Yowzit: Online ratings service for public services in South Africa
“Yowzit allows citizens to share experiences easily and encourages them to become active participants in monitoring and holding public servants to account.” —Pramod Mohanlal, Yowzit
reviews of public services on the Yowzit platform (July 2015)
citizens engaging with Yowzit every month
July 2014 End date
Just as inefficient communication and incomplete information can plague the relationship between businesses and their customers, these issues are also key challenges to a good relationship between governments and their citizens.
It is difficult for citizens to find information about government services, read about the service experiences of others, draw attention to particularly weak or particularly high quality service, or provoke a response from civil servants working within a government agency. Likewise, government agencies struggle to benchmark the quality of the services they deliver, especially across widely dispersed geographic areas.
These central dysfunctions of transparency and accountability in the private sector are what Yowzit helps to correct, applying principles that have improved commercial services to the delivery of government services.
Yowzit is an internet and mobile platform which, in its commercial arm, allows consumers and service providers to interact. Through Yowzit, consumers can rate and review service providers in a variety of fields, such as restaurants, shops and transport.
Yowzit is now piloting this private sector model for use in the public sector, enabling citizens to feed back on their experiences of public services. The model provides a real time, responsive way for government to access citizen feedback, monitor performance, and identify gaps in service; in turn, citizens gain information about government establishments and are informed about developments.
"The Yowzit for Government initiative uses a private sector tool to increase public good. South Africa’s National Development Plan calls for an active citizenry that holds public servants accountable. One way to achieve this is to give people the ability to communicate their needs, concerns, thoughts and opinions to and about public service providers."
This pilot focuses on South Africa’s Home Office and Post Office, and has links to the government’s Department of planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and the Ministry of Public Service.
Yowzit was established as a private sector venture to connect people to great local services via a comprehensive, easy-to-use platform which they could use to communicate easily with service providers, find where services are delivered, recommend great services, and hold providers responsible for weaknesses in performance.
Lessons from Yowzit’s practitioner research and learning…