Assessment Of Service Compact (SERVICOM) On Public Service Delivery In Selected Federal Teaching Hospitals In Nigeria
Service Compact (SERVICOM) is probably seen to have played considerable roles in public service delivery system, to which certain issues and problems as identified might have acted as impediment to the workings of most federal teaching hospitals. The effect of SERVICOM in key service delivery areas may have in recent time become a source of concern as substantial attention has not been paid to its centrality. By drawing a contour of successes and failure of SERVICOM, this study investigated the consequences, challenges and effects of SERVICOM in service delivery in the selected Federal Teaching Hospitals in the South-East. The study utilized both primary and secondary data. Survey method, in-depth interview and questionnaires were utilized to source primary data. These include: 15 unstructured key informant interviews with four doctors, four pharmacists, three nurses, two administrators and two heads of SERVICOM units. Moreover, about 260 questionnaires were also administered among the two chosen institutions of University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) and Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH) in a ratio of 130:130 each.
The secondary data were drawn from library and archival documents. The study employed quantitative, descriptive and content analysis approach. The study is situated on the Bureaucratic Theory. The study revealed that public service is currently being positively impacted by the service compact initiative. The study observed that service promotion, courteous treatment, staff attitude and timeliness which enhance efficiency in public service were greatly adhered to in attending to the ideals of service compact (SERVICOM) initiatives. The study discovered that there are great positive significance in the relationship between lack of service compact initiative and poor service delivery in public service. Conclusively, the effect of the establishment of service compact initiative has impacted positively on the running of public service. This could be seen by evidence in the improved service delivery system. High efficiency and effectiveness as being experienced in many government institutions like UNTH and NAUTH respectively
1.1 Background for the Study
The Nigeria public service is a vital government institution consisting of the staff of the central administrations, state administrations, the police and the Nigerian Armed forces among others of the nation. The public service refers to all organizations that exist as part of the federal government system responsible for the implementation of policy decisions and delivery of social services (Tamuno, 2004). According to Adamolekun (1991), the public service in Nigeria is made up of the following: the civil service, which is often referred to as the core service. It is composed of ministries, extra ministerial agencies and directorates; the public bureaucracy, which is composed of the enlarged public service, is including: Services to the states and national assemblies; the judiciary; the armed forces; the police and other security agencies. There are also the paramilitary services like immigrations, customs, prisons, civil defence, National Drug Law and Road Safety among others. In the parastatals and agencies including social service, commercial oriented agencies, regulatory agencies, educational institutions, teaching hospitals and research institutes among others. The public service with its long history is indicative of its phenomenal growth in response to the development needs of Nigerian societies over the years. Members of the public service compared with members of parliament are not limited to a short term of office at the end of which they may or may not be reelected into office. Rather, while elected members of parliament of public office holders come and go, public servants remain in the office (Fagbemi, 1987).
It is imperative to note, according to Coleman (1982) that the civil service structure was borrowed from the west minister model with its characteristics of impartiality, anonymity and political neutrality. Being a major instrument of government to achieving its socio-economic and political objectives, its duty consist of assisting in policy formulation by advising the political boss, implementing, monitoring and evaluating decided policies; and also provide continuity in administration of such periods when there was disruption of political direction or abrupt change in the government of Nigeria. Evidently also, the influence of the British system of administration remains very prominent on the Nigerian Public Service system and it has contributed to the shaping of the present bureaucratic setting.
Nevertheless, the Nigeria public service has greatly deviated from the inherited British system of administration that is noted for prompt and efficient service delivery while administering the Nigerian state. An argument many scholars like Badmus (2012), Igwilo (2012) and Alalade (2006) noted was due to improper learning, crave for wealth, poverty and insincerity on the part of the technocrat who collect the instrument of administration from the British. A failure that has constituted impediments to effective implementation of government policies; and thereby culminating into dwindling standard of service provided by government institutions. In the current situation, Ezeani (2006) noted that the damaging effects on the amount of trust the people have in the ability of the government has become a problem. Nigerians are well aware of the unpleasant manifestations of the appalling standard of service delivery in the country. Under the popular caption of the ‘Nigerian way’ many Nigerians have grown accustomed to regarding public service as something you battle for; and you cannot succeed unless you know someone inside the system (King, 1988). The Nigerian Public Service has degenerated into the present circumstances of poor service delivery in government agencies, when public servants, if they serve you at all, do so as a favour, or at a price (Gboyega, 1996). Only few Nigerians expect to get routine acknowledgement of letters written to public offices, let alone getting attention for telephone enquiries; also few Nigerians will apply for service without budgeting time and money to follow their applications from desk to desk. With this attitude, the public servants cannot allow the system to become efficient, where the criteria for efficiency are based on satisfaction of the citizens.
