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Strategies to improve service delivery in local authorities

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Strategies to improve service delivery in local authorities

Abstract

This study sought to identify the causes of poor service delivery and the strategies to improve service delivery in local authorities using the case of Kajiado Local Authority. Two self-administered questionnaires were designed i.e. one for the employees and the other for service users so as to capture the views of both the employees and service users. Questionnaires were conveniently distributed to 150 service users and 100 were returned usable. Questionnaires were also conveniently distributed to 20 employees of Kijiado Local Authority and 20 were returned usable. A mixed approach i.e. a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was taken to analyse data. The findings showed that the major causes of poor service delivery are councilor interference and political manipulation, corruption and lack of accountability and transparency, inadequate citizen participation, poor human resource policy, failure to manage change, lack of employee capacity, poor planning, and poor monitoring and evaluation. The main strategies to improve service delivery were found to be increasing citizen participation in the affairs of the local authority and partnership with the community in service delivery, flexible response to service user complaints, offering value for money and ensuring that service users pay their bills on time, strategic public service planning, sound human resource policy that includes capacity building and employee motivation, managing change, dealing with corruption and improving accountability, segregation of duties between councilors and management of the local authorities, and partnering with other players and outsourcing services.
International Journal of Information Technology and Business Management
29
th
July 2013. Vol.15 No.1
© 2012 JITBM & ARF. All rights reserved
ISSN 2304-0777 www.jitbm.com
1
STRATEGIES TO IMPROVE SERVICE DELIVERY
IN LOCAL AUTHORITIES
Charles Makanyeza
1
, Hardson P. Kwandayi
2
, Beatrice Nyaboke Ikobe
3
1
Lecturer, Department of International Marketing, Chinhoyi University of Technology, Chinhoyi, Zimbabwe
2
Program Director, Faculty of Management and Administration, Africa University, Mutare, Zimbabwe
3
Lecturer, Government of Kenya - Teachers' Service Commission of Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya
Corresponding email: cmakanyeza@yahoo.co.uk
ABSTRACT
This study sought to identify the causes of poor service delivery and the strategies to improve
service delivery in local authorities using the case of Kajiado Local Authority. Two self-
administered questionnaires were designed i.e. one for the employees and the other for service
users so as to capture the views of both the employees and service users. Questionnaires were
conveniently distributed to 150 service users and 100 were returned usable. Questionnaires were
also conveniently distributed to 20 employees of Kijiado Local Authority and 20 were returned
usable. A mixed approach i.e. a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods was taken
to analyse data. The findings showed that the major causes of poor service delivery are
councilor interference and political manipulation, corruption and lack of accountability and
transparency, inadequate citizen participation, poor human resource policy, failure to manage
change, lack of employee capacity, poor planning, and poor monitoring and evaluation. The
main strategies to improve service delivery were found to be increasing citizen participation in
the affairs of the local authority and partnership with the community in service delivery, flexible
response to service user complaints, offering value for money and ensuring that service users
pay their bills on time, strategic public service planning, sound human resource policy that
includes capacity building and employee motivation, managing change, dealing with corruption
and improving accountability, segregation of duties between councilors and management of the
local authorities, and partnering with other players and outsourcing services.
Key words: strategy, service delivery, public service delivery, town council, local authority
1. INTRODUCTION
Municipal Research and Services Centre (MRSC, 1993)
defines service delivery as the actual producing of a
service such as collecting refuse and disposing it or
lighting the streets. Stauss (2005) supports this view and
suggests that in economic transactions, it is specialized
skills and knowledge that are exchanged for money
rather than the physical resources. Whitaker (1980)
observes that depending on the kind of service being
International Journal of Information Technology and Business Management
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July 2013. Vol.15 No.1
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2
offered, each service has a primary intervention of
transforming the customer and that the client
himself/herself is the principal beneficiary.
As a crucial responsibility of government and
government institutions, the public service should
deliver services that a society requires to maintain and
improve its welfare. To do this, government institutions
require organizational structures and suitably qualified
people who must be supported to deliver the services
they are responsible for (Whitaker, 1980). Besley and
Ghatak (2007) argue that public services are a key
determinant of quality of life that is not measured in per
capita income. The authors stress that service delivery is
an important feature of the poverty reduction strategy.
