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Decentralization: Improving Public Services in Indonesia



The Government of the Republic of Indonesia has strong commitment to implement public service delivery through the Law Number 25 of 2009 concerning Public Services by   issuing five government regulations, one presidential regulation, and one Ombudsman regulation. In addition, public services regulations are redefined and recalibrated in compliance with the law. Lessons learned from local governments’ experiences on public service delivery, they started following the enactment of the regional autonomy law in 1999 marking the decentralization era,could be replicated in other local governments to reach good governance.



1.      Introduction


Indonesia has implemented decentralization policy since 2001 following the enactment of Law Number 22 of 1999on Regional Autonomyand later on, amended into the Law Number 32 of 2004. This law regulates decentralization of institutional management policy through rowing and steering role in public services (autonomy at the regency and municipality levels, under their respective provincial government supervision).


Prior to the enactment of law on public service in 2009, Law Number 37 of 2008 on  Ombudsman stating that Ombudsman is the state agency which has the authority to oversee the implementation of public service deliveries. After the enactment of theLaw Number 25 of 2009 on Public Services,this law regulates that public services are activities or series of activities in the context of meeting the need for services in accordance with the law for each citizen and resident for goods, services, and/or administrative services that are provided by public service providers.


Based on this law, the Minister for Administrative and Bureaucratic Reforms (Menpan) is responsible for developingnational policy on public service delivery, performance monitoring and evaluation, and the results of coordination on public service implementation. The vision of the 2005-2025 long-term development plan, on the one hand, consists of an advanced and independent Indonesia, just and democratic, secure and unified within the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia. The missions stated in that plan are to materialize an advanced and independent Indonesia, a just and democratic country, and a secure, unified and peaceful Indonesia. On the other hand, the 2010-2014 medium-term development plan concentrates on harmonization of laws and regulations, bureaucratic reform, and public service delivery in addition to sustainable development.


Based on the abovementioned laws, I would like to elaborate on the decentralization and public services in local governments. The research questions focuses on: (1) What decentralization measures did the Government of Indonesia (GOI) take? (2)  Did they work as intended, and if it did not, why? (3) What is GOI doing to address the problems with current decentralization? (4) What does the Indonesian experiences say about the theories of decentralization? (5)To what extend the regents and mayors’ innovation breakthroughshelp public service  delivery implementation during the decentralization period of 2001-2009? (6) What should the regents and mayors do to improve public service delivery and strengthen the decentralizationsince 2009 following the enactment of the Law on Public Services? 

2.  Delivering Public Services at Regional Level


2.1   From Centralization to Decentralization


Following the Asian monetary crisis in the late 1990s, Indonesia was one of the many victims of the crisis. As a result of weak foundation of the country’s economy to stand against the crisis, popular dissatisfaction aroused. Pioneered by students’ movement demanding reform, the 32-year centralized and authoritarian rule of then President Suharto was brought to its end in May 1998, and a new era of reform began.


Suharto’s successor, Habibie, together with the country’s House of Representatives (DPR) enacted the Law on Regional Autonomy, marking a change of new era from centralization to decentralization. This moment was, of course, welcomed by the majority of local government leaders specially their regents and mayors. Without waiting for the imposition of the law, together with their respective councillors (DPRD), they, slowly but surely, began working on how to build their regions to increase their people’s welfare.


Decentralization has been accepted as a means to process the administrative, political, social and economic policies as well as promote peoples’ participation and empowerment. Decentralization implies both relationship between the central and regional governments as well as actors at the local level (executive, legislative, and judicative).  Since the enactment of Law on Regional Autonomy, the local governments  have enjoyed greater roles to administer their own regions, except for six areas, e.g. foreign policy, defense (including armed forces and national police), judiciary, and monetary policies are still the central government’s domains. And since 2005, heads of local governments (governors, regents, and mayors) have been directly elected by the popular or direct election.


