The CSIS Utilization Conference is an avenue to formally present the CSIS results to the local government functionaries and other stakeholders. It aims to inform local government units (LGUs) and other participants, including representatives from civil societies, academe, and national government agencies, on the value of the collected feedback from a cross-section of the population regarding the different assessments on the availability, reach, and quality of local public services. All stakeholders were encouraged to participate in the discussion of the results in the context of their knowledge on local development issues.
Background and Problem
The DILG envisions LGUs that are self-reliant, development-centered, safe, peaceful, socially protective, business-friendly, environmentally protective, as well as transparent, accountable, and participative. In scaling up local government performance in these areas, it is not enough that LGUs have the internal capacity of providing services. The greater challenge is for LGUs to ensure that their service delivery performance is felt by their constituents, satisfying their needs, and meeting expectations in improving their quality of life. The DILG has been utilizing performance measurement tools for LGUs as early as the 1980s. As local governance is a vast domain in terms of conceptual breadth, interventions were focused on building the internal capacity of LGUs and on developing outcome indicators on a number of thematic performance areas. Despite having the Local Governance Performance Management System and thematic performance audits in place, like the Seal of Good Local Governance, there was a need for a performance measurement tool that will incorporate the citizens’ perspective in the equation as the ultimate fulfillment of the rationale of government providing public services.
Solution and Impact
To address the said issue, the CSIS was conceptualized and eventually implemented to serve as a tool for drawing in applicable information for gauging citizen satisfaction. Local Resource Institutes (LRIs), or local academic institutions that offer research and extension services, are commissioned to undertake the CSIS fieldwork and report generation protocols. They also assisted in presenting the technical details of the CSIS survey results during the utilization conference, as well as share their experiences in undertaking the protocols of the CSIS vis-à-vis the requirements of the project. Then, the representatives from the DILG central and/or regional/field offices presented an overview of the theories, concepts, procedures, and leadership perspectives on the CSIS. The CSIS Utilization Conference contributed in transforming the mindset of local government officials and functionaries towards viewing citizen feedback as information for identifying policy and program decisions. The conference also put the citizens at the center of planning and implementation, and in assessing results and impact of programs and services. The CSIS, through the Conference, scaled up the focus of performance management from internal measures to external and client-based assessment measures. It entailed delving on the impact of local public policies, expenditure, and program/service implementation. It is expected that responsive governance would increase citizen’s satisfaction that will be supported by the CSIS surveys for the succeeding years. It was also envisioned that the CSIS Utilization Conference model could also be replicated in other DILG-managed projects that generate data on LGU performance in different areas of governance.
The CSIS has covered 140 cities from 2013 to 2015. These surveys were fully subsidized by the DILG, while subsequent implementation of surveys are targeted to be funded by the LGUs. DILG central, regional and field office staff who are involved in the CSIS implementation are trained with LRIs to have a better understanding on the concept, theories, data gathering and processing protocols, and reporting, monitoring and evaluation results relating to CSIS. The DILG field officers helped explain to concerned local chief executives and local officials the results of the CSIS survey, prior to the conduct of Utilization Conferences. Representatives from other Bureaus and Services, including the Commission on Audit, are also invited to participate in the conferences and other CSIS activities to share useful data/information and for appreciation on how the implementation cycle works, with the Utilization Conference as the culminating activity. The planning workshop on the formulation of the Citizen-Driven Priority Action Plan (CPAP) is an essential part of the Utilization Conference. Facilitated by DILG staff, this activity enabled the participants to translate policy directions into specific activities, and to determine the outputs, resources needed, and accountabilities. The output of the workshop is the CPAP, which is a set of initiatives programmed to address the service delivery gaps based on the citizen satisfaction survey results. The interventions are expected to be completed within the term of the local officials but may be expanded to long-term goals and targets for the LGU to undertake. The workshop is followed by a ceremonial agreement signing through a Pledge of Commitment between the DILG, LGUs, and civil society organizations (CSOs). The LGUs committed to undertake the items in the plan. The DILG committed to provide technical assistance to the LGUs in implementing the identified interventions, and with the CSO partners, monitor the implementation and outcomes of those interventions, in terms of success in addressing the gaps. A monitoring and evaluation process proceeded after a year from the approval of the CPAP.