Effective and Efficient Service Delivery to the Public(EESDP)
Documents Authentication and Registration Office

The Problem

Not long ago, the Documents Authentication and Registration Office (DARO) was a good example of organizational malpractice. When things went wrong the answer ranges from leadership, to getting the fundamentals of management, to administration, to front-line work done properly. With this premises the situation was characterized by customer inquiries not answered speedily or courteously, and inefficient appointment systems that wasted people’s time were familiar examples of complaints about poor administration. People who complained about having to repeat their personal details over and over again to a number of employees were complaining about lack of coordination. Complaints about staff not having the right training or not being well supervised are about service delivery.

Moreover, there was area of frequently expressed dissatisfaction which is about the common good. These complaints were not about the service itself but about equity, about feelings of unfairness in not being able to access the service.

Individual cases involving a number of clienteles per case necessitated every member to be present in person for signing the appropriate documents resulting in an overcrowded working environment. Even so, the average number of cases handled per day was not more than thirty, to mention a few. It took at least three days to settle a single notary case, which not only costly in time and money but also resulted in highly dissatisfied customers. Employees were working under a lot of stress which was manifested through their unethical attitudes towards customers and lack of motivation.
In the early stage of development, there was considerable change in departments of the office. Leadership and good governance did not start at the top. Despite this fact, employees did not have the right to participate in any of the planning and strategy formulation activities. It was highly hierarchical and bureaucratic with ill-defined flow of power and authority. There were no clearly stated guidelines or working manuals. Owing to this the office delivered services without the appropriate allocation of skills and knowledge.
There were no proper record-keeping systems. Retrieval of data was very slow. Customers’ documents could easily be lost from the archives or misplaced. The data were hardly reliable as it was done manually or using obsolete technology. Frequent man made errors were so common due to sporadic work procedures and lack application of user-friendly modern technology.
The office works in partnership with such government bodies as the Ministry of Justice, the Federal Supreme Court, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that were affected by its operations. Moreover, citizens, federal prison administration, attorneys at law and non-government organizations, translation offices, religious institutions, banks and insurance were some of the many groups that were also affected.
Therefore, there was a need to adopt such characteristics of high-performance with a focus on the customer, a strong strategic vision, continual bench marking and performance improvements values-based rather than rules-base management and an emphasis on results in a competitive environment.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The Office has embarked on a comprehensive civil service reform with a theme “Effective and Efficient service delivery to the public” since 2002, in order to mitigate the deep routed customer service delivery problems. The Office undertook “Business Process Re-engineering (BPR)” study in order to identify the critical problems and recommend possible solutions. Based on the outcomes of the BPR study, the Office introduced a number of measures.
The office was seriously engaged in undertaking continuous efforts of changing the attitudes of its own employees. In this regard, the office has ensured that its employees serve customers with the required respect, and ensured that its employees understood customers’ rights to know full information about the service they are requesting. On the other hand, it regularly disseminates information to the public regarding the services it offers and the conditions that must be fulfilled by customers, in the form of CDs, Brochures, and the Internet (official website).
In order to ensure the best quality service delivery, the office decentralized its working system by opening a number of branch offices at different localities for customers’ convenience in accessing them. It also modern and user-friendly ICT solutions including the internet working at all of its branches, implementing service delivery system known as DARIS (Document Authentication and Registration Information System) where the various services rendered by the Office are automated, and launching an online service delivery site (www.daro.gov.et/online).
The office has greatly improved its File Management System. Consequently, customers can get reliable and quality legal documents within a reasonable amount of time and cost. In addition, the employees of the organization now perform their jobs within better working environment, in an easy and secured manner. The office has also introduced a mechanism whereby customers can forward any complaints by setting a dedicated unit for this very purpose.
As a result, since 2002, the number of cases served per day increased from 30 to 3,000. The service time for the authentication and registration of business organization establishment documents reduced from 17 to 3 hours and other documents from 45 to 20 minutes, showing a remarkable improvement in not only effectiveness, but also efficiency.
Currently, the average service delivery time is 30 minutes as opposed to that before the implementation of the initiative, which was 3 days.
Following the implementation of the above initiatives, the office gained not only satisfied customers, innovative managers and motivated employees, but it also won enormous recognition from different institutions and the public. The Government, for instance, acknowledged its achievement through broadcasting a documentary program on National Television under the title “Glimmers of Light through the Darkness”.
Accordingly, the various partners of the office, government bodies, business and non-business organizations, government and non-government organizations, and the community at large also reaped the benefits of such practice.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The “Civil Service Reform Program” is a general program that was articulated by the Ethiopian Government. Under this program there is a sub-program which is related to service delivery. This sub program is "public service delivery reform program". Based on this, DARO top management took the first steps of planning, coordinating and preparing the required action plans to implement the above sub program by initiating Effective and Efficient service delivery to the public.

