DSG’s Governance and Innovation Program Participated in the first UAE Government Summit and launched a report titled “New Frontiers for Citizen Engagement: Impact of Social Media on Public Services in the UAE Federal Government”




The Governance and Innovation Program (GIP) at the Dubai School
of Government partnered with the UAE Prime Minister’s Office to conduct a
national survey to examine how the UAE federal government and UAE customers are
utilizing social media tools for service design and delivery. This report aims
to shed light on public attitudes towards the use of social media for services
delivery as well as provide an assessment of the patterns and trends of social
media usage within federal government entities.

The report is intended to provide decision makers with research-based analysis
to help understand the current status of social media utilization in government
entities and the impact on service delivery.

Social Media and
Government Service: Key Findings

Positive attitudes
towards the use of social media prevail amongst UAE citizens and residents
:
Research findings indicate that UAE
customers have high expectations about the advantages of using social media for
service delivery. Most respondents agreed that engagement through social media
for service delivery presented benefits such as increased service
accessibility, improved quality of services, inclusiveness and reduced costs.
The receptiveness of UAE customers to government driven citizen engagement
efforts appears to be high. This presents a fertile ground for government
initiatives aimed at involving citizens in the service design and delivery
process.

Potential to Engage: Usage patterns amongst customers
indicate a gap between customer expectations of social media and
realities. The
research findings indicate that federal government social media pages are
frequently visited by a large number of UAE customers. However, visitors to
these pages are not utilizing them for gathering information on services, engaging
in service delivery or providing feedback on services.

Understanding the
Risks:
UAE customers
appeared aware of the risks involved in the use of social media for service
delivery. Research findings indicate that though UAE customers have high hopes
for the implementation of social media in service delivery, they were aware of
the risks involved in doing so. Cyber security, negative participation, lack of
proficiency by public entities and invalid information all emerged as possible
risks.

State of Social Media
within the UAE Federal Government
:
UAE federal government entities are already utilizing
soci
al media to inform the service design and
delivery process. Most ministries and many UAE federal government institutions
and authorities maintain a
social media presence. Many federal government
respondents to this survey indicated using social media for service design and
delivery. Most entities posted information on their social media pages at least
once a week with many posting several times a day. Currently, social media
pages are primarily used to disseminate information on events, accomplishments
and federal government news. Feedback provision on social media pages remains customer
driven, not embedded within the service design or delivery strategies or
processes.

Resources Allocation:
Resource allocation
for the use of social media in service design and delivery exists but was, in

some cases, limited. Most government entities responding to this survey have
personnel designated for the purpose of managing social media pages and
accounts. However, these employees are in many cases juggling social media
responsibilities with other roles within the organization. Additionally, few
responding entities allocated resources for the collection and analysis of
information from social media pages and accounts.

Framework for
Engagement
:
The UAE E-government
has developed government-wide social media guidelines. Indeed, frameworks for
the use of social media in federal government exist and are implemented by the majority
of responding entities.

To reach its intended outcomes, citizen
engagement for service delivery is dependent on sustained customer
participatio
n in government driven efforts and the leveraging of the knowledge
and experience of customers. Positive public attitudes and customer willingness
to engage through social media is key to exploring the opportunities available
for such initiatives. As such, to harness the potential of this advancement,
government entities need to adapt existing strategies, approaches and
operations and to the service needs and expectations of their citizens.

The link to the Arabic version of the report can be found at: http://www.governmentsummit.ae/assets/images/publications/DSG_report_ARABIC.pdf