Public service delivery 2018-08-01T13:12:28+00:00

PUBLIC SERVICE DELIVERY

Provision of services is the core function of local government. This is the point of direct interaction with clients, be it citizens receiving waste collection services, patients in public hospitals or children in pre-primary education facilities. It is critical for local governments to deliver their services and make sure that the services are provided effectively, efficiently, equitably and transparently. High quality and integrity standards must apply to ensure the client has been served professionally. This demands a client-focused and quality-centred management approach, sensitive to integrity risks that may arise from close relationships with clients or when officials misuse their positions to take advantage of clients.

INTEGRITY RISKS

An integrity risk assessment of provision of services may identify some or all of the following integrity risks/ risk factors (the list is not limited):

  • Officials accept or solicit an undue benefit (bribe) to provide favourable treatment or an unfair advantage to a client.

  • Officials exceed the set authorization levels or disobey the procedural requirements, including necessary approvals.

  • Officials provide a service without first obtaining the necessary documented information (i.e. issuing a birth certificate without a birth notice). Officials speed up the service provision against an undue benefit.

  • Officials do not disclose adequate information on the service provided (i.e. the client comes and goes back and forth several times because of inadequate explanation).

  • Officials underperform while delivering a service (i.e. act below quality standards).

  • Officials abuse time deadlines (i.e. issuing a family status certificate after the set deadline).

  • Officials maintain improper attitudes. Officials abuse a position of trust to take unfair advantage of a client or provide favourable treatment.

RISK MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES

Following the risk assessment, the local government may consider the following risk management strategies as development points:

  • To optimize efficiency and reduce direct contact with clients, increase the number of services provided to the citizens as a one-stop-shop, as appropriate.

  • Maintain client-centred policy/procedures on service provision, aligned with regulations and good practices. Communicate them effectively to all staff (through website, intranet, trainings, internal meetings, etc).

  • Consistently refer to the importance of ethics in provision of services in all relevant internal documents.

  • To enable easy access to public services, increase the number of electronic public services accordingly. Use innovation and modern information technologies to enhance transparency, quality and speed of public services.

  • To enable a tailored, risk-based approach, conduct an individual risk assessment of critical services and focus on the integrity performance (i.e. feedback from clients received, evidence for abusive conduct, internal reporting on violations, etc.). Ensure risk-based improvement measures are designed and implemented, check for their effectiveness. Re-assess risk levels after determined period, if needed.

  • Deploy rigorous control mechanisms with service providers for outsourced services (i.e. waste collection and waste disposal). Ensure their adequate implementation throughout the whole process of service delivery. Design and implement feedback generating controls so that the local government has an independent channel to monitor performance of subcontractors. Include in contracts commitments to apply relevant ethical standards, and provide for sanctions in case of failure.

  • Strengthen capacities in service delivery (i.e. participatory and online trainings, peer to peer, mentoring, etc.) to sensitize staff on client centred approach and quality standards. Ensure relevant staff is well aware of their accountabilities. Provide for consistent implementation of CoI. Practice rotation of staff, as appropriate.

  • Focus on Quality Improvement in service delivery and improve competence and awareness of staff about quality. Based on a preliminary assessment, consider implementing the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) model, specifically designed for excellence in public administrations in the EU. Alternatively, consider progressive introduction of a process oriented quality management system, aligned with the good practice and compatible with Quality Management System standards, in particular with ISO 9001. Consequently, consider appropriate verification by CAF assessors, or certification against ISO 9001 by accredited bodies. Organise rigid implementation of the improvement plans.

  • To develop a process-based management system, determine key strategic, operational and support processes needed for the quality management system and their application. List them in a Register of Processes and review how adequately they are covered with internal procedures. Determine the inputs required and the outputs expected from each process; their sequence and interaction; the risks to; responsibilities and authorities, resources needed; criteria, methods, measurements, and related performance indicators to ensure that both the operation and control of these processes are effective. Where deficits are found, consider developing/improving procedures, to reduce risk of errors, deviations and integrity violations. Communicate these procedures. Train staff as necessary.

  • Develop appropriate performance indicators of key processes to be able to assess the progress, identify issues, support decision-making and operational processes etc.

  • Introduce a Client Service Charter to strengthen customer focus, demonstrate commitment to high professional standards of service and maximize opportunities for citizen oversight. Display the Client Service Charter in public areas (i.e. information centre, service delivery areas) and make it accessible through print and electronic media. Ensure relevant staff is aware of the service standards (i.e. through trainings, mentoring, peer to peer, internal meetings, etc).

  • Provide for optimal transparency and visibility. Maximise information about the services in a client friendly format (easy access to information and templates). Publish a list of administrative services, with detailed information on the service address, responsible officer, procedures and conditions, cost and duration of the service delivery, the right to appeal in case of dissatisfaction. Use the website to make the aforementioned information available, in an easy to use format, with all required documents. Dedicate a special service stand, to post such information. Consider publishing leaflets and templates, to make it easier for citizens and businesses to familiarize themselves with their respective rights and obligations.

  • Ensure pricing (i.e. tariffs, charges, fees) for the delivery of services is justified, set precisely and objectively and cost based. To maximize clients’ satisfaction and minimize opportunities for abuse, adopt differentiated pricing for services based on the delivery speed (i.e. urgent and regular).

  • Monitor clients’ satisfaction, through various channels, and integrate feedback into operations (through customer satisfaction surveys; comments and complaint box, service delivery hotline, ad hoc checks, mystery shopping, etc, as appropriate.) Publicize results, to increase awareness and incentives. For critical services, i.e. water supply, waste management, local roads, local transport, and local heating, consider setting up of specific mechanisms to measure client satisfaction instruments, including information on abusive conduct.

GUIDE TO CORRUPTION-FREE LOCAL GOVERNMENT