Hernandez (2006) concurs that services are vital to
poverty alleviation and key to realizing the Millennium
Development Goals (MDGs) both directly and
indirectly, i.e. enhancing the availability and
affordability of education, health, energy, and
information and communication technology services;
and alleviating poverty and empowering women
through entrepreneurial and employment creation
opportunities in services enterprises respectively.
According to the Organisation for Economic Co-
operation and Development (OECD, 2010), throughout
the world cities face the most acute challenges of
service delivery because of fast growing populations. In
many countries, developing countries in particular, the
issue of service delivery is a challenge that needs to be
addressed given the low quality of service provision and
the pressing needs of the poor (Besley and Ghatak,
2007). Khalid (2010) supports this view when he states
that local councils in Malaysia continue face pressure to
improve their service delivery. The increased level of
education of the population has led to a more vocal and
more discerning citizenry that expects better services
and accountability from its local government. Moreover,
rapid industrialization and urbanization of countries
have created a challenging environment for the local
government (Khalid, 2010). Tamrakar (2010) affirms
that in Nepal, public service delivery has remained
lower than what was targeted when Nepal announced
delivery of public services to its people through a
planned development effort. The fact that people still
suffer from many hurdles when they have to get any
government services (Tamrakar, 2020) is an indication
of poor service delivery that needs to be addressed.
Similarly, the argument by Gwayi (2010) that
municipalities in South Africa face serious challenges in
implementing service delivery options that will enhance
existing structures in the sphere of local government
points towards the need for strategies to improve service
delivery. Thus, the problem of service delivery is not
unique to Kenyan towns alone; it is a problem that is
faced by many towns in the world, especially in Africa
and other developing countries. Humphreys (1998)
alluded to the fact that, delivery of services has a direct
and immediate effect on the quality of the lives of the
people in a given community. Poor services can make it
difficult to attract business or industry to an area and it
will also limit job opportunities for residents. Hence, as
Besley and Ghatak (2007) indicate, improving public
service delivery is one of the biggest challenges
worldwide. To date, there are limited studies that have
formally investigated the causes of poor service delivery
and the strategies that can be implemented to improve
the service delivery in local authorities. Although the
Rwandese Association of Local Government
Authorities (RALGA) in 2010 reported on the factors
affecting service delivery in local governments, it did
not empirically examine the strategies that can be
adopted to improve service delivery in local authorities.
Therefore, this study sought to empirically identify the
causes of poor service delivery and the strategies that
can be adopted to improve service delivery in local
authorities using Kijiado town in Kenya as point of
reference; taking into account the views of both service
users and service providers (employees). The need to
consider the views of the service providers is
substantiated by Tamrakar (2010) who argued that
public services should be concerned with what the
customers want rather than with what providers are
prepared to give. The specific objectives were:
To establish the causes of poor service delivery in
local authorities.
To identify strategies for improving service
delivery in local authorities.
Although this study is a case of Kijiado town in
Kenya, the researchers believe that this research may
also be insightful to other local authorities in terms of
understanding the practical causes of poor service
delivery and the ways in which service delivery can be
improved by taking into consideration the views of both
International Journal of Information Technology and Business Management
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July 2013. Vol.15 No.1
© 2012 JITBM & ARF. All rights reserved
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service users and service providers. The services sector
has gained a lot of importance in the world economy.
Singh and Babrah (2009) emphasize that most
developing countries are earning millions from the
service sector alone. According to Ramseook-
Munhurrun et al. (2010), public service providers are
responsible and accountable to citizens or their
customers. Similarly, Hoogwout (2010) emphasizes
that, generally citizens are demanding increased
convenience in their interaction with the government.
The interaction between citizens and the government is
through service delivery. Therefore, as Hoogwout
(2010) concludes, improving service delivery to
individual citizens raises trust in the government.
2. LITERATURE REVIEW
2.1. Public Services
Stauss (2005) argues that services are not physical
resources but economic transactions exchanged for
money, comprising of the exchange of specialized skills
and knowledge. He further insists that goods constitute
tangible materializations of knowledge and activities,
and thus are nothing more than distributional
mechanisms for services. Rao (2005) seems to be of the
same opinion when he defines services as intangible
activities performed by machines or persons or both for
the purposes of creating value perceptions among
customers. He further stresses that since services are
intangible activities, or benefits produced by the service
provider and in association with the consumer, their
quality results in perception and value assessment by the
consumer. Goldstein, Johnston, Duffy and Rao (2002)
state that the service concept is a frequently used term in
the service design literature and that there are several
definitions of the service concept. They define service
concept as the way in which an organization would like
to have its services perceived by its customers,
employees, shareholders and lenders, i.e. the
organization’s business proposition. Edvardsson and
Olsson (1996) refer to the service concept as the
prototype for service and define it as the detailed
description of what is to be done for the customer, i.e.
what needs and wishes are to be satisfied, and how this
is to be achieved. This involves understanding the needs
of customers in the target market and aligning this with
the organization’s strategy and competitive intentions.
