Current Affairs

Current Affairs



PM sees positive customer service rating
Thursday, June 27, 2002
Jamaica Gleaner

PRIME MINISTER P.J. Patterson yesterday urged the heads of executive agencies to carefully plan how they deliver service to the public, and not to set unattainable targets.

Giving the keynote address at the public sector modernisation national consultation at Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston, the Prime Minister also urged chief executive officers of the executive agencies to ensure there is good communication in their departments, as lack of it leads to problems.

"It is important to gauge what can be delivered so that we are not ahead of the resources (both financial and human) and that we do not raise expectations beyond those which we can reasonably meet," Mr. Patterson said.

He also urged that efforts should be made to reduce the transaction costs of the reform initiatives, given the scarcity of financial resources and the need to allocate available resources to the priority areas.

"It is clear that we can make meaningful changes in terms of efficiency, effectiveness, and improved customer service if we really set our minds to it," he said.

Touching customer service, Mr. Patterson said a recent survey STATIN conducted on behalf of the Cabinet Office, showed that people responded positively when asked if they got quality service from Government agencies for their money.

According to the Prime Minister, 11 per cent of the 16,567 persons surveyed said they got very good service; 40 per cent got good service; 35 per cent received average service; 12 per cent got bad service; while two per cent said they received very bad service.

Mr. Patterson said the overall picture showed an 86 per cent positive rating. He said there's some satisfaction that Government departments are doing something right, but he cautioned against complacency.

"Good governance demands the respect of citizens and the State for the institutions that govern economic and social interactions between them," he said.

The Prime Minister spoke against corruption in the public sector saying corruption corrodes confidence and breeds inequity by allowing citizens who are willing to bribe public officials to have an advantage over those who refuse to do so or are unable.

"It (corruption) undermines law and order. It deprives the State of revenues to which it is entitled," said Mr. Patterson. "It stifles investment and entrepreneurial drive."

Speaking also at the consultation, Cabinet Secretary Dr. Carlton Davis said there has been a shift in the emphasis in the public sector from process to result. This reform, he said, is driven by fiscal austerity, increased democratisation of the society, information revolution.

He added that persons in the public sector have realised that reforming the sector is a real challenge.