Citizens at the Service Counter: Kind Personnel – Unavailable Services

The “mistery shopper“ research method was implemented for the first time in Montenegro regarding public service delivery, and the results show that the municipality and ministry service counter employees are kind, but that the quality of information received are graded as the worst.

The research was conducted by IPSOS Agency in March, within the project “Civil Society for Good Governance: to Act and Account!”, implemented by Institute Alternative in cooperation with the Centre for Investigative Reporting and NGOs Bonum, Natura and New Horizon, with the support of the European Union.

Mistery shopper is a technique that involves specially trained pollers visiting institutions in order to conduct an analysis of various parameters of the services these institutions provide. They act as regular service users, which enables them to objectively grade the service delivery in those institutions to a certain extent.

For the research conducted in Montenegro for the first time in the context of the public administration, there were 32 visits to choses bodies of public administration on the territory of eight montenegrin municipalities: Pljevlja, Kolašin, Ulcinj, Podgorica, Nikšić, Bijelo Polje, Danilovgrad i Bar.

The goal of the research was to get an objective overview of public service delivery as well as to analyse the work of service counter employees.

General professionalism and kindness of the employees was largely positively graded in most of the municipalities that made part of the research.

However, the availability of services was poorly graded. Many institutions lack an adequate access for persons with disabilities, and quite often even in those places where there are wheelchair ramps or elevators in ground floors, the public space is not adapted to the needs of persons with disabilities – for example, they have no access to other floors.

The quality of answers provided by the employees to specific request was also graded poorly – the employees have in rare cases asked all the necessary questions in order to map the citizens’ needs, in accordance to which they presented all the documents they needed as well as all the necessary expenses for acquiring those documents.

The quality of services was best graded in Ulcinj municipality (80% of services’ standard compliance), where the visits were conducted at the Secretariat for Economy and Economic Development, the local unit of the Ministry of Interior, the Secretariat for Administration and Social Services and the Secretariat for Urban Planning and Sustainable Development.

The selected services in the municipality of Nikšić were given the poorest grades (55%), where the pollers visited the local unit of Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Agriculture and municipality secretariats for local self-administration and urbanism.

The average grade for the quality of services of public administration for all municipalities involved in the research is 73% of standard compliance.
The full report of the research will soon be published.

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Institute Alternative team

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