citizen's charter: what, why and how

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Author: Arif H. Khan, Published by: Manusher Jonno Foundation, 1st published (in Bangla): January 2009, 2nd published (in English): April 2010

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  • Citizen's CharterWhat, Why and How

    Arif H. Khan

  • Citizen's CharterWhat, Why and How

    Arif H. Khan

  • Citizen's CharterWhat, Why and How

    Arif H. Khan

  • 2Citizen's Charter

    What, Why and How

    Citizens Charter:What, Why and HowKeynote paper presented in the seminar jointly organized by Manusher Jonno Foundation and Transparency International Bangladesh

    1st published (in Bangla): January 20092nd published (in English): April 2010

    English Translation:Shahzada M. Akram

    Published by:Manusher Jonno Fundation

    3

    Preface

    A Citizens Charter is a powerful tool to promote good governance in public service delivery agencies and improve services quality thereof. As per our constitution, every person in the service of the Republic has a duty to strive at all times to serve the people. Citizens Charters can uphold this sprit very effectively. During the rule of last Caretaker Government, Citizens Charter was adopted in various public institutions. This initiative, though appreciated, was not fully successful due to a number of procedural flaws. As a result, the initiative could not draw much public support and has remained, to a great extent, undiscussed and unutilized. Considering the importance of Citizens Charter, Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), jointly with Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), organized a seminar on the issue. Arif H. Khan, Program Manager of MJF, presented the keynote paper in the seminar. Mr. Khan, in his paper, in addition to clarifying the conceptual aspects of Citizens Charter, discussed the weakness of Citizens Charter initiative in Bangladesh along with recommendations to overcome those. In view of the interest of civil society on the issue, MJF published the Bangla keynote paper in a booklet form in 2009. Now, we are happy to be able to publish the English version of the booklet.

    We firmly believe that if the recommendations made in this paper are implemented, Citizens Charter will be able to play a very significant role in promoting rights of poor and ordinary citizenry including ensuring their access to essential public services. Recently MJF, in association with some of its partner NGOs has undertaken an initiative to formulate a few Citizens Charters for specific service delivery institutions in consultation with local people and frontline service providers. Based on experience of this pilot program we hope to undertake advocacy program for wider replication of the model. We expect cooperation of all concerned in this initiative.

    Finally, I thank Mr. Shahzada M. Akram, who kindly took the pain of translating the booklet into English. Your comments and suggestions regarding this booklet will be highly appreciated.

    Shaheen AnamExecutive DirectorManusher Jonno Foundation

  • 2Citizen's Charter

    What, Why and How

    Citizens Charter:What, Why and HowKeynote paper presented in the seminar jointly organized by Manusher Jonno Foundation and Transparency International Bangladesh

    1st published (in Bangla): January 20092nd published (in English): April 2010

    English Translation:Shahzada M. Akram

    Published by:Manusher Jonno Fundation

    3

    Preface

    A Citizens Charter is a powerful tool to promote good governance in public service delivery agencies and improve services quality thereof. As per our constitution, every person in the service of the Republic has a duty to strive at all times to serve the people. Citizens Charters can uphold this sprit very effectively. During the rule of last Caretaker Government, Citizens Charter was adopted in various public institutions. This initiative, though appreciated, was not fully successful due to a number of procedural flaws. As a result, the initiative could not draw much public support and has remained, to a great extent, undiscussed and unutilized. Considering the importance of Citizens Charter, Manusher Jonno Foundation (MJF), jointly with Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), organized a seminar on the issue. Arif H. Khan, Program Manager of MJF, presented the keynote paper in the seminar. Mr. Khan, in his paper, in addition to clarifying the conceptual aspects of Citizens Charter, discussed the weakness of Citizens Charter initiative in Bangladesh along with recommendations to overcome those. In view of the interest of civil society on the issue, MJF published the Bangla keynote paper in a booklet form in 2009. Now, we are happy to be able to publish the English version of the booklet.