The structure of Indonesian administrative management covers 163 central government institutions (34 ministries, 28 non-ministries, and other institutions) and 524 local governments (33 provinces, 398 regencies and 93 municipalities). Since the imposition of the law, in 2001, some government decision mechanisms have been distributed to provincial, district, and municipal governments to implement the decentralization. According to this law, the regional development should be built through decentralization, which is an effective tool for transfer of power to local communities and civil society organizations. Some issues and concerns of service delivery and access to decentralization and local governance may be resolved by improving service delivery and access through enhanced local government performance in the decentralization.


Furthermore, decentralization includes the distribution of resources at the local level which implies that development decisions will be taken locally, administrative functionaries will be under the elected representatives, and financial autonomy will be given to the local government. The implementation of decentralization comprises decentralization of administrative authority, vertical and horizontal decentralization, de-concentration of management functions to provincial government, delegation and devolution of political power, and diffusion of power-authority or de-bureaucratization (Nawas Sharif, 2007; Fadel Muhammad, 2007). The national government implements political, fiscal, and economic decentralization , strong public empowerment mechanism, and programs related to respective




Administrative decentralization aims at transfering decision-making authority, resources, and responsibilities for the delivery of a selected number of public services from the central government to other lower levels of governments, agencies, field offices, or central government line agencies (resource mobilization and service delivery). Vertical decentralization or the transfer of authority, functions, responsibilities, and resources from  the central government to local government. Horizontal decentralization or the empowerment of local communities to determine plan, manage, and implement their policies (John-Mary Kauzya, 2003).


In Indonesia, political decentralization normally refers to situations where political power and authority have been decentralized to province, regency and municipatlity levels. Devolution is considered a form of political decentralization, involving a full transfer of responsibility, decision-making, resources, and revenue generation  to regionalauthority that is autonomous and fully independent from the devolving authority.


Fiscal decentralization cuts across all forms of decentralization, some levels of resource allocation is made to allow local governments to function properly. Decentralizing responsibilities, authority, and accountability without assignment of adequate levels of resources to the decentralized units does not work. Economic or market decentralization is a form of transfer of government responsibilities and authority that is done in favor of nonpublic entities where planning and administrative responsibility to other public functions and transferred from government to voluntary, private, or non-governmental institutions with clear benefits to and involvement of the public.   


2.2. Implementation of decentralization at regency and municipality level


2.2.1. Background


            Even before the imposition of the regional autonomy law as mentioned earlier, as early as 2000, regional governments’ orientation in carrying out their tasks and function has shifted from simply depending on central government to their own ability in building their respective region toward their people’s welfare. In its implementation, the biggest portion of the regional autonomy is in the hands of regency/municipality because they are the nearest institutions facing the people directly. Therefore, in essence, their main mission is how to improve public service delivery.


            Since the shifting of government paradigm from ruler to service provider, basically all the regency/municipal governments have the willingness to deliver services. The facts have shown, that many regencies/municipalities with their limited resources areable to increase their people’s welfare. Similarly, with their sufficient budget and resources were able to provide better welfare to their people. They might be aware that mending government management is like a philosophy of  river which starts flowing down from the upstream along the mainstream, and ends in the downstream. The problems of the upstream are strategic planning and program, while the mainstream’s  are institution, human resources, system or procedure and supervision. Public service delivery problems are the downstream of it.


            The initiative that must be done therefore, should be a strategy that “begins from downstream and ends at the upstream”, namely by mending public service delivery first.After that, phase by phase and simultaneously mending and fixing up the strategic planning and program, institution, human resources, procedure, and supervision. To that end, public service provider needs to be developed so that it will be customer-driven oriented. The development of human resources is directed toward improving professionalism and changing of mind-set and culture-set with strong service-driven orientation. The development of procedure is intended to create systems and mechanisms that support prime quality of public service. The paradigm of supervision should also be changed from merely finding administrative and financial justifications to smoothen the settlement of activities and push better public service delivery.