The office’s management and employees were then mobilized to participate in the planned initiative. The Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) study was undertaken by the office in partnership with consultants hired from the private sector. Moreover, System Development tasks were outsourced from a private local firm that specializes in these areas.

The Ethiopian Government and donor organizations have provided the financial resources to support the implementation of the initiative. Generally, the solution was implemented by the synergic effort of Top Management, Employees, the Government, donor organizations and partners from the private sector as well.

Still, the office is in the process of moving forward in the re-engineering process, where it has started implementing the newly stated civil service reform programs and continued improvement of service delivery with the support of Information Technology.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The main objective of the initiative was to transform the office from a bureaucratic and inefficient public institution into a modern, accountable and customer oriented service delivering one.
The strategies used to implement the initiative include undertaking Business Process Re-engineering in order to identify the major problems and problem areas and propose possible solutions, followed by explaining and convincing the Government about the intended solutions set forth by the BPR study in order to acquire the necessary support in terms of financial resources and others. Then, every possible effort was put in order to change Employees’ attitudes from a bureaucratic mentality into genuine public servants. Finally, public awareness was created about the services rendered by the office through different means of communication such as Website, Brochures and CDs. To this end, the use of ICTs has facilitated the formation of the office’s strategies and initiatives.
Improved customer handling through creating employee awareness was also the other aim of this initiative to changing the attitudes of the employees. The office facilitated awareness raising programs at different levels so as employees serve customers with due respect and courteously. Customers should not feel they have been deceived, discriminated against, or ill-treated. Employees should manage their time by being realistic in daily plans where expectation of any kind of reward from the customer must never be considered. Customers in turn, have the obligation to submit necessary documents and information.
The overall goal was to integrate information flow more effectively towards Customer Satisfaction, which lies at the line between the organization and the customer in order to deliver efficient and effective service to the public at large.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The government has initiated a comprehensive Civil Service Reform Program in civil service institutions. The service delivery policy is the first step to realize such government commitment. Due to this fact, DARO is one of the public institutions in Ethiopia that forwards and manifests its commitment by realizing the government’s policy and began the public service delivery reform program with the development of a concept document as an initiative in 2002.

Drawbacks were identified through research. Then, strategic implementation plan prepared. The responsibility of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the institution’s service delivery was primarily led by committed management and employees. The management was able to play a leadership role by preparing, shaping, and making the employees ready towards achieving the expected objectives.

