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ICA's superior brand of service
Whether it's issuing new passports or keeping our borders safe, the Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA) - a 2015 Singapore Quality Award with Special Commendation winner, the highest honour in the Business Excellence Awards - is one of the most visible public sector organisations in Singapore.
Indeed, the organisation services Singaporeans from cradle to grave, as it registers both births and deaths.
ICA performs its tasks amid a challenging operating environment and global security landscape, said commissioner Clarence Yeo.
"Against this backdrop, the Business Excellence framework is a very useful reference point that offers a holistic and integrated approach for ICA's organisation excellence effort," he said.
"It resonates with ICA's management philosophy that business excellence is a journey and not a destination. As part of our transformation journey to be future-ready, we have focused on capacity-building, capability development and human capital transformation."
It has leveraged technology to launch a slew of "first-in-class" or "best-in-class" projects. These include the award-winning Flexible Immigration Clearance System (Flexi-I), which is able to convert from automated mode to a manual counter in less than five minutes.
This innovative system makes better use of space, uses manpower more efficiently and provides a flexible platform to manage the different profiles of travellers coming through Singapore without compromising on security.
The Flexi-I won a gold at Singapore infocomm Technology Federation Awards 2015 earlier this month.
To achieve its vision of "inspiring confidence in all", ICA strives to add value for its customers, strategic partners and employees.
To better serve its customers, for instance, the organisation applies what it calls the 3M principle - multiple channels, minimum visits and many benefits.
This involves offering most of its services online, making it more accessible for customers to submit their applications from any location and reducing the number of visits required 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 and this will help them better manage their time when planning a trip to the ICA Building," said an ICA spokesman.
ICA also supports other government agencies, such as with the One-Stop Change of Address Reporting Service or OSCARS. This system updates participating government agencies and statutory boards with changes in a person's residential address so that he or she can receive mail from said agencies at the new address.
These and other efforts have helped ICA win numerous local and international awards. It has also contributed to Singapore being ranked second globally in the United Nations E-Government Survey.
Its leadership in border administration was recognised in the Enabling Trade Index compiled by the World Economic Forum, where Singapore was ranked first in 2010, 2012 and 2014. ICA also received the inaugural Excellence in Border Management Award last year for attaining world-class standards in operational excellence.
While technology is a great enabler for ICA, the organisation views its officers as its greatest asset. To help develop talent within its ranks, it has adopted a holistic training framework that includes formal classroom-based training, experiential learning, as well as e-learning and e-gaming.
The organisation also strives to provide its officers with a "happy and healthy work environment; opportunities for all officers in learning and development; a purposeful career; and an enriching and exciting experience".
Looking ahead, the challenge now is for ICA to maintain its position as a global leader in border security and identification.
Said the ICA spokesman: "We have to be future-ready to stay ahead and effectively respond to the changing geopolitical situation and the needs of our customers."