Myanmar’s first-ever perception survey that uses digital survey data is currently being conducted across the Union. The Central Statistical Organizations (CSO) is co-leading the process with the Union Civil Service Board (UCSB) to learn about citizens’ opinions and experiences with government services. How are they using innovation in assessing the perceived quality of public service delivery? 

By Marc Weilenmann, Monitoring, Evaluation and Reporting Officer (LEAP)

Enumerator from the Central Statistics Organization (CSO) during a PPSoGS interview in April 2019.
Enumerator from the Central Statistics Organization (CSO) during a PPSoGS interview in April 2019.

 

End-users matter: Understanding the way people perceive Government Services

 “There was no statistically robust, nation-wide survey that could have informed policy-makers about the opinions and experiences of the ones using public services”, says Valentina Bianchini, project manager of UNDP’s LEAP (Leadership, Effectiveness, Adaptability and Professionalism in Myanmar’s Civil Service) project. This year, the Public Perception Survey of Government Services (PPSoGS) set out to fill this lack of data by collecting disaggregated data on the way the people of Myanmar perceive the provision of government services.



Enumerator from the Central Statistical Organization (CSO) illustrating one answer sheet during an interview in April 2019
Enumerator from the Central Statistical Organization (CSO) illustrating one answer sheet during an interview in April 2019


“The best way to know how public services are perceived is by asking the end-users themselves: the people of Myanmar”, Valentina adds. By end of April, 1,713 out of 2,500 people in Myanmar have been interviewed about their experiences with public services, including their related exposure to corruption. Data will be disaggregated and will ultimately provide useful information to policy-makers. For example, PPSoGS found that the average number of government services that people use is surprisingly low (five, as of 29 April 2019).

Ensure national ownership: Forging national partnerships and building capacity

A plot of PPSoGS clusters on Google maps (April 2019) showing where interviews have been already.

UNDP Myanmar’s Resident Representative Peter Batchelor states that “We are delighted that the Government of Myanmar has taken the lead in implementing the PPSoGS. National ownership is critical for such an activity... It’s not only about having the right people taking responsibility but also about building capacities in key national institutions like the CSO and the UCSB that help to make these development efforts more sustainable.”

The PPSoGS provides a unique opportunity for the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) and the Union Civil Service Board (UCSB) to join forces to advance inclusive and evidence-based policy making. LEAP mobilized UCSB’s Civil Service Reform Action Plan (2017-2020) and built capacity in the CSO to conduct the survey using a Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) system. At country level, the future National Indicator Framework (NIF) of the Myanmar Sustainable Development Plan (MSDP) will rely substantially on the data from the PPSoGS, to measure and track the impact of civil service reform.


Over 30 IT and statistical staff from CSO being trained by UNDP for the PPSoGS (December 2018)
Over 30 IT and statistical staff from CSO being trained by UNDP for the PPSoGS (December 2018)


Targeted capacity building efforts (including knowledge transfer) enabled the CSO to assume responsibility for the survey’s implementation: enumerators, an all-female IT team, and field supervisors built their capacities and had access to international specialists’ advice on survey techniques, statistical robustness, and quality assurance. While CSO gained technical knowledge and practical experience, UCSB is now able to keep track of the impact of its Civil Service Reform. For example, through practical experiences in the field CSO enumerators learned to be more time-efficient in using CAPI, saving 10 minutes in average per interview.

This line graph shows the average length of interviews in minutes between 29 March and 30 April 2019. It illustrates how interview time is decreasing over time, which indicates that CSO enumerator become increasingly time-efficient in using CAPI.
This line graph shows the average length of interviews in minutes between 29 March and 30 April 2019. It illustrates how interview time is decreasing over time, which indicates that CSO enumerator become increasingly time-efficient in using CAPI.

Make technology count: Digitalizing data and assuring statistical quality

“You can save time!” says U Aung Moe Oo, CSO Deputy Statistician. It is the first time a Myanmar institution leverages Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing (CAPI) to make data collection and quality assurance more efficient. Interviewers enter the questionnaire responses into electronic tablets, and the data lands on the CSO cloud account the very same day. They digitalize data on the spot and add valuable information such as GPS locations and exact interview time.



An enumerator from CSO recording survey answers digitally during an interview in April 2019.
An enumerator from CSO recording survey answers digitally during an interview in April 2019.

 
“We can download (survey answers) directly from the server and we can check it directly,” says Daw Thet Htar Nwe, Assistant Director of the CSO survey section. For example, daily quality assurance found women to be overrepresented during the first week of data collection. CSO statisticians saw the problematic patterns in the incoming data and promptly reacted. CSO contacted enumerators instructing them to change the interview time to facilitate the participation of men.

Number of interviews and gender of respondents of the PPSoGS between 29 March and 12 April. The graph illustrates that until 5 April the gap between male and female respondents increased. It also shows that after quality assurance intervened, gender was more balanced, reaching equity on 11 April.
Number of interviews and gender of respondents of the PPSoGS between 29 March and 12 April. The graph illustrates that until 5 April the gap between male and female respondents increased. It also shows that after quality assurance intervened, the sex of total respondents was more balanced, reaching equity on 11 April.

The PPSoGS drew decisively on using new technologies to listen to the voice of the people of Myanmar, building national ownership and partnerships between institutions. The full survey report is expected to be published in the second half of 2019. Further technical specifications about the survey methodology and the application of the CAPI system can be found in the latest LEAP publication “Asking the people of Myanmar: Public Perception Survey of Government Services”.

Asking the people of Myanmar: Public Perception Survey of Government Services


Enumerator from CSO on the field entering a household to conduct an interview in April 2019.
Enumerator from CSO on the field entering a household to conduct an interview in April 2019.

LEAP is providing technical and financial assistance to PPSoGS with support from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT).


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