Directorate of Quality Assurance, ISO and Performance Contracting
Robert Bellamino Machyo
In developing products and services (such as education), quality assurance is any systematic process of checking to see whether a product or service being developed is meeting specified requirements. Many establishments have a separate department devoted to quality assurance. A quality assurance system is said to increase customer confidence and an institution's credibility, to improve work processes and efficiency, and to enable it to better compete with others. Quality assurance was initially introduced in World War II when munitions were inspected and tested for defects after they were made. Today's quality assurance systems emphasize catching defects before they get into the final product.
The ISO 9000 series is an international standard that many institutions use to ensure that their quality assurance system is in place and effective. Conformance to ISO 9000 can guarantee that an institution delivers quality products and services. To follow ISO 9000, an institution's management team decides quality assurance policies and objectives. Next, the institution or an external consultant formally writes down the company's policies and requirements and how the staff can implement the quality assurance system. Once this guideline is in place and the quality assurance procedures are implemented, an outside assessor examines the institution’s quality assurance system to make sure it complies with ISO 9000. A detailed report describes the parts of the standard the institution missed, and the institution agrees to correct any problems within a specific time. Once the problems are corrected, the institution is certified as in conformance with the standard.
To ensure that our services confirm to required standards, Garissa University College has identified the ISO 9001:2015 the appropriate Quality Management System (QMS) to help it realize this goal. Arrangements are being made to adopt this QMS.
The concept of performance contracting was mooted by the government of Kenya for effective and efficient achievement of set targets in the public service. All public institutions are expected to set performance targets and indicators for their achievement. The introduction of performance contracting in public universities is an effort to institute a framework of accountability and enhance service delivery in Kenya. Though difficult and challenging to implement, performance contracting leads to higher levels of performance through periodic monitoring and evaluation of performance targets. The main objective of carrying out this study was to determine the effectiveness of performance contracting and ways of improving its implementation and measurement in Kenyan public universities. The study was carried out in public universities and targeted staff in various cadres as respondents. The researchers employed descriptive survey design where questionnaires were administered. Stratified random sampling was used in a sample size of 80 respondents. The findings indicate that performance contracting has not been cascaded to all staff members, only a quarter of the staff had signed performance contracts. However, public universities have made moderate achievements in the entire performance contract indicators. The major challenge that affects the performance contracting process is the low level of coordination. The study recommends that the performance monitoring and evaluation unit be strengthened in order to carry out its mandate effectively and departmental performance contract coordinators be appointed. Also, a clear reward and sanctions scheme is put in place to inculcate a competitive culture in public universities. The study further recommends sensitization and training of university staff to demystify performance contracting. The process should be more inclusive by involving all stakeholders.
A Performance Contract is an organizational tool for evaluating performance against negotiated performance targets. It is a freely negotiated performance agreement between the Government, acting as the owner of a public agency, and the management of the agency.
The Performance Contract specifies the mutual performance obligations, intentions and responsibilities of the two parties.
The expected outcomes of the introduction of Performance Contracts include:
- Ability to organize the administration of public resources
- Ability to relate recompense for work to computable performance
- Ascertaining that the culture of accountability permeates all levels of operation
- Capacity to quantify and appraise performance
- Encouraging accountability for outcomes at all levels in the University
- Enhanced efficacy in service delivery to the public by ensuring that public officers are held accountable for results
- Entrenchment of a performance-focused culture in Garissa University College
- Reinventing a culture of outcome-oriented management in the university as envisioned by the policy decision to introduce Performance Contracts in the management of the Public Service was conveyed in the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation (ERS), (2003- 2007).