In order to further improve the public service delivery, mending problems in the upstream and mainstream are recommended. However, as far as the complexity of the problems  is concerned, it is not that easy because of the many overlapping regulations, while on the other hand, the public is not patient enough waiting for the improvement of public service delivery. As such, should we wait until the upstream and mainstream problems solved first, while public demands are hard to hold back?No, it should therefore, be started from the downtream problems, among other things are slow, complicated, and unsatisfactory services.


2.2.2.  Local Governance’s Service Delivery Problems


Alex Brilliantes (2007) identified the problems facing service delivery and access in developing countries: unsatisfactory and often dysfunctional governance systems including rent seeking, corruption and malfeasance; lack of resources and inappropriate allocation of resources, inefficient revenue systems, and weak delivery of vital public services. Groundwork for good governance and service delivery access at local level covers policy framework for decentralization and devolution, phasing the implementation of decentralization, no one size fits all, and development of fiscal capacities, human resource capacities, training, and redefining role of national and local government. Having learned that  statement, problems to be handled cover structures, norms, values, regulation, individual culture, cost uncertainty, moral hazard, low competence, organization and management, and  professionalism (Eko Prasojo, 2008).


Bureaucratic structures which do not incorporate public services activities can be regarded as problematic. Likewise, public services process which does not consider effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, accountability, participation, and  justice. Low salary, poor recruitment, and low competency of public service providers as well as public relations managerswho do not accommodate people’s participation, complaints, standards, and citizens’ charter have addedto the list.  


Therefore, in order to solve those problems, innovation breakthroughs are needed. These are the priority actions taken by those local leaders who really wish to build their regions through the improvement of public service delivery for the welfare of their people. Best practices is an example of success story of a number of regencies and municipalities in implementing decentralization especially in public service delivery. Steps that have been taken are revising regulations hampering licensing process, establishing public-private partnership, sustainability, exemplary leadership, community empowerment, gender equity, and policy innovations that easily replicable in other regions.




2.2.3.  Lesson Learned form Regency and Municipalitiy’s Best Policies


Experiences in a number of regencies/municipalities showed that success story or best practices in the implementation of public service delivery is needed. Best practices is “an initiative which creates significant contribution in increasing the quality of life in urban, rural or other environment or circumstances.” The criteria of best practices includes impact, partnership, sustainability, leadership and community empowerment, gender equity and social inclusion, and innovation within local context, and transferability or replication (UN-Habitat, 2003). Seven parameters of best practices covers  region’ssituation, motivation, innovation, result measurement, sustainability, lessons learned, and transfer or replication to other areas. Best practices creates big impact in increasing the quality of life, produces good an effective coordination, partnership within the government, private sector, and communities, and sustainable in terms of social, cultural and economic environment.


The next step to improving and accessing service delivery consists of enhancement of decentralization (improve people participation in planning, budgeting, implementation and monitoring and evaluation, government accountability, boost transparency in governance, and development of performance standards), improve partnerships with private sector and civil society, regular feedback from citizens and stakeholders, and  continuous capacity building,  financing of pro-poor services, and citizens’ participation.


Having learned all of the above theories, for visionary leaders, it would lead them to create innovations which in the endcould lead to social welfare, as it’s started from “the hope to build better government”,  relate to invention, trial and error processes, with good plan. Indicators, best practices, and lessons learned were important to monitor and evaluate government innovation (hospitals, small business activities, fisheries, participative government, village development, urban conurbation, etc.).