OECD (2010) indicates that services can be categorised
in a number of ways including, the type of entity
providing them, the type of user and the nature of the
services provided. The categories of services according
to OECD (2010) include private services, public
services and collective or joint services.
According to OECD (2010), public services include
all services provided by the government as well as all
services where the government has a significant
influence. OECD further states that public services can
be provided directly by the government or indirectly
where the government is not the direct provider but still
plays a role in their provision through regulation or a
financial contribution. The most obvious public services
are those directly provided by some level of
government, such as police protection or building
inspection. Humphreys (1998), concurs that public
services are those services which are mainly, or
completely, funded by taxation and that typically, public
services would include the following areas of public
management: central and local government, the health,
authorities, education, defense, justice/home affairs and
non-commercial semi-state organisations. OECD (2010)
observes that public services can also be provided by
private firms, for example, solid waste collection and
disposal, or by voluntary organisations, for example,
community volunteers of a fire brigade. In such cases,
while the government does not provide the service it is
involved in the process, perhaps by providing funds,
establishing regulations or some other means. Examples
of this type of arrangement would include the
contracting out of local government services, such as
refuse collection and local transport, to private
companies, as well as the privatisation of certain central
government functions, such as the prison service.
Public services have been presented with a view
that, under normal circumstances, public services
providers do not operate for financial profit or require
immediate payment for goods or services prior to
delivery. If public services are charged for, then they are
not usually sold to customers at commercial prices set to
produce profits (Humphreys, 1998). In addition to their
primarily noncommercial character, public services are
often distinguished by an absolute, or at least
comparative, lack of competition in the normal market
sense of seeking to entice customers away from their
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competitors or rival service providers. Indeed, public
services are often monopolistic or oligopolistic
(Humphreys, 1998).
2.2. Public Service Delivery
Municipal Research and Services Centre (1993)
defines service delivery as the actual producing of a
service such as collecting refuse and disposing it or
lighting the streets. Whitaker (1980) concurs with this
argument and observes that depending on the kind of
service being offered, each service has a primary
intervention of transforming the customer and that the
client himself or herself is the principle beneficiary.
Whether it is learning new ideas or new skills
(education), acquiring healthier habits (health), or
changing one's outlook on family or society (social
services), only the individual served can accomplish the
change. He or she is a vital co-producer of any personal
transformation that occurs (Whitaker, 1980). The
service provider or agent can only use his or her skills
and conduct activities to facilitate the process. Whitaker
further insists that in delivering services, the agent helps
the person being served to make the desired sorts of
changes by supplying encouragements, suggesting
options, illustrating techniques, and providing guidance
and advice; but the agent alone cannot bring about the
change. Both the citizen and the agent together produce
the desired transformation (Whitaker, 1980).
As a crucial responsibility of government and
government institutions, the public service should
deliver services that a society requires to maintain and
improve its welfare. To do this, government institutions
require organizational structures and suitably qualified
people who must be supported to deliver the services
they are responsible for (Whitaker, 1980). Besley and
Ghatak (2007) argue that public services are delivered
by a nexus of relationships between beneficiaries,
politicians and service providers (such as bureaucrats,
doctors, and teachers). They insist that it is necessary to
analyze the incentives that govern the behavior of
politicians and service providers, if services are to
match the best interest of the beneficiaries. The authors
further argue that the main concern in public service
provision is how the obligations of the different parties
is defined and enforced. The same view is held by
Tamrakar (2010) who states that public service delivery
is characterized by compliance with rules and it is
determined by inputs. This is evident given the fact that
the role of formal contractual relationships is often quite
limited or typically absent in public service delivery,
when compared to the market (Besley and Ghatak
2007). These authors concluded that public service
delivery is based on four key issues:
Public service provision is often mission-oriented
and that the mission of the organization displaces
the conventional notion of profit maximization used
in the case of private sector organizations.
Accountability in public service delivery applies to
the political, bureaucratic as well as market spheres.
