About the workshop
Governments must change as the world around Governments must change as the world around them changes. New priorities, advances in information technology, the media and electronic communications, the impact of globalisation and public pressure for higher quality services all demand that governments constantly improve their standards of customer care.
In particular, citizens increasingly expect public services to be more transparent, accessible and accountable, and more responsive to their needs. In the UK there have been major changes in the way public services operate. Initiatives such as Customer Service Excellence and new benchmarking techniques have all been aimed at improving the quality of service delivery to the public. As in many countries, health services, local government and education have all undergone major reform with an emphasis on treating citizens as customers.
In recent years the UK Government has encouraged the development – centrally and locally – of closer collaboration and co-ordination between different providers of public services, including the private sector, and better-integrated, more accessible services for citizens. This has included ‘digital’ initiatives to make better use of information and communication technology and making services more user-friendly and accessible by creating ‘one-stop shops’. In the UK, as is the case in all countries, financial constraints have always been a key factor: there have been continuing and vigorous political debates about how to cut the cost of public services while protecting the most vulnerable members of society.
This one-week professional development workshop explores the key elements needed to develop a culture of customer focus; to lead and manage changes in the provision of public services; and to make effective use of information technology in public service management and delivery. By drawing on UK and international experience and examining some of the techniques available, you will increase your knowledge and understanding of how your organisation can achieve sustainable institutional and cultural change to the benefit of the public, along with a more cost-effective use of resources.
What the workshop will cover
The workshop is designed for senior managers responsible for delivering public services, in particular those in direct contact with the public. It will be very relevant if you work in central or local government, health or welfare services, education, the administration of justice or complaints adjudication. All participants will have a special interest in improving organisational performance and service delivery.
How participants will benefit
The workshop will:
- Help you to develop your capacity to manage public service improvement initiatives at strategic and operational levels
- Familiarise you with the process of culture change needed to treat citizens as valued customers
- Consider lessons learned by the public sector from the private/non-government sectors and vice-versa
- Examine citizens’ rights to good public services
- Look at the roles of central and local government in improving public services
- Explore the ways in which a focus on the citizen as customer – for example, the use of consultation procedures, customer feedback and complaints handling – can improve public services
- Consider the advantages and disadvantages of using information technology in managing service delivery
- Give you the opportunity to exchange experiences and make international comparisons, identifying areas for development and improvement in your own organisation.