The Performance indicators for the provision of services by the Dubai Government Legal Affairs Department have confirmed the Department's readiness to deal with the exceptional circumstances imposed by the precautionary measures to control the spread of the Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19) through the implementation of policies and plans, which ensure business continuity at the Department.
His Excellency Dr. Lowai Mohamed Belhoul, Director General of the Government of Dubai Legal Affairs Department, the Department is committed to applying all the international standards for business continuity and performance of the Department's services. This involves providing these services in accordance with proactive risk based plans, and strategies which address them. It also encompasses finding alternatives that will guarantee effective communication channels allowing customers to obtain the services provided by the Department. This approach enabled the Department to obtain the (ISO 22301), an internationally recognised business continuity management certification. This comes as part of the implementation of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to achieve the highest levels of excellence in government performance in the Emirate, and to maintain constant readiness to respond to all developments
Advanced Technological Infrastructure
Dr. Belhoul hailed the Department's advanced technological infrastructure, which contributed to ensuring the continuity of its services while maintaining quality, effectiveness and flexibility in procedures, in a manner that meets the expectations of its customers. This is in line with the standards of the Government of Dubai and its strategic objectives in developing smart practices in government work.
The Department has fully automated all its services. It has also relied on video telecommunication in holding meetings to seek amicable settlement, meetings of the Committee of the Professional Conduct of Advocates and Legal Consultants, remote litigation sessions related to government claims brought before the Dubai courts and Rental Dispute Center, and oath taking video sessions for (43) legal consultants. This was meant to maintain the safety and health of its employees and customers alike, while ensuring effective and continuous communication.
Dr. Belhoul added that concerning government services handled by the Department since the beginning of the crisis, it has addressed, through its multiple smart channels, (551) requests, including receiving complaints against government entities which constituted (27%) of these services. In this regard and pursuant to its mandate, the Department endeavors to achieve an amicable settlement between the opposing parties. Government services offered also included drafting and reviewing government contracts and agreements (24%), the services related to the enforcement of judgments (22%), judicial representation of the government and government entities (16%), whereas legal consultation and governmental legal support represented (11%) of the volume of work related to government services received by the Department since the beginning of the crisis.
With regard to the services provided by the Department to its registered advocates and legal consultants, as well as members of the public, Dr. Beloul said that the Department received (1983) requests since the beginning of the crisis. The services related to advocates and legal consultants included the registration and renewal of practitioners of the legal professions, and their firms' licenses, at a rate of about (45%). These services are available through the Legal Profession System (LPS) Portal accessible on the Department's website, or on the smart phones application. The Department also dealt remotely with complaints relating to professional conduct made against registered advocates and legal consultants, which accounted for (2%) of overall the work related to this sector.
As part of its measures in providing services, His Excellency Dr. Belhoul stated that concurrently with the pandemic, the Department implemented its smart training programme conducted remotely for legal consultants registered with the Department. (4344) remote training hours were provided to (2250) legal consultants working in the Emirate, which represents (53%) of the volume of work provided to legal consultants registered with the Department during this crisis.
The programme requires each legal consultant to complete sixteen (16) training hours on a yearly basis to ensure the renewal of his/her registration with the Department. This smart training is conducted in accordance with the latest interactive learning methods that can guarantee the achievement of its goals.
Smart Reception Service
Dr. Belhoul highlighted that in order to boost the smart transformation adopted by the Department on all levels, and to ensure the happiness of its customers by creating new options that allow them to communicate in an effective and flexible manner with the Department, a smart reception service has been created to allow customers to make video calls with receptionists during office hours. This service offers responses to all inquiries related to the services provided by the Department according to the information available to the employee, or the call will be transferred directly to the relevant legal consultant or employee of the Department, with a view to achieving the highest level of accuracy in answering any questions of inquiries.
Dr. Belhoul proceeded to clarify that from the very beginning of the Corona crisis, the Department, through its business continuity team, has developed an integrated action plan to implement procedures to cope with these changes. The provision of training on how to perform services from outside the Department headquarters represented a milestone in its readiness plan to respond to any emergencies with high efficiency and effectiveness.
In implementation of the directives of the Executive Council of Dubai to work remotely, the Department trained its employees on how to use "Microsoft Teams", which is one of the smart channels used by the Department to provide services to its customers remotely via video telecommunication technology and to conduct internal and external meetings between its employees and customers.
"Tawqeet" System which was launched two years ago in the Department. The system has contributed greatly to the implementation of the remote work policy as it allows the measurement of the productivity of its employees and tracks the tasks assigned to them in implementation of the latest management systems that guarantee the efficiency and accuracy of institutional performance.
Tawqeet System is linked to "Tawtheeq" which is a system used by the Department to electronically document and manage all files and documents related to the cases assigned to the Department's employees. This provides the employees with all the material needed to perform their duties remotely. On the other hand, this system supports the Department's efforts in implementing the Dubai Government's paperless strategy, while preventing any virus transmission that may result from handling paper documents.
Dr. Belhoul concluded his speech noting that the performance reports showed a noticeable increase in the Department's productivity in the provision of its services, and in the management and execution of its internal operations during the remote work period, and confirmed that the Department will continue to keep that same pace of work after the decision to return to offices, by employing various smart channels to provide services to its customers. This will help achieve its strategic goals aiming to make the Emirate of Dubai a global hub for distinguished legal services that meet the requirements of sustainability in comprehensive development