THE SERVICE CHARTER INITIATIVE
Lagos State Ministry of Health
In its quest for a truly citizen – centered public service, the Lagos State government adopted a service charter initiative to articulate its commitment to evolve a more effective and efficient public service in the State.
The initiative stipulates the development of service charters by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to engender improved service delivery, greater responsive public servants and greater public satisfaction with government services.
For the pilot phase which was officially launched on July 3, 2014, 12 Pilot MDAs were selected one of which was Ministry of Health with the Permanent Secretaries of each MDA becoming the Service Charter Champion of their MDAs.
A Service Delivery Unit was set up with approval given by the Permanent Secretary to source for four (4) Service Delivery Unit Officers between GL 08 – 09.
A Pre-Intervention Survey was carried out at the instance of the OOT with Questionnaires administered to Customers and Staff.
For more efficiency within the individual Directorates, Service Charter Liaison Officers were nominated from each Directorate.
As a key factor to ensuring the success of the initiative, Ministry of Information and Strategy was at the instigation of the Permanent Secretary (Health), brought on board and carried along with respect to all planned activities.
Ministry of Health’s Service Charter Initiative officially commenced on August 6, 2012 in full collaboration with the Ministry of Information and Strategy.
The Service Charter Implementation plans for the Ministry were divided into Short and Medium term plans to address Structural, Managerial and Capacity Building Issues.
The Short term Achievements: July 2012 – May 2013
The short-term focus was mainly on establishing the necessary structures for Service Charter Implementation
1. Establishment of the Ministry’s Service Charter Committee chaired by the Permanent Secretary, Meetings are held on a quarterly basis to deliberate on pertinent issues and activities making decisions on way forward as a Ministry etc.
2. Face-lift of the reception area to a functional Front Desk / One Stop Service Enquiry Window for the two ministries.
3. Establishment of a Front Desk manned by one officer each from the two Ministries from 8am – 4pm, (for Ministry of Health from 8am – 5pm ) on work days to provide information on how visitors / customers / clients can access services, lodge complaints and receives feedbacks on every transaction with the Ministry.
4. Uniformed Officers – wearing of scarves by female officers and ties by male officers in colors of Lagos State emblem from Monday to Thursday and Ankara tops on Fridays also in Lagos State colours.
5. Welfare package implemented for Front Desk Officers to ensure proper dressing at all times and motivation.
6. Security – Security personnel and porters repositioned outside the entrance door and by lifts to screen people coming into the block.
7. Provision of visitors’ tags and identification tags for drivers, IT Students and NYSC staff.
8. A Service Charter ‘Welcome’ sign outside of the block and a Service Charter Service Information Banner at the reception as well as information leaflets.
9. Directional signages mounted on all floors and stairs for navigational ease of customers.
10. Provision of a changing room for the uniformed security personnel by the replacement / extension of partitioning under the staircase.
11. Service Charter initiative enlightenment / sensitization of Junior and senior staff.
12. Provision of a common Room for the Ministry of Health staff on the 6th floor.
13. Institution of proper information exchange/ notification with respect to services and forthcoming/ongoing activities through the use of the Notice Boards on each floor and the ground floor as well as the electronic Information Board on the ground floor.
14. Development of a complaint mechanism for the Ministry
• Complaint booklets printed for use of customers at front desk
• Complaint flowchart and Information Leaflet printed
• Complaint redress avenue signages pasted at front desk, all floors and Directorate Anterooms.
1. Provision of a temporary ramp for physically challenged customers (was at the time, constructed at the entrance of the block).
2. Full privatization of Janitorial Services within the Ministry with uniformed personnel for ease of identification. A Janitor permanently stationed on ground floor to ensure continuous cleanliness of reception area.
3. 2013 Service Charter formally launched in April 2013.
4. LSMOH Service Charter Stakeholders Group inaugurated with the responsibility to ensure the input of the stakeholders in the Charter document development and implementation. Meetings are meant to hold quarterly.
5. Monitoring of Service Charter structures and compliance conducted twice daily with feedback for intervention.
In February of 2013, His Excellency mandated the Ministries of Health and Education to cascade the Service Charter Initiative to all the MDAs within their sector.
Medium term Achievements: June 2013 till date
The medium-term plans implemented thus far consist mainly of:
1. Capacity building
2. Infrastructural upgrade
3. Implementation of service charter main functions
4. Implementation of the Cascade Initiative
5. Monitoring of Level of LSMOH Service Charter Compliance and more recently;
6. Performance Assessment of Services provided and Standards pledged
1. Orientation meeting with Junior Staff (Grade Level 1-7) conducted on principles and implementation of Service Charter in June 2013.
2. Orientation/Sensitisation meeting of Service charter cascade Initiative with Health Sector MDAs’ nominated Service Delivery Unit Officers in June 2013.
