SERVICOM is an acronym derived from the words SERVICE COMPACT. Compact is a formal agreement between two or more people. In this case SERVICOM is a Service Compact (Agreement) between the Federal Government including all its organs and the Nigerian people. During his address to the inaugural session of the National Assembly the former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR declared:
“Public offices are the shopping floor for government business. Regrettably, Nigerians have for long been feeling short-changed by the quality of public service delivery, by which decisions are not made without undue outside influence and files do not move without being pushed with inducements. Our public offices have for too long been show-cases for the combined evils of inefficiency and corruption, whilst being impediments to effective implementation of government policies. Nigerians deserve better. And we will ensure they get what is better.”
Following his re-election for a second term in 2003, the former President underscored his administration’s commitment to improving service delivery when he listed the issue as a priority for his second term in office. SERVICOM is therefore a public service reform conceived to be the engine for Service Delivery programme. It is mounted on the imperative to change the system of service delivery and driven by Government’s commitment to deliver service and citizens’ expectations of service delivery.
In June 2003, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) arrived at the conclusion that no reform process will be credible and sustainable if government cannot demonstrate any leadership commitment with a public declaration about service delivery among other essentials. In this context, the former president set up a Nigerian Service Delivery Research Team which visited the United Kingdom (UK) in 2003 to investigate how the British government has gone about improving its service delivery. Based on their feedback, the FEC supported the implementation of Service Delivery programme for Nigeria. The President and British Prime Minister tasked a team to analyze key service delivery issues and develop a road map for practical, targeted and achievable service delivery.
The technical team was commissioned in January 2004 headed by U.K Prime Minister’s Adviser on Public Service Reform Dr. Wendy Thomson. Other members of the team included members of the office of Public Service Reforms (OPRS), Center for Management and Policy Studies (CMPS) in the Cabinet Office, Consultant from the U.K and South Africa and service delivery team nominated by the Nigerian Government. The research was also carried out with the assistance of the Department for International Development (DFID) in Nigeria which made resources and expertise available. Their Team of Reference included:
_ To review service delivery in Nigeria
_ Examine institutional environment for service delivery
_ Reflect on people’s views and experiences and
_ Draw road map for Service Delivery Programme for Nigeria
The Team undertook analysis of official documents and other literature on service delivery generally. Key officials in government were interviewed and an independent market research was commissioned to test customers and staff attitudes. Policy decisions on service delivery from “cover to cover” were examined in five key services:
- Business registration ( Corporate Affairs Commission)
- Passport office (Nigerian Immigration Service)
- Immunization (Maitama General Hospital)
- Hospital Out Patient Department (Maitama General Hospital FCT )
- National Electric Power Authority (NEPA) now Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN).
The research took over three to four weeks only because the case studies were few and confined to FCT. Some of the facilities visited most likely do not represent the full scale problems and challenges. Despite the evident limitations of the team, the team identified consistent pattern of POOR SERVICES, FAILURE TO MEET LOW EXPECTATIONS? In February 2004, SERVICE DELIVERY IN NIGERIA: A ROAD MAP” was published. A special Presidential Retreat was organized in March 2004 to deliberate on the report. President Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR remarked that the retreat was to assert their ownership of the invitation to serve Nigerians better and accept full responsibility to drive it to a successful end. The report of the findings and recommendations from the research team was adopted by Mr. President and his Executive Council in that retreat.
At the conclusion of the Special Presidential Retreat on Service Delivery in Nigeria, the President and his Ministers entered into Service Compact with all Nigerians – hence the birth of SERVICOM on 21st March 2004. The Compact’s Core provision says: “We dedicate ourselves to providing the basic services to which each citizen is entitled, timely, fairly, honestly, effectively and transparently”. By SERVICOM, all Ministries, Parastatals and Agencies were mandated to prepare and publish not later than 1st July 2004, SERVICOM Charter which will provide the following information:
- Quality services 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
- Specified officials to whom complaints may be addressed
- Publish these details in conspicuous places accessible to the public
- Conduct and publish surveys of customer satisfaction.
BROAD OBJECTIVES OF SERVICOM
Among the major objectives of SERVICOM include:
- To provide quality service to the people
- To set out the entitlement of the citizens
- To ensure good leadership
- To educate the citizens (customers) on their rights
- To empower public officers to be alert to their responsibilities in providing improved, efficient, timely and transparent service.
SERVICOM office in the Presidency was therefore established for this purpose. Similarly, the Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDA’s) were directed to create SERVICOM Units and appoint Nodal Officers to promote initiative.
SERVICOM IN FRSC
Consequently, FRSC CHARTER was born. The former Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of Federal Road Safety Commission Maj. Gen.(Dr)HA Hananiya (rtd) mni entered into Service Agreement with Nigerian citizens as specified in FRSC SERVICOM CHARTER on behalf of the Commission. It is expected that every member of the Commission should know and work towards achieving the vision of the Corps Marshal for the Commission. It is note worthy that FRSC is among the first few government organizations to embrace SERVICOM.
After the inauguration of FRSC SERVICOM Unit on May 26th 2005 by Mr Ad’obe Obe the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Strategy and National Co-ordinator SERVICOM, the unit swung into immediate action by carrying out sensitization and public awareness lectures on Federal Government Civil Service Reform Ethics on quality service delivery in all the Departments and Corps Offices at the National Headquarters Abuja and the nearby Commands.