    We firmly believe that if the recommendations made in this paper are implemented, Citizens Charter will be able to play a very significant role in promoting rights of poor and ordinary citizenry including ensuring their access to essential public services. Recently MJF, in association with some of its partner NGOs has undertaken an initiative to formulate a few Citizens Charters for specific service delivery institutions in consultation with local people and frontline service providers. Based on experience of this pilot program we hope to undertake advocacy program for wider replication of the model. We expect cooperation of all concerned in this initiative.

    Finally, I thank Mr. Shahzada M. Akram, who kindly took the pain of translating the booklet into English. Your comments and suggestions regarding this booklet will be highly appreciated.

    Shaheen AnamExecutive DirectorManusher Jonno Foundation

  • What is Citizens Charter?2All powers in the Republic belong to the people and Every

    person in the service of the Republic has a duty to strive at all times to 3serve the people . According to these obligations as laid in the

    Constitution of Bangladesh, the government provides different kinds of services to the people. These include healthcare, education, agricultural extension, transport and communication, water and power supply, law and order, security, justice, relief and rehabilitation, and so on. A significant portion of the cost for these services is channeled from the people through direct and indirect taxes paid by them. So the people, as the owner of the republic on one hand, and as taxpayers on the other, have the right to expect a certain level of standard for the services. However, the government has its own limitations. Nonetheless, it is the mandatory responsibility of the service providing institutions to provide services to the people upon their demand to the extent possible keeping in mind the ability of the government. Such services should be sensitive towards the needs of the people, efficiently provided, and without illegal transactions. The required time and fee (in applicable cases) should be rational. Citizens Charter is a declaration from the service providing institution on the above-mentioned standard of service. In other words, a citizens charter is the expression of an understanding between the people and the public service provider regarding the quantity and quality of service the citizens receive in exchange of

    1 Acknowledging important advice from Dr. Iftekharuzzaman (Executive Director, TIB), Farzana Naim (Director Governance, MJF), Abdulla Al Mamun (Program Manager, MJF) and Tanvir Mahmud (Research Officer, TIB).

    2 The Constitution of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, Article 7(1).3 The Constitution of the Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, Article 21(2).

    Citizens Charter:1What, Why and How

    Arif H Khan

    54Citizen's Charter

    What, Why and How

    Abbreviations

    ADC Additional Deputy CommissionerASP Assistant Superintendent of PoliceBADC Bangladesh Agricultural Development CorporationBPATC Bangladesh Public Administration Training CentreJATI Judicial Administration Training Institute BTCL Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Ltd.BTTB Bangladesh Telegraph and Telephone Board CGG Centre for Good GovernanceDARG Department of Administrative Reform and Public GrievanusDC Deputy CommissionerGD General DiariesMJF Manusher Jonno FoundationNGO Non Governmental Organization NILG National Institute of Local GovernmentOC Officer-in-ChargePARC Public Administration Reform CommissionPTI Primary Training InstituteRAJUK Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (the Capital

    Development Authority)RDA Rural Development AcademyREB Rural Electrification BoardSP Superintendent of Police TIB Transparency International Bangladesh

  • What is Citizens Charter?2All powers in the Republic belong to the people and Every

    person in the service of the Republic has a duty to strive at all times to 3serve the people . According to these obligations as laid in the

    Constitution of Bangladesh, the government provides different kinds of services to the people. These include healthcare, education, agricultural extension, transport and communication, water and power supply, law and order, security, justice, relief and rehabilitation, and so on. A significant portion of the cost for these services is channeled from the people through direct and indirect taxes paid by them. So the people, as the owner of the republic on one hand, and as taxpayers on the other, have the right to expect a certain level of standard for the services. However, the government has its own limitations. Nonetheless, it is the mandatory responsibility of the service providing institutions to provide services to the people upon their demand to the extent possible keeping in mind the ability of the government. Such services should be sensitive towards the needs of the people, efficiently provided, and without illegal transactions. The required time and fee (in applicable cases) should be rational. Citizens Charter is a declaration from the service providing institution on the above-mentioned standard of service. In other words, a citizens charter is the expression of an understanding between the people and the p