Agenda • Serving the people: What it is, and what it is not • Three modes and voice (illustrated by telecom and passport examples) • Trust • Command and control • Competition and choice • How can we improve delivery of public services by local government?
Public service . . . NOT • Officiating at ceremonies • Contributing to weddings and funerals . . . BUT • Delivering essential services to the people, efficiently (more of the same for less money) and in improved ways every year (new services)
Public services v. private supply • Difference between government service supply and private service supply? • Mostly, government provides services people cannot do without • Monopoly, not subject to regulation or oversight • Only help the service-seeker can get is from a politician
Three modes Command and Control Choice and Competition Trust Voice Voice Voice
Telecom services, 1896-1990s • Mix of trust and command-and-control • For the most part engineers were trusted to provide services • But as supply fell short of demand, command and control became the main mode (politicians in charge) • Yet, supply was still inadequate and bribes had to be paid for connections and maintenance • Voice, in the form of letters to editor complaints to political authorities, etc.
Telecom services, 1990s - • Competition introduced; government-ownership reduced; SLT organizational culture changed • Result • 12 million plus connections; more than 70% of households in the country have a phone; pretty much no one pays bribes to get a phone • Prices as low as 49 cents a minute; incoming free; even fixed prices not being increased as permitted by legal provisions • Improvements in quality of service; not the best, but still better than what we got from Department of Telecom • Not much need for voice; change your supplier if he does not treat you well
How choice and competition improve performance • When Mobitel introduced Upahaara, others had to respond (e.g., Blaster packages) • When Tigo made incoming free, other had to respond • In order to make money with low prices, had to cut costs and become more efficient (same for less) • Also compelled to offer new services (more) • Watch the news in June
How can we improve the supply of public services? • Remove undersupply • E.g., garbage not collected from peripheral areas; garbage left for days without collection; . . . • No/few street lights • No one gives 24 hrs of water pressure • Improve efficiency: do more for less • Offer new services
Dept of I & E: Services useful to users brought into the building
Dept of I & E: Outsourcing improves convenience and generates revenue
Improving public service delivery • Where possible, introduce incentives for continuous improvement • Either through choice and competition, as in telecom (“competition in the market”), or • Through command and control, as in Department of Immigration and Emigration • Outsource ancillary services like food and photocopying, focusing energy on core supervisory functions; driving efficiencies through “competition for the market” (need for transparency) • Study the core functions and improve them continually
Continually improving public service delivery • Today you can get your passport in the afternoon if you hand over documents in the morning • But, what if there is a problem? • Beta testing use of SMS to communicate to applicants throughout the process • Passport office more efficient than NIC office, issuance of police reports, etc.; follow the value chain and improve each part of it • Improve form distribution countrywide and ensure greater use of 1919 • Still filling forms at airport while we have machine-readable passports
Local government • Money is not so much a problem • People willingly pay for significantly superior service • Additional fee for one-day passport • Failure of parking fees in Kandy • Closest to the people • Plenty of room for improvement • Learn from each other • Vital role for Federation of Sri Lanka Local Government Authorities