LEVEL OF IMPLEMENTATION
The Management promptly approved the production of FRSC CHARTER and plaques, establishment and furnishing of SERVICOM office and appointment of the Nodal Officer and other staff. The Charter contains credible proposals for delivery that can be measured. It also indicated result oriented time scale for delivery.
- Awareness and sensitization campaign at the field commands has taken off as approved by the COMACE.
- FRSC has made its activities known to the public through the internet and public awareness lectures have been carried out. The Commission has distributed over 30,000 Charter Booklets to the public. Arrangement is in the offing to produce more for distribution across the nation as part of our sensitization and awareness campaign strategy.
- FRSC Service has greatly improved in the area of rescue of accident victims which now receive prompt and immediate attention. Quick production of driver’s license without much delay. Fast production of number plates and replacements.
- Road users are being provided with the current wider knowledge and appreciation of the ethics of good motoring and proper use of roads through special patrols and stakeholders’ fora.
- FRSC has started to mark the Global UN Road Safety Week and Road Traffic Accident (RTA) victims Remembrance Day which is in line with SERVICOM initiative.
- FRSC Headquarters has provided adequate suggestion boxes which are placed at strategic location for customer suggestions and complaints which have helped some of our management decisions and improved the quality of service been rendered. All Commands are by this sensitization directed to the example of RSHQ.
PRINCIPLES OF THE FRSC CHARTER
CHARTER: THIS IS A WRITTEN EVIDENCE, INSTRUMENT OR CONTRACT TO BE EXECUTED BETWEEN THE FRSC AND THE NIGERIAN PUBLIC. The FRSC service charter is intended to be read and understood by ordinary citizens of Nigeria and members of the staff. It is a simple, straightforward contract between the FRSC and the general public, staff and all stakeholders in road safety. It therefore, follows that it is in plain language, uncluttered by legal terminology, short and to the point. The charter has promised what FRSC can provide and deliver. The FRSC charter is divided into seven parts:
- INTRODUCTION/ BACKGROUND
- DETAILS OF CUSTOMERS/ CLIENTS AND STAKEHOLDERS
- DETAILS OF SERVICE RENDERED
- PERFORMANCE TARGETS
- EXPECTATIONS FROM CUSTOMERS/ STAKEHOLDERS
The vision is to develop for the nation a disciplined, committed, honest affable corps, highly polished, courteous and accessible to all road users with sustainable capacity for efficient service delivery in road safety, traffic injury prevention and emergency management services.
The Corps Marshal and Chief Executive of the Federal Road Safety Commission is the person responsible for the delivery of this charter through the FRSC Ministerial SERVICOM Unit so that the mission would be accomplished sooner than expected as the charter came into effect from 1st July, 2004.
Members of the Corps have social and moral obligations towards the achievement of the statutory responsibilities of the Commission. Such responsibilities include but not limited to quality road traffic management with a view to reducing road traffic fatalities and injuries, improvement of driving culture, behavior and attitude of drivers, rapid response to emergency and evacuation of victims of crashes, removal of obstructions from the highways, maintaining high ethical disposition in the production of number plates and drivers license among other responsibilities.
We must not only be seen to render these service promptly and without any strings attached, we are expected to render them to the utmost satisfaction of our customers- road users. The FRSC Board has the responsibility to give appropriate policy direction to the management for the realization of the objectives of SERVICOM. In this regard, the management is expected to provide the enabling environment for effective, efficient and quality service delivery in the FRSC. This is to be done though prompt implementation of policies and execution of decision on the day-to-day basis.
The Field Commanders (Zonal Commanding Officers, Sector/Unit Commanders) have the responsibility to organize, supervise, control and direct their subordinates towards the achievement of management goals. Necessary skills required include effective communication of policy directives and coordination of the different organic processes leading to the accomplishment of tasks. Commanding Officers are to ensure that customers are treated fairly, timely and satisfactorily. Any complaints arising from service delivery must be promptly investigated and attended to within four to five working days and findings communicated to the complainant. You should teach your staff to give routine acknowledgement to official correspondence.
Attention must be given to telephone and personal enquiries. Visitors must be politely received and offenders courteously but firmly treated. In our offices, people are not expected to follow their files or give gratifications before action is taken. The phenomenon of “missing file” which re-appears on inducement or the slogan “not- on seat” should not be practiced in your offices. People should not be served at a price or as a favour but as of a right.
FRSC Charter has been signed by the then Corps Marshal and Chief Executive in July 2004. The Charter is a living document hence it is dynamic. It is therefore pertinent to mention that it should be reviewed periodically. It is a tool for facilitating the delivery of services to customers with specific standards, quality and time frame with commitment from organization and its clients. The term customer in the SERVICOM Charter implies all those whose interests and values are addressed by SERVICOM Charter and therefore includes not only the customers but also all stakeholders i.e. clients, users, beneficiaries, other ministries/ department.
Very shortly, hand bills, leaflets and plaques shall be printed to create further awareness. The Commission would no longer condone any act or conducts which are at variance with the objective of SERVICOM. In line with Federal Road Safety Commission’s vision all FRSC Staffs are expected to be disciplined, committed, honest, affable, highly published, courteous and accessible to all road users. Road users and the general public desire a better deal and must be served right. Always remember the Golden Rule of SERVICOM “Serve others as you would want to be served”.