Report: Benchmarking of Local Governments on How to Improve their Service Delivery and Efficiency Workshop, August 10-14, 2015, Indonesia

Group Photo

Group Photo

The workshop aims to demonstrate APO’s continued support for member government to enhance public sector-related productivity initiatives. Local governments form an important part of the public sector. APO projects aimed at improving the productivity of the public sector started in 2009 with the study meeting on Public-Sector Productivity in the Republic of Korea and workshop on Benchmarking Service Quality in the Public Sector in Indonesia. In February 2010, the APO organized an expert group meeting to identify areas of engagement and make recommendations for public-sector productivity improvement in the region. That meeting identified four major players, central government, local governments, public service agencies, and public enterprises, with huge potential to enhance public-sector productivity. The APO also developed a public-sector productivity framework and action plan in 2012 based on the deliberations at the Jakarta workshop. After introducing the framework in 2013 and 2014, other projects for improving public-sector productivity were undertaken.

The action plan states that the APO will initiate internal benchmarking studies among local government units and public service delivery agencies in member countries. This will be followed by international benchmarking against countries with more advanced approaches, e.g., innovation leadership and e-government. This workshop is in line with the public-sector productivity framework and action plan endorsed by the 2012 WSM.

OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION

J. Landicho, City Government of Tanauan, Batangas

With the advent of the ASEAN Integration, it is necessary to level with the best organization not only in this country but of the world. This activity will provide exposure on the best practices of other local government units in other countries and will serve as reference in the implementation of other productivity tools and approaches. As one of the LGUs in the country committed in implementing productivity and quality approaches in our local government, such as, but not limited to, Quality Management System Implementation certified to ISO 9001:2008, implementation of  the different P&Q tools such as 5S Good Housekeeping, Suggestion Scheme, and Work Improvement Team, and recently our application to the Philippine Quality Award, this benchmarking activity will provide an opportunity for us to learn on how we can continuously improve on this aspect. Further, the benchmarking index will guide us in seeing how our organization compared with the rest of Asia in terms of different parameters.

I. Laceras, DBM Region 8

The workshop is relevant to my present work. Just recently a Joint Memorandum Circular No. 2015-1 dated February 24, 2015 was signed by NEDA, DILG, DOF-BLDG and DBM Secretaries formally adopting the LGU – Public Financial Management Reform Road map and Implementation Strategy. As Regional Director of DBM, i take the lead in Regional Inter-Agency Team (RIAT) for Public Financial Management. The RIAT is tasked to roll-out PFM reforms to LGUs. My objective is to learn from other countries productivity challenges and how their Local Governments are assisted by the Central Governments to ensure more efficient and effective service delivery. The best practices from both local government level and central level government can be shared and serve as reference for improving the current PFM.

There are 19 delegates from 11 APO member countries distributed as follows: Fiji (2); India; Korea; Indonesia (3); Lao PDR; Malaysia (2); Mongolia; Nepal; Sri Lanka (3); Vietnam; and Philippines (3).

The three Philippine representatives are as follows:

IMELDA C. LACERAS
Regional Director
Department of Budget and Management
– Regional Office VIII

GERALD Y. CRUZ
Corporate Officer for Asset Development
Development Academy of the Philippines

JACQUELINE A. LANDICHO
Human Resource Management Officer III
City Government of Tanauan, Batangas

SCOPE/CONTENT

Productivity challenges of local governments; manpower, infrastructure, and financial resources; productivity and service quality indicators; and benchmarking index for local governments.

METHODOLOGY

Presentations by the resource speakers; group discussion and group presentation; field visit at the Semarang One Stop Service and Small and Medium Enterprise Center.

