Empowering the Customer

The Citizen in Public Sector Reform

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One of the key ideas in current public sector reforms is that of citizens as customers. To this end, various marketoriented measures, privatisation of government enterprises and new performance management approaches have been introduced in addition to traditional consumer protection mechanisms to promote genuine empowerment of the customer. This publication explores some of these recent strategies based on Commonwealth best practice. It presents guidelines on developing clients’ charters, setting appropriate standards for public services, and meeting the expectations of the socially deprived. The public sector is of course remarkably different from business, and not easily amenable to the conditions of a perfect market environment. The publication addresses some of the implications of this issue for the implementation of the new management theory. It provides ‘handson’ materials and policy ideas for governments, practitioners and experts.



Empowering the Socially Deprived

A democratic government has the obligation to protect the interests of the weaker and more vulnerable sections of society, providing them, where necessary, with subsidised or free basic services and health care, and maintaining public amenities in the larger interest of the quality of life of the entire society. Socially deprived groups are probably the greatest users of public services and yet the least informed on consumer rights. These groups comprise children, women, the handicapped, elderly persons, the unemployed and those in the rural areas.


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