| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The main elements of the Action Plan were:
o Construction of high-tech building(s) meeting the requirements of transparency, comfort, citizen-friendliness and corporate standards
This is the well-demanded criteria for citizen-friendly accommodation: the purpose was that it should receive confidence of the public, leave the feeling of trust to each citizen and create the cozy atmosphere. The style building and its interior was among the most important actions to set up totally different commencement: transparent, reliable, friendly!
o Construction of communication lines enabling the smooth and effective rendering of electronic services
IT staff within the building was meant to ensure the efficiency of overall work of service delivery. To electronize services and minimize the subjectivity, to fit the expectations of the dynamically advancing country one had to insert the large electronization as possible.
o Installation of server center with special entry rule
Server center has to combine the data base belonging to various ministries acting within the ASAN service center. Thus, it will enable to centralize the mutually accessible data base to interact upon requests.
o Construction of the well observed servicing floors and comfortable waiting hall
The waiting hall is the place of first impression for citizens. On the other hand, comfortable conditions could change the Soviet era stereotypes about the public entities.
o Construction of the administrative floor convenient for dynamic work style
Administration has to suite the efficient work style of the ASAN service centers. Thus, there has been followed the same administrative philosophy and the aim was to put on place working conditions sensitizing team work and spirit.
o Installation of security facilities to ensure the physical integrity of the citizens and avoid any possible disturbance thereof
o Construction of special floor for services to be provided by the private companies within the framework of PPP
ASAN also represents public space open to private companies. This increases the effectiveness of centers and increases the demand in the part of public that need both private and public services at once.
o Allocating a parking area for the expected numerous cars
• Normative-legal resources
o Preparation of Document on Structure of Administration
o Preparation of Charter of each Department
o Preparation of job description for each position within the Departments
o Preparation of Strategy Papers of each Department and their sectors
o Preparation of specific rules and instructions tailored for each process (such as organization of meetings, greetings protocol, rules recruitment exams and interviews, etc.)
o Preparation of documents to ensure the management of ASAN service centers
• Human resources
o Recruiting officers for key positions within the Administration of the State Agency
o Recruiting the rest of staff members
o Training for members of staff of the Administration
o Training for civil servants representing the ministries to render public services (on psycho training, customer satisfaction, stress management, time management, etc.)
o Preparation of human resources for the ASAN service centers
• PR and international cooperation
o Propaganda and publicity of ASAN services
o Information and awareness raising about the ASAN service and centers
o To get acquainted with the work style of the likewise entities abroad to fix up the pros and cons of each system, particularly of our mechanism and possible difficulties to face.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
- The 9 state entities envisaged to render public services were the principal partners – contributors for design and implementation of the initiative. They provided qualified personnel and appointed experienced professionals.
This was mainly because of legal structure of ASAN service whereby the ministries had to serve the citizens themselves without any intermediary, but with due respect to the standards set up.
- Local outsourcing companies in the area of IT, internal design, equipment and furniture have been involved to set up the IT facilities, install electronic queue machine and other devices.
- The State Committee for family, woman and children problems co-organized together with the management of ASAN servicethe kids area while the Ministry of Telecommunications assisted in installation of communication devices.
- The local executive authorities were also very helpful to find out the appropriate location and to make the ASAN service known.
- Civil society: NGOs and human rights activists took also part in content-based issues in the area of protection and promotion of human rights and main freedoms. For example, the application of right to be informed, right to freedom of expression, guarantees of equality and non-discrimination in the process of public service delivery and overall work of “ASAN service” centers. They helped design the work structure with emphasis on these particular topics, among others.
- Furthermore, the services such as banking, insurance, medical laboratory and first aid, translation, legal support have been prepared for use through collaboration with the representatives of the private sector. The newspaper and journals were provided by the publishing house, while the books were offered by the local book store.
- International community: international intergovernmental organizations and states were very cooperative to extend their assistance and partnership both in terms of expertise and consultations at the implementation stage.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The initiative implied the multi-aspect approach and the implementation of various processes parallel to each-other. Besides the financial aspect which was due to the budget of the State Agency funded by the Government the technical and human resources were standing actual on the agenda.
The technical solution came through the cooperation with the private and some other public entities that helped design the ASAN service centers. This was particularly the case regarding the installation of optic cables, computers, security and other electronic devices, including the electricity and other utility services. Plus to that the internal design of offices was also made up by the private companies acting in the area of construction, design and IT solutions. Public entities such as Ministry of Communication were also helpful to set up the communication lines, secure network and data base.
The crucial part of the process was the human resources management. To find out appropriate experts, well experienced specialists and enthusiast young employees were the tough objective before the leadership. For that purpose the strategically correct and well-tailored recruitment process was on place. The first result of it was that the experienced people were convinced to work for the State Agency and its ASAN service centers. And the clue for that was the two-folded recruitment process (written exam and interview) that was transparent, objective and professionally organized. The recruitment of these knowledgeable and enthusiast young staff members in fact was the decisive factor in responding to challenges and overcoming the difficulties.
