Enhancing the Quality of Public Service Delivery through Quality Management in Public Administration

Policy Paper

 

Executive Summary

Commitments of the Ukrainian government made during Orange Revolution put pressure to invest in improving the performance of the public sector and launch.

In order to meet the rising expectations of the society and re-establish trust in government, public administration in Ukraine has to introduce some solutions from the private sector regarding customer service, external communication, innovation, process improvement, human resource management, internal communication, and motivation to provide high quality of services. The ultimate aim is to achieve tangible improvements in the quality of public services delivered to citizens.

Over the past two decades, many European countries have also embarked upon public sector modernization and development programs aimed to fundamentally change the ways in which citizens are served. These programs have varied both in character, emphasis and pace of change from country to country. One common feature of these programs has been the efforts made by different public agencies to improve the quality of services delivered, to reduce red tape, and to assist in the development of policy initiatives more geared to the needs of those for whom they are intended. The drive has been towards quality and the tools employed quality management models.

Quality management offers solutions to improve organizations operation and increase management and administrative capacity. Examples of quality management application in public sector are present in a number of countries and are becoming increasingly popular in public administrations of the new EU member states.

The first step in applying quality management has been taken at the Main Civil Service Department of Ukraine (MCSD), a government agency responsible for functional management of the civil service of Ukraine. The MCSD made a decision to introduce quality management with its subsequent external certification. Even though substantial work remains to be done, the first results indicate that there is an immense potential for the modernization of public administration and improved quality of service delivery through the application of quality management.

This policy paper serves two goals. It serves as discussion document and an instrument for policy campaign and consultation on the benefits of quality management in public administration. It also offers a strategy and concrete steps to introduce quality management, a set of practical guidelines and tools for policymakers when planning and undertaking quality management implementation in public administration.

 

Theory of public services comes from the experience of Great Britain, Canada, the USA and other countries where since the 80s, priorities of public administration and relations with the citizens changes. The needs of a person, his/her rights are a key value of the society and the goal of public administration is to provide quality public services to a citizen. Thus, citizens are consumers, not askers of services. The state orients its activity at the needs of a client just as this is done in the private sector.

 

Key problems of public administration in Ukraine

Systemic problems are obvious to everyone:

Firstly, government activity is focused on sustaining bureaucratic culture and  not focused on policy work or citizen service; secondly,  low quality of policy documents produced by public administration; and thirdly, heavy workload and pressure on civil servants is not reflected in any measurable results.

What are symptoms of these problems?

conflict of responsibilities;

diffusion of responsibility for and lack of ownership of the final outcome;

waste of time while working with routine papers that have no effect on the final outcome;

waste of time due to constant need to correct mistakes as documentation standards are lacking;

limited access to information;

extremely high staff turnover  (20% civil servants annually);

lack of prioritization.

What is the core of these problems?

Based on the functional review of the MCSD the following problems were identified:

areas of responsibility among structural divisions and positions are unclear;

strong organizational barriers among structural divisions;

weak horizontal communication;

strategic planning is not related to budget planning, which causes ineffective use of budget resources and lack of concrete measurable outputs and outcomes;

effectiveness and efficiency criteria of government activity are not developed;

quality of services measurements are not identified;

monitoring of activity is limited to formal deadline control and does not ensure quality;

policy function is poorly implemented; red tape and paper work override policy initiatives;

policy consultations are weak or nonexistent;

feedback from customers of government services is not collected. Customer needs and customer satisfaction are not studied;

uneven distribution of tasks causing conflict between qualification (competency) and job descriptions;

internal processes are not structured and not documented;

typical documents are not standardized in terms of form, structure, and content;

lack of quality control.

Why quality management

The purpose of public administration reform is to make the government more responsive to societys needs and demands and promote efficiency. Public administration is expected to provide better services at a smaller cost. Government should also be able to respond to changing demands with new solutions. Equally important is strengthened communication with citizens and engagement.

Some key benefits of quality management are twofold. Firstly, quality management benefits administrative and management capacity and promotes good management practices. The most common benefits are improved day-to-day operations; improved information flow; overall improvement of the organization; qualitative service delivery; professional development for employees. Quality initiatives result not only in efficient management and satisfied clients but also in job satisfaction.

Secondly, quality management is crucial for increased quality of public service delivery and customer satisfaction. Quality management requires that client needs and perceptions are examined regularly and serves to ensure quality service and result irrespective of regulatory, personnel, market and other changes. Public sector organizations that employ quality models learn to be dedicated to public service.

The very process of implementation changes organizational culture motivating staff to share the same concept of quality. Quality thinking is a driver of cultural change from bureaucratic administration to customer-oriented organization. Commitment to values serves as a driver of change towards the development of professionalism, integrity, service and quality.

