Contract Employment And Service Delivery In The Public Sector
This study is aimed at determining the extent to which performance contract has affected service delivery at the former Enugu civil service (ECS) in Nigeria. A sample of 60 employees and customers was drawn from the above mentioned population. The research instruments used for the study were observation and a semi structured questionnaires. Data were analyzed using content analysis from data organized in themes as identified from the variables drawn from a conceptual framework namely service charter, work plans, strategic plan, monitoring and evaluation as well as performance appraisal system. The findings of the study suggest a more responsive ECS to demands of client requirement while emphasizing on the effectiveness and efficiency of product and service delivery. The results of this study suggest that the public accountable culture has been strengthened where effective use of resources, relevance to EC implementation objectives, and suitability of results to enhance service deliver. The study also suggests areas of further study that may provide more insights on the successes and lessons learned.
1.1 Background to the Study
Employment contract(EC) is part of the broader public sector reforms aimed at improving efficiency and effectiveness in the management of the public services. Peterson (2005) defines performance contract as a freely negotiated performance agreement between the government, acting as the owner of a government agency and the management of the agency. The author asserts that performance contract clearly specifies the intentions; obligations and responsibilities of the two contracting parties (Peterson, 2005). Kobia and Mohammed (2006) argue that EC is a management tool for ensuring accountability for results by public officials as it measures the extent to which they achieve targeted results. In essence, signing a performance contract commits public officials to perform to the set standards or beyond, the specified levels. This holds public officials accountable for results and therefore, helps in converting tax paid into goods and services effectively and efficiently. Employment contract also creates transparency in the management of public resources (Kobia & Mohammed, 2006).
Performance contracts have been widely used in the public sector by the developed countries such as France, the Netherlands and New Zealand among other countries with outstanding success. Performance contract was first introduced in France after the famous Nora Report on the reform of state owned enterprises in France (Organization for Economic Corporation for Development (OECD), 1994). Kusek and Rist (2004) depict and say how today, almost all OECD countries use some form of performance contracts in managing their public sector. In New Zealand, performance contract were introduced and adopted as part of the countries pioneering public sector reforms (Kusek & Rist, 2004). Performance contract gained more strength when they were introduced in the United States as part of Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993. Performance contracts in the United Kingdom were introduced by Margaret Thatcher as part of the creation of Next Step Agencies. Today, performance contracts are used in all British government agencies serving under public service agreements.
In Nigeria, the concept of Employment contract was first introduced in the management of State Corporations in 1989 and was adapted to reform public institutions that previously performed poorly out of the need to enhance their performance (Muthaura, 2007). To this effect, a Parastatal Reform Strategy paper was approved by Cabinet in 1991 as a first official recognition of the concept of Employment contract(reform strategy paper of 1991). Among the policies that were recommended to streamline and improve the performance of state corporations were: divestiture or liquidation of nonstrategic parastatal, contracting out commercial activities to the private sector, permitting private sector competition with existing state monopolies, and improvements in the enabling environment of all strategic parastatals including removal of potentially conflicting objects as depicted by Economic Commission of Africa (ECA) (2003 December); Blomqvist & Stanley (2000).
The first two parastatals to be on performance contract were Nigeria Railways Corporation and the National Cereals and Produce Board. Nigeria Railway signed performance contract in April, 1989, whereas the National Cereals and Produce Board (NCPB) signed in November, 1990(Republic of Nigeria, 2005). However, the outcome of the two performance contracts eventually failed due to a number of reasons and challenges ranging from lack of political goodwill, changes in Government policy, inflation, and exchange rate fluctuations which greatly affected their performance (Muthaura, 2007). At the same time, the process was perceived as one that was donor driven.
In 2003, the government re-introduced performance contracts. The initiative to reintroduce performance contracts in Nigeria was clearly spelt out in the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation (ERSWEC).
