ASAN development takes centre-stage at Civil Service Live 2015 in London’s heart
Press Release: The success of the Azerbaijani Service and Assessment Network (ASAN) – which has successfully transformed the public service delivery in the country – was showcased at the Civil Service Live 2015 exhibition and conference on 5 October, hosted in the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, a stone’s throw from the Houses of Parliament. Participation in the event, attended by civil servants and public service professionals, was organised by The European Azerbaijan Society (TEAS), and comes in the wake of ASAN winning the UN Public Service Award in June.
Established under the auspices of the market-leading Civil Service World magazine, Civil Service Live 2015 attracted over 6000 delegates, comprising government civil servants and employees of private sector organisations, all of whom were focused on understanding and realising the latest best practice concepts.
Two of this year’s main themes were the application of digital systems to make services and information simpler, clearer and faster to use, and the use of new working methods aimed at enhancing efficiency and creating a more modern, flexible, working environment. It therefore seemed timely to focus on the ASAN service, which has revolutionised public services provision across Azerbaijan.
Highlighting ASAN – the only overseas service presented at Civil Service Live 2015 – Kamran Agasi, Director of the ASAN Innovations Centre, explained that the Azerbaijani government have pushed for a large-scale reform, and developed a unique model of public service delivery. He went on to further explain the five pillars of the ASAN delivery model:
a) accessibility – everyone in Azerbaijan has an equal right to access ASAN services – regardless of geographical location; religious or political beliefs; or ethnic background.
b) accountability – every employee has to recognise their own responsibility for the services provided to the public – so customer feedback systems have been implemented, either using exit poll terminals or social media, and there are regular performance appraisals, in addition to financial incentives for professionalism, combined with regular training programmes aimed at changing the mentality of civil servants and making customer satisfaction a paramount objective.
c) efficiency – the procedures are constantly reviewed and use of the latest technologies ensures that our services are efficient. For example, renewing a driving license takes just five minutes, and renewing a passport takes just one day.
d) transparency – information is provided through various channels of communication in an open and transparent manner, so people have a clear understanding of the processes they must follow and the government fees they must pay. The concept of transparency is even incorporated into the essence of the design of the ASAN centres.
e) innovation – this is a two-way process – ASAN is always in contact with citizens, values their feedback and tries to incorporate their ideas in the ASAN centres. Nine ASAN centres have now been opened, each of which marks an improvement on its predecessor.
Kamran continued: “ASAN centres have now transformed from being a one-stop-shop for government services through to becoming a general hub for services. This is attractive to businesses, and they want to work with ASAN, including mobile companies, cable TV and utility providers. Our centres are now even offering certain medical services.
“We have also developed the mobile ASAN service comprising high-tech buses that deliver the services to rural areas of the country. We can also come to you – services can be conducted at your home. An extra fee is payable for this, but this subsidises the provision of the same services for the less mobile members of society, such as the disabled. The population of Azerbaijan is 9.6m, and in just over two and a half years since we opened the first ASAN centre, we have served around 6m people, and each centre serves around 2500–3000 people a day. Our exit polls indicate there is 98 per cent satisfaction with our services.”
The presentation concluded with a lively question-and-answer session from the attendees that covered a range of topics, including how ASAN fits amongst existing governmental structures; remuneration of civil servants within ASAN centres; and the absence of corruption and discrimination in ASAN centres.