It refers to the system of punishment and reward
consequent on actions taken by agents, and to the
process of putting in place specific individuals to
make decisions although it does not have to be
governed by formal relationships.
Competition from private organizations can induce
public organizations to get their act together to hold
on to funding and to their clientele.
Utilization of resources on the evaluation of
policies is a crucial part of effective public service
provision where missions are either too weak or not
aligned and front line actors cannot be made
directly accountable by the beneficiaries (Besley
and Ghatak, 2007).
According to Tamrakar (2010), public services
should be concerned with what customers want rather
than what providers are prepared to give. Yet in most of
the developing countries public service delivery is
characteristic of ineffective, cumbersome, too
procedural, costly, red taped and not transparent
systems. Tamrakar (2010) further argues that generally,
public servants have acted as masters without any sense
of accountability and transparency instead of acting as
servants of people (Tamrakar, 2010). However, the
citizens have become familiarized to the enhanced
service delivery from the private sector and thus, they
now view the public sector as another provider of
services for which they pay taxes.
2.3. Causes of Poor Service Delivery
Aminuzzaman (2010) argues that although local
authorities are the frontline local government
organization closest to people, the scope and quality of
service delivery is one of the most critical areas that
have significantly tinted their credibility and
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institutional image. According to Gwayi (2010), some
of the causes of poor service delivery in town councils
include: councilor interference in administration,
inadequate public participation; inadequate alignment of
budget with the requirements of the central government;
lack of political and administrative leadership;
inadequate infrastructure and shortages of skills. The
Department of Indigenous Affairs (DIA) of Western
Australia in 1999 also cited several impediments to
service delivery as: inadequate resources, land tenure
and consequential non-rateability of land, a history of
central government agencies circumventing local
authorities approvals and involvement, the substandard
nature of infrastructure, the limited powers of local
authorities to enforce health and education services
control and management, exemption of some areas from
building controls and the polarized views of the parties.
A study conducted by Aminuzzaman (2010) in
Bangladesh revealed that some of the critical
institutional challenges facing service delivery at the
level of local authorities include limited manpower and
resources. Considering the work load and
responsibilities, local authorities are understaffed. The
author further clarifies that local authorities also lack
logistic supports like computers and transport and that
they also lack managerial capability and resources to
design and run innovative service delivery in areas like
employment generation, health and education.
Aminuzzaman (2010) further found out that there is a
problem of lack of coordination between local
authorities and extension service delivery workers of the
government at the field level. The author noted that
there are no formal links even between the standing
committees of the local authorities with the extension
workers of the corresponding line ministries of the
government. Such isolation makes lots of the services of
local authorities dysfunctional and ineffective. This also
deprives the local authorites of getting technical
assistance and other professional support from the
government line agencies. Other challenges noted in
Aminuzzaman’s (2010) study were: lack of appropriate
rules and regulation, ineffective monitoring, lack of
accountability and transparency, political manipulation,
non-cooperation from central-government based
bureaucracy, limited community understanding,
exclusion of women, limited and insecure revenue base,
highly centralized project and programme design, poor
relationship between administration and elected
representatives.
A similar study was conducted in UK by Sarshar
and Moores (2006) on improving service delivery in
facilities management. The major challenges that
hindered service delivery were identified as:
Lack of strategic awareness: Despite their being an
important national plan of directives and processes,
the study revealed that many staff at a supervisory
and practitioner level was unaware of the issues
raised within it and the impact it should have been
having on their day-to-day operations.
Lack of capacity: The study assessment
demonstrated that many of the operational staff was
unaware of both national controls assurance
standards requirements and their respective
responsibilities. The underlying cause of the
awareness deficit was found to be a lack of training,
or specific systems to involve staff, at this level in
the organisation. As a result, the staff ware
performing its roles without essential training and
therefore exposing themselves and their customers
to potential risk.
Poor performance monitoring: Another issue
applicable to all services was performance
monitoring, because although each of the services
had monitoring systems in place, there was an
overall lack of consistency and integration between
the various systems in place.
Poor coordination processes: Although each of the
services had its own capable processes for
determining service requirements, planning
delivery and managing suppliers, the Directorate's
co-ordination was still based on informal
mechanisms, including face to face communication
and meetings, and the different service groups
lacked clear and enforceable performance
standards. This led to long standing disagreements
between some of the service delivery teams which
led to reducing the quality of service. High staff
turnover: It was also noted that there was a high
turnover of operational staff and inadequate level of
management resource which in turn affected
service delivery.
