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Public services account for a large proportion of government budgets, but increased spending has often not been matched by improvements in outcomes. Around the world, children still leave school, are unable to read and the quality of healthcare remains uneven. In the worst case, money intended for books, teachers, dispensaries, medical supplies and infrastructure is lost to corruption.
 
Even where the integrity of resource flows can be secured, approaches to public service delivery designed struggle to respond to present day needs. Public services are traditionally organized in a way that puts the public in a passive role, as the recipient of a standardized service. This contrasts with innovations in other areas of life such as retail, travel and media where people are used to giving feedback on the goods and services they receive, and playing an active role in making choices.
 
Promoting greater transparency and enabling ordinary citizens to assess the quality, adequacy and effectiveness of basic services, to voice their needs and preferences and to become involved in innovation offers an opportunity to enable better use of public funds, and improve service delivery. 
 
Governments are experimenting so that citizens can play a more active role as a user community for public services. This can mean participatory processes and forums, community monitoring and citizens’ budgets, or new forms of commissioning.  Technology and open data enable a different kind of participation.
 
This webinar, which draws on the Public Services topic from the Open Government Guide (www.opengovguide.com )  looks at steps that governments can and are taking as part of their OGP Action plans including;
•	Establish easy feedback mechanisms for public services
•	Publish and promote information on the public services people are entitled to
•	Involve citizens in the commissioning, design, delivery and assessment of public services
•	Facilitate cooperation with independent monitoring efforts and take action on issues raised
•	Publish key public service performance data
•	Systematically track and publish performance indicators across public services

Presenters



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Rakesh R. Rajani is the Head of Twaweza, an initiative to enhance access to information, citizen agency and public accountability in East Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

Ruth Carlitz is a Ph.D. candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Los Angeles.








Albert van Zyl is the manager of research and learning, IBP-Cape Town.

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