Digitization of client services underway at DOSS

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Ms. Judy L. Simmons, Deputy Director, Information Technology and Communication Unit, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development (in front of table), with representatives of OMNI Pay, prior to the start of the onsite Digital Wallets onboarding of Department of Social Services clients to the Department’s digital platform. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Representatives of the Information Technology and Communication Unit of the Min. of Social Services and Urban Development began the digital transformation of client information/services at the Department of Social Services (DOSS) on Thursday (August 27) with the capturing of updated client information and the onboarding of clients of the Pitt Road, Wulff Road, Robinson Road and Fox Hill Community Support Services Centres. They were assisted in the onsite Digital Wallets onboarding of DOSS clients to the Department’s digital platform with Smartphone Apps selected for the Ministry’s social assistance digitization exercise, by representatives of OMNI Pay, Kanoo Apps and Cash N Go. The exercise took place at the DOSS Headquarters, Sunshine Plaza, Baillou Hill Road and the Fox Hill Community Support Services Centre. The three providers were participants in the Ministry’s Beta Testing Exercise for clients of the Department’s Food and Rent Assistance Programmes who were awaiting replacement cards.

Representatives from Kanoo Apps were onsite to assist clients during the
onsite Digital Wallets onboarding of the Department of Social Services
clients to the Department's digital platform. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

That Exercise ended in July 2020. Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell, said the digital transformation underway at the ministry, and in particular the Department of Social Services which is at the forefront of the country’s social assistance programme, is in keeping with the Government’s promise contained in the Speech From the Throne (May 24, 2017) to:

“Institute urban development by revitalizing urban communities and expanding the reach of social services.” “This digitization process expands the reach and accessibility of social services because Bahamians across the archipelago will be able to access
social assistance from the comfort of their homes while not having to be subjected to long lines and, in this new COVID-19 environment, not be subjected to the possible community spread of the virus.

And so you can see that the digital transformation is a mere continuation of keeping the promise made to expand the reach of social services.” Minister Campbell said: “The onboarding of clients at both locations was a result of the partnerships that we entered into with the three digital wallet providers; the agreements that we signed, the Beta Testing Exercise that we conducted which we are satisfied were successful, and the efforts of the Information Technology and Communication Unit and the Department of Social Services.

Representatives from Cash N’ Go were also on site for the Digital Wallets
onboarding of the Department of Social Services clients to the
Department’s digital platform. [Individual photographed being assisted is an actor] (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

“What those vendors assisted us in doing — making our clients’ phones ready by installing the various platforms — is like the final process. The only thing left to do is to authorize the Digital Wallet providers to pay clients through their phones.” Minister Campbell applauded the work of the Information Technology and Communication Unit, led by Dep. Director, Ms. Judy Simmons, for the “great work they have done in the short time since its establishment and launch” in leading the digital transformation underway at the Ministry.

Minister Campbell also applauded the work of Team Members in the Community Support Services Division, Department of Social Services, and those across the Ministry and its Departments and Divisions for ensuring uninterrupted service – despite the presence of the COVID-19 Pandemic in The Bahamas. “I really want to applaud members of the Unit, team members from Community Support Services, and our staff in general, for the work they have done, and continue to do, considering the many challenges that we are facing as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic and considering the constraints that we are working under where it has become necessary to reduce operations in our attempts to reduce any potential for the community spread of the COVID-19 Virus at our Centres as much as possible.

“COVID-19 notwithstanding, we are still going all out in this digital transformation process as if we are working uninterrupted, as if we are working with extra staff. This speaks to the commitment and dedication of the team, it speaks to the partnerships that we have cultivated, and it speaks to us, as a ministry, intending to keep our promise to improve the speed, efficiency and effectiveness in the delivery of services to our clients,” Minister Campbell added.

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