26 September 2008

Improvement in the public administration with ISO 9000

This week marked the first certification of ISO 9000 obtained by the present state administration; the first of what we expect will be many. The IPEM (Institute of Weights and Measures of the Amazonas) was recommended for the certification without exception, after one year of arduous work, certainly recognizable by those who already worked on implementing a quality system.

The ISO provides a framework of three practical applications that, given they do not guarantee good management, at least give the certainty that an effort has been made to demonstrate a continuous commitment to improvement that may eventually, in itself, be classified as good management. The three practical applications are:

·         Management of talent: the ISO requires that a manager pays close attention to the qualifications and training of its servers. Hours of training and an adequate graduation are basic requisites for the attainment.

·         Indicators: as Peter Drucker, the father of modern management, has already said: “What gets measured gets managed.” The ISO requires the establishment of indicators at the principal levels of the organization. For example, an organization should measure: productivity of a sector (number of concluded processes), the average delay of processes (always searching for faster possibilities), and quality (in how many cases repetition is necessary).

o       An indicator of special importance, and still not yet regarded as such in the field of public service, is the satisfaction of the public with the provided services. For example, IPEM takes precise care of important items to the economy, such as taximeters, scales, gas pumps, and others. In this process, it makes frequent contact with consumers as well as with entrepreneurs. The IPEM now measures the satisfaction of these users and gets audited to verify accurate treatment of possible claims.

·         Continuous improvement: the ISO demands the mapping of processes and verification of possible bottlenecking and difficulties in the execution of tasks. After this mapping, of course there will still be problems existing. The ISO disposes of a tool, the Treatise of Non-Conformity, which ensures that every time a significant problem is discovered, there will be a search for a lasting solution. The external auditor, while performing the audit, searches for evidences that the organization is always searching for these improvements.

These simple practices are of unquestionable effectiveness in private or public administration, if implemented with vigor. The ISO simply systemizes the adoption of these practices and guarantees the continuity of them. Today, we operate with more than ten state agencies with implementation, with probable certifications soon of SEPLAN, CIOPS and CGL, and will be initiating more shortly.

I would like, finally, to make a suggestion to those that agree with the principles of the above mentioned practices. Those that know public managers, in any spheres, question them on what they are doing in each of these items. Is there research being done of satisfaction of your clients, the public? What are the policies involved in the valuation of servers, of training, of recruitment? What system do you adopt in your search for continuing improvement? It is only with a demanding society that we can have some hope of a better future.


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