The public is being invited to submit nominations for this year’s Public Sector Customer Service Competition, which opens on Monday (July 9).
The biennial competition, which is open to all public sector organizations, seeks to promote and encourage commitment to and continuous improvement in the quality of service delivery to the public, by recognizing and rewarding efforts of government agencies to improve service delivery.
Speaking at the official launch on Thursday (July 5), at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston, Cabinet Secretary, Ambassador the Hon. Douglas Saunders, said the competition seeks to promote quality service delivery in keeping with the National Customer Service Programme, which is spearheaded by the Public Sector Modernization Division in the Cabinet Office.
“It also places the spotlight on the importance placed on obtaining the views of the public – our customers – in determining how well we are performing and the feedback received from them (the customers) through their participation in the whole process of the competition provides guidance for future plans for service improvement,” he said.
The National Customer Service Programme has the objective of ensuring the development of a public sector that is service-oriented and geared towards continuous improvement in all its operations. The competition represents the reward and recognition component of the programme.
Ambassador Saunders argued that the focus on quality of service, and implementing a reward mechanism for entities that consistently focus on improving service delivery, is critical “if we are to make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business”.
“As public sector officials, we must never lose sight of the fact that the public sector is the major supplier of services in the country, and in most cases, customers do not have the choice or the luxury to switch service providers if they are dissatisfied with the quality of service, as may be the case in the private sector. It is therefore critical that we get it right in delivering our services,” he said.
State Minister for Tourism and Entertainment, Hon. Damion Crawford, lauded public sector workers for the sustained efforts that have been made to raise the standard of customer service.
He encouraged public sector entities to continuously strive to raise the bar in the delivery of service, suggesting that to offer valuable service the level of service has to exceed what the customer expects.
To be eligible for consideration, public sector organizations must receive at least a 60 per cent approval rating in any one category. Winners for some categories will be chosen based on feedback and nominations collected from members of the public. A panel of judges will have the final decision.
Entities will be judged in the categories of Best Customer Service Entity, Most Improved Entity, Most Creative Entity and the Best Customer Service Officer. There is also a ‘Best of Like’ Category for best Joined-up Services.
The winner of the‘Best Customer Service Entity’ will receive the Prime Minister’s Trophy plus a cash award $300,000; the ‘Most Improved Customer Service Entity’ will receive the Civil Service Association Trophy and a cash award of $200,000; the ‘Most Creative/Innovative Entity’ will walk away with Cabinet Secretary’s Trophy and cash award of $150,000; The ‘Best Customer Service Officer’ will be awarded $20,000 as well as a plaque.
Customers will be invited to participate in voting at entities with nomination boxes. An island wide telephone survey will also be conducted on a representative sample of the public. In addition, a toll-free line will be established in the Cabinet Office to accept nominations. This is in addition to a voting link, which will be established on the Cabinet Office website. A Facebook account will also be created to accommodate nominations.
This year marks the sixth staging of the competition,which was initiated in 2001. Nominations will run through to January 31 next year.
By Alecia Smith-Edwards, JIS Reporter