Ministry of State for Public Service

The Problem

The initiative to brand library services is unprecedented in the Kenya civil service since no other service has ever been branded. It was based on a workload analysis aimed at ending a vicious cycle of inadequate facilitation, culminating in ineffectual service delivery. The branding aligns resources, staffing norms, and service delivery. It compels customers to have a higher awareness regarding services and may form the basis of a library services charter.
The Problem
A study by management consultants from the Ministry of State for Public Service (MSPS) noted that libraries play a far greater role in support of the function of key government institutions than is commonly realized. The Judiciary, the Legislature, training institutions and researchers all depend on libraries. It is a mandatory requirement that all Ministries establish and run libraries which should be staffed by competent professional staff.
The study also revealed that provision of Library Services had fallen below expectations, due to low morale among librarians, low budget allocation, poor office accommodation, stagnation in grades and neglect of processes which made books available to the readers. Neglected processes are Accessioning, Classification, Cataloguing, Abstracting, Indexing, Data entry, Card filing, repair and maintenance of reading materials.
The neglected processes are part of the accountability for reading materials and enable the loaning of the same. In their absence books received in a library can disappear without trace. Neglect was attributed to the fact that their are tedious and time consuming, especially where a lean staff is busy with day to day operations.
These problems seemed to fit in a bigger picture across the Ministries that were sampled as part of the study. The overall situation is a vicious cycle whose solution goes beyond any one specific Ministry.
Slow but steady deterioration of library services in the civil service was traced to when the department responsible for setting standards and professional development of libertarians was turned into an autonomous entity called Kenya National Library Services. This left no center in the civil service responsible for policy guidance, yet the civil service still had libraries where library personnel were deployed.
Notwithstanding the history, there is the fact that the civil service is a highly competitive environment where priorities compete to influence how resources are allocated among the various functions. There is also an informal pecking order that influences the resource allocation mechanism. In the absence of some norms or mitigating intervention, important but low profile functions whose impact become apparent only in the medium to long term period may be at a disadvantage.
Performance below expectation would be the final outcome of this situation. It would weaken the policy formulation capacity in government, lower potential for information and knowledge management, and negatively affect the progress of students and researchers.
Low or inadequate accountability for reading materials is likely to breed a syndicate for fraudulent acquisition of unprocessed government books to supply a black market.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
Key benefits of branding of the library services include safeguarding of government assets, professional and career growth for library professionals, dynamic system of information and knowledge management, and easy access to quality material by students (many are civil servants) researchers, drafters of policy documents, and members of the public who have a keen interest in how government policies, programmes, and initiatives affect them.
It is also envisaged that institutions like the Judiciary which depend on libraries will improve quality of services.
Impact resulting from branding of library services is measurable through customer survey, and parameters such as budgets for resources, reduction of backlogs in processing of books for readers, and service delivery performance by branded libraries.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
Who Proposed Solution, Implementers and Stakeholders
The solution is unprecedented and forms part of function analysis and workload analysis for library services in Kenya. The study was undertaken by a team of three Management Consultants from the Ministry of State for Public Service, Research, Innovation, and Reform Division.
Stakeholders of this initiative are the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of State for Public Service by virtue of his role in formulating policy and deployment of human resources; the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture, who is the administrator of the Scheme of Service for Library Personnel, all the Permanent Secretaries in the civil service because they run libraries and deploy the cadre of Librarians.
The design of the solution was spearheaded by the already mentioned consultants. Approval of staffing norms is the responsibility of the Permanent Secretary for Ministry of State for Public Service; whereas the branding should be undertaken by all Permanent Secretaries, with coordination by the Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture.
Design and implementation of the branding involved function analysis to establish the scope of activities and tasks, followed by calculating workloads in terms of man hours for the key processes for accounting for books and delivering library services. Calculations were guided by Potter’s Value Chain model, yet were unprecedented, as regards branding of services. This was a land mark in the Kenya Civil Service.
Ministries do not face the same demands for library services, nor do they have a similar level of budgetary endowment. Taking cognizance of this inevitability, four levels of service delivery, according to resources, were proposed with area of the library being the base line criterion. Other important criteria were budget allocation, seating capacity, staffing norms, level of headship, range of services, and scope of technical tasks.
Branding was done within a framework of four distinct customer service levels: Level 1, Level 2, Level 3, and Level 4. Level four was the premier class and was restricted to libraries with special customer demands and features such as type of information, peculiar mandate, technology, and development partner support. Among libraries in this category are Presidential Press Service due to priority and extensive networking with public media , Ministry of Agriculture due to technical cooperation, Ministry of East Africa, and Ministry of Trade due to regional integration. Staffing norm is four librarians and three support staff. Headship is at the level of Job Group “Q”.
The parameters and guidelines provided provide a framework for management, planning, budgeting, staffing and service level review by the coordinating Ministry. It is also the basis for drafting a Service Charter for library Services across the Service.