Public service provider should act as an innovator (Ditkoff in Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, 2004).         As local leaders, regents and mayors, should challenge the status quo and not only satisfy with current reality. They should be serious and actively explore the environment and seek new possibilities. They should be self-motivated, always respond to inner needs, proactively initiate new projects, and reward their staff for their best efforts. Visionary is important with high, maintaining future orientation and thinking in mental pictures. They should entertain the fantastic, see possibilities within the seemingly impossible, honor dreams and daydreams become reality.They should take risks and go beyond the comfort zone. They should be peripathetic, change work environment as needed, inspire fresh thinking, movement and interaction. Sometimesthey should act a playful or humorous move, be able to appear foolish and child-like, laughs easily and oftenly.   Leaders having innovative and exemplary attitudes are likely to be imitated by their subordinates, making them work happily, not afraid of anything, confident, safe and comfortable, achieving  the improvement of public service delivery together.




2.2.4.   Good Public Governance and Good Corporate Governance 


In implementing best practices, David Osborne and Ted Gaebler’s reinventing government should be put in mind. [1]  It is important that the implementing agencies for public services consider and implement Osborne’s approaches to create excellent and prime public services. In addition, ten characteristics to apply good public governance principles, should be taken into account. These characteristics are interrelated, mutually reinforcing, and cannot stand alone (Robertson Work, 2003).   [2]


Private sector with its good corporate governance focuses on five principles such as transparency, accountability, responsibility, independency, and fairness. Those five principles should be supported properly and conductively by corporate values, business ethics, behaviors, stakeholders, internal and external corporate environment.


To create good public and corporate governance, and prime public services, strong leadership from regents and mayors is a prerequisite. In the era of decentralization, regents and mayors should develop customer-driven policies. Local governments’vision and mission are important as the basis to act. An anticipation on the unpredictable possibility should be done. One local government  should be able to compete with other local governments either in the decentralization policiesand implementation of public service delivery. The governmens should be competitive, creative, and innovative supported by professionalism. In order to develop government dynamics, an enterprising governments should be established. All the local government activities should be carried out in the context of decentralization, independency, and local competitiveness. The local governments should ask the community’s participation  to have sense of  belonging of their region.       


Governance is a system of values, policies, and institutions by which a society manages its economic, political, and social affairs through interactions within and among the state, civil society, and the private sector. In developing good corporate governance, local governments should motivate local public enterprises, uphold transparency, accountability as shown in the form of responsibility in business activities, independency means independent from other parties and free in policy decision making, and fairness as shown in the impartiality and objectivity and non-discriminative.Business ethics covers active attitudes, motivatives, innovative, and dynamic. Behavior is business actors who behave properly. Stakeholders comparise businesses, government institutions and society. Corporate environment should be conducive both internally and externally. 

2.2.5. Leadership Style


            Leadership should be related to the ideas of reinventing government, good publicgovernance and good corporate governance as well as integrity, change management, problems solving, and innovation breakthroughs followed by paradigm shift. In the context of reinventing government, leadership role is quite  dominant to build ten types of government reinvention. Regents and mayors should implement the principles of good public governance and push for growing good corporate governance. Innovation breakthroughs being done should utilize the existing natural and human resources to help build governments’ effectiveness and efficiency as well as the creation of independency and regional competitiveness.


Leadership is directed toward the regent/mayor’s figure as the renewal motor in local governmental affairs. Therefore, apart from formal requirement as stipulated in law on regional autonomy, regent/mayor’s profile should be futuristic, able to deal with changeable condition, able to forecast the unpredictable future, a situational leader, and having nationhood insights.


In the appraisal of Public Servant’s Dedicative Portrait (CBAN) competition, for example, regents and mayors are asked to improve their commitment and consistency  in making their pro-public service delivery policies (including public participation in giving feedback), and how they implement the policies and the results affecting their people. Up to now, there are still many local governments  which do not have good public service delivery. This is primarily caused by a mis-match between local governments and their community.


3.  Local Governance: Best Policies in Action


Best practices, good public governance, good corporate governance, and leadership style are important elements to improve public service delivery. The real condition in Indonesian local goverments, however, says the other way around, that there are still many problems in public service delivery and decentralization. Regulations on public service delivery are overlapping, institutions are not well-managed, business processes are not in line with standard operating procedures, and service delivery is unsatisfactrory. Low salary and incompetent as well as poor performance tend to do corrupt practices because accountability and supervision do not function properly. Therefore, the regents and mayors are challenged to create best practices, good public governance, good corporate governance and possess good leadership style.


