So the public servants took an oath to improve service delivery and increase productivity in public institutions? Good stuff! Improving service delivery of public services and extending basic public services is an integral part of the overall democratic transformation and development of any country.
Public services are those services provided by government service organizations to the public, mostly funded by tax money. Public service delivery thus implies the implementation of a service framework that will ensure the provision of such services in a sustainable manner.
Not only in Rwanda, but also worldwide, there are inadequate resources and capacity within government service organizations to meet the increasing demands from the public for more and better quality services.
It is therefore crucial to find innovative service delivery models that will enhance service delivery, which in turn will lead to improved efficiency and minimum waste of already limited public resources.
In addition to regional economic development, enhanced service delivery should also be aimed at improving governance on a local level.
Every time improved public service delivery is mentioned, there are obvious principles that pop up: Acting in the interest of the public, acting with integrity, acting with respect for others and acting with skill and dedication. So beyond saying a few words with a raised hand touching the flag, there is a lot that is needed for me and you to enjoy improved service delivery.
Officials, who are responsible for any part of the service delivery process, should be committed to execute their tasks with such dedication that the public member feels that his/her issue is not just another task, but a priority.
In the performance of their responsibilities, the public interest is paramount. Resolving any conflict between personal or private interests and official duties is a must.
Employees within service organizations should be given the necessary service infrastructure and tools that will enable them to execute service operations at an acceptable level. They should also be empowered with the relevant knowledge and training and receive the necessary support from management.
It is important that the officials who play any role in the service delivery process should all work together as a team. This is best done through knowledge- and information management that will ensure those lessons learnt are shared.
Comprehensive information about a service organization and its service framework should be made available to every official that deals directly with the public, and not only to management. These officials have to know how to handle queries; where to find relevant information and be able to solve problems effectively. Their inability to do so will reflect badly on the service organization in question and create a very poor public image.
Public officials should ensure that each member of the public feels valued. However, officials will only do that if they value their work and the service that they render.
This is best achieved by making public officials feel valued by implementing an interactive service delivery management approach, which encourage and recognize the input and participation of everyone within the service delivery process. Where possible it is also a good idea to have continuous appraisals or offer incentives.
It should be the goal of all service organizations to not merely render a service that is of acceptable quality, but to strive for excellence in service delivery. Aristotle said “we are what we repeatedly do”. Therefore, as “excellence is not an act, but a habit,” the service delivery manager should instill and enforce a culture of excellence in all elements of the service operations.
Officials in government service organizations should never lose sight of the fact that they represent their organization. It is the task of each and every service delivery manager to constantly remind them of that.
To ensure that improvement in service delivery is truly sustained, every official in public service should take ownership of his/her responsibility and understand that creating a favorable impression is in everyone’s best interest. Go Rwanda.
Emmanuel Nyagapfizi is a Management Information Systems manager