In August, 2003, the government appointed a committee to spearhead the introduction and implementation of performance contracts that is Performance Steering Committee. The steering committee made a decision to introduce performance contract in state corporations on a pilot basis in 2004. Sixteen state corporations signed performance contracts by December, 2004.The criteria for selecting the pilot companies included representation of diverse sectors and corporations with strategic plans (Republic of Nigeria , 2006 December).Following success in implementing performance contract in state corporations, the government extended the process to public service, beginning with permanent secretaries and accounting officers. Further, in April, 2005, the Government decided to place the management of 175 Local Authorities on performance contract (Republic of Nigeria, 2009).
The five (5) major Municipalities completed performance contracts on 30th September, 2005 on pilot basis. These were; Enugu civil service, Municipal Council of Mombasa, Municipal Council of Eldoret, Municipal Council of Kisumu and Municipal Council of Nakuru. The remaining local authorities signed performance contract on 3rd
June, 2006. The Enugu civil service embraced performance contract in 2005 in partnership with Public Service Reform and Development Secretariat (PSR & DS) through the Ministry of Local Government (Republic of Nigeria, 2009)
In 1963, after Nigeria attained independence, the Nairobi Urban District Council (NUDC) became the Enugu civil service (ECS). The Council was created by an Act of Parliament Cap 265 of the Laws of Nigeria to provide services to residents of the city, (Local Government Act Cap 265, 12).In the period (2005-12) under study, ECS was divided into eight(8) divisions which also served as parliamentary constituencies. These are Kasarani, Westland, Starehe, Kamukunji, Dagoretti, Embakasi,Makadara and Langata.A write up in the official magazine for the Enugu civil service (Angaza, June-August, 2012), there are memories of the Nairobi of yester years, when there were good houses, sports grounds, libraries with stocks of books, social halls which were well equipped, citing, but a few cases in the areas of service delivery.
Over the years, ECS has gone through hard economic times coupled with the dramatic increase in population thus constraining available facilities. The diversity of the city and its population size prompted the introduction of Employment contractas the city was faced with several challenges such as informal settlements, mostly the slums and illegal structures which mushroomed in the city, land grabbing, water shortages in the city due to inadequate supplies, uncontrolled dumping site, ghost employees, street urchins and influx of street hawkers among others. The former Enugu civil service was under the Ministry of Local Government and its mandate was to provide services to the citizens and even visitors of Nairobi. Such services were in terms of health care, education, and clean environment, provision of housing and other social services, decongested roads, planning services among others.
1.2. Statement of the Problem
The New Public Management (NPM) movement emphasizes and strengthens the need to adopt private sector practices in public institutions (Balogun, 2003). This initiative strives towards making public servants to become service orientated, to pursue excellence in service delivery and to commit them to continuously improve service delivery. It also sets the principles for transforming service delivery with regard to consultation, service standards, access, courtesy, information, openness and transparency, redress and value for money. These principles are required, since it is argued that a transformed local government needs to be measured against its commitment to continuous service delivery improvement.
The introduction of Employment contract at Enugu civil service was geared towards introducing New Public Management approach to service delivery. There are a few studies that have attempted to study EC on various institutions. Some of this include: the research on employee responses to the implementation of performance contract (Ogwayo, 2007), factors influencing implementation of performance contract (Murgor, 2008); employee state of psychological contract on the implementation of performance contract (Njenga, 2008); management of strategic change (Njiri, 2007). Two case studies have been done relating to the Enugu civil service on employee performance management practices (Njenga, 2008) and employee empowerment (Tsala, 2008). In spite of the few studies that have been done, it remains unclear the extent to which the aforesaid objectives have been met and also the challenges related to implementation of EC at ECS. It is against this background that this study is seeking to determine the extent to which Employment contract has affected service delivery at the ECS. Therefore this study sought to answer the question; to what extent did performance contract affect service delivery at Enugu civil service?
1.3. Research Objectives
The main objective of the study is to determine the effects of Employment contract on service delivery at the former Enugu civil service.
The specific objectives of the study are:
- To examine how organizational service charter has affected service delivery at Enugu civil service.
- To determine the extent to which work plans have influenced service delivery at Enugu civil service.
- To establish how strategic plan/planning has impacted on service delivery at Enugu civil service.
- To examine how monitoring and evaluation has influenced service delivery at
Enugu civil service.