Knowledge gained

Lecture: Common Measurement Tool (CMT)

Ms. Kate Johnston, Resource Person from Canada, discussed about the CMT and the Canadian experience in determining citizen satisfaction on its services across different regions.  They were able to do this through the following:

a. Adoption of citizen- centered service philosophy. They treat their customers as king. Efforts were made to make the civil servants aware of the importance of customer service.

b. Collaboration within and across levels of government. Different Canadian regions formed together to have a common benchmark which they can refer to if they want to compare their performance with other Canadian regions. Four national organizations have been established for this purpose, namely: Public Sector Service Delivery Council (PSSDC), Public Sector Chief Information Officers Council (PSCIOC), Municipal Service Delivery Officials (MSDO), and Municipal Information Systems Association (MISA). In addition, the Institute for Citizen-Centred Service was formed to support public-sector organizations in achieving high levels of citizen and business satisfaction with public services by managing inter-governmental research agenda, supporting and developing the Common Measurements Tool (CMT), and managing the ICCS Service Certification and Learning Program.

c. Innovation and Experimentation. The diversity of the Canadian governments (10 provinces, 100 municipalities) encourages innovation and experimentation. Plans and results are shared widely and successful ideas are then easily and quickly replicated like the 311. 311 is an online portal wherein citizens can access 24/7 on city related non-emergency questions like waste collection, roads, water, graffiti and litter, etc.

d. Use “action-based” research/measurement to guide strategy and tactics. The Canadian government publishes the result of research through Citizen First employing the idea of the Public Sector Value Chain which states that strong services internally and externally contribute to confidence in the public service and that a 2% increase in employee engagement leads to a 1% increase in Citizen Satisfaction. They conduct research to determine the actions which drive customer satisfaction, including the timeliness that the customers consider acceptable in getting different services from the government.

e. Measurement of Results through the Common Measurement Tool.  The CMT is a survey tool that supports public sector service improvement developed by the public servants for public servants. It allows public sector decision makers to better understand client expectations, assess levels of satisfaction and identify opportunities for improvement. It also supports benchmarking through the ICCS Benchmarking Service which enables comparisons against peer organizations, identification of best practices and sharing of lessons learned.

Lecture: Best Practice on Results-based Performance Management in Local Government Authorities in Sri Lanka

Mr. W.M.M.B. Weerasekara, Resource Person from Sri Lanka, shared some best practices being implemented in the local government in Sri Lanka. If compared to our city, some of the best practices are currently being implemented in our locality like the dengue prevention program and practice of 5S and Quality Circles.  Some best practice he shared which caught my attention include the revenue promotion week (although this is done regularly in our city and not only on a once a week per year activity) and the restaurant grading (which can be used to form part of the sanitation program in the city).

Lecture: Ontario Municipal Benchmarking Initiative (OMBI)

Ms. Kate Johnston shared about OMBI, an effort to collect data from different municipalities as basis for benchmark on how their local government is performing compared to others. She shared about the data warehouse and dictionary. This formed part of the group activity wherein the output of this workshop is to provide benchmarking measures for local government. It would be very good if this project will pushed through for conduct of performance benchmarking.

Lecture: Best Practice in Service Improvement Plans of Local Government

Ms. Kate Johnston discussed about the Canadian Best Practice on SIP as developed by the Institute for Citizen Centred Service (ICCS). It uses a nine step model (where are we, where do our clients want us to be, how do we get there, and how do we make it happen).

Lecture: Strategies for Improving Efficiency, Effectiveness, and Performance of Local Government Authorities

Mr. Vishal Bhardwaj from India shared some of the best practices in India regarding the above-mentioned topic. He discussed the challenges of today’s governments in terms of urbanization and efficiency. He also gave the formula for corruption: C=M+D-A where M=monopoly; D=discretion; A=accountability. He also shared about the use of information technology to increase government efficiency and program budgeting instead of line budgeting.

Lecture: Best Practices on Waste Management Systems in Local Government

Mr. Vishal Bhardwaj said that the rate of waste generation is directly proportional to the level of economic development. He added that Delhi spends $120M per annum on disposal of garbage, 80% of which goes to collection and transportation and 20% in disposal. The challenges on solid waste management in local government include the oversaturation of landfills and community opposition on land acquisition. For his presentation, he presented three (3) best practices on Solid Waste Management.

In Pune, India decentralization is the key. They decentralize the biomethanation plants which generate 375 units of electricity. The residual compost is used as fertilizers. Pune now has 20 commissioned biogas plants on PPP basis.  The municipality provides land capital and maintenance amount for five years. The plant operator gets $1,000 per month for maintenance. The problems encountered by Pune are the availability of lot and the waste segregation at source.

