Better data for planning service delivery in PNG


Text messages could replace paper forms to collect data for planning better service delivery in Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea and Australia have trialed using mobile phone text messages to collect data from 35 District Courts across PNG.

Court clerks texted information about cases referred by District Courts to Village Courts.

Over two months, the survey collected data on more than 200 imprisonment orders in 35 courts, compared with a previous 12 month paper survey that collected data from one court.

The project by Magisterial Services and the Village Courts and Land Mediation Secretariat, in the Department of Justice and Attorney General, will help to inform future policy on imprisonment orders.

Minister-Counsellor, Development Cooperation at the Australian High Commission PNG, James Hall, said the trial showed the potential of using existing technology to monitor service delivery in PNG.
“The best test of policy effectiveness is when you can provide some evidence through good monitoring,” Mr Hall said.

“I expect a range of PNG Government agencies and non-government organisations will be keen to learn more about how to use mobile phones for data collection.”

Chief Magistrate, Ms Nerrie Eliakim, said the project has provided information that was not available in the past.
“Service delivery in rural areas is vital, as this is where most of the people live”.
“However, the Magisterial Services cannot effectively carry out its mandated function without having easier access to relevant data on its District Courts, as well as knowing what the Village Courts are doing,” Ms Eliakim said.
She said the relationship and timely sharing of information between District Courts and Village Courts is also quite crucial.

The Secretary of the Department of Justice and Attorney General, Dr Lawrence Kalinoe, said the data collected from the text messages will be put to good use.
“The Government of Papua New Guinea is committed to improving service delivery, and we will use the data gathered through this new means to make a real impact in the lives of all our people,” Dr Kalinoe said.

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