Theconcept of Citizen Charter was first enunciated and implemented in the UnitedKingdom by John Major in 1991. The aim of introducing citizen charter was toimprove the quality of public services for people of the country. JohnMayor initiated six principles (IASPOINT,2016), which may govern the provision of public services- Quality – improving quality of services Choice – wherever possible Standards – specify what to expect and how to act if standards are not met Value – for the tax payer’s money Accountability- individuals and organizations Transparency – rules/procedures/ schemes/ grievancesAlthough the Citizen’s Charter is seen as having raised publicservice standards to ‘the status of a central theme of the 1990s’ it isimportant to realize that it also introduced certain other features intoBritish public administration for the first time. We can distinguish four mainpolicy agendas associated with the Charter: the ‘constraining public service agenda’, which includes the contracting out of services; the ‘state and citizen’ agenda with its concern for more information, effective complaints procedures and greater responsiveness to customer needs; the ‘new management’ agenda with its emphasis on delegation of responsibility; ‘The cost-cutting’ agenda with its concern for economies.
TheAdam Smith Institute, which is a neo-liberal institution, published a studynamed “Blueprint for a revolution” on the charter in 1992 stating that: ‘TheCharter revolutionizes the relationship between the citizen and the state byturning it into one of explicit and enforceable contract’ (Policy, 2017). Itexpressed the hope that the charter would be a beacon for the world: ‘aCitizen’s Charter for public services could well become the normal means bywhich most countries seek to control an overgrown and unresponsive publicsector’, adding “overgrown” to the “unresponsive” implicit in the Charterapproach.It caused irritation to citizens in dealing with thearrogance of government bureaucracy. Even experienced people get lost in thebureaucratic wildness in government operations (Osborne andGaebler, 1992).
However, these have also been a concern evident at the level ofstate to recover its image and acceptability and to escape for privatisationwhich remains relevant to live of citizens. According to Polity, the introduction of moderncitizen charter was closely linked with the Conservative Government of thenPrime Minister of UK John Major (Pollitt, 1994). Jhon Major stated that charter programme willfind better ways of converting money into better services.Dharma (2004) emphasis that citizens charter usually indicatesthe rights and services available to the citizens, procedure how these will bedelivered, remedy that will be available in case of non-deliverance andobligations of citizens in return.Lane (2005) stated that the idea of citizen’s charterfor public services, strong role is given to possibility of hearing theconsumer through grievance redress system and providing the information forservice delivery by the public agencies.Beniwal argues that citizen’s charter aspires toestablish the bottom up version of accountability where administrators areplaced directly under the citizens instead of political masters.Tamrakar emphasises that the introduction of citizen’scharter is expected to enhance good governance and reinforce people’s faith inthe government institutions as well as improvement of service delivery (Impactof Citizen Charter in Service Delivery: A Case of District AdministrationOffice, Kathmandu, 2010)Torres stated that the basic idea of citizen’s charteris that charter set quality standards against which performance can be measuredand standard will rise as a result of the pressure that users can put on theservice providers (Torres, 2006).
AHM Kamrul Ahsan and Ahmed Shafiqul Huque found thatpoor implementation strategies and practices in developing countries impedeempowerment of citizens and do not allow local councils to perform effectively.Hauque (1999) argues that the citizen charter appearsto have a political agenda to overcome the problem of diminishing public trustin governance and seeks to resolve the legitimacy crisis of the state byredefining citizens as customers or consumers and offering great choices oroptions to them.McGuire describes that citizen’s charter is simply aquality assurance strategy that offers a type of consumer guarantee and pointsout that service charter programmes have incorporated a range of qualityassurance techniques including setting service standard, consulted mechanisms, providinginformation to citizens and clients, complaints and redress mechanisms andquality award (McGuire, 2001).
Our government is forced to take fundamental administrativechanges because of rapid technological, political and social changes. Citizencharter was reached the shore of Bangladesh in 2000. Public AdministrationReform Commission recommended the introduction of citizen charter in publicagencies.
On 21st May, 2007 The Government of Bangladesh circulated an officialorder to prepare a citizen charter especially in those parts of the publicsectors that provide basic services to the people.Nayem (2010) analysed the implementation of citizen’scharter in an Upazila Land Office in Bangladesh (Nayem, 2010). The study beginswith the assumption that the introduction of citizen’s charter has created anopportunity for local people to participate and identify their needs andpreferences. Ideally, it was expected to enhance the extent of democratizationwhich, in turn, would strengthen accountability to citizens. It was found thatthe Upazila Land Office has limited capacity to implement citizen’s charterbecause the officials were not equipped with the training required to implementit successfully.
The problem was exacerbated by two other factors: lack ofaccess to public officials and the absence of political will to implement thecitizen’s charter. Other problems associated with citizen’s charters identifiedby residents of Bangladesh include the issue of awareness, lack of involvementof the public, inadequate number of employees, corruption, and bureaucratic andpolitical resistance.