To this end, Ezeani (2006) observed that the vicious circle for one to get through the inefficient system, one has to part with money, officials who operate that system, make sure it stays this way and inefficient. The poor service has become so ingrained in the system that “the Nigerian way” seems congenital to the Nigerian society. Premised on these stated problematic underpins, former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in year 2003, constituted a committee of experts headed by Dr. Wendy Thomas to help Nigeria do a diagnostic audit of the system, examine institutional environment for service delivery, reflect on people’s lives and experiences and draw a road map for a service delivery programme. The committee’s report was commissioned in December 2003 with the following conclusions and recommendations:
- Services are not serving people they are inaccessible poor in quality and indifferent to customer needs;
- Public confidence is poor, institutional arrangements are confusing and wasteful;
A far-reaching transformation of Nigerian society through a service delivery programme as a step in the process of moving to a government that is more in touch with the people.
The service delivery programme should:
- Create ‘citizens’ and ‘customers’ demand;
- Instill higher expectations of public services;
- Communicate service entitlements and rights;
- Publish information about performance;
- Redesign the services around customer requirements;
- Success of the programme will require committed leadership from the top;
Government should demonstrate leadership commitment with a public declaration about service delivery.
The committee’s report was commissioned during a special presidential retreat on service delivery in Nigeria, the President and the Ministers entered into a Service Compact With All Nigerians (SERVICOM).
The compact’s provision says:
“We dedicate ourselves to providing the basic services to which citizens are entitled: timely, fairly, honestly, effectively and transparently” (Reports, 2003:21).
By SERVICOM, it was also agreed that all ministries, parastatals and agencies and all other governmental departments will prepare and publish, not later than the first day of July, 2004, SERVICOM chapters whose provisions will include:
- Quality service designed around customers’ requirements;
- Set out citizens’ entitlements in ways they can readily understand;
- List of fees payable and prohibit illegal demands;
- Commitment to provision of services within realistic time-frames;
- Specify officials to who complaints may be addressed;
- Publish these details in conspicuous places accessible to the public;
- Conduct and publish surveys of customer satisfaction (Reports, 2003:21-23).
1.2 Statement of the Research Problem
The Federal Government of Nigeria has observed that inefficiency and corruption are rampant in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). In response, Government mandated them to establish SERVICOM units to address the problem of poor service delivery and poor human relations with customers and clients. The effect of the initiative on the quality of service delivery in tertiary level teaching hospitals in South-Eastern Nigeria since inception, has not been ascertained; hence, this study, poised to expose this ill also deemed it necessary to explaining further the problematic effect of service dissatisfaction to the people with the aid of the tools of SERVICOM.
1.3 Research Questions
The following questions are answered by this study:
- What is the relationship between Service Compact Initiative and efficiency in the Public Service of Nigeria?
- Is there negative relationship between Service Compact Initiative and Service delivery challenges facing Teaching Hospitals in the South Eastern Nigeria?
- Is the Service Compact Initiative positively improving Service delivery in the selected Teaching Hospitals in the South – Eastern Nigeria?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The following are the objectives of the study:
The general objective is:
- To examine how the activities of SERVICOM affects both employee, customers, organization and society in general.
The specific objective are:
- To identify the key service delivery issues in the selected teaching hospitals;
- To evaluate the general challenges facing SERVICOM in terms of improving service delivery in the selected institutions;
- To assess the place of SERVICOM in key service delivery areas in the selected teaching hospitals in South-Eastern Nigeria;
1.5 Justification / Significance of the Study
This study is significant for various reasons. It provides the context to understand how service delivery initiatives and innovation could lead into service commitment in public organizations. It also broadens knowledge on the novel implementation of SERVICOM to mitigate against power arbitraries and public frustration in gaining access to effective service in the public service.
The study adopts both theoretical and practical significance. Theoretically, it provide the context for understanding how service delivery initiatives and innovation lead to service commitment in public organizations. It provide resource materials for further research in public service delivery. Practically, the study discovers and exposes the causes of ineffectiveness and inefficiency in service delivery in the public service in general and selected Teaching Hospitals in particular, so as to use SERVICOM to address them. With improvement in the services being delivered by these two major hospitals with very large clients, as a result of this study, the study prime itself as justified and very beneficial to humanity.
