The Second Administrative Reforms Commission in its fourth report on 'Ethics in Governance' had briefly considered this subject. The Commission was of the opinion that with a view to making the Citizens' Charter an effective instrument to hold the Government servants accountable, the declarations would include remedies/penalties/compensation in case of default in meeting the standards mentioned in the manifestos. should be clearly mentioned. It should be emphasized that it is better to make a few promises than to keep a long list of impractical aspirations. The reform agenda in the 12th report of the commission is as follows:
1. The need for internal restructuring before preparing a manifesto: The purpose of a meaningful manifesto is to improve the quality of service. Therefore, mere determination in this regard in the manifesto will not suffice. The existing practices and procedures within the organization should be thoroughly analyzed and if needed, these should be restructured and new measures adopted.
2. Determining the appropriateness of the size of the various Citizens' Manifestos: This huge challenge becomes even more complex as the capabilities and resources of the rulers and departments implementing the Citizen's Manifesto vary greatly across the country.
Apart from these, the local conditions also differ. The extremely unequal division of citizen manifestos among states is a clear testimony to this ground reality. For example, some agencies may require more time to specify and agree on the actual standard of service. In other cases, additional efforts may be needed to motivate and equip staff to participate in this improvement process. Such organizations may be provided with the time and resources to conduct tests regarding standards, complaints, resolution methods, or training. They may also need more time to internally restructure the service-delivery chain or to introduce new methods. Therefore the Commission is of the view That the preparation of the Citizen's Charter should be a decentralized activity in which the Headquarters should provide general guidelines.
3. Comprehensive Consultative Process: Citizens' Charters should be produced after extensive consultations within the organization, followed by meaningful dialogue with civil society. Inputs from experts should also be considered at this stage.
4. Strong commitment to be made: Citizen manifestos should be concise and contain, wherever possible, a quantifiable commitment to standards of service delivery for citizens/consumers. With the passage of time, efforts should be made to have more stringent standards of service delivery.
5. Reconciliation mechanism in case of default: The Citizen's manifesto should clearly mention the relief that the organization is committed to providing in case of default in respect of assured standards of supply. Further, wherever there is a lapse in service delivery by the organization, citizens should be at liberty to take recourse to the grievance redressal mechanism.
6. Periodic Assessment of Citizens' Charts: Every organization while assessing its Citizens ' Charts should conduct periodic assessments through this agency. While assessing the manifesto of the organization, this agency should also make an objective analysis of whether the promises made therein are being fulfilled within the defined standards. The result of such an assessment should be used for making corrections in the declaration form. This is necessary because the Citizen's Charter is a dynamic document that must keep pace with the changing needs of the citizens as well as changes in the underlying processes and technology. Therefore, it becomes necessary to review the Citizen's Charter from time to time.
7. Benchmarks Using Consumer Feedback: Even after the Citizens Charter is approved and made available to the public, their review and systematic monitoring are necessary. Failure to hold officials accountable for the quality of manifesto preparation and its implementation damages performance and accountability. In this context; User-provided feedback can be useful in assessing the pace and outcome of the Citizens' Charter implemented by the agency. This is the U.K. There is a standard practice regarding declarations implemented in the
8. Holding Officers Responsible for Consequences: All the above-mentioned points point towards the agency heads or other designated senior officers being held accountable for their respective civic manifestos. In case of any lapse in compliance with Citizen's Declarations, specific responsibility should be fixed under the monitoring system in all cases.
9. Involvement of civil society in the process: Organizations need to understand and support the efforts of civil society groups in the preparation of manifestos, their dissemination, and facilitation of information disclosure. As a result of the involvement of civil society in this entire process in many states, there has been substantial improvement in the content of the manifesto in terms of its compliance and making the citizens aware of the importance of this important method.Thank You