Toolkit of GOOD PRACTICES on Citizen Participation!


Citizens Scoring Card Self - Assessment for the Public Services in Orikum


Country: Albania

Context

The Orikum city has approximately 4,500 inhabitants who have access to the public services provided by the municipality as for example: water supply, sewerage, waste disposal, public transportation, recreational and entertainment areas, services to citizens and so on. User perception of the quality, efficiency and adequacy of the various services will be put together to create a report score card that will rate the performance of all major service providers in the city.
It is very important to focus on an innovative approach to address the problems of public service delivery by seeking to empower citizens to be the main actors in the public service delivery provided by the Municipality (Albanian Law No 8652 for Operation and Organization of Local Government - Article 72). The citizen scoring card initiative through independent performance assessment and active citizenship considers the current quality of all services provided in the city under three dimensions: delivery model created by the local authority, budget planned for provision of public services, and most importantly citizens’ perception as users who are more or less detached from the government but who express their opinion and demand for improvements in service quality.
The purpose of using this tool is to enable citizens to assess the quality of public services and rebuild the relation between citizens and the local government by providing opportunities for a direct dialogue in order to inform and express opinions to the local government in relation with its performance as a strategy to develop the public accountability of the elected leaders at the local level. Citizens are equipped with knowledge and information to demand for better service delivery and accountability in the case of non-performance. On the other hand, the municipality and the respective structure are equipped with the knowledge and skills that enable them to respond to an increased demand for performance and accountability.

Measure

Citizens scoring card is a survey conducted with the participation of citizens to evaluate and give their opinion as users of public services. It goes even further than data collection and evaluation of the quality of public services, because it is a very good instrument to refine accountability to the public through a process that is accompanied at all the times by civil society and the media.
It is also a very good tool in the hands of citizens, sending credible signals to providers of public services, making pressure on them in order to improve their performance.

Its main objectives are:
To empower citizens to give more input to local-level service delivery processes.
To promote the citizens' better understanding of the strengths and weakness of service providers;
To raise awareness on the situation of public services;
This tool ensures public participation in public services performance and gives citizens the possibility to give their opinion and to be involved in local decisions.

Target Group

Citizens are the main target group in the process because they are the beneficiaries of public services through the tax payment process.

Methodology

The following methods are used to reach the objectives:
Research activities on the perception of the quality of public services, public participation in decision-making, quality of life etc.
Questionnaires, thematic focus groups on public services, individual interviews with local government representatives and leaders of service provider companies.
Compilation of Card Public Assessment.

Stakeholders

The community and public service providers are the main stakeholders.

Assessment

More than 2,000 citizens informed via an intensive campaign and more than 60 identified and coordinated to participate in focus groups.
Raised awareness of service providers from at least 4 sectors about the values and benefits of citizens’ participation in service delivery assessment.
Self-evaluation score card generated by service providers (4 sectors);
The list of indicators/ performance criteria for scoring identified by citizens for public services card;

Impact

Non-governmental organizations serve as a bridge between public service providers and citizens. They connect local communities with public and private sector institutions to promote citizen engagement for good governance by working together.

Swot

1. Strengths:
Citizens are able to assess public service quality and to rebuild their relation with the local government through a direct dialogue to express their opinion on local government’s performance as a strategy to build up the public accountability and responsiveness of elected leaders at the local level.
The citizens of Orikum are informed about available services and their entitlements and will express their opinion about their quality, efficiency, adequacy and accessibility.
The citizens will be aware and equipped with knowledge and information to demand for better service delivery and accountability in the case of non-performance.
2. Weaknesses:
Lack of capacity and understanding of participatory approach by the local authority and the providers of public services.
3. Opportunities:
This method gives opportunities for a direct dialogue via forums, workshops and interface meetings between city service providers and citizens. The informed citizens will be organized in focus groups in order to decide upon own indicators for each type of service chosen by them.
The municipality and its structure will be equipped with the knowledge and skills that enable them to respond to increased demand for performance and accountability.
4. Threats (elements in the environment that could cause trouble for the measure):
n/a

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