1.6. Scope of the Study
This research focuses on service delivery in the Federal Teaching Hospitals in South-Eastern Nigeria. The work is delimited to two Federal Teaching Hospitals: University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku-Ozalla, Enugu state and Nnamdi Azikiwe Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Anambra State. The study covers the period, beginning from when the programme was inaugurated, between 2004 and 2013.
1.7 Operationalization of Concept
The following research concepts are however operationalized for easy comprehend of the study:
This is the process and procedure of examining the true state of a body or institution. It can be looked at both positively and negatively.
Efficiency is the ratio of output to input or the amount of output per unit of input. It is the rate of performance in attaining an expected goal.
This is the relationship between an organisation’s output and its objectives. It explains the measures of efforts puts in attaining the expected goal, which in turn shows the general ability of the workers to the organisation.
This is the measure of output from a production’s process per unit of input. It is the degree of success attained based on the ratio and rate of performance in an organization.
This are the federal government owned institutions, agencies and bodies. It is where government jobs are being done by the government employed staff.
This is the quantity of goods or the amount of work produced following the combined efforts of efficiency and effectiveness puts in organizational production. It is the result attained against all efforts exerted in the process of production.
This is the resultant goal of an action taken in an organization. It is something that follows from an action, dispute and/or situations.
This is the proper manner of carrying out duties in government or private organizations. It deal with promptness and diligent in discharging a particular task or job.
This is the manner through which service is rendered to the public. It shows how effective and efficient an organization performs in serving the people.
1.8 Limitations of the Study
The execution of the research study was limited by fund and time, though these limitations do not have significant influence in the reliability of this work. The study was restricted to two Federal Teaching Hospitals out of three in the South-Eastern Nigeria, the huge financial expenses and time which could have been incurred was avoided. One of the challenges of this study is the inability of the researcher to have unhindered access to most of the bad recorders of public service delivery systems. There was also the inability of the researcher to confirm some stories that prompt up the needs for SERVICOM in public service. There was also difficulty in having access to some of the records and the documents related to scope due to “official secrets” or “confidentiality” practices in the public service. The attitude of the respondents also constituted a serious limitation to the study. Most of the literatures used were recent and produced after the establishment of the policy. This is due to the fact that indigenous materials that could have served as sources of information were not found or otherwise lacking. Despite this limitation, the study was able to fulfill the set objectives.
Summary, Conclusion and Recommendation
In this study, our focus was on assessment of service compact (servicom) on public service delivery in selected federal teaching hospitals in Nigeria using University of Nigeria teaching hospital and Nnamdi Azikiwe University teaching hospital as a case study.The study specifically was aimed at highlighting how the activities of SERVICOM affects both employee, customers, organization and society in general. The study also identify the key service delivery issues in the selected teaching hospitals. The study further evaluate the general challenges facing SERVICOM in terms of improving service delivery in the selected institutions. Lastly, the study assess the place of SERVICOM in key service delivery areas in the selected teaching hospitals in South-Eastern Nigeria;. A total of 260 responses were validated from the enrolled participants where all respondent are drawn from staff of University of Nigeria teaching hospital and Nnamdi Azikiwe University teaching hospital.
Based on the finding of this study, the following conclusions were made:
- There is a positive relationship between Service Compact Initiative and efficiency in the Public Service of Nigeria.
- There is a relationship between Service Compact Initiative and Service delivery challenges facing Teaching Hospitals in the South Eastern Nigeria.
- The Service Compact Initiative is positively improving Service delivery in the selected Teaching Hospitals in the South – Eastern Nigeria.
Based on the responses obtained, the researcher proffers the following recommendations:
- The challenges facing SERVICOM in the discharge of its functions in the federal parastatals in Nigeria includes need for proper accountability. This will help in curbing corruption and boost confidence in the service compact initiative policy. Also, it will help to convince stakeholders that everybody will ultimately gain if the SERVICOM’s policy is properly implemented. The absence of transparency and accountability was manifest in the important information relating to government activities that were expected to be displayed online.
- Government needs to show more convincing commitment to the implementation of the policies by providing sufficient funding and ensuring greater and easier access to government information by the public. This will promote transparency and accountability. Poor funding and absence of access to government information were part of the serious challenges to which respondents agreed were militating against service compact policy implementation in Nigeria. Therefore, for a successful implementation of SERVICOM’s policy for attainment of national development, the civil servants, general public and government must work together as partners in progress.
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