Besides, the New Public Management movement of the 1990s and then changed into the New Public Services, has paved the way of the reform-oriented public officials to think about what governments should do and how they should perform. Therefore, as previously mentioned, as a result of the local leaders’reform euphoria, without waiting for the issuance of the law’s implementing regulations on public services, many regents and mayors started their wishes for reform as early as 2001.


3.1.  District of Sragen (Central Java)


Best practices


Best practices of Sragen covers One Stop Service (OSS)/Integrated Public Service Delivery Office (IPSDO), concentrates on clear vision and mission, institutional and personnel management, requirement, mechanism, timelines, coordination, efficiency and effectiveness. Improvement of public service quality is determined by on-the-job training, production training, international cooperation, comfortability, smartness, paradigm shift, customer satisfaction, monitoring and evaluation, complaint handling, e-government, and transfer of knowledge.


In its implementation, covers paradigm shift from being served to serve, institutional innovation, decentralization to sub-districts, financial and infrastructure efficiency, realignment of  new employee recruitment, e-government and IT communications to the village leaders, recovery fund and micro-finance, integrated and mixed-farming, enterprising government, production training, village tourism, and regional-based education. The results of the services are not only outputs, but outcomes and quality assurance.


Good public governance


Authority delegation up to sub-districts policy was able to increase community participation. Setting up an OSSwas able to create accountability and supremacy of law.Infrastructure development to make a smooth-flow of goods from rural to urban areas has created responsiveness and concensus orientation. Also an easy access of communication between regent and the people as indicated in the regent’s regular visits to the villages, markets and religious sites have increased equity. Including in complaint handling, post office box, telephone lines, short message service, email and website have created effectiveness, efficiency, and participation.


The policy on delegation of authority for signing of regent’s decree on licensings to heads of sub-district has created concensus orientation.Financial management and public servants’ financial incentives which cover efficiency, deep understanding of programs by all work units, priority scale, supervision, recovery fund, and stimulous assistance have increased effectiveness.The provision of incentives besides their regular monthly salary has added to their work spirit, responsive to the government policies and complaint handling.


Good corporate governance in Sragen   


Economic development through provision of entrepreneurship trainings for youth organizations as well as would-be retiring public servants including the provision of recovery funds to get “low-interest credit” to do businesses. Four pillars cooperation consists of government, society, businesses, and academics to strengthen the foundation of the above economic, education and health by taking into account  people’s acceptability, consistency, minimum conflict risk, prospective, and sustainability.   


Sragen public enterprice was developed to increase both domestic and foreign investments. Public-private partnership is supported by an open governance culture. Each type of development plan involves private sectors’ financing. The regent strongly concentrateson coordination with surrounding regions and inviting private sectors to do business in new industrial estate through win-win solution andimplements“a never-ending suffering” slogan, as it hampers the activities of people, businesses, and government

Leadership style


The regent of Sragen shows integrity, change management, and innovation breakthroughs through the establishment of pioneer comprehensive OSS, changing habit from being served by the public  to serve them, encouragement of  public participation and trust government, changing of mind-set and culture-set, code of ethics, production-based training, and pushing for enterprising government. Regent asks the whole public service providers and all layers of the society to build a good system so as the programs can be implemented and also participate in the economic, education and health development. Besides, he shows empathy for dissatisfied clients, quickness in complaint handling, fairness in resolving complaint, and easy access in communication and information.


