110 Call Center offers sign language service
By Lee Tae-hoon
The 110 Government Call Center, run by the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC), began to provide a sign language interpretation service on June 14.
With the new service, those with hearing impairment will now be able to receive services at community service centers, local government offices and state-run health care centers without having to bring an assistant to interpret.
The 110 Center’s sign language service is available for those visiting public organizations and can be accessed by a computer with a web camera.
The 110 Center, created with the launch of the ACRC in 2008, answers all inquiries related to government affairs and handles public complaints, grievances and suggestions in improving unreasonable administrative systems.
It is known to have a database of all services provided by the government's administrative agencies.
Late last year, it also established a chat and video counseling system for PC and smartphone users for those who are unable to use the voice-based counseling service. It also launched a real time SNS counseling service on Twitter and Facebook.
The 110 Center currently provides 21 foreign language services, an SNS mobile service, and Internet video counseling.
The number of inquiries and complaints made to the center surpassed 2 million last year.
Moreover, it is now moving to integrate more government offices' call centers into the 110 Center to effectively respond to the fast growing number of inquiries.
The ACRC has been proactive in solving civil complaints, especially for those vulnerable and in need of help.
The ACRC annually receives and handles about 1 million civil complaints through e-People at www.epeople.go.kr, which received the U.N. Public Service Award, one of the most prestigious awards in the world.
e-People provides a multilingual petition service in 10 foreign languages and annually receives and handles about 1 million civil complaints.
The ACRC has also expanded its On-site Outreach Programs in an attempt to resolve complaints of people living in remote or underdeveloped areas.
The state-run civil rights agency has dealt with 874 complaints on site through the program between 2008 and 2011.
It is also actively implementing its on-site mediation system to deal with issues that have huge social influence or different interests at stake.
It recently acted as mediator and addressed a 40-year long problem between the civilians of Gangneung and the military about removing barbed-wire fences along the beach in the region.
As a result of the overall efforts to pro-actively solve civil complaints, the average time taken to handle complaints has decreased by 26 percent, while the number of civil complaints filed with the ACRC has increased by 37 percent over the past year.
In addition, in an attempt to eradicate corruption in government sectors, the ACRC is currently preparing to submit a bill that would punish those who secretly solicit public officials with the intent to influence them.
The legislation is expected to require government officials to declare any solicitation to prevent them from exercising their influence for their own interests.