In New Moribagh, New Delhi they are practicing the Zero-Waste Discharge.  They are doing self sufficiency in waste management where solid biodegradable waste is converted into compost in 2-3 weeks using organic waste converter while waste is converted into low density oil, LPG, and carbon. The recyclable materials are segregated and sold.

In Singapore they are observing Zero Landfill and Towards Zero Waste. The emphasis is on reuse and recyle – 60% of total waste generated was recycled in 2014. The solid waste that remains goes to waste to energy plants for incineration (disposes 36% of waste) and the incinerator reduces the volume of solid waste by about 90% and generates electricity.

Mr. Bhardwaj stressed that any sustainable action on Solid Waste is through the implementation of 3Rs – Reuse – Reduce – Recycle.

Group Workshop

The group was tasked to come up with performance indicators by listing 5 core services that a local government wants to benchmark, its definition/s, 4-5 indicators that the participants want to measure, the definition of each indicators, and management of these indicators.  Our group prepared indicators for solid waste, transportation, public health, economic development, and human resource. The speakers said they appreciate the inclusion of human resource in the service areas to be benchmarked since the improvement initiatives will not be realized without the competent and engaged workforce.

Evaluation of the Project

J. Landicho, City Government of Tanauan, Batangas

The project was able to deliver its objectives on sharing the best practices to improve the productivity of the local governments. The speakers were able to discuss their topics well. As this was a small class, group interaction was a great way for the members to share their best practice approaches and ideas. This is also an eye opener that not all local governments in Asia has the same set-up, i.e., in the Philippines almost all national government functions are devolved in the local government and they have autonomy while in other countries like Fiji the local government is only in charge of roads, public market – health services and basic education is provided by the ministry.

After the 5 day workshop I can say that the Philippines, particularly our city, is not far – if not leading, in terms of productivity and service improvement delivery approaches. Ms. Johnston, in one of her private conversations with the undersigned, said that she is pleased and surprise that we have such approaches in the country, specifically in our city like the ISO 9001:2008 certification, measurement of customer satisfaction, solid waste management efforts, citizen’s charter, etc.

I. Laceras, DBM Region 8

Overall, the Benchmarking Workshop was very successful. The project was able to deliver its objectives on sharing the best practices to improve the productivity of the local governments. The 3 Resource Persons were able to discuss their topics very well. Considering the small number of participants of only 19, there were more opportunities for small group discussions and sharing of their countries best practices and experiences.

Most of the topics were more beneficial to participants coming from Local Government Units. The Best Practices in Ontario Canada is worth replicating in the Philippines especially at the Provincial level.  For Participants coming from National and Regional Offices of the National Government which has oversight functions to LGUs like me from DBM and the others, the learning’s I gained from the lectures and site visits, further enhanced my understanding of the much needed Reforms that is wanting in the Service Delivery area across LGUs in the country.

LGUs being the front liners in Service Delivery has to be more capacitated in terms of the needed knowledge, skills  and approaches that are proven to have worked in other APO member countries. The need to have a document that will contain all the Best Practices in APO Member countries is very important. That can go a long way to help other countries who are still in the process of improving their Service Delivery and Productivity.

Coming from an oversight agency in the Philippines which deals on Public Financial Management particularly on the Budgeting Process and how this is linked to approved government priority Plans and Programs, I was expecting a discussion on the same. In the Philippines, the ongoing Public Financial Management Reforms both at the National and Local level is already something that can be benched marked with other APO member countries.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS

J. Landicho, City Government of Tanauan, Batangas

For the continuation of this project, from the local government point of view, I am recommending the following:

a. APO to conduct a series of round table discussion/workshop to identify the service areas and indicators. Indeed, a half day workshop dedicated for this is not enough especially if the participants are not used to using measures. It would also be better if instead of a country paper, the next batch would have a prelude to this workshop activity so that it will not be hard for them to come up with service area, indicators, and definitions during the hectic schedule. This will give them ample time to prepare for the workshop beforehand;

b. APO to invite participants who are directly related to the local government and aware of the ins and outs of the local government setting.  This will be beneficial during sharing of best practices and approaches;

c. APO to conduct a follow up session with the same batch of participants for continuity and validation;

d. APO to identify 10 core service areas for benchmarking as a start, there are a lot of service areas that a local government can measure, however for manageability and pre-test it is advisable to identify limited number of areas and expand as the project progresses. The participating countries/ local governments could be the pilot agencies to participate in the trial period. Hence, contact with the participants is vital.

