Assessing citizens’ perception of service quality at Huduma centres in Nairobi County, Kenya.
The needs of citizens and their demands of their governments are changing around the world, including in Kenya. This change is creating complex working environments for governments that are compounded by the finite resources available to cater for multiple competing needs in service provision. In Kenya, the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 and the aim to provide quality services, both from private and public institutions, has catapulted the focus on quality of government services to the forefront while requiring the government to provide more services to the citizens with greater efficiency.Kenya Vision 2030 recognizes that an efficient and effective public sector is a pre requisite to achieving global competitiveness and a high quality of life by 2030 and requires reforms to the public service. Further, the current government’s manifesto singles out public service delivery, efficiency and innovation as one of its key focus areas specifically through the use of the government’s Citizen Service Centres otherwise referred to as Huduma Centres.In order for the Huduma Centres to deliver on the desired level of efficient, transparent and innovative service delivery for citizens, service quality has to be assured.Measuring the quality of service has long been a topic of discussion in the private sector, recognizing that it is difficult to measure the quality of services due to the inherent characteristics of services. It is important for the public managers to measure the service quality across government agencies and the citizen service centres because the citizens are co- producers in the service encounter and their perceptions of service quality would serve to inform the design and service standards and communications about the service by the producer and between the producer and the citizen. Further, studies have shown that levels of citizen satisfaction and the levels of trust in the government of the day are positively correlated.This study sought to assess the citizens’ perceptions of the service quality at the Huduma Centres in Nairobi County and also to ascertain if there was a correlation between service quality and citizen satisfaction. The data collected for the study are both qualitative and quantitative in nature with the qualitative being scheduled interviews with the service centre iv managers as the service providers and the quantitative being data collected through structured questionnaires to the citizens.The findings of the study reveal citizens are overall satisfied with the services at the Huduma Centres and were satisfied with the performance of each dimension of service quality measured. Further there is need for the Huduma Kenya Programme (HKP) to design the service offering in such a way that reduces the turnaround time for the citizens receiving services; invest in stable Information Communications Technology (ICT) systems and connectivity with the mother ministries; continually train the staff at the centres on customer service; and roll out other channels of service that lessen the need to physically visit the centres to get service; and more importantly continue focusing on the citizen needs in order to better serve them. Areas of further study include similar studies in more counties in Kenya to establish if there are significant differences with Nairobi County as well as comparative studies with other Citizen Service Centres around the world.