(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.
Strategies, Main Objectives, and Role Players
(a) The initiative remains a proposed idea until it is ratified by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of State for Public Service and adopted for implementation by the counterpart in the Ministry of National Heritage and Culture.
Subsequently, implementation should follow a phased sequence. Adoption of report, evaluation of existing space for Library Services in respective institutions of Public Service, tentative categorization, commitment to service levels by implementing Permanent Secretaries, publication of brand, awareness creation, and drafting of Library Service Charter. The full cycle when integrated as part of annual work-plans and performance contracts can take between 12 months to 24 months, depending on the level of preparedness by respective Permanent Secretaries.
The coordinating Permanent Secretary will set up an evaluation team with responsibilities to evaluate adherence to levels of service delivery, and review of branding every two years.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
Key Developments, Implementation Steps, and Chronology
Following the Presidential Circular No. 1 of May, 2008 which placed the Library Service function under the Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture (MNHC), as well as the responsibility of administering the Scheme of Service (SOS) for the cadre of librarians, the Ministry was bestowed with the strategic leadership and strategic direction for library services.
Persistent reports by ministries for library personnel became common. This prompted a survey to be conducted by the Ministry of State for National Heritage and Culture in 2009 in order to assess these needs. The findings indicated a wide variance between the authorized establishment and the in post. This called for a workload analysis as a basis for establishing the optimal staffing.

The Ministry subsequently requested MSPS for authority to recruit additional library personnel in the civil service. MSPS advised that, there was a need for a workload analysis to establish the actual variances if any.
In October, 2009, Terms of Reference were developed to guide the workload analysis consultancy.
Terms of Reference (TOR):

1. Analyze the Library function with a view to enhancing its contribution and support to the function of other state organs.

2. Examine the organization and delivery of Library Services with the aim of suggesting effective ways of coordination, facilitation and policy implementation.

3. Establish challenges and gaps in the way Library Services are provided currently and suggest ways to streamline and enhance service delivery.

4. Undertake a workload analysis and formulate standard staffing norms for Library Services in state organs taking into consideration variations in size, mandate/functions, sectors level of government and customer groups.

5. Address any other issues incidental to above

The Inception Report for the Consultancy was ready by January, 2010. Workload analysis, including all the components indicated in the Terms of Reference were completed in October,2010 and a draft report prepared. The final report was completed in November, 2010.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Obstacles Encountered
The consultancy was a priority project since the client Ministry had planned to use its findings and recommendations to budget for additional personnel in the budgetary allocation period 2010-2011 which meant a completion deadline of May 2010. Disappointingly, this was not possible. Sample survey in a number of Ministries was necessary as part of the function analysis and workload analysis. This coincided with a busy phase for the Ministries due to high demands of the 4th quarter of the Financial year.
Obstacles likely to be encountered when it comes to branding libraries in all the Ministries include coordination, shortage of skilled officers, shortage of office space, funds, backlog books which were bought but have not yet been properly processed.
These obstacles can be overcome by drawing a suitable action plan and enjoining the beneficiary Ministries in the change implementation process.

(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
Resources used for the exercise included a combination of consultancy skills in function analysis and workload analysis, and library skills. Funding for the consultancy was undertaken by the client Ministry from its recurrent vote. In comparison to consultancy costs in the private sector, these costs were negligible.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
Sustainability and Transferability
Sustainability of the initiative hinges on a number of considerations. It is government policy that all government agencies have libraries. The initiative is not starting from ground zero since infrastructure and personnel are already in place. Of crucial importance, the responsible Ministry has constituted a Department to coordinate Library Services and provide technical support.
Placing the citizen and customer at the centre of service delivery is currently a top policy priority of government. In line with this, the new Constitution has placed emphasis on the right of the citizen to information within the custody of government.
Another development is development of knowledge and information management chapters at county level as part of a system that covers the whole continent. Kenya is playing a leading role and libraries are viewed as important platforms in the whole strategy.
Branding is a service delivery innovation which comes at a time when the government is encouraging such initiatives. As a theme it is equally promoted by AAPAM, CAPAM and UNPAN.
Replication of the initiative in the Public Service is a given fact. Both the coordinating PS and the PS, MSPS are coordinating agencies of Government.
Replication internationally is possible through knowledge sharing, benchmarking, technical support, attachment, training, and joint implementation.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
Impact and Lessons
Branding of library services should break the vicious cycle that has inflicted the services for a long time by revamping professionalism and customer enthusiasm. Quite likely, the branding should be the benchmark for branding other professional services in the Kenya civil service.
Library services are a link in the chain of the system of information and knowledge management in Civil Service. Revamping the services lays a strong foundation and adds confidence in net-working and collaboration at regional and continental level.
Key success factors were collaborated between staff from two Ministries and commitment to introducing professionalism, besides breaking a persistent vicious cycle. The implications of branding services to the entire civil service and what that entails in the scheme of providing first class services that meet global standards was a major inspiration. The Minister of State for Public Service has made it a personal crusade to challenge public servants to rise to the occasion of being at par with the best in the world.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Ministry of State for Public Service
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   TITUS NDAMBUKI
Telephone/ Fax:   +254-020-2227411
Institution's / Project's Website:   +254-020-2210192
Address:   P.O.BOX 30050
Postal Code:   00100
State/Province:   NAIROBI
Country:   Kenya

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