Regent’s slogan: “Do your best life through entrepreneurship” stresses on the importance of no fear of being failed, follows the line of successful persons, brave, no let up in struggling, good character, dig out creativity, hard work, trust worthy, time management, healthy competition, and best service delivery.The government has created an online system throughout all working units, including in financial reporting using the Kantaya media (cyber office). The government also develops tele-conference facility in every working units up to sub-district level. All the above regent’s efforts have resulted in much better economic gains, the growth of  micro, small and medium businesses, significant increase of people’s per capita income and industrial employment absorption.


3.2.  City of Parepare (South Sulawesi)


Best Practices


The Parepare mayor, using the philosophy “the government, as servant of the people, having the  obligation to serve, protect, and improve their welfare”, has set four main components in his government programs namely improvement and even distribution of education, health quality towards “Healthy Parepare 2008”, people’s purchasing power, and  quality public service delivery. The IPSDO/SINTAPconcentrates on business licensing in accordance with ISO 9000-2001 and it has improved doing business through simplification of procedures, legal certainty, and one roof service delivery.


Good Public Governance


Brochures, leaflets and information provided have created easiness in getting licenses. Electronic services can avoid deviations and uphold supremacy of law. Clear mechanism and perocedures have resulted in transparency. Good service delivery has increased responsiveness of stakeholders. Fair treatment has created equity to improve their well-being. Direct payment of any transactions has resulted in accountability. Slogans to develop easiness have increased participation and supported strategic vision. Clear performance and procedure have speeded up the finalization of services. Good appearance of service providers’ staff and their English language proviciency have increased customers’ satisfaction.


The SINTAP accelerates service delivery, has clearer procedures, requirements and cost/tariff, decreases brokers’ role, and service certainty guarantee. The positive impact of the SINTAP are the increase of domestic as well as foreign investment and has increased the community trust. Innovations of the SINTAP have resulted in the ISO 9001-2000 certification, promoted customer satisfaction index, easiness in transaction through the banks, online system, internet financial reports, and provided complaint handling services.


The competence of the public service providers is more assured by promoting slogans such as “Quick Service as quick as you complete requirements” and “Protect your building and make sure your business prospect with legal permit”. A clear information of standard operating procedurehas helped people to easily understand the process of public service delivery and a suggestion box provided for clients to convey their dissatisfaction and suggestion.Aside from regular salary and general incentives given by the Parepare local government, for the SINTAP employees another one percent of the municipal government’s original revenue was given to them in accordance with positions they hold.


Good corporate governance


SINTAP has successfully improved its domestisc and foreign investment intake, but there were still a gap betweenthe expectation of businesspeople and public service providers such as  businesspeople want clarity of procedures, requirements, cost/fees and finishing time in business licensing. All of these were responded through deregulation, full commitment, and consistency in service delivery. In addition, the SINTAP has improved public-private partnership to accelerate investment intake and carried out institutional restructuring, system and procedure. To create good corporate governance, it uses the slogan: “Begins and ends in OSS”.


The SINTAP has developed reinventing government principles in policy direction and implementation planning, and set up the regency’s vision and mission. Furthermore it invites investors from Makassar, the provincial capital city, to lure new investors to do business in Parepare as the second biggest city in the province. To reach this target, some activities has been carried out such as rightsizing of the existing organization structure, providing training, and improving infrastructure.   


Leadership style


The mayor and the head of SINTAP have increased their opennes, transparency, accountability, change management, integrity, entrepreneurship, enterprising government, education and training, code of ethics, and e-government. One of the mottos: if it could be made easy, why should it be made difficult”has  been strictly upheld.


In increasing the capacity of public service provider, the mayor and the IPSDO had learned from the more advanced public service delivery offices, increased international training, as well as understanding of enterpreneurship and enterprising government.


3.3.  District of Jembrana (Bali)


Best practices


The development process of Jembrana started from identification of the region’s potential, management, and financial, personnel, and tools’ efficiency (DOA) to improve service delivery quality in education, health, and purchasing power. The objective of development is a just people’s welfare supported by religious belief, utilization of human and natural resources, togetherness and sustainablity.