To this end, the following could be qualified as the main processes associated with the realization of this initiative:
Building for ASAN service,
installation of equipment and cable/communication lines,
training of newly recruited staff members including the officers envisaged to render public services
The implementation of this initiative has been realized by the Government with due involvement of private entities and organizations. It has been included into the State Investment Program for the 2012 year.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
“ASAN service” approved itself as a new concept representing the best practices both nationally and internationally, for public service delivery.
First and foremost it unified 9 state entities under the same roof, thus enabling the citizens to apply for public and even relevant private services within the same administrative building without any additional loss of time and money.
It simplified procedures for receiving public services via new standards and innovations. One should mention mobile ASAN services in this regard that have been rendered on 22 destinations for the population of 41 districts.
It established the efficient work style through electronization of services and convenient work schedule, thus avoided bureaucratic obstacles and undue formalities. Today ASAN services are rendered Monday to Friday from 10 am till 8 pm and weekends from 10 am till 5 pm.
ASAN service achieved the high ethical behavior of civil servants towards citizens, thus created good example of how the state service providers should respect the dignity and personality of each and every citizen applying for. The comfort conditions installed in the waiting halls of the service centers were also exemplary of human factor upheld by the content and nature of the ASAN service.
This body ensured the “zero corruption zone”. This service excludes “hand-in-hand” payment, increases transparency. The latter has been achieved via series of measures, including by e-queue system, transparent offices, payments via banks only, service process recording, public participation via fb, twitter and website, exit poll and complaint devices on the quality of service, among others.
The new concept made its significant contribution in the sphere of realization of democratic reforms holding in our country. It proceeded from the best interest of citizens and acted as the space for right to freedom of expression and right to be informed. It encouraged each citizen to provide his/her feedback on the quality of services and provided exhaustive information about the details of a particular service, including their rights and freedoms.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
There are two types of systems in place to monitor progress and assess the activities:
Monitoring the quality of each service and civil servants;
Monitoring overall activity and outcome of the ASAN service.
Department for Monitoring and Assessment is fulfilling the function of watchdogging the daily work of services and civil servants. Its controllers are keeping under their thorough consideration the personal indicators of the servants in terms of ethical behavior, professionalism, stress management skills, psychological preparedness, and percentage of co-relation of total number of citizens served against the overall number of satisfaction.
Further, they equally assess the co-efficiency of performance by each service to evaluate the line of evolvement and dynamism.
Plus to that there are also the e-survey, exit poll equipment, Skype complaint kiosk, inter-active questionnaire in the web site (www.asan.gov.az ), on-line chatting, Call Center (108), as well as the official facebook page (www.facebook.com/asasn.gov.az ) that directly accumulate information from the citizens about their views on the services and their quality.
To mention just the exit poll equipment provides the feedback by hundreds of citizens each week that benefitted from the ASAN services.
To enable the older generation to express their valuable reactions the transparent exit poll boxes and paper-based questionnaires are applied throughout the servicing. The journals for complaint and suggestions are also at the disposal of citizens to help evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the system, pros and cons of procedures in place.
To achieve the in-depth evaluation of progress the results of surveys are gathered and processed by the Department of Social Innovations and reported back to the leadership at large every week. The Activities of the department are the following:
• To ensure the unified management of the services and the coordination of functions of the members of personnel of the state entities acting at those centers;
• To control rendering the services in accordance with the principles of efficiency, transparency, responsibility and comfort;
• To ensure rendering the services in accordance with a letter of law, the assessment of its quality and transparency;
• To control the observance of rules of ethical behavior by the members of personnel of the state entities.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The main obstacles encountered were the following:
To create one single data base accessible for all state entities rendering ASAN services.
It had to be interoperable and capable to receive requests and return replies. The access to the data bases of the different state entities rendering services at the center was critical in terms of ensuring efficiency of services.
The main course of action on this matter was achieved through creation of integrated and mutually accessible database. This was key for effective and efficient service.
Selection of experienced representatives of the state entities to serve citizens at the “ASAN service” center.
There was a great need to train civil servants to meet high standards such as capable to manage stress, to communicate hundreds of people a day, to prepare himself/herself psychologically, to treat citizens within ethical behavior after a long working hours, etc.
The undelayed action was to set standards on quality of service, elaborate code of conduct for civil servants and citizen-friendly working schedule. Another set of measures was to enforce the assessment and monitoring mechanism over the work of servicemen to constantly check their professional records. These steps played significant role in recruiting those meeting high standards and being enthusiastic to maintain their professional capacity.
Awareness raising and dissemination of information
We would not be mistaken if we qualify this particular issue on the top of encountered obstacles. The establishment was newly created, there was no information about its uniqueness in the part of the public, the dynamic time run was making the PR task very tough.
Thus, immediate actions were taken to raise awareness of the citizens, enlarge the circle of publicly available information about the ASAN service and apply the latest creative and innovative means such as facebook and website, amongst others