In 2003, continuous training and awareness creation workshops on the scientific concept of modern service delivery were undertaken and sufficiently provided. As a result, fundamental changes were gained in the outlook and behavior of managers and employees. Employees acknowledged the fact that they are public servants and accordingly serve the public with due respect. The change in attitude promoted fairness and equity in the delivery of services.
Next is the increased institutional effectiveness, before the service delivery improvement was put into practice; the service was unreasonably bureaucratic. A case of service delivery demanded three days in average. The maximum number of customers served was not more than 30 per day. Therefore, DARO has taken action to solve this problem by setting institutional service standard. The standards are set mainly by eliminating non-value adding processes and practices including the decentralization of service rendering offices in 2005.
Another key development worth mentioning is that in order to ensure equity in the handling of service users, DARO has clearly defined the nature of services it provides, the expected requirement from customers to benefit from the services and the rights and responsibilities of eligible service users.
To this end, in 2006, Internet using service delivery offices through Wide Area Network were set up so that access to information was created to bring a better understanding of what, how, when and where services are provided.
In 2009, DARO initiated Business Process Re-engineering study committed to its application following the improvement service delivery quality. As Business Process Re-engineering demands fundamental rethinking and radical redesign of business processes to achieve a significant improvement, DARO went through with this and identified six business processes within the organization and moved a step further and put it into practice through critical performance measures such as cost, quality, service level and speed.
DARO is also dedicated to ensure a reliable and sustainable institutional transformation by establishing the Balanced Score Card (BSC). Thus, the currently practical application of BSC guaranteed the sustainability of the ongoing institutional transformation and shall be considered as one success story.
Taking this a step further, DARO developed and implemented an Integrated Documents Authentication and Registration System in 2010 and launched an online service delivery website in 2011.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Effective Performance Appraisal System remains a practical challenge to the managers and employees because of cognitive, motivational and behavioral factors. There were no suitable methods for measuring employees, which led to employee turnover. The office, therefore designed an appraisal system that addresses clarity, openness and fairness, recognize productivity through rewards and be cognizant of appraiser leadership qualities. Employee participation in the appraisal process was generally high and this increased satisfaction and fairness which consequently enhanced employee motivation to perform. It was revealed that manager-subordinate interaction was very cordial and this boosted employee motivation. Also, motivation and performance were enhanced when individuals participated in goal setting.

Variation in salary scale which is the most common cause of the employee turnover rate was the other challenge. DARO made it a point to offer salaries that would be competitive and offer attractive benefit packages where possible in order to resolve the problem of employees leaving based on low salaries. There were many employees who were not aware of the benefits provided to them in their compensation package. The office designed awareness programs and reduced bureaucratic procedures in order for the employees to receive the best available benefits without any difficulty. It also made a note of all benefits other organizations are providing, which may attract their current employees. Also, the office evaluated and modified the promotion policies in a fair way which would enable promotions for candidates only on the basis of employee performance.

One of the most baffling and recalcitrant of the problems which the office faced was employee resistance to change the office has made an attempt to bring in service delivery. To overcome this challenge the office took a number of measures through educating employees about the change before it was implemented; help them understand the logic behind the change, encouraged employee participation and involvement in designing and implementing the changes, provided help (emotional & material resources) for those having trouble adjusting to the change, and offered incentives to those who resist change.

Lack of financial resources was also another critical problem. This problem was mitigated by lobbying the Government and Donor organizations by of the purpose of the initiative and the positive impact it brings to the public.

The other problem is lack of awareness and low practice using online services and model formats using the office’s web-site. The office has, used different promotional and communication tools via various media (radio, TV, documentary films, magazines … etc.); however the number of web-site users did not grow as expected and continues to be a challenge.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
DARO took action to set the financial and human resource so as to fit the on-going institutional transformation and specifically for this initiative. Concerning the financial resource DARO’s annual budget has progressively increased following the development obtained from the transformation. As the reform demands the optimum resource input, DARO has taken measure by promoting economic use of budget focusing on the critical areas of the strategic issues and service delivery.
In addition to financial resource, human Resource is also the critical and major resource used during the implementation of the initiative. Regarding this, DARO was able to establish modern human resource management system that fits this purpose and support the service delivery improvement, Business Process Re-engineering and the performance Based Management system.
Different efforts were made to mobilize the office’s human resource such as awareness creation, capacity building, employee participation, power sharing with empowerment, rewarding exemplary performers, improving qualification requirement and salary scale, encouraging individuals and teams to share knowledge and skills amongst themselves.
DARO assigned and mobilized the human resource by giving due attention to the activities that help to achieve the key strategic issues. In addition, the principle of accountability was promoted through the application of Performance Based Management. Thus, the employees were mobilized with a sense of accountability so that they acknowledge their responsibility of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their service, making every effort to attain customer satisfaction by ensuring fairness and accountability in their dealings with the public.
As a result of systems established, it was able to reduce waste and errors, eliminate unnecessary processes, focus on critical strategic areas, set service delivery standard, measurement indicators of BPR activities, and measurement of strategic performance through BSC application.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
DARO recognizes that the initiative towards the service delivery in particular and the institutional transformation in general demands a continuous effort and commitment. One of the major factors that helped DARO to ensure the sustainability and continuity of the initiative is that it formulated institutional strategy, the short and long term implementation plans, and then undertook the implementation that is consistent with the strategy. It is also committed to manage the improvement activities through monitoring and evaluation.