Organizations that introduced quality management enjoyed improved image of the organization.

Why ISO

Unlike Western European countries, the emergence of quality thinking is rather a new trend. The best-known quality models in these countries are ISO 9000 series, the EFQM Excellence Model and the Common Assessment Framework. The ISO standards are the most often utilized quality management tool in CEE. There are a number of reasons for that. ISO certifications are considered to be attractive as public sector managers want to follow their private sector counterparts in service delivery. ISO certification does not affect organizational structure significantly.

Key success criteria

External:

reduced number of client complaints;

increased number of clients willing to engage in cooperation;

increased respect towards the government on behalf of the citizens.

Internal:

reduced overtime;

reduced number of low quality documents or services;

reduced number of arguments such as: I have not done it because I was hoping somebody else would, I have done it because I did not know somebody else already had, I fulfilled half of the assignment and somebody else conducted the other half. Its not my fault that these two parts in incompatible, I have done it this way because I didnt understand the assignment etc.

Benefits gained by everyone:

significant savings of time;

fair distribution of responsibility;

every employee will understand where his/her responsibility lies;

every line manager will understand what priorities are and where quality is crucial (which would allow to prioritize and determine deadlines);

top managers will be able to focus on strategies and oversight.

 

Application and tools

Roadmap to introduction of quality management

After the government functions are reviewed and re-structuring is done, internal process efficiency and customer orientation of the government should be improved. This can be done through quality management system.

Quality management guarantees the organizational capability of the government to carry out aims and objectives assigned to it. The key is to define a customer and service. This should come out as a result of functional review. Customers of services of government agencies are (most often) the state leaders (President of Ukraine, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine), members of the Parliament of Ukraine, other agencies of government, institutions and organizations, and (in certain cases) individuals and organizations.

The first step in quality management is documentation of processes, which includes:

clear definition of the roles and contributions of every employee in every process;

identification of steps to be taken and interactions in each process;

development and regulation of documentation standards.

Carry out diagnostic audit and get recommendations.

Identify key categories of customers of public administration. Typically, they are:

Citizens and businesses.

Local self-government.

Government agencies.

Top government authorities (Secretariat of the President of Ukraine, Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine), members of Parliament of Ukraine.

Identify key processes:

Organizational management processes.

Processes ensuring service delivery.

Service delivery.

Resource and logistical support.

Develop structure of documentation of quality management system.

Carry out survey of organizations staff and clients.

Set up Quality Management Commission and appoint quality management representatives.

Conduct training in quality management for representatives.

Develop key policy objectives of the MDCS.

Develop structure of all processes of the MDCS.

Organize internal audits:

Approve timeline of regular audits;

Identify internal auditors;

Carry out training for internal auditors.

Test process structure documentation in every day work.

Client feedback

Set up client telephone line.

Regular opinion polls among MDCS customers.

On-line communication with customers.

E-government solutions

Planning and organization of internal processes

Develop strategic plan

Quality management documentation:

MDCS Regulation key document, road map, guideline.

Process structure annexes to Regulation, graphical step-by-step algorithms.

Technical guidelines providing details for structured processes.

Institutional framework for quality management system

Commission for Quality Management and its Regulation.

Quality management representatives and their Regulation.

Commission for Quality Management

Permanent working body

Led by the Head of organization

Key tasks organize development, introduction and continuous improving of the quality management system.

Quality management representatives

Objectives:

Ensure effective functioning of the quality management system;

Coordinate and monitor of activity of quality management officers activity;

Control over implementation of decisions of the Commission for Quality Management.

Quality management officers

Key tasks for quality management officers:

Develop documentation for quality management in all structural divisions;

Inform employees of structural divisions about requirements of ISO standard;

Monitor execution of decisions of the Commission for Quality Management.

 

Tools and templates

Typical regulation for internal organization of a ministry work

Typical methodology of document management for a ministry

Performance and quality indicators for a ministry

Methodology to assess organizational capacity to introduce quality management and identify related problem areas

Challenges and prospects

Shift from routine work to initiation and implementation of public policy.

Introducing process-oriented approach, identification and consistent analysis of effectiveness and quality criteria.

Clear separation of lines of responsibility, strengthening horizontal links and overcoming organizational barriers inside government agencies.

Challenges and prospects

Evaluating personal contribution of each employee into common goal.

Organization of consistent specialized in-service training for civil servants.

Introducing change management as a continuous process of improvement to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

 

 

Annex 1

Analysis of the survey results of MDCS staff

 

Objective:

This survey was conducted to find out some important facts about MDCS

 

1. Out of total 88 distributed questionnaires, 62 were collected, with 70.4% response rate.

Out of those who responded, 16 respondents stated that they are line managers and 30 are not (16 no-responses).

27 staff members stated that they work at the MDCS over a year, 25 less than a year (10 no-responses).