I. Laceras, DBM Region 8

Listed hereunder are my recommendations:

1. For the APO to conduct a follow-up workshop early 2016 for a duration of about 2-3 weeks to be attended by the same participants if and when all are considered passed and qualified to the next level workshop. The focus of the next level workshop is to refine the output of the first workshop to be able to enhance and expand the initial identified CORE services complete with indicators and measurement tools.

2. The suggested output of the next higher level of workshop : Compilation of Best Practices in LGU Service Delivery and Productivity of all countries represented in the workshop.

3. It is suggested that a Topic on LGU Public Financial Management Reforms including Procurement Reforms be included in the next level workshop and in my humble capacity, I can be tapped to deliver A Country Paper on this Topic. A stable and orderly PFM Systems at the LGU level results to a transparent, accountable, efficient and effective service delivery. As PFM encompasses the entire spectrum of public fund use; from receiving funds to processes involved making use of funds and other resources to deliver an output to attain the desired result or outcome. PFM is considered a MEANS to an END. The END being the timely, efficient and effective, responsive and empowering service delivery.

4. APO in participating countries to identify pilot LGUs to replicate and implement applicable Best Practices as a Model with the participant as the Focal/Resource  Person of the LGU concerned.

5. Participants of neighboring countries maybe grouped together and to be assigned as a Team of APO experts to assist the LGUs in replicating the Best Practices.

ACTION PLANS/NEXT STEPS

J. Landicho, City Government of Tanauan, Batangas

For my action plan, I intend to do the following:

a. Prepare an article/news item about my participation for publication to website and local newspaper/s;

b. Make a presentation to the department heads, ISO Core Team, PQA Technical Working group on the knowledge/inputs/best practices shared during the workshop;

c. Take part in any relevant national seminar/conference and deliver presentation a presentation, if requested; and

d. Initiate a project on productivity in our local government.

I. Laceras, DBM Region 8

1. Last Sept 23, 2015 the first General Staff Meeting conducted with the staff of DBM Regional Office VIII after the Workshop, I shared with my colleagues in the Office the CD capturing the day to day highlights of the Workshop including the site visits. Also shared with them important topics delivered by the Resource Persons and the insights gained.

2. Forwarded thru email to all my staff an e-copy of all the lecture materials for them to read during their spare time and break time in the office or on weekends. A copy of this brief and concise Training Report will also be shared to them thru e-mail as this would allow them to get a better understanding just reading few pages rather than the voluminous pages of materials.

3. Include in the Agenda for the Year-End General Assembly of Local Budget Officers of Region VIII this coming November 2015, A Presentation of the Highlights of the Benchmarking Workshop attended.

4. Submit a copy of this Training Report to our Head Office particularly the Training and Information Service (TIS) for publication in the bi-monthly DBM Bulletin.

5. Maximizing the use of social media , posted some photos of the Indonesia Workshop in Facebook which resulted to media awareness of the existence of APO in all Asian Countries and technical assistance they have been given to member countries in improving Service and Productivity level both at the National and Local Government Level.

6. As Head of the Regional Inter-Agency Team of Region VIII, with member agencies NEDA, DILG and DOF-BLGF consider to replicate at least one Best Practice shared in the Workshop to our pilot LGU- the City of Catbalogan, Province of Western Samar, Philippines.

7. As Chairperson in the Regional Development Council-Development Administration Committee (RDC-DAC) in Eastern Visayas, include in the Agenda in Quarterly Meetings a discussion on the need to replicate Best Practices Learned in the Benchmarking Workshop especially if there will already be a Compilation of the Best Practices to serve as reference guide for easy replication and implementation.

8. Prepare a lecture paper on this Workshop if and when invited to share and deliver in Seminars, Conferences and Conventions attended by Local Government Unit Officials occupying key positions whose functions and responsibilities are directly related to Service Delivery and Productivity.

SUBMITTED BY

JACQUELINE A. LANDICHO
Human Resource Management Officer III
City Government of Tanauan
Province of Batangas

IMELDA C. LACERAS
Regional Director
Department of Budget and Management
Regional Office 8

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