There Are Key Reasons Why ‘New Direction’ Service Delivery Is Scanty

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Commentary

By Amin Kef Sesay

Given that the more things change, the more they seem to remain the same, even getting worse, it is understandable why President Bio summoned all 83 Heads of Commissions, parastatals, agencies and state-owned enterprises to a seminar titled “Consolidating the Foundation for Service Delivery” at Bintumani hotel this week aimed at providing participating State officials with the necessary political orientation, accelerate effective service delivery and deepen their understanding of performance management systems.

Very simple; service delivery remains weak because the MDAs work mostly in isolation, with very little coordination and limited human and financial resources not available for timely sustained interventions – hence lack of the desired development outcomes in the lives of the masses.

Noteworthy that the President said that as a Government, they must improve on the way they run our institutions by being bold and innovative and encouraged them to develop the professional habit and culture of efficient political and economic management of the State. Such work concept is a novelty to our desk bound technocrats.

The Calabash has had a keen interest in how this Government would be different from the former and previous ones before in terms of making qualitative difference in the standard of living of our long suffering masses.

The findings show that the major causes of poor service delivery are the willful and malicious failure of Parliament to take their oversight duties with the seriousness it deserves and their complete failure to follow up robustly on the Auditor General’s annual findings and recommendations to the MDAs on how to equip themselves to provide quality service delivery to the people.

Issues such as poor interpretation of policies, corruption, maladministration of resources, lack of coordination and aligned programs as well as lack of skills and monitoring by officials need to be comprehensively addressed to curb the problems of service delivery.

At the level of the State and its agencies, we found out that undue political interference and manipulation of State institutions and mechanisms for selfish gains, corruption of operational rules and regulations to facilitate outright theft, fraud and waste and lack of robust accountability and transparency structures and personnel in the MDAs contribute greatly to poor service delivery year in year out.

At the human and societal level, inadequate citizen participation, poor human resource policy, failure to manage change, lack of employee capacity, poor planning and poor monitoring and evaluation mechanisms lead to a culture of I-don’t-care and impunity of officials that fail to perform their duties responsibly and accountably.

The main strategies to improve service delivery were found to be increasing citizens’ participation in the affairs of both central and local governance, partnership by the MDAs and Local Councils with the community in planning and delivering service delivery, flexible response to service user complaints, offering value for money and ensuring that service users pay their bills on time.

At the administrative and managerial levels, much needed are strategic public service planning, sound human resource policy that includes capacity building and employee motivation, managing change, dealing with corruption and improving accountability, segregation of duties, management integrity and rectitude, partnering with other players and outsourcing services.

At the general governance level, how can poor service delivery be improved? Experts believe that it is only by setting out clearly achievable goals and objectives, mobilizing the required resources for their achievement and measuring performance constantly.

 

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