Quality system in local government
The quality management system, despite the fact that it impacts the entire municipality, shall be implemented only at the municipal office. It should not include subordinate units and subsidiaries. Certificate of the quality system for the municipality cannot be shared with subordinate units because of the assumptions and criteria adopted in ISO standards series 9000.
Design of quality management system
The design of the system is similar as in enterprises. The person responsible for the system is the Mayor or President, who appoints his representative responsible for implementation of the system. It is usually the secretary (in larger offices: Quality manager). The Mayor's role in the construction and operation of the system is often much more limited than in the case of CEOs of companies. This may impact adversely the outcome of implementation – there is a danger that the changes made in the Office will not go as far as it would be desirable from the point of view of the quality of the services provided. Limited engagement is, however, beneficial in case of change after local elections which often result in changes in management.
Implementation in local government
In preparing the implementation of the quality system, consideration should be given to the structure of the municipality authorities to properly identify the stakeholders of the project. Bodies forming the municipality are the residents and the council of the municipality. Residents can be considered as constituting the body due to the entry in the article: 170 of the Constitution and article 15 giving them an opportunity to appeal. Range of tasks of Municipal Council involves all matters except those which need to be dealt with referendum (for example: self taxation). Executive body of the municipality is the Mayor.
Scope of QMS in local government
The scope of the quality system in the municipality may involve various forms of cooperation between municipalities. Permitted forms of cooperation to are: agreements, associations of municipalities, and international cooperation.
Due to the large diversity of processes and little connection between them the design of quality system in the municipality must be different from the systems implemented in enterprises.
In many municipalities quality system uses the concept of customer service point. It allows to link in one place all processes associated with the citizen (client). This solution also has other advantages:
- limited contact of employees with citizens, which reduces the opportunities for corruption,
- work of officials is not interrupted,
- it is change immediately visible and felt by citizens.
Objectives of QMS implementation
The primary objective of the implementation of the quality management system at the municipality is increasing its efficiency in dealing with external actors, and a higher level of competitiveness. From it follows a number of goals and objectives relating to more specific areas of activity. Other relevant objectives is to increase the attractiveness of the municipality and the availability of office for its clients.
Implementation of the quality system is associated with describing and harmonizing procedures for the handling of matters, which implies, in many cases, simplifying and shortening the turnaround time for individual services, and this is one of the determinants of the attractiveness of the municipality.
The UK study carried out at the offices of the public administration, implementing quality system has shown that the main objective is to improve the quality of services thanks to the greater efficiency of the organization. Other objectives were: to improve the image, to improve the mode of operation and increase motivation.
When designing, and then implementing the quality management system at the municipality, clear goals should be set. This allows to build a system that will fit to the needs of the local self-government and help achieve the established objectives. Despite the rigidity of certain requirements, ISO 9001 standard leaves most decisions to the institutions and consultants. This is particularly important in the case of offices, which is, after all, a completely different characteristics than the industrial enterprises or even services.
Quality improvement in local government
M. Bugdol proposes tasks that should be performed in order to improve the quality of services provided by the local public administration offices:
- the introduction of internal standards to perform formalities faster without reduction in quality,
- creation of process organizational structure, where each process will have their leader (employee responsible for it),
- utilization of modern communication technology to reduce the need for direct contact with the client,
- creation of a customer service office, in which client could start service processes and which lead them with a limited participation of the client,
- introduction of more information for customers on individual processes which reduce the amount of errors
- creating packages with a set of documents and forms needed to attend in specific matter,
- completing of some documents by employees (documents are mostly too complex for a large proportion of citizens),
- delegation of authority and decentralization, employee in direct contact with the customer will be able to decide himself instead of being only an intermediary.
- Sanderson I, (2001) Performance Management, Evaluation and Learning in Modern Local Government, Public Administration, 79(2)
- Osborne D. (1993) Reinventing Government, Public Productivity & Management Review, Vol. 16, No. 4
- Donnelly M., Wisniewski M., Dalrymple J.F., Curry A.C. (1995) Measuring service quality in local government: the SERVQUAL approach, International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 8 Iss: 7