10 What is a service charter? A service charter is a public document that sets out the standards of service that clients can expect from an organisation, as well as avenues for taking complaints. It typically includes: Standards: Committments on the level and quality of service to which users are entitled. Information: Clarity about who is eligible, when and where the service is available, any pre-requisites (e.g. papers to bring with you) Redress: How to complain and what redress to expect in the case the service deliverer falls short of the standards it promises
11 Why introduce a service charter? Provide a framework for consultations with service users Encourage public agencies to measure and assess performance Make public agencies more transparent by telling the public about the standards they can expect - and how agencies have performed against those standards Push public agencies to improve performance where promised standards have not been achieved Increase satisfaction of service users
12 Conditions for improving service charters General conditions that have to be in place Commitment of the director of the service covered by the charter - he or she has to support the initiative and be willing to implement service improvement plans Ownership by front-line and back-office staff, who are responsible for delivering the standards set out in the charters Team-working by staff members responsible for the service covered by the charter Specific conditions applying to service charters Your agency should already have had some experience with consultation of service users by running user surveys, user panels, focus groups or using other consultation methods. Your agency should have some basic performance information available in the service area concerned by the charter.
13 Success factors for service improvements the process of developing the charter is as important as the contents of the document itself those who will implement the standards of the charter have to be involved in shaping the contents of the document … … but also customers must be consulted in order to ensure that the service standards are relevant and ambitious The charter needs to be monitored and revised on a regular basis However, a service charter is only a tool for quality improvement. If the objectives of the organisation change, the quality tool may need to change as well.
14 You want to know more about service charters? The Handbook published by the Czech Ministry of Interior, SIGMA and Governance International provides you with a How To Do It guide, with lots of examples and illustrations of service charters. The Handbook is available as free-of-charge hard-print, CD-Rom and download at www.govint.org both in English language.