Empowering the Customer

The Citizen in Public Sector Reform

image of Empowering the Customer

One of the key ideas in current public sector reforms is that of citizens as customers. To this end, various marketoriented measures, privatisation of government enterprises and new performance management approaches have been introduced in addition to traditional consumer protection mechanisms to promote genuine empowerment of the customer. This publication explores some of these recent strategies based on Commonwealth best practice. It presents guidelines on developing clients’ charters, setting appropriate standards for public services, and meeting the expectations of the socially deprived. The public sector is of course remarkably different from business, and not easily amenable to the conditions of a perfect market environment. The publication addresses some of the implications of this issue for the implementation of the new management theory. It provides ‘handson’ materials and policy ideas for governments, practitioners and experts.



Charters and Service Standards

The service charter is also known by other names such as the citizen's charter, client charter, users' charter, etc. No less than 60 countries worldwide have adopted the idea, including all the developed Commonwealth countries and several developing members, notably South Africa, Ghana, Malaysia, Singapore, and Trinidad and Tobago. By whatever name it is called, the over-riding aim of the service charter is to shift attention to the customer in the context of a well-defined relationship with the service producer and provider.


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