Jembrana’s best practices cover bureaucratic reform through public service reform, restructuring government organization, utilization of assets, financial management, human resources development, affordability, administrative services, community trust on government, rightsizing, health insurance provision, international companies’ training, school, and sister-city cooperation, information technology implementation, and public-private partnership in tourism, education, health, and village development. 

Good public governance


Decentralization creates prime public service delivery, harmonization in governance, leadership strengthening, and increased trust government. Jembrana has changed from backward regency into an innovative, efficient, and effective local government through its regent’s innovation breakthroughs. The regent’s decrees on doctor’s general practitioners and the delegation of authority to the head of information and communication office have increased efficiency, effectiveness, concensus orientation, and transparency.


An information either in the form of flowchart, banners and leaflets has created transparency. The establishment of complaint handling unit to accommodate the incoming complaints and its speedy solution has created responsiveness and supremacy of law. In addition, the complainants can also use suggestion box, call center or short message service.Aside from receiving monthly salary, the Office’s public servants also receive incentives already allocated in the district’s annual budget, the amount of which, depends on their respective position. It’s aimed at creating transparency and accountability, giving motivation to work better, and respecting their hard work.


Good corporate governance


            The regent invites private hospitals to implement health insurance to increase community’s health. He also creates public-private partnership in developing rural area. As Jembrana is a multi-cultural regency, he gives an opportunity to private sectors to develop the region up to villages. In implementing international training, he invites private sectors to provide  certain budget for short-term training for younger generation to get experience from foreign companies. In tourism, he invites private sectors to develop tourism resorts in sub-districts. In education, he develops special education which concentrates on character-building, nationalism, and global orientation. 


Leadership style


The Jembrana regent said that it is not easy to implement decentralization and public service delivery. Therefore, he implements DOA (money, man, and tools) management, strong commitment, willingness to progress, imaginative, real problem solutions, uncertainty avoidance, reward and punishment, community-trust redevelopment, bureaucratic reform, right sizing, effective and efficient organizations, discipline and productivity, decrease poverty, increase health (developing health community), local health insurance, innovative breakthrough, sustainability, avoid inconsistency and uncertainty, training and sister-city with Tsukuba Japan, changing international youth, multidimensional leadership education, community participation, main gate of Bali, multi-culture, and checks and balances. He received many awards, among others Man of the Year on Regional Autonomy in the year 2000, Prime Service Delivery(CPP) and Public Servant’s Dedicative Portrait (CBAN) trophies for several years. The keywords to his success in decentralization and public service delivery is his slogan:If you want, you can!”.




3.4.   Comparison of  Three Case Studies on Reinventing Local Governance


Reinventing Local Governance




1. Best Practices

OSS, Investment


Delegation; and



Easiness in licensing

Investment acceleration



SMS center; health insurance; and community participation

2. Good Public


Community participation;   


Gender equity;

Transparency and accountability

Customer Satisfaction;

Payments in the bank;

Complaint handling; and Information system


DOA management;

Tsukuba Sister-city;

Public-private partnership in agriculture; and

International training 

3. Good Corporate    



Enterprising government;

Public-private partnership;

Integrated and mixed farming; and Production training

Investment acceleration;


Prime licensing for  private businesses;

ISO 9000-2001; and

encouraging foreign investment  

Public-private partnership;

Block grant to the village;

Health, Education, and Tourism services

4. Leadership Style

Visionary; Integrity; and Easy access of communication within the region

Strong commitment;

Consistency and Seriousness; Code of

Ethics; and Reward and Punishment

Integrity; Participation;

Access to information; Reward and punishment


Having seen the above three case studies, one thing is crystal clear that the above regents and mayor tried their best to use the momentum of decentralization era to improve the welfare of their people. Each of them has similar perception as regard good public governance and good corporate governance. However, on how to implement them, they keep in mind the existing local conditions, so, their development priorities are  set in accordance with the conditions.