3. Customer Service Capacity building for front-line officers of the Ministry in September 2013.
4. Service Charter Development Workshop for Health sector MDAs in October 2013
5. Establishment of Service Charter Service Window @ Staff Clinic with 2 dedicated front desk officers.
6. Institutionalization of an effective and reputable complaint handling mechanism as well as an efficient monitoring system.
7. Capital Structural rehabilitation of the Ministry including:
ü Upgrading and re-modelling of Reception Area, Toilets and Conference Room
ü Rehabilitation of Ministry – doors, staircase, corridors and offices
ü Procurement of new lift for the Ministry
1. Maiden Health Sector Champions Meeting in December 2013. Since then a total of 4 have been held
2. Submission and finalization of Draft Service Charters by MDAs – Jan to Feb 2013, Since then, Charters have been reviewed and finalized in conjunction with OOT
3. 10. Commencement of Award Initiative for Best Service Charter Compliant Directorate (BSCCD) in last quarter of 2013. The Award Committee comprises a nominee from each Directorate as well as 2 independent Members drawn from the Stakeholder’s group who lead 2 inspection teams.
4. LSMOH 2014 Service Charter finalized at the Service Charter Committee Meeting of April 2014 and utilized in Performance Assessment for the rest of that year.
5. Monitoring of MDAs under the Cascade Initiative commenced April and May 2014. Visit was conducted at least twice to each facility. First visit served as a baseline to identify issues and form the basis for a Service Improvement Plan for implementation. Follow-up visit conducted in December 2014 to determine improvements if any. Hospitals were graded according to level of Service Charter compliance. Table of grading attached.
6. Performance Assessment as per Service Standards conducted for Directorates in conjunction with PATHS2 for Yr. 2013 (Report available). Yr. 2014 Performance Assessment is currently being compiled into a report also by PATHS2.
7. Orientation Meeting conducted with all Directorates to institute the Service Standards monitoring and implementation documentation as a routine activity to be coordinated by the Directorate’s Liaison Officer. Template for Performance Assessment finalized and shared. Utilized for quarterly assessment in 2014.
8. 15. The award initiative for Service Charter Compliance has since been merged with the Services and Standards’ Performance Assessment Exercise with same being used from third quarter of 2014. Performance Assessment to be conducted by SDU every quarter with Award Committee conducting a selection exercise for Top 3 Directorates twice a year (Jan-June, July-Dec). Awards provided for same. Summary Table of Awardees and Scores from 2013 till date attached.
9. Reconstitution of Front-Desk Officers due to poor performance – 3 officers replaced.
1. Continuing the Cascade Initiative.
• Twice yearly monitoring of Health Sector MDAs to continue to facilitate improvement in Service Charter Compliance. Poorly performing MDAs to be visited quarterly or as when required.
• Institution of an Award System. Awards for Year 2014 will be given in various categories including; Most improved MDA, Best Service Charter Compliant MDA etc.
• Conduct Complaint Management workshop for SDUs of MDAs.
1. Capacity Building in LSMOH
• Conduct Sensitization Meeting for both Junior and Senior Staff
• Conduct Complaint Mechanism and Service Improvement Plan Workshop
• Conduct re-training of Ministry’s front-line Officers
1. Print and Launch 2015 Service Charters for the entire Health Sector and incorporate LSMOH Open Day into a one-off event. Sponsors to be sought.
2. Continue Quarterly Performance Assessment of LSMOH Service Charter Service Standards.
3. Hold Health Sector Service Charter Champions and Stakeholders’ Meetings as at when due.
4. Develop a Complaints data Base for the Health Sector to inform Service Improvement Plans
5. Some MDAs have been persistently non-compliant. Penalties of some kind should be considered for non-compliant MDAs who remain on same level for a year,
6. Cascading to PHC Level remains as at yet unaccomplished and should be considered for roll-out this year. It is pertinent to note that thus far, any complaints received with respect to PHCs remain unresolved.
7. Reactivate Sign-in/Sign-out initiative
8. Continue Crowd Analysis Reviews
9. Customer Satisfaction Surveys to be conducted in second and fourth quarters of the year.
1. The Service Charter journey in the Ministry of Health has been a self-enlightening and improving experience.
2. In implementing the Initiative, there has been accompanying tremendous structural upgrade and improvement of the Ministry’s customer service as a whole.
3. In terms of the staff, there has been a significant shift in the mindset and behavior with regards to dealing with customers and implementing our services.
4. The public launch of the document heightened the sense accountability within the Directorate with respect to the services and services promised.
5. Complaint Management is now an integral and functional part of the Health Sector Service Charter with all Directorates and MDAs under the cascade initiative striving to ensure no complaints emanate as a result of service failure on their part.
6. The Cascade Initiative has set in motion the gradual improvement of customer service and service delivery across the Health Sector.
7. The instituted Reward System has encouraged healthy rivalry between Directorates to ensure constantly improving levels of service charter compliance and performance for the Ministry as a whole.