Lapor: Taking a Deeper Look into Indonesia’s Newest Anti-Corruption Weapon

lapor jakarta agreement

From the left: UKP4 head Kuntoro Mangkusubroto and DKI Jakarta vice governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama

Lapor, the newest technology product made for Indonesian citizens to report wrongdoings in public services, including those dodgy extra administration ‘fees’ incurred here and there, is doing a fine job. Earlier today, the DKI Jakarta provincial government has signed an agreement to jump onboard the Lapor service. At today’s event in the capital, I got to discuss the service a bit deeper with the ones who built it: the President’s Delivery Unit of Development Monitoring and Oversight (UKP4) 1.

Since November, the Lapor website has received about 60,000 visitors and over 222,000 pageviews. In average, the service receives 376 reports of corruption or misdeeds every day, with 27 of them having passed the validation process for further follow up. There are 749 comments made by regular folks who made 1,578 back-up of the claims submitted to the site. Lapor is now cooperating with 61 Indonesian government ministries and units, as well as today’s show of support from the Jakarta provincial government.

Jakarta authorities have actually cooperated with Lapor since January, and today’s agreement signage was just a formality. Vice governor Basuki Tjahaja Purnama said that as the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta must be the national example for other provinces to follow – and that includes being integrated with the Lapor system. The Lapor team will be looking to add Ambon municipal and the Indragiri Hulu district in the near future.

What happens when there’s a report made to a non-cooperating provincial government? The Lapor team will still conduct a follow-up with the user, but they can only give advice about the normal bureaucratic procedure. Each province has its own autonomy, so the Lapor team cannot intervene unless the provincial government has agreed to cooperate with this system.

How does Lapor work?

So how does Lapor work exactly? After a report is filed, Lapor will verify it in the space of three days. If the report is valid, then the team will make a follow-up and solve it in 10 days’ time. The valid report itself will be handled by the related government agencies. If the report is deemed invalid, but you still want to make your case, then the public discussion feature inside the Lapor website can help support your cause. You can see the overall back-end process here:

lapor workflow

Those stated processing days are, of course, the ideal situation. UKP4 head Kuntoro Mangkusubroto said that the Lapor team will make a follow-up to a related government agency about each valid report. If the agency doesn’t respond in one month, then the Lapor team will report this to the president’s office.

Most of the reports are made via SMS. People can do so by texting it to 1708 2. The system will automatically convert the SMS report to a website report format, where people can support and comment on it. If the user doesn’t have an internet connection, they can still view their thread’s progress by texting “TL (space) report number” to 1708. Reports made via the website or apps will receive a follow-up via email, whereas reports made by SMS will receive follow up via SMS. Which makes good sense.

Inaccurate reports?

lapor poster

There are concerns that perhaps Lapor can be misused to report the wrong person or to victimize someone. The team said that they will first validate all of the reports and the respective related agencies will make a thorough follow-up on each of the valid ones. So they won’t blindly trust all the given reports that come to the system. Furthermore, there is this social feature whereby other people can help verify if the report if valid or not by looking through the comments made on it.

It’s not every day that you see the Indonesian government building such a well thought out product and system. I am quite impressed with the details the UKP4 team pays attention to, including the service’s overall design.

I have stated my concern about the government’s ugly website designs in the past, but Lapor is in a different league. A UKP4 representative told me that it may be because most of the team members are still quite young, just 25 to 33 years old. Most of the team also has working experience in a private sector before joining the UKP4.

Whatever the reason, UKP4’s Lapor system looks really good. Almost everyone now can report any wrongdoings via SMS. Even better, harnessing the very social nature of Indonesians, they can also help the government verify the reports via the website’s social features.

Now if only the Lapor app comes pre-installed within the country’s handsets, and perhaps also come bundled with popular internet packages, then I can see no reason why Lapor cannot become a powerful weapon to fight injustice. The presidential’s own working unit is the driving force behind its creation, so they can definitely make that happen.

  1. Updated with UKP4’s official translated name.

  2. Trivia time: Why 1708? 17th August is Indonesia’s independence day.

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