Princess Adenike Adedoyin-Ajayi, Head of Department, Branding, OSPES (One Stop Public Service Enquiry) and Service Charter, in this interview speaks about Lagos State Service Charter initiative and its impact.
Tell us more about Lagos State Service Charter and its Impact?
The Lagos State Service Charter Initiative was formally inaugurated on the 3rd of July, 2012 with the sole purpose of ensuring excellent Service Delivery particularly within the Public Service itself. We believe that if Public Servants can get it right, the Citizen will be the highest beneficiaries in the end.
We have put in place Service Level Agreement standards (SLAs) which serves as instruments to measure how Services are rendered, which brings us to the 5 pillars/drivers of Service Charter; Services Delivery, Timeliness, Information, Professionalism and Staff Attitude
Impact internally: All the MDAs that have been Chartered are now able to really provide their services in ways that focuses more on meeting the Customers needs, they are becoming more Customer focused and they are gradually also becoming Customer driven. It is not about us, it is not about the work we do, it is about how we deliver that work or Services to the Citizens. The Service Charter initiative has allowed us to be more introspective and mindful of our workflow processes, everybody is now conscious about how long a file needs to stay on their table, of the fact that there is now a measurable standard and compliance monitoring and evaluation of their Deliverables in line with their stipulated Service Level Agreements. The Service Charter monitoring and evaluation compliance team are going to come, see what I am doing and check it against the standards, things are no longer business as usual, it has become business unusual. The initiative has allowed us to be more effective and efficient with the way we deliver our services. Particularly, the effective and efficient way of working to ensure we deliver services to all our Citizens and even to other MDAs – both Internal and External Customers.
Impact on the Citizens: They now have avenues to lodge complains and give feedbacks, complaints can be escalated through the redress mechanism that’s been put in place. Now they know that someone somewhere will do something about it and that is really a big plus for us in getting the Citizens to develop confidence that the system works. It is still work in progress and we are getting there slowly but surely.
Tell us about the challenges you have faced, working with the public sector?
Bureaucracy: Bureaucracy in itself is not a bad thing, it is actually what helps to put levels of structure in place in order to have proper control and order in all the things that we are doing. But when it is not properly applied, that is when it becomes a problem. The bureaucracy then becomes a bottleneck rather than a seamless orderly flow. For me, it is probably one of the major challenge.
Orientation: Because people always resist change, and it takes a re-orientation of their minds to realize that Service Charter is here to add value and let you know that Customer is king. Yes, the Customers need us Public Servants to get some things done, especially when it comes to providing the basic necessities of everyday general goods and services, like the various services which falls under the health sector, education sector, water, food, shelter and all other related things. The average Public Servant feels they are doing the Citizens a favour and so we have had to change that orientation that actually the reason we are called Public Servants is because we are here to serve the Public, to provide and deliver services to them, and if we can all see and fully understand that, it will go a very long way in delivering our services excellently well. Seeing ourself as Public Servants who are here to serve and not doing our Customers a favour is one of the major mindsets that needs to change amongst Public Servants.
Talking about citizengate, what are your plans for Resolvers in addressing complaint from Lagosians?
The initiative came in a bid to improve relationship between the government and the people, whereby Citizens can feel more involved and contribute to what government is doing.
It is an e-governance platform that will bring governance closer to the people, an extension of Customer Service Delivery, it’s like having governance at your fingertips just like speed dial.
We have carried out technical & soft skill training to build the capacity of the resolvers (Citizensgate back-end operatives) in all MDAs to competently deal with feedbacks received through the portal, like Complaints, Enquiries, Suggestions, & Commendations, they work jointly with their back-office Staff to resolve and redress all feedbacks sent by Citizens through the Citizensgate portal within the stipulated SLAs and turn-around-times. We have put all necessary infrastructures in place in all MDAs, and also assigned call centre operatives to take direct calls from Citizens who don’t have a smart device, you just tell them whatever your feedback is, and they will write everything you say on the portal. In addition, we have also developed a communication strategy to ensure that there is appropriate Public awareness campaign about the Citizensgate e-governance portal, now that we have trained and built the capacity of our Resolvers & Supervisors, we are all set to take on the influx of anticipated feedbacks from the Citizens. We will also carry out quarterly Compliance Monitoring and Evaluation of all MDAs to ensure smooth and seamless operations to ensure that everything they are doing is in conformity with Service Delivery ethics and standards.
If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
That all workflow processes and services rendered in the Public Sector should be automated and digitized. Secondly, to have more robust Customer user friendly ways of interacting with our Citizens with Professional Customer Service cadre officers attending to them and lastly, to cut down on Bureaucracy and navigate through the system without the bottlenecks synonymous/attached to the Public Sector.
Describe yourself in 3 words?
Passionate, dogged, God-fearing.