Why is citizen-centred service unique and why is the Institute for Citizen-Centred Service founded on this concept?
Since the mid-1990s, the Canadian approach to service improvement in the public sector has consistently described itself as citizen-centred. There are at least 6 reasons for the public sector to deliver their programs and services with a citizen-centred approach.
- Focus on needs, perspectives, improvement priorities, and satisfaction of Canadians foremost in mind.
Using a citizen-centred perspective requires organizations to focus on citizens’ service improvement priorities and needs, and to their levels of satisfaction with individual services. In a citizen-centred approach, citizen satisfaction becomes the criterion for success, and the basis for results measurement in public sector service delivery.
- A citizen-centred approach also helps to highlight the challenge of “access”.
Citizens must work through the maze of public sector organizations and services to get what they need. To truly meet citizens’ service needs, governments must work together across levels of government to provide seamless, integrated service to citizens.
- Clients of government services are not “just” clients, as they might be in the private sector.
They are more than consumers of government services and usually also taxpayers and citizens which have a personal interest in how they consume services. While clients of the government services in Canada are usually citizens of this country, they may also be potential citizens of Canada, or citizens of another country with a business, professional or personal interest in Canada.
- Many of the clients of government are “involuntary clients”.
The involuntary client whose service relationship with government derives not from choice but rather from their obligations as citizens, or from the rights of other citizens. That is one reason why “fairness” is among the five top drivers of Canadians’ satisfaction with the quality of government service delivery.
- Balance the distinct interests and needs of different categories of citizens, within the broader service delivery of the public interest.
Governments must balance the interests of immediate or direct clients with those of the citizens as a whole. Public sector organizations must keep in mind that the quality of their service delivery experience contributes to strengthen the satisfaction of immediate “clients” needs. This goes hand in hand with the confidence of all citizens in the institutions of government.
- Every act of service is a “moment of truth” in which Canadians form an impression.
Creating an impression of an organization or service is about the effectiveness of the public institution and about the potential of democratic government. The service experience either increases or decreases Canadians’ confidence in public institutions, and in the degree to which they are able of fulfilling their personal objectives. Public sector “clients” are also citizens, whose pride and belief in their own citizenship can be strengthened or weakened by the service experience. Moments of truths are proactive and need to be tied to experiences that are important for the client.