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Servicom Charters

SERVICOM charters are the operational day-to-day implementation of SERVICOM: They are in place by 1 July 2004 and every Government Department is expected to display one. They are the basis for:

-  Customers’ expectations of quality Service Delivery
-  Customers’ demand of their rights to good service
-  Customers’ recourse when services delivery fails
-  Customers’ involvement in the Service Delivery Programme

1.0 Introduction
A Public service Charter is intended to be read and understood by ordinary Customers and members of Staff. It is a simple, straightforward contract between the service and its customers, staff and stakeholders. It should be in plain language devoid of legal terminology and straight to the point.
2.0 Essential Elements
There are basically 3 essential elements to consider in the process of formulating a Charter. They are:
          1.  Simplicity
          2.  Realism
          3.  Contents

•   Simplicity: A Charter is to be written in simple, straightforward and plain language that both the Staff and the Customers will understand.

•   Realism: It should be realistic and achievable, promising only what can be delivered. Do not promise what you cannot provide or deliver in your Charter.

•   Contents: A Charter should constitute some features, which when put together makes up the Charter as reflected below:
3.0 Essential Components

A. Introduction/Background         
           -  Description about the service
           -  The purpose of the Charter
           -  To whom the Charter is targeted

B. Mission
This is the mandate of the service provider, indicating the expected service provision in broad terms.

C. Vision
This is a statement of medium term or long term goals for service provision and delivery.

D. Details of Customers
A comprehensive list of the Customers or Clientele.
E. Service Provision
This is a statement of service provision to be guaranteed as a right; e.g. to be provided with electricity for 10 hrs each day or to be provided with regular trained and equipped Police patrol presence, day and night.

F. Service Delivery
A statement of service delivery that Customers may  expect e.g.:
           -  prompt and courteous treatment
           -  to be provided with adequate information
           -  to be consulted
           -  to attend to those with special needs.

G. Monitoring and Publishing
           -  A commitment to monitor performance against service standards and    
              report regularly on performance
           -  Take note of and react to Customers’ feedback.

H.   Grievance Redress Mechanism
           •  An explanation of the complaints procedure
           •  How to complain
           •  Who to complain to
           •  Time limits for response
           •  Action to be taken
           •  Redress available.
l.  Obligations/Expectations
A statement of what the service requires from Staff, Management and Customer or even the Government, in order to guarantee provision and delivery of services.
This can otherwise be referred to as the other half of the contract.
3.1 Optional Components

A. Existing Limitations

•  Constraints or circumstances beyond the control of the service provider which seriously limit performance in the short term

•  Its inclusion may be necessary to dampen unrealistic expectations and it also acts as a spur to those in a position to influence the situation. It is            optional to include these limitations in a charter and it is a mailer of judgment as to whether inclusion is likely to be beneficial or to have a negative effect.
B. Stakeholders participation
Their involvement may be necessary as a means to determine their needs and preferences.
4.0 Implementation
It is pertinent to take note of the following in the process of implementing the Charter of your MDA:

•   Train members of Staff about their roll and responsibility in the implementation of the Charter

•   Delegate powers appropriately to members of Staff, to enable them discharge their responsibilities with the degree of efficiency, effectiveness and timeliness.
5.0 Charter Review
Charter formulation should not be looked upon as  a one time exercise, with a final outcome. It should therefore be seen and taken as a constantly evolving process.
6.0 Conclusions
Launching and publicising a Charter is a significant step on the road to service improvement. As service  providers, you need to be cautious that the promises  reflected in the Charter can be realised immediately or in a short term.

Once a Charter has been published, the service provider has no excuse but to provide an improved and qualitative service.

Relevant Documents
Charter Evaluation Form

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