- To establish the extent to which performance appraisal system has affected service delivery at Enugu civil service.
1.4. Justification of the Study
Enugu civil service will benefit from the findings and deductions made from the study in that the reform strategies of rapid result initiative will be partially evaluated. The service will have a clear benchmark on how to establish regulations that will provide the direction, oversight and assistance to those implementing EC, needed particularly for the emerging performance appraisal systems.
Citizens who are clients stand to benefit from the assessment of the service delivery system. Customer satisfaction is at the centre of the excellence of any organization. This research project offers an assessment to the basic tenets of Employment contract that lets proper service delivery systems. In the long run the citizens have the benefit of enjoying proper services and at their convenient timing as stipulated in the service charter.
The research study contributes in the academic inquiry on the possibility of successful implementation of the Employment contract schemes in public institutions. The study aids our understanding in regard to integrating the various components of service charter, monitoring and evaluation frameworks, strategic plans, work plans and performance appraisal systems.
1.5. The Scope, Limitations, Delimitations and Assumptions
The study was done in Nigeria, specifically at the Enugu civil service. The target populations were employees who were sampled from the different hierarchical levels in the chain of command at least those in the category of signing performance contract. The study covered the period from when EC was introduced.
To avoid any doubts about the research, the employees were given assurance of confidentiality on any information given and reasons of the study was clearly stipulated to be wholly for academic research purposes only. The perspective of ECS might have suffered a setback because there were several issues that hampered ineffective implementation both foreseeable and intangible.
Some few key assumptions were made. This study was conducted in the largest institution of local authorities in Nigeria , Enugu civil service. The population was drawn from the management and other employees of the council and the presumption was that the respondents’ answer the questions accurately, truthfully and provide all the required information.
This study on Employment contract was conducted at Enugu civil service. The respondents of the study were drawn from the ECS staff and the stakeholders. Stakeholders of the ECS are many especially the visitors who come once or for a while and go and this is delimiting as they cannot be captured.
Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations
This is the last section of this research study. It comprises the following; summary, conclusions made from findings and the recommendations for action and for further studies.
5.2. Summary on Findings
The findings of the study illustrated that service charters have been effectively displayed and informative. The relationship between the clients of council either as citizens, customers and consumers has been enhanced. These findings are similar to a study by Ayeni (2001) which proposed that service charters must ensure highest level of customer satisfaction and improved service delivery. Mukesh (2001) supported the role of an effective charter in conveying message in a simple, concise and brochure like style of publication which is similar to what is provided by the Council. Muthaura (2007) supported the performance contracting as providing a practical way of managing performance in an era of fiscal restraint, encourages the use of performance and customer satisfaction information to guide organizations and improvement, promotes partnerships between service providers and clients, and provides a reliable means to measure service performance and cost as well as a benchmark for performance evaluation.
Work plans were found to be assisting in achieving goals and objectives. Schwartz (2001) believed that the work plans were contributory in keeping the supervisor focused in implementing decisions aimed at achieving the organizations long and short term objectives.
The findings emphasized the role of strategic plan definition of operation priorities and clarification on workloads. Strategic plans have created a culture of result based decision making process at Enugu civil service. This compares with Chaston (2012) who outlined the functions of strategic plans as entailing designing and integrating work to be done in line with clarified organizational purposes, mandates, goals, issues, strategies and requirements for success.
Performance Contracting at ECS is supported reliably by monitoring and evaluation system as shown by the findings. This has enhanced public accountability and thus improving service delivery. Kobia and Mohammed (2006) advocated for performance contracting in creation of transparency in public resource management which the implementation of M&E framework is improving at the council. The study thus mirrors the proposition of Venter and Waldt (2007) who advocated for the need to scrutinize the intended objectives, structures, systems, processes, outputs and outcomes of any municipal administration as well as performance management and improved service
delivery that are vital, critical and thus need attention.
