Water and sanitation administrations need to measure the effective progress of public services they are responsible for, and improve the efficiency of their support and monitoring towards their operational units. LYSA has developed effective expertise with respect to the management of public water and sanitation service utilities and has elaborated the required management tools. Its missions are incorporated within performance-linked contracts.
An Administration responsible for the water and sanitation sector needs to measure the progress made in the public drinking water service throughout the country. Progress in the field is the result of direct action by the public service companies, the basic operational entities, and also the regional bodies who supervise them and finally the central Administration through their capacity to anticipate, delegate, measure and support. LYSA offers all three hierarchical levels the appropriate, flexible and coordinated managerial support. It accompanies these entities in the concrete implementation of management tasks and reporting operations with, if necessary, a simple management information system.
The local and regional entities will be highly motivated to put a managerial scheme and its related report panels in place once their financial means or resources shall be relying on achieving objectives that have been agreed in advance and are regularly measured. The managerial dynamic thus created is designed to improve both the income of the basic companies and also their management practices, and beyond this, their global efficiency reflected by the indicators of an operational report panel. LYSA can also provide a performance monitoring software.
Subsequently, this dynamic also encourages the regional and national levels to concentrate on real progress and efficiency. The intermediate regional entities responsible for putting in place these operational report panels, will transmit the updated operating data to the central administration on a monthly basis. The latter will therefore be able to measure performance, adjust the budgets and amend its plans of action accordingly. The centralized organization that is responsible for regulation or for sectorial statistics, will have the basic data to enable it to carry out analyses and the central Administration of the sector will thus be able to obtain a more accurate overview of the progress made on the ground in the programs that it is managing, exercise its judgment regarding the operational efficiency of the measurements that it is undertaking, on the basis of data monitored in real time, and finally develop its policy and its strategies.
LYSA's role in working in medium-sized towns in developing countries, confronted with systems that are in a very poor state of repair, leads it to propose very practical methodologies which bring immediate changes. Thus, the managerial methods that it supports at the three hierarchical levels, local, regional and national, translate four simple intentions which are combined together in a constructive manner:
- for the highest echelon of the Administration, to put each basic operational entity on the path to developing financial autonomy;
- for each basic operational entity, to obtain the means and support for its commercial and technical development and to achieve an efficient operating method based on the autonomous management of its resources;
- for the intermediate administrative entities (regional), to develop the skills necessary to accomplish the performance monitoring and needs analysis mission for the operational entities.
- for the majority of the personnel in the operational entities, to move away from the state of under-remuneration and under-equipment which exists in most cases.
Beyond this, there are four general objectives which are clearly necessary in order to create a managerial dynamic that generates progress:
- Ensure the operational entities increase their receipts, starting with simple, transparent management of customer accounts;
- Agree personalized progress objectives with each of them;
- Improve the remuneration of their personnel and their budgetary allocation when these objectives are met;
- Introduce rules of transparency, routine management and budgeting.
An extremely simple hardware and software system
LYSA will of course build on existing organizations both for hardware and software. But because the operational entities are often not equipped with information processing equipment or regular Internet connections and their personnel are not adequately trained, it has developed extremely simple and robust software. It is capable of training personnel to use this software even when this is their first experience of computerized real-time management.
The configurations implemented make it possible to manage the data entry and monitoring of operational dashboards on three hierarchical levels (local, regional and national). Their processing on a regular basis will be the basis of the managerial approach centered on efficiency.
In this context, LYSA has developed and uses a customer management software designed for small towns (up to 50,000 users).
A participative approach to managerial and software development
The software is a tool designed to facilitate operational management of the central
Administration which will be personally involved, just-in-time management based on measurement of performance with respect to objectives and the regularity of management milestones.
The adaptation or the development of the software tool is carried out in parallel with the progression of the organization and the adoption of management rules. Its implementation coincides with the capacity of software users to understand the managerial changes and to accept them. It also coincides with the capacity of users to use the software effectively: understanding of the tool, mastery of the equipment, etc. Thus the user-friendliness of the software and hardware, the building of a shared vision of basic management indicators within the operational entities, the collegial confrontation of the results between the executive management bodies of these basic entities, the regional entities and the central Administration are factors which, apart from exceptions of a disciplinary nature or the correction of imbalances between entities, should not necessitate the employment of additional or specialized staff: it is a management culture, that is, a culture of measurement and mutual trust, which comes into being and is built up with the local workers, to be used by the local workers.