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2.4. Strategies to Improve Service Delivery
In today’s global competitive environment, the
service industry plays an increasingly important role in
the economy of many countries, therefore, delivering
quality service is considered as an essential strategy for
success and survival (Parasuraman et al., 1985).
Improving service delivery is primarily about improving
the effectiveness and efficiency of the way in which
services are delivered. A report by the World Bank,
(2009) stated that the current cities are faced with many
urgent challenges which have necessitated the
implementation of new intelligent service delivery
systems to tackle those problems. The reason for this
strategy is that, in the developed world, cities are
increasingly becoming the driving forces of their
national economies, for example Tokyo, Paris, Zurich,
Prague and Oslo all produce about a third of their
countries’ GDPs (World Bank, 2009).
In Jooste (2008) it is indicated that the use of public
values, institutions, and service market in contracting
can actually improve service delivery. They insist that
stakeholder preferences and democratic processes
establish the values to be optimized in service delivery.
Furthermore, public law and organizational
arrangements determine the contracting tools available
for balancing competing values; and the characteristics
of service markets influence which contracting tools and
vendors are best suited to achieve stakeholder values
(Jooste, 2008). Moreso, a complex combination of
strategies is needed to ensure that service employees are
willing and able to deliver quality services and that they
stay motivated to perform in customer-oriented, service-
minded ways. Continuous motivation of employees to
be customer-oriented will enhance service quality. In
order to build a customer-oriented, service-minded
workforce, organizations must hire the right people,
develop people to deliver service quality, provide the
needed support systems, and retain the best people
(Jooste, 2008).
In 2003 the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
states that the public sector plays a crucial role in
national development. To remain viable, efficient and
effective in responding to the dynamic needs of the
citizen, it has to embrace strategies that can enhance
improved productivity and the quality of services
delivered. It outlined a number of strategies that can be
adopted by African governments to enhance public
sector performance. These strategies that touch on key
requirements for improving the public sector in general
and service delivery in particular, are based on the
concept of a ‘lean’ government. This means a
government that is run in partnership with all
stakeholders, and one that focuses on promoting the
advancement of the private sector and citizens through a
well-managed policy and regulatory environment. The
major strategies for improving service delivery as
outlined by ECA (2003) are total quality management,
organizational strategic management, training and
development, and the Lean Six Sigma strategy.
3. RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
A case study design was used because the
researchers could only access respondents from Kijiado
Local Authority. The study considered the views of both
the employees (service providers) and service users
(customers) of Kijiado Local Authority. Questionnaires
were conveniently distributed to 150 service users and
100 were returned usable. Questionnaires were also
conveniently distributed to 20 employees of Kijiado
Local Authority and 20 were returned usable. Two self-
administered questionnaires were designed i.e. one for
the employees and the other for service users so as to
capture the views of both the Kijiado Local Authority
and its customers. The main questions that the study
sought to answer were:
What are the causes of poor service delivery in
Kijiado Local Authority?
Which strategies can be implemented in order to
improve service delivery in Kijiado Local
Authority?
The two questionnaires both had close-ended Likert
type questions and open-ended questions. This made it
possible to collect both quantitative and qualitative data.
The development of the research instruments, especially
the items on Likert type questions was based on similar
studies (Aminuzzaman, 2010; Gwayi, 2010; Khalid,
2010; Tamrakar, 2010; DIA, 1999). Data were subjected
to qualitative analysis and also to quantitative analysis
using SPSS Version 21.
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4. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
4.1. Profile of the Respondents
The profile of the employees included gender, age,
department and position held within the department
while the profile of the service users included gender,
age and occupation. Table 1 below shows a summary of
the profile of the respondents.
