Assessing the effectiveness of the complaints and grievance management system of the Social Assistance for Empowerment programme in Uganda: a case of Kiboga District
MetadataShow full item record
This study assessed the effectiveness of the Grievances and Complaints (G&C) redress system of the Social Assistance Grants for Empowerment (SAGE) programme in Kiboga district. It was guided by three objectives namely; to establish the nature of grievances and complaints in the SAGE program; to analyze the factors that influence the performance of the grievances and complaints resolution system; and to examine stakeholders’ perceptions on the existing redress system of the SAGE program. The study used a mixed methods research design and used both quantitative and qualitative techniques for data collection and analysis from a scientifically determined cross section (sample). Data was collected with the aid of questionnaires, Key Informant Interviews (KIIs), (Focus Group Discussions (FGDs) and case studies. Analysis of data was done using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) and Microsoft Excel (quantitative) and thematic analysis (qualitative). Results were presented in tabular form with frequencies, percentages, cross tabulations and statements. The findings revealed that majority (67.8 percent) of the participants in the study area had had complaints about the SAGE program and 31.4 percent had not. Most of the common complaints according to the study were payments related. These included among others, complaints about the long distances to pay points (48.5 percent), lack of information on payments (15.5 percent) and long periods spent at the pay points on payment days (9.3 percent). The results about the nature of complaints in the SAGE programme and how they are resolved showed that majority (48.5 percent) of the respondents complained about long distances and 4.1 percent were reportedly unable to reach the pay points due to factors such as sickness and long distance. The findings indicated that 18.6 percent lacked information on payments, 15.5 percent reported late payments and 9.3 percent reported long hours of waiting at the pay points. Other grievances were; loss of sim-cards, mistreatment of beneficiaries at pay points, reduced support from relatives and friends. Results on the factors that influenced the SAGE grievances and complaints system performance showed that majority (66.1 percent) of the respondents had knowledge of the procedure for complaining, while 32.9 percent were not knowledgeable. Thirty-nine (39.6%) percent reported that the parish chiefs were involved in G&C management, 29.9 percent indicated local council chairpersons were involved, 15.0 percent reported sub county development officers, while 12.8 percent indicated that police was involved in the complaints management process. The study concludes that the main complaints were payment related such as; less or no payments, loss of cards, or long waiting time. The biggest challenge about payment complaints was technology related. There was delay in time taken to process the grievances and complaints to help answer questions regarding the status of the beneficiaries. It was also concluded that there was lack of effort on the part of the payment service provider to effectively address payment complaints. The study also concluded that there were inefficacies in the SAGE processes including the Management Information System (MIS) and field reporting mechanisms. The study also concluded that there were still information gaps among program beneficiaries and implementers on some basic issues which oppose what the SAGE charter states thus worsening grievances. The study recommends that communication around key program messages should be improved through a number of channels such as; posters, pamphlets, radio and newspaper advertisement and community meetings among others. It is recommended that a review of the operational processes of the program should be done in order to refine core program business processes to better handle grievances. It is also recommended that SAGE collects all complaints and forwards all payment-related complaints to the new service provider (Post Bank Uganda (PBU)) for resolution, after logging them in the SAGE MIS in order to enhance tracking of the complaints. Finally, Government should increase funding allocation to SAGE to enable SAGE MIS be equipped to automate a number of tasks related to grievance resolution.