The Policy Framework for Service Improvement132 commits those departments and agencies that have significant direct service delivery activities for citizens to:
Х Adopt a comprehensive continuous improvement planning and im plementation approach to service improvement and client satisfac tion.
Х Establish documented baseline measures of client satisfaction for key services to the public, using Common Measurements Tool met rics.
Х Prepare and implement annual Service Improvement Plans based on clientsТ priorities for service improvement.
Х Establish targets for improved client satisfaction in key services to the public (minimum 10% improvement by 2005 compared to Citizens First survey results, or the organisationТs own year baseline surveys).
Х Adopt and publish core service standards for each service channel (e.g. timeliness standards for telephone service, in person service, electronic service, and mail service) that are linked to clientsТ ex pectations.
Х Incorporate results based service improvement accountability for managers as part of existing performance management systems, commencing with Deputy Ministers.
Х Report within the annual government wide planning and reporting process (using common Public Service wide metrics) on: a) service standards for all key public services; b) performance against ser vice standards; c) annual improvements in client satisfaction; and, d) progress toward satisfaction targets.
Before moving to an organisational arrangement to achieve a more citizen centred approach to delivering programs and services, there should be evidence that the programs and services are subject to (or that there is a plan to subject them to) a rigorous results based ap proach to improving client satisfaction.
The Service Improvement Planning and Implementation methodol ogy of client feedback, service improvement planning and implementa See Treasury Board of Canada. How to Guide for the Service Improvement Initiative.
http://www.tbs sct.gc.ca/si si/sii ias/home_e.shtml tion, and monitoring progress towards satisfaction targets should be used as the basis for moving toward improved service levels.
Where appropriate, the Case Analysis should clearly indicate results commitments for improvements expected in terms of levels of service and citizen access resulting from the ASD initiative, such as:
Х Service levels, Х Customer, client and citizen satisfaction, and Х Access.
Components for an accountability framework for alternative service delivery A performance or accountability framework includes the following components:
Identifying Х Clear understanding of objectives, key results and Results strategic priorities Х Clear articulation of roles and responsibilities Х Realistic performance expectations Measuring Х A performance measurement strategy Perform Х Short, medium and long term measurement ance Х Other performance measurement mechanisms Reporting Х Provisions for balanced reporting Х Reporting that is transparent, open, credible and timely Х Sharing lessons learned The following generic Results Based Accountability checklist for Canada has evolved over time, based on practical experiences.
Throughout the development of an accountability framework it is rec ommended that modest expectations be maintained initially. As the See Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat. Policy on Alternative Service Delivery. See http://www.tbs sct.gc.ca/pubs_pol/opepubls_B4asd dmps1_e.asp framework is implemented, it can be improved and strengthened on an incremental basis.
A Results Based Accountability Checklist for Managers Proponents and Part Proponents and Partners should ners understand and consider:
Identifying Results Х involving citizens and clients in defining clear understanding of key results, state what they are and show links objectives, key results to objectives and strategic priorities Х publishing results, eligibility criteria and service level commitments Х focusing on outcomes (vs. process, activities and outputs) Х defining what each party is expected to clear articulation of contribute to achieve the outcomes roles and responsibili Х publicly recognizing and explaining the ties role and contribution of each partner Х public sector values and conflict of inter est issues Х clearly linking performance expectations realistic performance to the capacities (authorities, skills, knowl expectations edge and resources) of each partner to en sure that expectations are realistic Measuring Performance Х identifying appropriate monitoring ap a performance meas proach and review tools urement strategy Х using common databases or co operative data collection where possible and share other information Х factoring in performance and contextual information from external sources, e.g., so cietal indicators for broader context Х investing in necessary information man agement/information technology systems.
Х identifying how progress will be measured short, medium and long at different parts of the lifecycle of an initiative term measurement Х developing comparative and using socie tal indicators where appropriate Х dispute resolution Ц establishing an ap other performance proach for corrective action if partnersТ re mechanisms sponsibilities are not fulfilled Х appeals/complaints practices establish ing an approach when adjustments are needed to address citizensТ complaints Reporting Х identify the reporting strategy early in the Provisions for balanced initiative public reporting Х consider incorporating performance in formation into existing public reports Х report publicly on citizensТ appeals and complaints, and ensure confidentiality and privacy needs are met Х use all forms of performance evidence to Reporting that is trans support reporting parent, open, credible Х provide easy public access to information and timely Х link costs to results where possible Х use independent assessments Х track lessons learned and good practices Sharing lessons and publish them learned Х establish mechanisms for improvements and innovations Annex 5:
Procurement The УConcept PaperФ notes as a main task the necessity to improve Уprocedures of goods and services procurement for government and municipal needsФ. The УConcept PaperФ goes on to list ten measures to be taken in this regard. In general, their thrust is to improve competi tion, transparency, and fairness. As such, they are squarely in the direc tion of reform and practice internationally.
Research in this area should proceed with several objectives in mind:
Х bringing to bear the fruits of experience abroad with the measures suggested; in particular, in the case of CEPRA II, Canadian experi ence, Х critically examining pitfalls experienced in each of the ten areas mentioned in the УConcept PaperФ, with suggestions for re finements that might help avoid them in Russia, and Х examining the list for possible extensions, as well as priorities for action, based on experience abroad.