Table 1 Response Profile of the Respondents
Frequency
Percentage
EMPLOYEES
Gender
Male
8
40%
Female
12
60%
Age
Below 25
2
10%
26 35
8
40%
36 45
6
30%
Above 46
4
20%
Department of the respondent
Civic
1
5%
Clerk’s Office
5
25%
Town Planning
4
20%
Engineering & Works
2
10%
Land Survey
2
10%
Education
2
10%
Social Service
2
10%
Public Health
2
10%
Position of the respondent
Clerk
8
40%
Manager
4
20%
Head of Department
5
25%
Senior Manager
3
15%
SERVICE USERS
Gender
Male
55
55%
Female
45
45%
Age
Below 25
22
22%
26 35
31
31%
36 45
34
34%
Above 46
13
13%
Occupation
Unemployed
13
13%
Formally employed
45
45%
Self employed
33
33%
Retired
3
3%
Student
6
6%
Of interest to note about employee respondents
from Table 1 is that there are more female respondents
(60%) than males; the majority (70%) of the
respondents are aged between 26 and 45; most
respondents (45%) are from the Clerk’s Office and
Town Planning departments while, in terms of the
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position held, the majority (40%) of the respondents are
clerks. For service users, there are slightly more males
(55%) than females; the majority (87%) of the
respondents are less than 46 years of age while most of
the respondents (45%) are formally employed.
4.2. Causes of Poor Service Delivery
The objective in this section was to determine the
causes of poor service delivery. Possible causes of poor
service delivery identified from literature (see
methodology section) were suggested to the respondents
(employees) and they were asked to rate the extent to
which they agreed based on a scale that ranged from: 1
= strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree. The mean and
standard deviations (SD) are summarized in Table 2
below.
Table 2 Mean and SD of Employee Ratings of causes of Poor Service Delivery
Mean
SD
Does councilor interference cause poor service delivery?
4.11
1.367
Does corruption cause poor service delivery?
3.89
.963
Is inadequate citizen participation causing poor service delivery?
4.22
.943
Does lack of administrative leadership cause poor service delivery?
2.61
1.092
Is poor documentation a cause of poor service delivery?
3.22
1.629
Does lack of accountability and transparency cause poor service delivery?
3.61
1.335
Is poor utilization of collected revenue causing poor service delivery?
3.72
1.320
Does lack of finance or poor revenue base cause poor service delivery?
3.94
1.259
Is understaffing causing poor service delivery?
3.61
1.614
Is lack of skilled workers causing poor service delivery?
4.11
1.231
Does the lack of modern facilities cause poor service delivery?
3.61
1.378
Is political manipulation a cause of poor service delivery?
3.44
1.097
Is lack of coordination between the local and central government causing poor service delivery?
3.22
1.166
Does lack of capacity of workers cause poor service delivery?
4.11
1.023
Summary: Mean = 3.675; SD = 1.244; Items = 18; N = 20
The results show that all factors (mean ˃ 3.00)
except lack of administrative leadership (mean = 2.61)
are causes of poor service delivery. Councilor
interference in the affairs of the local authority, lack of
skilled workers and lack of capacity of employees are
ranked highly (mean = 4.11) as the determinants of poor
service delivery while poor documentation and lack of
coordination the local government and central
government were rated lowly (mean = 3.22).
A service user perspective was also taken into
account to determine the causes of poor service
delivery. Based on literature (see methodology section),
a number of statements were suggested to the service
users and they were asked to respond on a scale that
ranged from: 1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree.
The mean and SD are summarized in Table 3 below.
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Table 3 Mean and SD of Service User Ratings of Causes of Poor Service Delivery
Mean
SD
KTC management is committed to continuous improvement
3.39
1.238
Leadership in KTC takes special interest in citizen complaints
4.00
1.073
Customer complaints are addressed on time once reported
1.88
.998
Citizen participation would improve service delivery
1.83
1.207
Employees do demand for bribes in order to give good service
1.91
1.326
Use of modern technology would improve services
1.94
1.301
Employees treat all customers equally
3.43
1.343
Managers consider suggestions from users
3.59
1.111
Employees have knowledge and skills to deliver services
3.16
1.170
Partnership with community would improve service delivery
3.95
1.123
Outsourcing for effective and efficient service delivery
3.83
1.181
Information on services is available and accessible
3.51
1.202
KTC takes measures to improve service delivery
4.03
1.020
Fee charged matches service delivered
4.23
4.960
Citizens take responsibility caring for council facilities
3.34
1.216
Service users pay their bills when they are due
2.61
1.205
Summary: mean = 3.164; SD = 0.075; Items = 16; N = 100
The results show that failure to address
customer complaints on time, lack of citizen
participation, demand of bribes by employees of the
local authority, failure to use modern technology, and
failure by service users to pay their bills on time (mean
˂ 3.00).
The employees and service users were also asked to
give their opinions regarding other factors they felt
contributed to poor service delivery. The major factors
identified were:
Poor planning- lack of sound plans that specify the
direction the local authority is supposed to take and
the resources to be used to achieve the objectives.