Despite anonymity of the survey, only 22 staff members stated structural division they work in.

 

2. Level of satisfaction and understanding of work duties at the MDCS (4 completely agree, 0 entirely disagree)

Statement

Overall

Managers

Employees

Over 1 yr

Less than 1 yr

I am proud to work at the MDCS

 

3.4

3.1

3.5

3.2

3.4

I clearly understand general goals and objectives of the MDCS

 

3.3

3

3.4

3

3.4

I always have updated information on legislative and regularoy acts needed in my work

 

3.3

3.5

3.3

3.4

3.1

I always understand instructions from my supervisors

 

3

2.6

3.5

2.8

3.3

I have sufficient responsibility needed for effective work

 

3

2.9

3

2.9

3.1

I regularly receive feedback from my supervisors

 

2.9

3

2.7

2.7

2.8

I have sufficient possibility for direct coordination with MDCS Head

 

2.8

2.9

2.9

3.7

3.9

I clearly understand the criteria of my performance appraisal by supervisors

 

2.8

2.5

2.9

3.7

3.7

I always understand my tasks and instructions from supervisors

2.7

2.6

2.7

3.4

3.8

General atmosphere in my organization is beneficial and conducive for productive work

 

2.7

2.8

2.6

3.6

3.7

I am free to voice my opinion on how to improve the effectiveness of the MDCS activity

2.7

2.3

3

3.5

3.7

I am provided with updated statistical information, reports, etc. necessary for my work

2.6

2.5

2.7

3.7

3.4

I have sufficient opportunities to upgrade my qualification level to perform quality work

2.5

2.3

2.5

3

3.7

I am satisfied with my work conditions

2.5

2.5

2.6

3.6

3.4

I fully understand separation of responsibility among structural divisions of the MDCS

2.3

1.9

2.5

3.3

3.2

Responsibility of my structural division is clearly defined and not in conflict with responsibility of other divisions

2

1.9

1.9

2.8

2.9

I have enough time to perform quality work

 

1.7

1.2

2.1

2.7

2.7

 

Distribution of responses to the question:

3. Evaluate your own work

Do you always perform your duties with good quality?:

Always - 7

In majority of instances 15

50/50 4

In minority of instances 33

No response 3

 

What are the reasons for poor quality of work? (share of respondents who chose a reason; more than 1 could be selected):

 

Overall

Managers

Employees

Over 1 yr

Less than 1 yr

Not enough time

0.63

0.69

0.55

0.52

0.71

Unclear task or performance criteria

0.39

0.25

0.41

0.48

0.33

Insufficient knowledge and/or skills, insufficient training

0.32

0.25

0.38

0.37

0.33

No access to necessary information

0.18

0.13

0.14

0.15

0.17

Insufficient level of responsibility

0.15

0.06

0.14

0.07

0.25

Lack of motivation for good quality of work

0.08

0.13

0.1

0

0.04

Managers allow poor quality

0.05

0.06

0.03

0.15

0.04

Regulator restrictions

0.03

0

0.03

0.07

0.04

Also, 2 staff members noted that sometimes they are forced to do some other divisions work.

 

4. Do you believe that quality management could be a tool for improved service delivery?:

Yes 46

Unsure 12

No 3

 

5. Who in your opinion are key customers of the MDCS services? 46 respondents, more than 1 option could be selected):

Civil servants

29 (63%)

Citizens, NGOs

20 (43%)

Other government agencies

19 (41%)

President of Ukraine, Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, Parliament

8 (17%)

Local self-governing bodies

7 (14%)

Research institutions

1 (2%)

Universities

1 (2%)

MDCS staff

1 (2%)

HR units of government agencies

1 (2%)

Retired civil servants

1 (2%)

 

 

6. 39 respondents gave their opinion on the key results of the MDCS work. The most important results are direct output (i.e., regulatory acts, draft government decisions, explanation, etc.) and changes in the work of civil servants (i.e., increased status of civil servants etc.). A number of staff members stated that customer satisfaction and service delivery should be the results of the MDCS work.

 

Direct output (i.e., regulatory acts, draft government decisions, explanation, etc.) and

11 (28%)

Changes in the civil service (increased status and professionalism of civil servants etc.)

14 (36%)

Customer satisfaction, quality service delivery

6 (15%)

Internal improvement of the MDCS (increased status, improved image, improved internal organization and management etc.)

6 (15%)

 

7. 29 staff members provided suggestions to improve internal organization of the MDCS work. The most frequent suggestions are:

clearly regulate internal procedures (9);

clearly identify and separation functions among divisions, eliminate overlaps (7);

reduce red tape, reduce document flow (6);

increase opportunities for professional training (4);

improve recruitment and selection procedures (3);

improve technical equipment of workplace (3).


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