Objectives of Procurement Policy The basic objective of procurement policy is to make sure the state receives the best value for money it possibly can. This laudable concept includes not just the lowest price for goods complying with specifica tions but more complex notions such as lowest lifecycle cost. It entails as a fundamental process the idea of open and fair competition, through which intending vendors may offer their solutions to the buyerТs specification according to rules that place all bidders on the same foot ing. It must be operationalized by officials who are dedicated to the scrupulous observance of the rules and therefore the public good.
There need to be systems to deter and expose corruption.
This annex is an excerpt from Barry Carin, David Good, Harry Kitchen and Harry Swain CEPRA Research Activities: In Support of the УConcept of Government Budget Expendi tures PolicyФ, November 2002.
Canadian Experience Nothing attracts the attention of businesses more than the possibility of large sales on favourable terms. Over many years in many countries vendors have profited from an interest in the minutiae of government contracting that, for reasons of self interest, often over matches the level of attention and expertise brought to bear by the agents of the buyer. This imbalance of power and information, added to the necessity to avoid corrupt transactions, has resulted in ever more complex rules governing procurement. There comes a time when the burden of time and paper may outweigh the benefit to society of scrupulous process.
There are also occasions when for urgent reasons the buyer must short circuit the process. Procurement policy thus falls into several natural categories:
Х standard rules of process, Х exceptions, Х who may justify exceptions, and how, Х reporting and transparency, and Х enforcement and sanctions.
The administrative history of Canada may be read in the halting but generally progressive attempts, over a century and a half, to answer these questions. In general, the rules tend to accumulate weight and complexity over time as new and conflicting objectives are added to the basic one of economical and efficient procurement of the goods and services needed by the state. From time to time, the Canadian govern ment has pruned back the more rococo excesses of rule making, only to have well intentioned officials once again invent new rules for secon dary objectives, or to control behaviour seen as derogating from the ideal.
Two years ago, a high level review of Canadian procurement policy was undertaken under the direction of a former Cabinet Secretary. This work is available to the Canadian side of CEPRA. Together with reviews undertaken in the late 1980s and in 1995, there is good documentation of the successes, failings, and attempts at reform in the Canadian fed eral system. Recent issues seen to require reforms include the follow ing:
Х Encumbering the system by extraneous objectives, notably equity.
УSet asideФ programs favoring native Canadian or female vendors, small businesses, depressed regions, firms paying over market wages, provinces without competitive vendors, and even linguistic minorities have all been tried, and several persist in one form or another today.
Х The way in which international trade obligations have been op erationalized. The Canadian International Trade Tribunal, in its consideration of NAFTA and WTO obligations, has been criticized for losing sight of the forest while concentrating on the trees. They may have been driven there by an excess of lawyers, at the expense of common sense.
Х The divergence of thresholds for relaxation of the rules between domestic and international levels. In Canada, federal procurements must generally be tendered if in excess of $25,000, while NAFTA rules allow sole sourcing below roughly $85,000.
Х The capacity of elected ministers, and a handful of their closest collaborators, to award themselves exceptions to normal rules.
Several current scandals involving the Prime Minister and senior colleagues have hurt the credibility of the government.
Х Related to the former, the lack of effective sanctions. Fields dominated by formal law, such as those subject to international trade agreements, generally contain sanctions, and criminal law applies to the real rogues (if caught); but bureaucratic malfea sance, schlamperei, patronage and corner cutting are endemic and hard to control.
Approaches to Reform Broadly speaking there seem to be two avenues to reform. The standard one, recommended by officials everywhere if for no other rea son than it maximizes bureaucratic power, involves adding ever more weight and specificity to the rule book. For every abuse, real or imag ined, a rule can be invented, and the invention process itself can con sume large amounts of Уpensionable timeФ. The other, more threaten ing, approach is absolute transparency. Allowing the public and the press immediate access to all transactions is thought by some to be the most effective check possible against sharp practice by parties on ei ther side of a transaction. The availability of electronically recorded in formation on the internet makes practical the most radical dreams of reformers in this area.
There are exceptions. Commercial confidentiality is necessary in fully competitive systems, something of a paradox since all procure ment systems invoke the power of competition in order to protect the interests of the buyer/taxpayer. Trade secrets and intellectual property must be guarded by vendors if their hard won competitive advantages are not to be broadcast to the world.
An extreme version of perverse effects occurs in the context of un solicited proposals. Recall that most procurement theology begins with the buyer defining its requirements and calling for proposals or tenders.
However, there are many instances in this modern world where a ven dor may have a brilliant and proprietary solution which is unknown to the buyer, or a solution to a problem the buyer has not yet thought about.
The Canadian system deals poorly with such instances. The rules gen erally state that information submitted to the government in such cases may be turned around and be made part of a competitive tender or pro posal request. Under these circumstances the public may simply not be offered a superior solution.
More generally, procurement rules often seem to be cast in terms of the procurement of commodity items at the lowest possible cost, when in fact many of the things governments must purchase are highly spe cialized, only available from a single supplier if at all. Procedures for negotiated purchases need much more attention than they have had, though Canadian experience with certain very large contracts (Уmajor Crown purchasesФ) provides useful experience.
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