THE Public Sector Satisfaction Survey found that the public have seen positive changes over the last 18 months in the area of Information Technology and political stability.
It was also found that overall services have improved since the last Financial Year from:
Justice Sector (73%), Electricity Authority or Solomon Power (68%), Ports Authority (67%), Ministry of Women, Youth and Children Affairs (60%)
Furthermore, it found that service from the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey (60%) has not improved since the last Financial Year.
The survey was carried out by University of Queensland Institute for Social Science Research, who partnered with a local organization to collect data and perform the field work (ie. undertake questionnaires) in October 2015.
This was after it won the international tender which was advertised in July 2015.
The idea to conduct the survey came about in early 2015, when the Public Service Commission requested support from the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to undertake a survey of Honiara residents, Public Servants and local businesses on their experience of working with various government ministries and departments, and their perceptions on various aspects of the services provided.
The survey was carried out on 1500 respondents.
This include Public Servants (728), residents (703), and businesses (68) (registered with the Chamber of Commerce) from Honiara (capital city of the Solomon Islands).
This is to:
1. ascertain public expectations and experiences of the public service provision by the Solomon Islands Government (SIG),
2. the role public servants play in the provision of these services, and
3. the factors that inhibit work performance.
The survey found that factors inhibiting performances and service delivery of public servants were attendance, absenteeism and lateness.
1. 58% reported traffic delays impacted work performance
2. 48% cost of transportation
3. 46% access to transport
4. 37% family commitment
5. 38% availability of transport
6. 36% reliability of transport
7. 61% reported high absenteeism in their workplace
8. 84% indicated it negatively affected overall service delivery, and
9. 72% reported it increased their workload
Moreover, Honiara residents and businesses rated Justice Sector (73%), Ministry of Women Youth Children Affairs (70%) and Electricity Authority (63%) providing the most satisfactory services.
On the other hand, 69% of Honiara residents and 70% of businesses accorded the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey the highest rating of dissatisfaction
“Consistently rated favourably across accessibility and efficiency of services as well as overall service standard were the Electricity Authority, Ports Authority (residents) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (businesses)
“Consistently rated poorly across accessibility and efficiency of services and overall service standard were the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Survey, the Development/Finance sector (MDPAC/MOFT) (for residents) and the Ministry of Commerce, Industries, Labour and Immigration and the Ministry of Finance and Treasury (for businesses),” the survey found.
It also found that both residents and businesses indicated their experiences to be very positive with Electricity Authority, Ports Authority, Justice Sector and Ministry of Infrastructure Development.
The Residents frustrations relate to:
1. the “come back tomorrow” system
2. problems with staff – unreliable, late, absenteeism,
3. wantok system
4. delay in service delivery/Poor customer service
6. unreliability of services
7. issues with cost/payment/billing
8. lack of staff
Some residents also mentioned disagreeing:
9. with the allocations of funds
10. false promises by Government that aren’t delivered on
11. overall pointlessness of Ministries/Government and
12. poor salaries of Ministerial workers
The survey recommended that;
1. Limiting the number of contract/casual positions and improve accountability within Ministries which should decrease corruption
2. Feedback processes/communication between Public Servants and Supervisors could improve by training Supervisors in managerial skills- assessing performance against set goals
3. Communicating the Code of Conduct and stressing the consequences of non-compliance – consistent implementing the consequences to staff who do not adhere
4. Provide professional development to Managers to instil an organisational climate that is service oriented and efficient
5. Work performance needs to be adequately rewarded and staff need to be provided with professional development opportunities
6. A review of the public service wages to determine pay grades align with responsibilities
7. Unexplained absences should have enforced consequences
8. Consistently enforce the elimination of the influence of wantokism
In conclusion, it was obvious from this Baseline Satisfaction Survey there is a need to do things differently and better:
1. Ministry Functional Review
2. Commercialisation/Corporatisation of some functions i.e., Housing, Survey, Road and Bridge Construction, Aviation, Mines, and Rural Electrification, Tourism
3. Possible Outsourcing and having Partnerships
4. Possible Merge of some Ministry functions
The survey stated whatever strategy they will take in the future, the bottom line is having efficient and effective services that are accessible, delivered responsively, professionally and ethically and at affordable prices to the public.
Chairman of Public Service Commissioner, Elaim Tangirongo delivered the survey report to Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare at Heritage Park Hotel during the Permanent Secretaries’ Workshop on Thursday.
By EDDIE OSIFELO