The findings of the study have strong support for contribution of PAS on performance contracting accomplishment. Effectiveness and efficiency at work was highlighted as having improved at ECS. Rewards and sanctions at ECS have improved the output of the employees and the work to improve the work and move up the ladder. These findings are similar to a study by (Kaila, 2005) who asserted that managers expect their employees to be oriented towards achievement; achievement oriented employees work harder when their supervisors provide evaluations of their performance. Daley (1992) lauded PAS as being significant for administrative, developmental, compensation, feedback; reduce, grievances, improvement in supervision and productivity. In furtherance, Teong (2010) says that PAS is responsible for assisting in ensuring that accountability for results and performance appraisals are used to determine the workforce compensation therefore paying for jobs at market rates.
The overall objective of the study was; to determine the effects of performance contracting on service delivery at the Enugu civil service. In essence, from the research findings, the main research question; to what extent did performance contract affect service delivery at Enugu civil service? was answered and the objectives achieved.
The findings of the study suggest a more responsive ECS to demands of client requirement while emphasizing on the effectiveness and efficiency of product and service delivery.
The intended goals of the study are presented in specific objectives that link performance contracting to Council’s expectations through service charter, work plans, strategic plan, monitoring and evaluation as well as performance appraisal system. These specific objectives influence the kinds of set performance targets as well as measures used to evaluate performance.
In achieving the aim of the study, the research addressed each specific objective and the following was evident. To achieve implementation of performance contract, it involved the clear and accessible display of service charters. The study found that the service charters were in public access as they were placed at the entrance of City Hall to allow the clients and citizens to be aware of the services offered, cost and time of delivery.
The employees were also engaged in the development of work plans both at departmental and individual levels. The work at the council has been systematized to the set priorities; time management improved, and hastens achievement of expected results for quality services thus boosting productivity.
The organization developed strategic plan with the intention to fast track implementation of the objectives to the intended outcomes. The aspirations of strategic plan were achieved with most of the intended goals, mandates and strategies implemented to strengthen service delivery. The key decisions during the study period (2005-2012) were based on the provisions of the strategic plan. This has offered a platform of ensuring sustainable progress and productivity at the council.
The monitoring and evaluation indicators show that there has been an impact on service delivery. This has been achievable because performance is measured and tracked at all levels through a proper feedback mechanism. The public accountable culture has been strengthened by implementation of monitoring and evaluation where effective use of resources, relevance to EC implementation objectives, and suitability of results to enhance service delivery. M&E has provided a mechanism of checks and balances where the intended objectives of all the other four EC variables are achieved.
ECS further introduced performance appraisal systems as a form of motivation for the employees to work and meet targets. PAS have worked to strengthen internal controls by rewarding or compensating employees based on the performance at work and works as independent self-audits. It also measures performance and enables recognition and reward of good performance and sanctioning bad performance through the application of PAS. Lastly, the case of ECS has indicated that the performance contract privatizes the style of public sector management by focusing on results and not processes.
- Instruments of enhancing customer satisfaction such as quality service charters and customer comment cards should be properly displayed in notice boards for efficient and effective service delivery.
- For fostered results and proper implementation of the EC, knowledge of strategic planning, development of work plans and monitoring capacities among the staff is vital for the success of performance contract and the management support as well as the technical knowledge is crucial.
- The motivating effect of the performance contracting is the stability of resources. Unavailable resources or delayed disbursement adds frustration to the staff involved in the implementation of strategic plan. The majority of respondents during the study expressed this view.
- A clear definition of outputs and solid performance measures. This requires a well-defined training program for the public servants to support implementation as intended by PAS.EC tends to emphasize competition among staff to meet their targets.
- A research effort is needed to establish if Nigerian citizens perceive service delivery as having been improved since the implementation of EC in Nigeria.
Results of such a study would confirm if the objectives of this study carried out during period 2005-2012 on EC implementation at ECS are being achieved. vi. To further understand the implementation of EC in Nigeria in the government agencies, this research study suggests areas of further study that may provide more insights on the successes and lessons learned such as: A comparative study is necessary to investigate the extent to which state corporations and the Ministries are in implementing the EC in Nigeria. In comparing the differences in the successes or failure in State corporation and Ministries would be an interesting area to explore to gain insights into factors that enhance or inhibit the implementation of EC in Nigeria.
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