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Responses to hotline callers too slow, govt bodies told

Even though ministries and government agencies have responded to calls made by the public to their hotline numbers, many of the responses have been slow and sometimes did not answer the questions raised.
These were the findings of the Department of Public Relations at the Prime Minister’s Office after investigating the shortcomings of the hotline initiative, which were discussed at the first meeting of the Government Hotline Committee last week.
In his report on the operation of government hotlines over the past year, the department’s Director General Dr Somkiat Phasy said “Responses, including the process of addressing the problems raised, were slow in coming and did not meet people’s requirements in a timely manner.”
“The responses were sometimes too general and the explanations given were unclear. They did not answer the questions asked,” he added.
Through the Department of Public Relations, the Prime Minister’s Office sent 219 official letters with specific questions to ministries, agencies, and provinces for their answers and explanations, to which 105 replies were received.
A further 114 questions were awaiting answers, while some people had had to make multiple calls in an attempt to get answers.
Dr Somkiat explained the reasons for the delay in providing responses, which he said needed to be addressed.
Delays occurred because all ministries submitted the complaints they received (both from hotline calls and other channels) for discussion at the monthly meeting between the Prime Minister’s Office and the offices of ministries and agencies.
Official letters were then sent to the related sectors to obtain answers to the queries, which were posted on the government’s website.
The government places great importance on hotlines as part of efforts to introduce governance by the rule of law, in a transparent and just way, addressing public concerns and encompassing all sectors.
Dr Somkiat said the carelessness shown in responding to public complaints by some ministries, agencies, and authorities had been remarked upon by the Department of Public Relations.
Dr Somkiat, who is Deputy Head of the Government Hotline Committee, suggested that hotline numbers be set up in all sectors and organisations that were likely to receive calls from the public.
“The system of receiving and responding to complaints should be linked and integrated, especially with the government hotline number 1516 and the National Assembly number 156.
This will give all parties access to the questions raised by members of the public, and they will also know if other parties have responded and what the answers were,” Dr Somkiat said.
The committee also suggested that ministries, agencies, and authorities put their answers on the government website as well as on their own websites.

By Somxay Sengdara
(Latest Update
March 2,

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