Furthermore, the institution continuously used customers’ feedback through different mechanisms which helped to identify weakness areas and took corrective measures. Besides, the obtained commitment of DARO’s leadership and employees as a whole perfectly encore that it is always consistent with the initiative. Due attention is given to capacitate employees through attending different workshops, providing short training sessions on the skill development and other necessary awareness creation issues.

According to the Ethiopian Quality Award Organization (EQA), DARO has demonstrated organizational excellence, outstanding practice and high commitment in meeting and achieving results. DARO is also the leading institution in implementing government policies and civil service reform programs and providing effective and efficient civil service to the public. Thus, it became a model institution throughout the country sharing its experience with various institutions such as the Ethiopian Civil Service College, the Ministry of Federal Affairs, the Addis Ababa City Government, and Vision Ethiopia Congress for Democracy and others.

DARO’s experience does not remain limited to the country. Recently, one of Ethiopia’s neighboring countries, Sudan joined DARO in sharing experiences and showed appreciation of the knowledge they gained. In the future, we believe other countries will follow Sudan’s footsteps and beyond. Currently, DARO is accomplishing all the criteria to be certified on ISO 9001-2008.

As a result, currently DARO became popular model institution in sharing and transferring its experience to governmental, non- governmental, private sector and international organizations. This ensures the sustainability and transferability of DARO’s initiative.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
The major impact of this initiative is improved customer satisfaction through getting quality service from the office within a short period of time and at a minimum cost. Improvements in the systems and procedures, delegation of power, introduction of flexible work assignments, design of standard application forms, introduction and application of zero tolerance concept and staff awareness on corrupt practices and other offences to customers, staff training in targeted programs, automation of core business processes of the office and last but not least, the use of customer feedback to improve service delivery are some of the main elements that contributed in the success of the initiative among others .
Moreover, the office’s management committee is organized with top management members and they conduct periodic meetings, conduct assessment process, review status reports, trend analyses, and problems analyses. The Management Committee gives attention to employee’s participation in the preparation of plan and action plan. Responsibilities assigned properly, authority has been delegated to the greatest extent possible, consistent with the necessary control so that the coordination and decisions can take place as close as possible to point of action.
As a result, DARO has been recognized and certified by a number of national and international organizations for its outstanding public service delivery. These organizations have testified to DARO’s success and good performance by honoring it with various awards.
The most important lesson drawn from the implementation of this initiative is that shared commitment by management and employees, good discipline and strong morale leads to enormous gains and speedy customer satisfaction and organizational competence. Also publicity and transparency of work procedures with the customer at the center has significantly helped the office towards achieving its objectives.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Documents Authentication and Registration Office
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Yirga Tadesse Matewos
Title:   Head of the Organization  
Telephone/ Fax:   +251-115-537133
Institution's / Project's Website:   www.daro.gov.et
E-mail:   mj_daro@ethionet.et  
Address:   Addis Ababa
Postal Code:   29935
City:   Addis Ababa
State/Province:   Addis Ababa City Administration
Country:   Ethiopia

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