of the public throughout Taiwan via various different channels. Depending on the local government authority that has jurisdiction over the area in question, and the number of complaints received, the System notifies one of the 26 county- and city-level environmental protection agencies to respond to the complaint. During the first eleven months of 2012, the System handled an average of just over 15,000 complaints per month; the System constitutes a vital tool for the various government agencies involved in handling public nuisance cases.
The present project involves the maintenance of the System software environment, in order to ensure that System operations can be carried on normally, with room for further expansion; the project also involves adding 19 new functions to the system this year, in line with operational requirements and the general public’s needs, so as to make the system more convenient to use and enhance administrative performance. During the project implementation period, in order to achieve the building of consensus and effective policy implementation, the following activities have been carried out: 2 training sessions, 1 operations review meeting, 5 other operations-related meetings, and 11 progress report presentations. In every case, these activities were supported by the provision of meeting presentations, lecture materials and handbooks, as well as lecture invitations, etc., so as to speed up the successful achievement of the project’s goals.
In the current fiscal year, as part of the present project, statistics were compiled regarding the results of public nuisance complaint handling in FY2011 and FY2012, and these results were used in communication and the sharing of views with environmental protection authorities, to facilitate the formulation of strategies for enhancing the quality of complaint handling and overcoming obstacles to improved handling. In addition, project implementation in the current fiscal year has also focused on the following key areas, with the aim of providing a more user-friendly, more highly automated platform for on-site auditing and decision-making support:
1. In the present fiscal year, in line with the establishment of the “Minister’s Letter-box Discussion Mechanism” by the Department of Supervision, Evaluation and Dispute Resolution, a “Cases Designated by the Minister for Priority Handling” function has been established. The System automatically selects cases that conform to the relevant criteria, and makes it possible for the heads of individual environmental protection authorities to engage in one-to-one telephone discussions with petitioners, so as to gain a clearer understanding of the grounds for the petitioner’s complaint, thereby making it possible to remedy the situation more thoroughly, eliminate the pollution at source, etc. This new function came online on August 1. So far, a total of 1,570 cases have been designated for priority handling, of which 1,191 have already been dealt with.
2. To keep pace with changing times, on September 1 of this fiscal year the system for handling public nuisance complaints submitted online was overhauled, and the relevant information reorganized, so as to present the general public with a brand-new online complaint service.
3. To reduce the inefficient use of manpower and improve the efficiency with which cases are dealt with, it was decided that the Public Nuisance Reporting Management System would handle all public nuisance complaints received under the 1999 Assignment System, with complaint handling and the process of replying to the members of the public submitting the complaints being centralized under the Public Nuisance Reporting Management System. This has led to a significant reduction in unnecessary waste of effort caused by the creation of duplicate files.
4. In order to gain a clearer understanding of the quality of service provided by the personnel responsible for taking complaint calls at the Bureau of Environmental Inspection’s Northern, Central and Southern regional offices, and at the environmental problem reporting centers of the special municipalities of New Taipei City, Taichung City, Tainan City and Kaohsiung City, and 17 individual counties and cities, telephone call handling quality testing was performed. Telephone courtesy testing has already been completed for the period April – November, with a total of 896 calls being examined.
5. Ongoing follow-up has been performed with respect to repeated complaints, along with analysis of items where low satisfaction has been reported in public opinion surveys. A list of repeated complaint cases has been prepared and submitted to the Bureau of Environmental Inspection’s Northern, Central and Southern regional offices. In addition, every two months details of the percentage of repeated complaint cases that have been successfully dealt with is submitted to the project commissioning party, to help improve the quality of public nuisance complaint handling.
6. Expansion and maintenance of the Public Nuisance Complaint Handling GIS Platform: This involves the integration of GPS (Global Positioning System) and GIS (Geographical Information System) systems, utilizing the revealed locational affinity of complaint cases to support and enhance on-site handling performance by inspection personnel, and making it possible for coordinating managers to designate particular areas as “hotspots” using the zone warning function, on the basis of the density of public nuisance complaints. This new functionality will facilitate the accumulation of experience and the transfer of this experience to new personnel, while also, ideally, making it possible to achieve greater predictive accuracy.