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Date [ 2016-01-05, 05:53 ]

Initiatives and innovations have propelled the immigration department to heights of excellence.

Commissioner Yeo(R) signs a border agreement withUS Commissioner R. Gil

(Singapore=Koreanpress) by Jun Boon-Hwa = Keeping a close watch on the safety and security of Singapore is the Immigration and Checkpoint Authority of Singapore (ICA). It has a myriad of duties, from issuing passports and visa, prevent smugglers and other undesirable elements from getting in and also for today’s threat – terrorists. ICA is also responsible for the registration of births and deaths, issuing identity cards and processing applications for various immigration passes.

Obviously it has been doing a good job. For the ICA is the joint winner of the 2015 Singapore Quality Award with Special Commendation.

“ICA is tasked with these responsibilities amid a dynamic and often challenging operational security environment,” said its Commissioner, Clarence Yeo. “Against this backdrop, the Business Excellence (BE) framework is a useful reference point that offers a holistic and integrated approach to our organizational excellence efforts.”

The BE framework is benchmarked against excellence frameworks from the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia, with comprehensive criteria
for business excellence, including leadership, strategy, knowledge, customers, people, processes and results. Companies can use these criteria to assess their management systems and processes.

“The framework resonates with ICA’s management philosophy that business excellence is a continuous journey and not a destination,” asserted Commissioner Yeo.

ICA’s  journey towards business excellence began in 2004 when it attained the Singapore Quality Class certification, before achieving the People Developer Standard, and Singapore Innovation Class and Singapore Service Class certifications in 2005. In 2008, ICA renewed these four niche standards. The following year, it received the Singapore Quality Award for business excellence.

Not wishing to rest on its laurels, ICA embarked on a series of innovative and game-changing initiatives to create more value for its customers, partners and staff.

Recognising that its people are its biggest asset, ICA decided to develop the talents within its ranks. To overcome the challenge of shift duties and geographically dispersed locations, the organisation put in place multi-faceted learning and training platforms, ranging from formal classroom-based training and team-learning to experiential learning, as well as e-learning and e-gaming.

This training-on-demand approach has enabled ICA to bring learning and training opportunities closer to its theatre of operations. In 2014, four of its officers were awarded the PS21 Star Service Award by Singapore’s Public Service Division. This award recognises public service officers who embrace change and improvement in their daily work and continuously seek new and better ways of serving customers. The tally rose when in the same year, 16 ICA officers received the Ministry of Home Affairs Star Service Award, which recognises individuals who have consistently demonstrated high standards of excellence in public service.

In today’s modern world, a staff is as good as the equipment he works with.  ICA was not slow in introducing the Flexible Immigration Clearance System (Flexi-I). This transforms from an automated service counter to a manual service counter and vice versa in less than five minutes This system departed from the conventional method of using immigration counters for either manual or automated, and dedicated to either arrival or departure clearance. Instead, these purpose-built counters could be utilised for both. “This innovative system optimizes the use of space and manpower, and provides an agile yet secure platform to facilitate the clearance of travellers coming through Singapore,” explained Commissioner Yeo. In October, the Flexi-I won gold at the Singapore infocomm Technology Federation Awards 2015.

Recognising the growing popularity of on-line services such as banking and shopping, ICA also now offers most of its services online, making it easier for customers to submit their applications and reducing the number of visits to ICA. “In most cases, only one visit is needed, and for some, none at all. If customers need to visit ICA, they can make an appointment online and this helps them better manage their time,” disclosed Commissioner Yeo.

Another customer-centric initiative is the One-Stop Change of Address Reporting Service, which automatically updates 23 participating government agencies about changes in an individual’s personal profile, such as the residential address. Other world-first initiative was BIKES (a self-clearance biometric system to automate the secure clearance of motorcyclists at land checkpoints) and iCollect (a self-service facility for collecting passports and identity cards) – have helped ICA win numerous local and international awards.

ICA is also the first border authority in the world to house laboratories at its checkpoints to detect chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear and explosive threats. Last year, it received the inaugural Excellence in Border Management Award from the world border organisation, BORDERPOL.

With the arrival of 2016, ICA will continue to use the Business Excellence framework to create greater value for its customers. But most of all, to ensure Singapore remains safe and secure. “We have to be future-ready to stay ahead and effectively respond to the dynamic global security landscape as well as the changing geopolitical situation and needs of our customers,” cautioned Commissioner Yeo.

abc@koreanpress.net

Immigartion personnel ready to serve the publicwell.

 

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