| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
This standardisation and certification was never done in any local authority let alone a government institution. It was a new concept, the first of its kind, hence KwDC became the first local authority in Botswana to be certified for all the functions of the organisation following municipalities in Mexico, Scotland, Italy, France and USA.
As was anticipated, the successful implementation of QMS would change perceptions about local government service provision to being highly efficient and customer focused which was indeed a turnaround in the status quo.
To be able to achieve this, council leadership at the time showed greater commitment to seeing a change, they were at the forefront of all proceedings without getting weary. This cultivated motivation among staff members as they too stepped up and accepted and owned this change. An internal technical team was set up. The team worked hand in hand with consultants and together with leadership succeeded at implementing BOS ISO 9001:2008.
Setting up of a Community Observatory Board which represented public interests was another creative factor which contributed to the success of the initiative. The board ensures community participation in decision making, monitoring and evaluation of district projects and programmes.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
The project was implemented by staff of the council. Following a decision to start the project a technical team was then established comprising of fourteen (14) professionals who received 13 days skills based ISO 9001:2008 training programme. A team leader was then nominated to take overall responsibility. The role of the team was to spearhead the development and Installation of the project as well as to champion its implementation. The team leader reported to council management team. To provide technical expertise, Botswana National Productivity Centre was engaged to provide consultancy services.
Other stakeholders including the 1800 members of staff, Kweneng Community were engaged and made aware of the initiative through several communication channels.
Kweneng District Council is the second largest district in Botswana both by geographical spread and population. And according to 2011 Population Census, Kweneng has a population of over 304,000 people. This population include all categories of people; the poor, children, youth, older persons, people with disabilities, people living with HIV/AIDS, people living in remote areas, rural areas and those in peri urban villages.
It has three sub district councils namely Letlhakeng, Mogoditshane/Thamaga and Molepolole/Lentsweletau. Kweneng district council is mandated to undertake primary functions of social services, basic infrastructure and local governance. These services are performed under eleven different functions or departments as follows:
1. Department of Architecture and Buildings Services
2. Department of Civil and Mechanical Services
3. Department of Education
4. Department of Finance and Development Planning
5. Department of Human Resources and Administration
6. Department of Internal Audit
7. Department of Legal Services
8. Department of Physical Planning, Housing and Estate Management
9. Department of Public Health
10. Department of Social and Community Development
11. Council Management
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
Step-by- step process approach as discussed below:-
Total commitment to support quality management filtered down from top management after a decision by management to Implement QMS in 2010 as part of the KwDC 2011-2016 strategic plan as such quality statement policy was signed by CEO
QMS technical team was then established and trained. The role of the team was to spearhead the development and Installation of the project as well as to champion its implementation.
Subsequent to the training of the team, planning for the project was done: the output of which were project and risk plans which were consistently monitored and updated.
Awareness training on change management and to instil culture of rendering quality service was conducted from January 2012 to March 2012 for councillors, staff, union members and stakeholders such as VDC, school heads etc.
The Council then developed documentation criteria and framework as per ISO 9001:2008 standard. Teams were selected from all departments and trained on documentation; subsequently procedures were documented for each department.
International benchmarking done in the City of Leon-Mexico. The purpose of the exercise was for KwDC to acquire practical skills in implementing and maintaining quality management systems in local authorities since this was the first of its kind in the Country. Lessons learnt enriched team’s knowledge of ISO documentation of procedures, its relationship with the International Work Agreement No.4 and the certification thereof. Consequently, KwDC adopted the Community Observatory Methodology after aligning the QMS to IWA 4(ISO 18091). The Community Observatory Board of Kweneng District Council was formed in January 2013.
Monitoring and evaluation of the system is done through Implementation of planned internal and external quality audits and effective Management reviews- Trend analysis of the necessary data as determined by our QMS
The QMS team was trained as quality auditors and they develop an annual audit plan, ensure that all functions are audited at least once each year. The audit plan is approved at management review. Internal quality audits were then conducted accordingly. In addition, departmental self-assessments.
Stage 1 audit was conducted by Botswana Bureau of Standards (BOBS) who were the certifying body, this was done to ascertain whether documentation conformed to the requirements of BOS ISO 9001:2008. Subsequently, stage 2 audit was conducted to ascertain compliance to the requirements of BOS ISO 9001:2008 as well as adherence to the BOBS management systems certification scheme. Kweneng District Council then got certified in August 2015. This is followed by surveillance audits bi-annually.
Furthermore, to determine the adequacy, relevance and effectiveness of QMS, management review meetings are conducted to review QMS at planned intervals.
