“Delays” has been identified as the primary root cause of administrative corruption in the country, research findings by the Ghana Integrity Initiative and the Private Enterprises Federation on Using Service Delivery Charters to Promote Business Integrity in the country have revealed.
From the perspective of the private sector, the delays are attributable to sluggishness and incompetence of mostly staff, bureaucracy, among others.
Similar trend were registered in the public sector though lack of resources were a major issue in the public sector.
Shockingly, unofficial “facilitation fees” are often taken and sometimes to facilitate the process.
Some of the public institutions surveyed were the Drivers, Vehicle and Licensing Authority (DVLA), the Registrar General’s Department, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Passport Office.
The findings pointed out that the fight against administrative corruption will be a mirage unless it is targeted at eliminating unnecessary delays in the provision of public services.
“To address corruption, one must thus necessarily eliminate unnecessary delays in the delivery of public services”, the findings emphasized.
Also, effective and efficient service delivery is thus one of the ways to prevent and fight corruption.
The delays it said can be eliminated through the effective implementation and use of SDCs and automation of services among others, thereby preventing and fighting administrative corruption.
Meanwhile, quite a number of public sector organisations had a Service Delivery Charter but are not functional.
What a good Service Delivery Charter must contain
A good SDC must clearly identify the state institution, its purpose, its ‘client base’ and its services as well as establish channels of communication between the Institution and its clients.
It must also set out the institution’s client service standards and client rights and responsibilities, and set ways to obtain feedback and handle client enquiries and complaints.
It was identified that about 71% of the SDCs do not contain the unique symbols of the state institutions, as only two SDCs however indicated logos.
All SDCs reviewed stated a mission, vision and objectives. Some of these may however require modification for simplicity and easy recall.
Also only 28% of the Service Delivery Charters reviewed contain a checklist of the documents that applicants must present on applying for a service.
For the public institutions, all the study institutions had some gaps with their SDC in general.
The research therefore proposed that they take the guidelines into consideration and developing and reviewing the SDCs.
At the same time all staff must be trained on service delivery and appropriate behaviours towards clients/customers no matter their fields of specialization.
In conclusion, the survey said that the introduction of the SDCs will emphasize on the commitment of public institutions towards the provision of services to the citizens according to predetermined quality standards, thereby ushering in a new era in quality management in the public service to meet the demands and needs of customers.