Tri Rismaharini, Mayor of Surabaya City, Indonesia

By Medha Basu

Women in GovTech Special Report 2016.

How do you use technology to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organization.

We have been transforming most of Surabaya city government’s public services using technology, particularly information and communication technology. We started this six years ago with the aim to improve the quality of life for the people of Surabaya.

For example, people can register and process personal documents online, such as birth and death certificates, migration report and marriage certificate etc. This is available through the Population and Civil Registry Agency’s website, and also via self-service kiosks provided at every district and sub-district office.

Another interesting programme is the Surabaya Single Window, which integrates all processes for getting permits and licences issued by the Surabaya City Government.

In the education sector, students’ registration, examination, and evaluation have also been made available online. New students can enroll for school, while teachers and parents can enter and access exam results online. And in the health sector, we provide the Surabaya e-Health System to register patients and get queue tickets online for hospitals and public health centres.

The outcome of this technology transformation has been very clear: we have managed to raise the capacity, quality, transparency, and accountability of public services. On the other hand, the morale and integrity of government officers have also been positively affected.

What has been the most exciting thing that you worked on in 2016?

We built and launched the Surabaya Command Centre on 2016. This is an integrated government services control centre which can be accessed by the public using the 112 hotline. This programme now has been adopted as a national model for comprehensive and integrated public services.

Another exciting programme in 2016 was in the education sector, where Surabaya has successfully organised computer-based national examinations for elementary, junior high school, and senior high school students.

We believe that the achievement was not so much the use of technology alone, but more importantly, the positive impact on students’ ethical conduct and teachers’ integrity.

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2017?

We will expand and provide most government services through mobile apps. For instance, registration of personal documents will be made available via mobile apps, in addition to the website and e-kiosks.

All permits and licences issued through the Surabaya Single Window can already be accessed using an app called SSW Mobile. We also have an eHealth Surabaya app available on the Google Play Store, so that citizens can get these services anytime and anywhere.

Mobile apps will also be provided for other services, like inquiries on collections at the Surabaya City public library. This will save time and create ease of access which also increase the effectiveness and efficiencies of Surabaya City government services.

If you were to share one piece of advice that you learned in 2016, what would it be?

Nothing is impossible as long as we have strong commitment and the guts to do it.

The classic obstacles faced by local governments while promoting the use of technology are mainly a lack of budget and low human resource capacities. But Surabaya’s experience has shown that we can do this technology transformation with a relatively low budget, while effectively maximising the potential of our internal human resources. The key to success is shared commitment and confidence from the top to bottom.

Who is your hero and why?

My parents are my heroes, especially my mother. They have shaped and taught me to become hard-working, persistent, caring, and open-minded, with a strong spirit to learn and stay committed.

And finally, if you could recommend us one place to eat, where would it be?

There are many places to eat in Surabaya and we have built many culinary centres throughout the city. Please try our traditional menus such as rawon, rujak cingur and tahu campur, which are available at most culinary centres in Surabaya.