Challenges of Managing the Service Delivery Process in Nuku District

The Southern Regional Workshop on the revised Administrative Guidelines for the Service Improvement Program (SIP) was organized by the Department of Implementation and Rural Development at the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance (PILAG) from 14-15th August 2019.

The theme of the workshop is “Effective Service Delivery through Partnership”.  A fitting theme for lead institutions of state, the Provincial and District Administrations to foster effective partnerships to improve the management of the service delivery process using SIP funds.

The District Development Authority (DDA) Act 2014 is an instrument that has empowered the District Administrations to build effective partnerships with the private sector (service providers, churches, non-state actors and donor agencies) and willing and active citizenship participation at the Ward-level governments.

The challenges to manage the service delivery process at the districts was highlighted by the Director of the Pacific Institute of Leadership and Governance (PILAG) during his presentation. The message is that PILAG is an institution that is focused on identifying and tailoring training needs to prepare Public Servants to work smarter. This could be achieved through a systematic leadership development driven by leadership values, philosophy and competencies.

The importance of “Building successful partnerships to manage the service delivery process in Nuku district” is featured in the Nuku District Development Authority logo.

The Nuku DDA logo was conceptualized and designed by the District Project Management Team in 2014 to capture the challenges of managing the service delivery process for a collective benefit of the people of Nuku.

Lesser yam (Mami in Tok Pisin) is an important co-staple food crop with sago, the latter represented by the cutting and pulverizing tool used for working the sago palm pith. These crops are cultivated and managed by the village people to provide nourishment for the baby representing the present and future generations of Nuku.

The metaphor of the food crops in development represent the resources available to the district that must be efficiently managed for the provision of basic social and economic services for the people of Nuku.

The household is the basic unit of production, where sago and agricultural resources are managed by the parents and their network of relatives to provide food for subsistence. A Melanesian way of life, where members of a social group work in partnership in food production to sustain members of society.

A Melanesian approach to rural development in Papua New Guinea advocated by Utula Samana. Stakeholders must work in partnership to effectively manage the resources and the service delivery process to achieve the intended outcomes – to improve the quality of life of our people.

The approach we are advocating through the Ward Development Program is to empower members of community governments to be active and willing partners to drive development at the Ward-level. As partners in the service delivery process, community leaders must take on the responsibility to organize their people like they do to produce the food to sustain members of social groups in the village.

We are struggling with maintaining effective leadership and governance of institutions of state at sub-national levels of government. We are reminded by the Good Book that “man does not live by bread alone”. During the Southern Regional Workshop on the Revised Administrative Guidelines for SIP, Reverend Lohia Mou acknowledged that knowledge, experience and wisdom of people in positions of responsibility must be guided by the Spirit of God. This re-enforces the message that we must be mindful of the social conduct, personal values, attitude and behavior of public servants who have been entrusted under a Service Oath of the Public Service Commission to effectively manage the service delivery process. Public service work culture, popular attitude and political leadership were identified as contributing factors to ineffective management of the service delivery process (Reilly et al., 2015).

Personal values and code of conduct must be demonstrated by parents and people of influence in society. We are advocating that children must be guided to grow up and develop good attributes for long-term personal development.

We need to promote good personal values and a positive mindset. We need to develop a culture where lead members of society must become key people of influence to drive change. We need people who are mindful of their roles in managing institutions of state at the National, Provincial, Local-level and Community-level governments.

We need an effective public service, and active non-state actors, development partners, and reputable service providers to drive change in our district. We need an organized and efficient system of management to complement the visions of political leadership.

We anticipate that the outcome of efficient institutions of state and prudent management of the service delivery process will improve the poor social and economic indicators for our people.

The Nuku District Development Authority logo reminds us that we must value collaborative partnerships and be mindful of the role of the lead partners – the institutions of state – that have been mandated to effectively manage the service delivery process.

Green (2012) in his book “From Poverty to Power” reminds us that community leaders must also be active and willing partners to take ownership and drive development at the Community-level government.

The approach to people-centered development advocated by Samana (1988) in his book “Papua New Guinea: Which Way”, is being facilitated through the DDA Act 2014. If we want development to take place in a district, we must start from the Community-level government areas. However, change will not happen until we improve the deficiencies in the management of the service delivery process.

The expenditure of the DSIP funds by the District Development Authorities in the country has been under scrutiny.  We need to document and share experiences of successful stories of the management of DSIP funds and successful management of the service delivery process in Papua New Guinea.

Effective management of the service delivery process is also driven by the relationships between political leadership and the bureaucracy.

There are five hypothetical scenarios of relationships of political and administrative structures that have been created by the decentralization process:

  1. Good political leadership and good administrative leadership supported by committed public servants with good work culture;
  2. Good political leadership and good administrative leadership with poor public service work culture;
  3. Good political leadership and poor administrative leadership, with poor public service work culture;
  4. Poor political leadership, good administrative leadership and good public service work culture;
  5. Poor political leadership, poor administrative leadership and bad work culture of the public servants.

The first hypothetical scenario provides a perfect setting for effective service delivery. However, this is usually not the case and we are confronted with micromanaging administrative issues in an effort to improve the service delivery process.

We need to learn from our experiences and improve on deficiencies if we are going to effectively deliver the development plan using the District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) funds to achieve the intended outcomes anticipated by our people.

References

Green (2012). From Poverty to Power: How active citizens and effective states can change the world, 2nd ed. Rugby, UK: Practical Action Publishing and Oxford: Oxfarm International.

Reilly, B., Brown, M., and Flower, S. eds. Political Governance and Service Delivery in Papua New Guinea: A strategic review of current and alternative governance systems. Discussion Paper No. 143. The National Research Institute, Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Samana (1988). Papua New Guinea: Which Way? Arena Publications Association. North Carlton, Victoria, Australia.

JOHN SOWEI PhD

Stakeholder Interface/Development Advisor

Nuku District Project Management Team

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