PHILIPSBURG, Sint Maarten — On Friday, September 14, 2018 the Bureau Ombudsman facilitated a workshop for key staff of SZV. This workshop, an initiative of SZV, was geared towards understanding ‘propriety’ in serving the public, complaints and complaint handling.
In March of this year the Director of SZV, Mr. Glen Carty and the Corporate Secretary, Mrs. Ruth Boyrard-Brewster met with the Ombudsman, Dr. Nilda Arduin, to discuss the bottlenecks and grievances experienced by the public. Above mentioned workshop was a result of these discussions, which sought to bring about improvement in the services provided to the public by SZV.
The workshop highlighted various complaints filed with the Ombudsman. The group of ten staff members of SZV was encouraged and came up with practical and effective solutions to handle the grievances. The employees gained valuable insight into the plight of complainants and the service expected from SZV.
The main grievances against SZV that are being handled by the Ombudsman are related to inadequate information provision (which often results in unnecessary back-and-forth between SZV and the clients), promptness and inadequate organization of services (such as the non or partial response to letters and requests). Various issues brought forward by pensioners were underlined. The bottlenecks experienced by the public and the matching solutions were identified and thoroughly discussed with the intention to improve customer relations at SZV.
While SZV is one of the private entities with public authority (‘ZBO’) which have shown willingness and improvement in serving the public as a result of promptly following up on recommendations issued by the Ombudsman, the Director acknowledged that there is room for improvement. In order to rectify some of the issues discussed, SZV is working on new and improved customer service procedures and training for staff. Though it may seem that the public at times is non-cooperative in understanding applicable procedures at SZV, the Ombudsman notes that in moving forward and taking actions to improve its services, due consideration should be observed for persons not having internet access to review the SZV website, persons not having the ability to read, and mentally challenged persons who may not be able to readily understand the information provided or read available flyers on their own.
In an effort to increase services to the public, SZV in return will facilitate an information session for staff of the Bureau Ombudsman, focusing on its procedures, including the recently adapted internal complaint procedures of the entity.