The Registrar-General’s Department (RGD) as a government agency in Ghana, plays an essential function including the registration of Marriages, the incorporation of Companies and Businesses, and the registration of Intellectual Property. As per its mandate, the RGD is to ensure efficient and effective Administration of statutes relating to the registration and regulation of Businesses, Industrial Properties Rights, Marriages, Administration of Estates, and Public Trusts and to provide customer-friendly services and accurate data for national development planning.
In recent years, the Registrar-General’s Department has undergone a significant shift towards digitization, with many of its services now available online. This has helped to improve the efficiency of the Department’s operations making it easier for individuals and businesses to access the services they need. However, the Department has also faced challenges, including the need to ensure the security and privacy of sensitive information stored in digital systems and the need to provide training and capacity-building programs to support staff in the adoption of digital technologies.
Jemima Mamaa Oware, Registrar of Companies (ROC) and immediate past Registrar-General, RGD speaks to the Public Sector Global Magazine.
What inspired the shift towards digitization at the Registrar-General’s Department of Ghana?
Digitization of the Department’s operations was mainly due to increased demand for services, modernizing outdated manual processes, the modernization of government services, and advancements in technology. Digitization was seen as an opportunity to streamline processes, improve efficiency, and make services more accessible and efficient for citizens. The Department recognized the potential benefits of digitization, such as improved accuracy, speed, and convenience, and sought to take advantage of these advancements to improve our services.
Can you provide examples of specific services that have been digitized and their impact on the general public?
The Department has digitized most of our services, including Business registration, Marriage registration, and Estate Administration and Gratuity and Company Name searches. Digitization has reduced the time it takes to complete these processes and efficiency, resulting in economic growth, job creation, and improved family life. It has also made the processes of registration more convenient, resulting in a more conducive business environment.
How has the implementation of digital systems and processes impacted the efficiency and effectiveness of the institution’s operations?
Digitization has led to faster service delivery in the Department. Online processes, including business registration and business record searches, have reduced the time it takes to complete transactions and searches. Digitization has also increased the accuracy of records and improved customer service by making it more convenient for clients to access services. This has increased the number of businesses and company registrations and thereby increased revenue.
What steps have been taken to ensure the security and privacy of sensitive information stored in digital systems?
The Department ensures the security and privacy of sensitive information stored in its digital systems by implementing access controls, encrypting sensitive information, conducting regular audits to detect vulnerabilities, and regularly backing up data to ensure information can be recovered in case of data loss or corruption.
How has the Organization ensured that all stakeholders, including individuals in remote and rural areas, have access to the digital services offered?
We have implemented measures to ensure that all stakeholders, including those in remote and rural areas, have access to the digital services offered. This includes an online portal that can be accessed from anywhere with an internet connection, as well as mobile services that allow stakeholders to access digital services through their mobile phones.
The Department has also implemented outreach programs to educate stakeholders in remote and rural areas on the benefits of digital services and how to access them. Additionally, collaboration with other Organizations, such as Banks and mobile network operators, has been established to provide access to digital services to individuals in remote and rural areas including renewal of Business Names through a short code with a phone. These measures help to ensure that everyone has access to the services they need, regardless of their location.
What training and capacity-building programs have been established to support staff in the adoption of digital technologies?
The Department has adopted training and capacity-building programs to support staff in digital technologies. These programs include digital skills training, eRegistrar training, change management leadership development, technical support, and partnerships with external organizations to provide specialized training. These programs aim to equip staff with the skills and knowledge needed to effectively use digital technologies and support the Department’s overall digital transformation.
How has the Institution worked with other Government Agencies and stakeholders to ensure seamless integration and synchronization of systems and data?
We have taken several steps to ensure seamless integration and synchronization of systems and data with other government agencies and stakeholders. These steps include inter-agency collaborations, standardization of data, data-sharing agreements, technical support, and joint initiatives. The department collaborates with other government agencies to integrate systems and data, ensures data is standardized and can be easily shared, establishes data-sharing agreements, provides technical support, and participates in joint initiatives to promote data sharing and system integration.
What challenges have been encountered during the digitization process, and how have they been addressed?
The digitization process at the Department initially faced challenges, such as resistance to change, technical issues, high costs, data security concerns, and lack of infrastructure. The Department addressed these challenges by providing staff training and education, establishing technical support teams, securing funding from external partners, implementing data protection policies and measures, and working with other Agencies to improve infrastructure and provide access to digital services.
How does the Organization measure the success of its digitization efforts, and what metrics are used to track progress?
We measure the success of our digitization efforts using metrics such as time to complete processes, customer satisfaction, cost savings, system uptime and performance, number of businesses registered in a day and adoption rate. These metrics help to measure the efficiency, quality of service, cost efficiency, reliability, and effectiveness of the Department’s digital systems, as well as the level of awareness and impact of its digital transformation efforts on stakeholders.
Can you share any plans for expanding and improving the digital services offered by this institution?
We plan to expand and improve the Organization’s digital services in various ways, including enhancing its online portal to promote more patronage, introducing mobile apps, integrating with other Government Agencies, expanding e-verification services, deploying digital kiosks, and automating manual processes. These plans aim to provide greater access, efficiency, and improved service delivery for customers.
By: Public Sector Globa Magazine