Poor monitoring and evaluation- lack institutional
arrangements to monitor and evaluate progress
from time to time so as to be able to take corrective
action if there are deviations from the plan.
Ethnicity- the tendency by council management to
employ locals or relatives regardless of the
qualifications or ability to carry out the intended
tasks.
Resistance to change- failure of the local authority
to adapt to the changing environment so as to meet
the objectives of the entity. There is organisational
inertia and lack of management will to challenge
the status quo.
4.3. Strategies to Improve Service Delivery
The objective in this section was to determine the
strategies that can be adopted to improve service
delivery in Kijiado Local Authority. The study
considered the views of the employees and service users
in section 4.2 above. The strategies identified sought to
address the major causes of poor service delivery
already identified by employees and service users. The
respondents were also asked to give their opinions
regarding the strategies that can be adopted to improve
service delivery. Listed below are the main strategies to
improve service delivery in Kijiado Local Authority:
Citizen participation in the affairs of the local
authority- the service users identify themselves as
key stakeholders in the local authority. They are of
the view that their views are to be respected if
defective service delivery is to be achieved by the
local authority.
Partnership with the community in service delivery
The local authority should ensure that the
community acts responsibility towards the council
assets
The local authority should attend to citizen
complaints on time
Service users to pay their bills on time
Strategic public service planning
Sound human resource policy that includes capacity
building and employee motivation
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Adoption of modern technologies and continuous
improvement.
Dealing with corruption and improving
accountability
Segregation of duties between councilors and
management of the local authorities
Outsourcing services and partnering with the
private sector
Offering value for money- the service fee charged
by the local authority should reflect the quality of
service delivered
The results of this study are in line with previous
studies. Aminuzaman (2010), Gwayi (2010) and ECA
(2003) identified the major causes of poor service
delivery as councilor interference in administration,
inadequate public participation, inadequate alignment of
budget with the requirements of the central government,
lack of political and administrative leadership,
inadequate infrastructure and shortages of skill, lack of
citizen participation, and lack TQM implementation
which also include inflexibility of response to customer
requirements. . A study done by Aminuzzaman (2010)
in Bangladesh also recommended that partnership
would improve service delivery. The emphasis on
partnership and outsourcing is consistent with
recommendations made by Joseph (2002) that,
municipalities and councilors should embrace
innovative new approaches to delivering core municipal
services by inviting non-municipal groups and interests
to participate. The findings by Aminnuzaman (2010)
and Tamrakar (2010) also suggest that eradication of
corruption would lead to increased transparency and
accountability. Similarly, Sarshar and Moores (2006)
identified the major causes of poor service delivery as:
lack of strategic awareness, lack of capacity, poor
performance monitoring, and poor coordination
processes. Jooste (2008) also argued that stakeholder
preferences and democratic processes establish the
values to be optimized in service delivery. More so, a
complex combination of strategies is needed to ensure
that service employees are willing and able to deliver
quality services and that they stay motivated to perform
in customer-oriented, service-minded ways. Continuous
motivation of employees to be customer-oriented will
enhance service quality. In order to build a customer-
oriented, service-minded workforce, organizations must
hire the right people, develop people to deliver service
quality, provide the needed support systems, and retain
the best people (Jooste, 2008). Likewise, ECA (2003)
identified the major strategies for improving service
delivery as TQM, organizational strategic management,
training and development, and the Lean Six Sigma
strategy.
5. CONCLUSIONS
Based on the findings, it can be concluded that the
major causes of poor service delivery are in local
authorities are: councilor interference and political
manipulation, corruption and lack of accountability and
transparency, inadequate citizen participation, poor
human resource policy, failure to manage change, lack
of employee capacity, poor planning, and poor
monitoring and evaluation. The major strategies that can
be adopted to improve service delivery in local
authorities include:
Increasing citizen participation in the affairs of the
local authority and partnership with the community
in service delivery
Flexible response to service user complaints
Offering value for money and ensuring that service
users pay their bills on time
Strategic public service planning
Sound human resource policy that includes capacity
building and employee motivation
Managing change
Dealing with corruption and improving
accountability
Segregation of duties between councilors and
management of the local authorities.
Partnering with other players and outsourcing
services
Finally, the researchers recommend that further studies
be conducted on several local authorities in in other
parts of the world, especially in developing countries, to
validate the findings of this study.
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