Public Service Charters are social contracts/agreements between public institutions and the citizens/clients in which the service provider agrees to certain minimum standards of a service to the public. This acts as basis for citizens to demand sustained quality service. Government introduced this concept about a decade ago and asked all its councils among others to quickly come up with the overall service charters and in some cases sector specific charters. The process has moved at snail’s pace largely because of the fear of implications of committing to something which can’t be delivered due to resource challenges.
Resultantly, such otherwise great initiatives have stalled and in some cases died. However, some public institutions have been exception. A good case is Karonga District Council and Luchenza Municipal Council curtesy of Tilitonse Foundation Funded Project implemented by NICE Trust.
Luchenza has its Service Charter recently approved by the Full Council and is operational. Fruits are already visible. ‘’We have committed to collecting refuse using our tractor 3 times a week. We have asked citizens to report to us every time a dog is hit by a car. We quickly respond and remove the carcass. Resultantly, our municipality is clean. Our office is accessible to all. We are committed to attending to any visitor to our offices within 3 minutes, otherwise, the client is free to raise a complaint. The public has more trust in us,’’ Mr John Maneya, Director of Planning and Development, Luchenza Municipality.
Karonga District Council has also launched its Health Sector Service Charter which provides minimum health standards in public health facilities.
With such developments, citizens have basis to demand quality services from Government.