The city of Surabaya in Indonesia has won both the ‘Data Centre’ and ‘Digital Inclusion’ awards in this year’s annual FutureGov Awards, for their successful Media Centre and Broadband Learning Centre.

The FutureGov Awards are the international benchmark by which public sector innovation is judged – uniquely celebrating agency and project success, as well as the most successful city modernisation programmes in the region. This year, the Awards attracted over 650 nominations from government, education and healthcare organisations throughout Asia.

The city of Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia, with a population of over 3.1 million people. In order to keep the city sustainable and liveable, the city government has been leveraging ICT to improve public service delivery and citizen engagement.

Surabaya Mayor Tri Rismaharini received the awards on stage and thanked FutureGov and the panel of judges for recognising their efforts in public sector modernisation.

“These awards are for the people of Surabaya city. It is a clear indicator of the city’s pursuit for innovation, inclusion and engagement. The Media Centre for example, has earned us a very high public satisfaction index and is now a citizen engagement model we hope other cities can look up to.” The Mayor told FutureGov that before it was established, the complaint management and information system of the city government was inconvenient and time-consuming.

“The access was not convenient for the citizens as they have to come directly to the office and follow a lengthy and time-consuming process of filing a letter of complaint. Furthermore, it was also very costly and not environment friendly as we waste a lot of paper doing this.”

“This has caused dissatisfaction towards the city government’s services and caused difficulties for the city government to gather citizen feedback which would be valuable inputs in determining policies.”

After taking inspiration from McDonald’s quick call response, the city government established a central clearing house where citizens can send their feedback and complaints, either by phone, SMS, website, social media, email and fax.

“It brought new insight in the way citizens communicate with government. This eventually enabled us to earn the trust of the citizens thereby increasing participation and engagement especially from the youth, because of how we use Facebook and Twitter.”

She also shared how their Broadband Learning Centre (BLC) is helping make sure all citizens of Surabaya are able to enjoy the benefits of ICT and are not left behind.

“The BLC was established to make sure our citizens especially those coming from poor households are able to leverage ICT to help them with their education, jobs, and day-to-day activities.”

“For example, an urban farming group makes use of BLC to help with planting techniques and to identify suppliers of seed and markets for their fruits and vegetables, shipping costs, etc. It also helps Small and Medium Enterprises who do not have rooms to display its products internationally to promote their products by online media.”

Additionally, BLC also hosts educational workshops for school dropouts and teachers in order to upgrade their ICT skills.