Implementing QMS had important social component because it necessitated changes to an existing culture and practices, therefore there was need for provision of resources namely: rationalized manpower, prioritized budget and conducive work environment. The project was and is funded by the organisation through its recurrent budget. The costs incurred were for trainings, awareness sessions, consultancy services, bench-marking exercise, as well as certification services.
Establishment & training of project team - August 2011
Awareness- March 2012
Benchmarking in Mexico(learnt about citizen observatory)- May 2012
Documentation and Verification of procedures - August 2012
Implementation of audited procedures- November 2012
QMS Launch - November 2012
First Round of Quality Audit -November 2012
Launch of Community Observatory of Kweneng-January 2013
Release of Version 2 audited Procedures- May 2013
COB Develops 2013/2014 Annual Activity Plan-June 2013
• Second Round of Internal Audit-September to October 2013
• Stage 1 External Audit- September 2013
• Stage 2 External Audit- July 2014
Certification- August 2015
Surveillance Audit- April 2016
Follow up Audit- October 2016
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
Stakeholders who were involved in the design and implementation of this initiative were categorised according to their level of relevance and influence to determine the level and extent of engagements deemed relevant for the successful implementation of the solution. Councillors, staff, Trade Union Representatives and stakeholders such as VDC (Village Development Committees), school heads, community leaders
During the life of the project regular progress reports were made to the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development –being the parent Ministry as well as the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Public Affairs as it coordinates public service reforms. Within the organisation, structures such as management team, performance monitoring committee, finance committee as well as the Full Council were informed and are updated about progress. Communication to the community was made through use of public media. During this time also- feedback and customer complaints received though available forums for engagement were used to continue stakeholder engagement. Regular updates are also made to members of staff to communicate progress, quick wins and challenges experienced.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
Initially when the initiative was conceptualised, many did not believe that a big Government Organisation like a Kweneng District Council with a vast area it can be possible to implement such but because of management commitment the council made it.
Factors discussed below are some of the most successes coming from the implementation of the initiative
- Creating awareness to all staff members and stakeholders. This is sustained through induction training, regular awareness workshops.
- Capacity building for own resources to implement and run the systems, e.g. conduct internal audits as well as have a team leader at management level ensures continuity for the initiative activities both at management and operational levels.
- Documentation of process and procedures – Guidelines and work instructions are also documented to ease implementation. Procedures also have tracking tools and registers, where necessary, to be used to monitor adherence and trace back the process flow. This consistency minimizes room for error and has ensured standardisation in service delivery throughout the district. This also eliminates room for corruption and thus improved the image of the organisation. This has also greatly improved keeping of records related to work done.
- Some of the Local Authorities are now beginning to realise the benefits of implementing QMS and they do come for benchmark with Kweneng District Council
As has already been discussed, leadership buy in and support has contributed to making the initiative effective as well as continuous awareness and training about the system- which emphasises on the systematic process approach that starts and ends with the customer.
Other factors that enhance effectiveness of the system are regular monitoring and evaluation efforts done during management reviews, analysis of non-conformities and analysis of customer complaints, internal and external audits. This is also to meet regulatory requirements in line with the certification policy.
The successful implementation of other initiatives which are in line with the quality management system, e.g. implementation of Occupational Health and Safety Policy and Wellness program, implementation of staff rewards policy, tracking of service standards, delivery of project on time –resulted in staff and stakeholders being more receptive to the initiative and they continue to appreciate it and this helps to nurture the culture to implement the system.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Despite the many benefits of having QMS as a system in an organisation, we encountered barriers and misconceptions in implementing the system which included;
Resistance to change, as staff held a limited understanding of QMS especially that this was the first initiative of its kind to be implemented by a Local Authority. This was mitigated through continuous feedback to staff and stake holders about changes.
Difficulty in getting staff to unlearn what they are comfortable with (status quo) and using a set system. Non-adherence to documented procedures
Staff unrealistic expectations from the QMS technical team as they tend to confine QMS implementation to the technical team.
Strain on the part of the technical team due to multi-tasking (Having to juggle between office work and QMS project)
The organisation faced a challenge related to staff leaving the organisation, both on transfers or resignations. This affected both membership of the technical team and other staff members expected to implement the system and resulted in gaps and high cost of training.
Some of the challenges mentioned above, e.g. staff movement are inevitable, but to overcome others the organisation continue to communicate and engage all relevant stakeholders manage their expectations. For example new induction and awareness training is conducted for new members of staff to make it easy for them to fit into the systems; management also communicates effectiveness of the system to staff as well as reports from external auditors so that they can appreciate it.