Extracts from Citizen Centric Administration the Heart of Governance

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The Citizen’s Charter is an instrument which seeks to make an organization transparent, accountable and citizen friendly. A Citizen’s Charter is basically a set of commitments made by an organization regarding the standards of service which it delivers.

Every Citizen’s Charter has several essential components to make it meaningful:-

(a) The Vision and Mission Statement of the organization. This gives the outcomes desired and the broad strategy to achieve these goals and outcomes. This also makes the user aware of the intent of their service provider and helps in holding the organization accountable.

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(b) The organization must clearly state in its Citizen’s Charter what subject it deals with and the service areas it broadly covers. This helps the user to understand the type of services they can expect from a particular service provider

(c) The Citizen’s Charter should also stipulate the responsibilities of the citizens in the context of the Charter.

The commitments / promises at (a) and (b) constitute the heart of a Citizen’s Charter. Even though these promises are not enforceable in a court of law, each organization should ensure that the promises made are kept and, in case of default, a suitable compensatory / remedial mechanism should be provided.

Recommendation

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(a) Citizen’s Charters should be made effective by adopting the following principles:

(i) One size does not fit all

(ii) Citizen’s Charter should be prepared for each independent unit under the overall umbrella of 1 organization’s charter

(iii) Wide consultation which include civil society in the process

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(iv) Firm commitments to be made

(v) Internal process and structure should be reformed to meet the commitments given in the Charter

(vi) Redress mechanism is case of default

(vii) Periodic evaluation of Citizen’s Charters

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(viii) Benchmark using end-user feedback (ix) Hold officers accountable for results.

The ARC’S Seven Step Model for Citizen Centricity

(a) Define all services which you provide and identify your clients

(b) Set standards and norms for each service

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(c) Develop capability to meet the set standards

(d) Perform to achieve the standards

(e) Monitor performance against the set standards.

(f) Evaluate the impact through an independent mechanism

(g) Continuous improvement based on monitoring and evaluation of results.

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