Posted by: qmaxim | January 13, 2012

Anna Hazare and Quality Management

Recent agitation in India lead by anti corruption crusader  Anna Hazare unexpectedly  met with phenomenal response. Major demand by the crusader was the enactment  of  the legislation for the formation of a powerful corruption fighting agency called LokPal. Less well known demand was the implementation of so called  citizen charter in every government office.

The idea is simplicity itself. Implementation of  citizen charter calls for displaying a board in a prominent place in every government office. The board  is expected to contain the following : list of all the services offered in that office, maximum time allowed for delivering each service and who has the responsibility for delivery of service plus other information such as  contact details of  important officials and working hours. Let us say a person is interested in obtaining a certificate of his  land holding – by listing the service on the board   government is guaranteeing delivery  of that service within the stipulated time period as listed on the board. If it is not delivered within the stipulated time then  the person responsible for delivering the service is  fined. 

Let us try to understand what has got to be done to make this  work. First of all the office has to determine all the services for which it has responsibility, what are the inputs/ outputs/ resources , sequence of steps to be followed for each service, who is responsible for each step, time required for executing each step and implement the process as  defined. In most cases implementation involves computerisation. Many government services are (or being) already computerised. In my view corruption and inefficiency thrives on vaguely defined processes and not allocating responsibility and time limit.

This is nothing but what  is  called  process management in Quality profession. In process management also inputs / outputs /  resources / time taken have to be defined for each process, so called process owners have to be named, sequence of steps have to be determined for each process, and metrics have to be put in place to monitor the state of the process. Process improvement starts when  the process is stable.

As I said,  though the concept is simple on paper, it  a powerful way to force the government  to work in an efficient way and  be accountable. No wonder it is facing enormous opposition from many quarters. In spite of enormity of task,  many state governments are implementing this wonderful process management initiative.

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