Your housing services “at your command” with one click

Implemented by: Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning

The Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning in the Kingdom of Bahrain faces constant challenges due to its crucial role in providing housing services that directly impact citizens' lives and aspirations.
As the demand for their services increases, including new applicants for housing services, individuals checking the statuses of their requests, and beneficiaries’ requests, along with other procedures and activities, the center and its employees face growing pressure. This impacts satisfaction rates and the overall customer experience.

Your housing services “at your command” with one click ( Video, 01 minutes 0 seconds, Arabic only)

Urgent need for digital transformation

In response, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning has embarked on a plan to improve its services using advanced technology, aiming to transition the majority of services to electronic platforms accessible through the National Portal and the Ministry's website.
The process began by identifying services suitable for electronic platforms with the goal of reducing pressure and congestion for visitors. This is achieved by providing them the convenience of completing all services and obtaining answers to their queries through available platforms, ultimately saving time. The objective is to keep pace with technological advancements, shift from traditional modern procedures, and ensure the continuity of work even during crises, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Public awareness and service transition to platforms

The ministry created a groundwork for transitioning services to national electronic platforms, in addition to its own website. After preparing the public through awareness campaigns and fostering a culture of acceptance, the implementation of services began. Housing services available on the national portal include submitting new requests, applying for financing through housing banks, calculating financing amounts, family member declarations, updating contact information and international bank account numbers, and application status updates. Meanwhile, services offered on the ministry's website include transfer requests, disposal rights, benefit declarations, financing through supported banks, apartment ownership applications, and drawings and guarantees.

Electronic integration with the Bahrain Credit Reference Bureau

Highlighting the excellence of housing services through electronic platforms, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning implemented electronic integration with the Bahrain Credit Reference Bureau to assist with inquiries about credit references for housing applicants.
This practice is necessary for transferring housing services to digital platforms, improving speed, and simplifying procedures. The COVID-19 pandemic provided an opportunity to begin the adoption of this new direction, with the aim of ensuring the continuity and non-disruption of services, even during crises. The practice was officially activated on 17th June 2022, after a trial period that started on 3rd April 2021.
Electronic integration had three broad benefits: ensuring compliance with standards in the absence of real estate properties, expediting the verification process for housing requests, and reducing costs for citizens. With the implementation of the electronic integration process, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning monitored the achievement volume through citizens' usage. From June 2021 to February 2023, 58,582 electronic declarations were completed.

Sustainability of services and enhanced customer satisfaction

The implementation of these practices played a pivotal role in ensuring the sustainability of services. In its pre-improved state, the service required customers to visit the service center for credit report delivery. This resulted in a surge of visitors, particularly during peak times, elevating the risk of errors during verification. It also imposed a financial burden on citizens. The concept of offering smart services to customers aimed to streamline transaction times, reduce the workforce involved, enhance speed, and provide instant verification. The positive impacts included the citizens bearing no financial costs, a reduction in errors, improving the quality of government service, and freeing up time for employees to perform other tasks.

Success of government integration

Government integration succeeded in making the service available through the mobile application and the website. This resulted in an improvement in responses through the Tawasul application. It also completely eliminated paper-based work, contributing to operational and system readiness. The process saw an increase in customer satisfaction due to effective and flexible communication and 24-hour services. The success is also attributed to the audience's interaction with the guidance and awareness efforts of the ministry on social media platforms.

Comparison of achievements: before and after

The Ministry highlighted the impact of the practice, stating that before the service was activated, citizens had to visit the customer service center to deliver credit reports for themselves and other individuals included in the request. This increased the number of visitors seeking to update their data for housing services allocation, especially during peak times. After the service was activated, citizens no longer needed to physically visit the ministry, except in very rare cases. Activating this practice has made it cost-free for citizens. Earlier, citizens could obtain the report for free once a year, but with the integration, there is no charge. The current electronic verification eliminates any chance of error, raises the service quality and allows employees more time to perform other tasks.
The Ministry attributed this success to the concerted efforts of its departments, including the Strategic Planning and the IT department. The benefits achieved from the electronic integration led to further electronic services, raising service levels, speeding up processes, eliminating opportunities for error, and optimizing time use, while continuing to provide high-quality services. Any entity needing a credit report as part of its documentation requirements can now get it quickly and easily through electronic channels.

Additional excellence practices

Several other practices were also introduced, including electronic updates of contact information and International Bank Account Numbers (IBAN). This practice achieved its goals by facilitating electronic transactions, eliminating paperwork, and recording a high level of customer satisfaction. Citizen interactions reached 78,176 between February 2021 and February 2023, and the practice continues.
The Ministry also introduced a valuable service allowing service beneficiaries to inquire about their requests electronically. This spared them the trouble of visiting the center or waiting on the hotline. Citizen interactions reached 438,126 between February 2021 and February 2023, and the practice continues.
In light of these achievements, the Ministry identified several services slated for future electronic transformation. These aim to facilitate interactions, achieve the highest levels of quality, and speed up processes. They include requests to exempt heirs from paying housing service installments, requests from the fifth category, requests for an official statement, and completion of ownership procedures.

Content Last Updated: 25 Feb, 2024

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