Citizen’s Charter is a document which represents a systematic effort to focus on the commitment of the Organisation towards its Citizens in respects of Standard of Services, Information, Choice and Consultation, Non-discrimination and Accessibility, Grievance Redress, Courtesy and Value for Money. This also includes expectations of the Organisation from the Citizen for fulfilling the commitment of the Organisation.
Ø Who is a ‘Citizen’ with reference to Citizen’s Charter?
The term ‘Citizen’ in the Citizen’s Charter implies the clients or customers whose interests and values are addressed by the Citizen’s Charter and, therefore, includes not only the citizens but also all the stakeholders, i.e., citizens, customers, clients, users, beneficiaries, other Ministries/ Departments/ Organisations, State Governments, UT Administrations etc.
Ø Whether Ministries/ Departments/ Agencies of State Governments and UT Administrations are also required to formulate Citizen’s Charters?
Citizen’s Charter initiative not only covers the Central Government Ministries/ Departments/ Organisations but also the Departments/ Agencies of State Governments and UT Administrations. Various Departments/ Agencies of many State Governments and UT Administrations have brought out their Charters. More than 600 Citizen’s Charters have so far been issued by Agencies/ Organisations of 24 States/ Union Territories.
Ø Whether Citizen’s Charter is legally enforceable?
No. The Citizen’s Charter is not legally enforceable and, therefore, is non-justiciable. However, it is a tool for facilitating the delivery of services to citizens with specified standards, quality and time frame etc. with commitments from the Organisation and its clients.
Ø What is the role of Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in Citizen’s Charter Initiative in the Government?
Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances in Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Government of India, in its efforts to provide more responsive and citizen-friendly governance, coordinates the efforts to formulate and operationalise Citizen’s Charters in Central Government, State Governments and UT Administrations. It provides guidelines for formulation and implementation of the Charters as well as their evaluation.
Ø What are the components of a Citizen’s Charter?
A good Citizen’s Charter should have the following components :-
(i) Vision and Mission Statement of the Organisation
(ii) Details of Business transacted by the Organisation
(iii) Details of ‘Citizens’ or ‘Clients’
(iv) Statement of services including standards, quality, time frame etc. provided to each Citizen/ Client group separately and how/ where to get the services
(v) Details of Grievance Redress Mechanism and how to access it
(vi) Expectations from the ‘Citizens’ or ‘Clients’
(vii) Additional commitments such as compensation in the event of failure of service delivery.
Ø I want to formulate a Citizen’s Charter of my Organisation. How I should go about it?
Following road map may be adopted to formulate the Citizen’s Charter in your Organisation :-
(i) Setting up of a Task Force in the Organisation to formulate the Citizen’s Charter
(ii) Identification of all stakeholders in the Organisation and major services provided by Organisation;
(iii) Setting up of a Core Group in the Organisation consisting of representatives from all stakeholders which inter-alia may include Top Management, Middle Management, cutting-edge level, staff representatives, strategic partners, Customers/ Clients etc.;
The Core Group shall oversee the formulation of the Citizen’s Charter and approve it. It shall monitor its implementation thereafter.
(iv) Consultation with Clients/ Stakeholders/ Staff (Primarily at cutting-edge level) and their representative associations;
(v) Preparation of Draft Citizen’s Charter;
(a) Circulation for comments/ suggestions
(b) Modification of Charter to include suggestions.
(vi) Submission of draft Charter to Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances
(vii) Consideration of the Charter by Core Group
(viii) Modification of Charter by the Ministry/ Department n the basis of suggestions/ observations by the Core Group
(ix) Approval by Minister-in-charge
(x) Formal issue/ release of Charter and putting up on website
(xi) Sending copies to People’s Representatives and all stakeholders
(xii) Appointment of a Nodal Officer to ensure effective implementation.
Ø What are the do’s and don’ts for an Organisation in formulation and implementation of Citizen’s Charter?
Following may be kept in view by an Organisation while formulating/ implementing Citizen’s Charter :-
Make haste, slowly.
Don’t merely make haste.
List areas of interface.
Don’t be unrealistic in making commitments.
Phase out areas for introduction of small steps.
Don’t take on more than you can commit.
Involve customer and staff in formulating and implementing it
Don’t involve only senior officers in the formulation and implementation.
Prepare a Master Plan for formulation and implementation over five years and budget for it.
Don’t rush into an overall package for the whole Ministry/ Department/ Organisation.
Win consumer confidence with small, highly visible measures.
Don’t promise more than you can deliver at a given point of time.
Remember Citizen’s Charter is a constantly evolving process.
Don’t look upon it as a one-time exercise, with a final outcome.
Inform the customers of the proposed commitments.
Don’t inform the customer unless you are sure of delivering the service.
Use simple language.
Don’t use jargon, abbreviations etc.
Train your staff about their role and responsibility in the implementation of the Charter.
Don’t leave yourself out.
Delegate powers to the Staff to enable them to discharge their responsibilities.
Set up systems for feedback and independent scrutiny.
Don’t continue blindly without regular periodic reassessment of performance.