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90% of UAE citizens & residents are overwhelmingly happy with government services, finds new report by Serco Institute

Published: 19 Apr 2021

A new report launching think tank the Serco Institute in the UAE has found that citizens and residents in the country are overwhelmingly happy with the quality of public services they use.

Based on analysis of a ground-breaking nation-wide survey of UAE citizens and residents, the Serco Institute found that an astonishing 90% of people described themselves as being ‘somewhat’ or ‘very’ happy with the government services they had used in the past two years.

The Serco Institute – originally established by international public services organisation Serco which has a core offering in the Middle East of workforce, data and digital asset management –undertakes research into public service design, development and delivery in order to help governments create better and more innovative solutions across a range of services for citizens and residents.

Phil Malem, CEO of Serco Middle East said,

“We are very excited about the launch of the Serco Institute in the UAE. The insights they generate will help the Government and their partners, such as Serco, deliver the services citizens and residents want. As Dubai undergoes its journey towards a 5.8 million resident population by 2040, the insights of the Serco Institute will help identify the innovations, ideas and issues that define government services for these residents now and in the future. Through our user-centred design agency, ExperienceLab and now with the addition of the Serco Institute, the UAE can benefit from direct citizen insight, in addition to international public service expertise in designing the future of government services.”

The think tank’s report, Transformation, digitisation & happiness: Public opinion on UAE government services is the first output from the Serco Institute in the Emirates with a series of reports and research planned for release throughout the year.

The think tank’s report also outlines findings that people felt services could be ‘generic’ and sometimes lacked ‘attentiveness’, but that these issues could be solved by creating more digital access.

The first-of-its-kind research also found a close relationship between the overall happiness of residents and citizens, and the quality of government services. 85% of people said their experience of government services impacts their overall happiness. The majority of respondents also said that one bad experience with services provided by the government also effects their ‘trust’ in government service more generally.

The research indicates that whilst people are largely happy with the current quality of UAE government services, they want increased digital access, more unified platforms (multiple services accessible from a single app, website or location), and greater personalisation.

Central to the report’s seven recommendations is the conclusion that  despite the UAE Government being on the right path as they continue to transform services, careful management is needed, utilising service-user insight, the support of the private sector and other external partners to ensure the quality of delivery is maintained and enhanced. This is particularly important, the research finds, due to the close relationship between government services and the happiness and trust of citizens and residents.

Serco Institute Director Kate Steadman, said:

“Our research shows UAE citizens and residents are overwhelmingly happy with the quality of services they are receiving from Government.

That said, service users want to see more unification, personalisation and digitisation. The UAE is on a strong trajectory as it develops solutions to meet these demands, but as the Government continues to transform how it delivers services, it faces the twin challenges of maintaining quality in services that are not changing, while ensuring new initiatives are a success as soon as they are launched. The research shows that the trust of citizens and residents cannot be taken for granted, and with one bad experience they can lose faith in government services – which in turn impacts their happiness and also has significant consequences for the wider transformation of services. It may be important, therefore, for the UAE Government to draw on all the insights and support possible as it continues its transformation of government services – from developing a deep understanding of user-experience, through to leveraging the innovation of the private sector.”

Read the full report here:

You can listen here to Ben O’Keefe, Deputy Director of Serco Institute, discussing the results with H.E Mohammed Bin Taliah, Chief of Government Services of the UAE Government, and Phil Malem, CEO of Serco Middle East.

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The Serco Institute –

We are a think tank working to help governments develop the next generation of public service solutions for citizens. We do this through developing research and insight on public services internationally and through trialling innovation in service design. Established by Serco, the Institute delivers independent thinking with partners across industry, academia and government.

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