The UNDP Papua New Guinea initiative "Phones against Corruption" has won for the second consecutive year the UNDP RBAP Innovation Funds Award for scaling up the prototyping in 2015.
The Award is highly positive for the Project and it was obtained after a rigorous assessment of about 110 proposals from the different country offices of the Asia-Pacific region. The award involve a grant amounting 25,000 USD which will serve as seed funds for the scaling up the initiative to other government departments and later on, to the general public.
This pilot initiative was launched at the Department of Finance (DOF) in July 2014. It introduced new corruption reporting tool – text messaging through mobile phones. The text messaging is user friendly and is free of charge, with no specific application or Internet access required. It is anonymous - it does not report sender's information. Required information relates to Where, When and What corruption case is being reported.
By June 2015, Phones against Corruption has enjoyed a remarkable uptake since launch, a total of 13,229 text messages has been received involving an approximately of 948 alleged cases of corruption. According to the statistical data and trends about 4 to 5% of these cases are serious allegations and valid for investigation.
With the support of the Australian Government, Economic and Public Sector-EPSP program, a user experience research on the Phones against Corruption is currently carried out. The research was developed with the aim to determine the effectiveness of the initiative, recommend any changes to the service and determine whether or not the service should be opened to the public.
The method used is through several focus group in the provinces and text messages surveys asked at the end of the submission of the case. A summary of the main findings are:
•The respondents indicated that the level of difficulty of the system is easy -68%
•Time it takes to respond to SMS questions : 63% said it is "Quick"
•Willingness to use the SMS service again: 90% said "Yes"
•Confidence level regarding action by authorities: 76 % are confident ….only 5% think no action will be done.
•Most respondents suggested No changes to the service
•Need to promote more among DOF staff, especially in the districts.
•More resources (funds, staff) are needed for the Internal Audit and Compliance Division to investigate the cases
•Expand to other Gov. Departments, but not yet to the general public.