Published on Arab Voices

Jordan: Sharing lessons with the UK on improving digital public services

Two hands on a keyboard with different icons representing digital services. Two hands on a keyboard with different icons representing digital services.

What does it mean for government services to be “user-centric?” The answer is prioritizing people’s ease of use and access to services.  The Government of Jordan has been achieving this through its smartphone application called SANAD, which gives citizens seamless access to hundreds of public and government services in one place.

With the SANAD application as a cornerstone, the Government of Jordan has taken significant steps to make public service delivery more results oriented. For its new Comprehensive Services Center in Amman – where citizens can access and receive help with digital services – the government created an internal dashboard that tracks the number of minutes it takes to serve each visitor. Staff members who meet efficiency performance targets receive benefits, while staff who do not meet these targets receive training to upgrade their skills. This new system has helped to reduce the time it takes to deliver a service drastically. A second center is being built, and the government aims to have 15 such centers operational by 2025.

While much of the technical infrastructure for digital service delivery is already in place, the government continues to work on a host of administrative, technical, and institutional reforms to streamline and improve the user experience. In June 2023, a Jordanian government delegation undertook a study tour to learn from the experience of the Government of the United Kingdom, which has been a global leader in reforming and digitally enabling public service delivery for a user-friendly experience. 

Meetings during the week-long visit focused on Jordan’s work on a new National Registry of Government Services, currently being implemented under the World Bank-funded Jordan Inclusive, Transparent and Climate Responsive Investments Program for Results Project and the Jordan Youth, Technology, and Jobs Project. By cataloguing basic information on every public service using a standard template, this registry will enable the government to monitor service access and quality, such as average waiting time, percentage of errors, and user satisfaction rate. 

In London, the delegation met with counterparts from the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS), Department for Work and Pensions, NHS Digital, and HM Treasury. These practitioners focus on improving service delivery by collecting and analyzing data on Key Performance Indicators, and lively discussions ensued on the concept of a “user journey” approach. For example, Jordan’s services registry powers a new function in SANAD that allows users to search for services, not by a government agency (a government-centric way to organize them), but instead according to the user’s profile (whether the user is an individual, a business, or another government entity).

The visit also included meetings with private sector partners who have contributed to the design and delivery of the UK’s digital services. Discussions with the Behavioral Insights Team, Public Digital, and Scott Logic gave the Jordanian delegation better insights into the foundational role that national standards for digital services have played in the UK. These standards mean that all ministries must comply with specific rules about how online services look and function, so that the interface feels familiar to users and automatically incorporates their personal data and relevant service history. The meetings also highlighted the importance of coordination among ministries and departments in driving the user journey: a seamless user experience reflects strong internal government collaboration, whereas a fragmented one reflects a lack of it. 

This coordinated approach is also evident in the way the UK government handles public IT procurement, as presented to the delegation by the consultancy Curshaw. A process overhaul has centralized IT procurement for the entire government within GDS in order to cut costs, improve technical oversight, engage a more diverse range of vendors, and harmonize hardware and software standards. The delegation found this very relevant, as there is a need to accelerate government IT procurement in Jordan, and to simultaneously open the process to a wider range of IT firms, including small and medium firms and those with highly specialized expertise. 

The Jordanian delegation comprised seven representatives from the Ministry of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship (MoDEE), which is the ministry leading the process of public sector digital transformation, and two representatives from the Prime Ministry Implementation Office. These two government teams, which have different but complementary roles with respect to the new services registry, had not sat together at one table prior to the trip. By the end of the week, they had become a unified team eager to accelerate the work already underway and to see the concrete improvements it could bring about in people’s lives.


Members of the delegation upon return to Jordan, pictured with the Minister of Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship Ahmad Hanandeh.


The delegation meeting with Ray Shostak, former head of the UK Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit and former Director of Public Services at HM Treasury.



Stephen Davenport

Global Lead, Anticorruption, Openness, and Transparency

Roland Lomme

Senior Governance Specialist

Samer Qubain

GovTech Specialist, World Bank

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