4.      Public Service Delivery Law Implementation


4.1.  The preceeding laws and regulations


As mentioned earlier, public service delivery improvement has been started soon after the enactment of Law on Regional Autonomy, marking the end of centralization and moving  on to decentralization. A number of local governments at regency and municipality levels started to grab the moment by improving their public service delivery.


What decentralization measures did the Government take? They are among other things Law on State Finance, Law on State Treasury, Law on Financial Balance between Central and Regional Governments, Menpan’s Decrees on Public Service Management, on Guidelines of Complaint Handling, on Community Satisfaction Index, and on Transparency and Accountability. Did they work as intended? Yes, they did, but revising the regulation is still needed. Based on the above laws and regulations, the regional governments quickly moved to improve their public service delivery, the results of which, are as elaborated above.


On the other hand,  a number of measures have been taken by the central government such as the Ministry of  Finance, Home Affairs, and Menpan, together with the DPR by  enacting laws and issuing decrees in support of the decentralization process. Included in this measures are the implementation of prime public service delivery in the regions as well as other government owned institutions. What’s Government doing to address the problems with current decentralization? Apart from the existing laws and regulations on decentralization already in place, in order to further improve the decentralization implementation, the government of Indonesia has drafted a number of bills such as governance administration, government ethics and code of conduct, intergovernmental relationship, accountability system, and civil service reform.


What does the Indonesian experience say about the theories of decentralization? There are good and bad experiences about decentralization implementation. The good one as regard the success stories about public service delivery in which there are now about 125 public service delivery units in both regencies and municipalities adopting best practices, and some of them have received ISO 9000-2000, 2001, and 2008 Certications. The bad ones, in particular, related to graft cases involving certain governors, regents, and mayors including their regional councilors, who created  “small kings” (petty kings) in local governments.


In implementing the decentralization policy, the regency/municipal governments sought innovation breakthroughs in order to improve quality public services using a  philosophy of  “beginning from the end, and endsat the beginning”. It begins with public service quality improvement (being the end-product of good governance) and customer-driven orientation by shifting the existing paradigm. The Menpan has decided Three Strategic Steps for improving public service delivery:


1.   Inform and askall institutionsto apply service standard for every head of sections of public service providers.


2.   Conduct some approaches and inform all institutions to be willing or ready to become  pioneers in public service quality improvement.


3.   Inform and ask all institutions, regional council speakers, and NGOs to observe their regions as pioneers and best practices.


Some popular steps taken in improving public service delivery, for example, one stop service, drive through, serve people better, customer centric, one gate office or one window office, one gate/one roof integrated services, and integrated services management unit.


In the framework of motivating the regencies and municipalities to improve their public service deliveries, since 2002 the government has given its appreciation to local as well as central government public service implementing units and for regional governments’ achievement in implementing pro-public service delivery policies.Every year a competition is held alternately by the government to appraise public service deliveries and regents/mayors’ pro-public service policies  proposed by each ministry and provincial government. Appraisal teams consisting of government officials, academicians, and NGOs are spread out throughout the country to appraise the respective competitors. The winners receive a trophy presented by the President in the State Palace.


Appreciations the CPP given to public service delivery implementing units has successfully motivated them to further improve their performance. Those service providers have tried to follow work ethic, accurate and fast services, simple requirement, timeliness, and affordable fees for service users. In addition, the CBAN has successfully triggered many regents and mayors to improve their pro-public service policies, and strengthen their integrated public service, as well as consistently implement the policies on decentralization to improve their people’s welfare.


Based on the experience in implementing public service delivery in 2001-2009, there are three main challenges of decentralization and public service delivery in local governments: (1) lack of capacity and capability of civil servants at local governments; (2) lack of basic understanding of reinventing government, good local governances and related issues, participation, transparency, and accountability; and (3) wrong direction of decentralization, lack of community participation, empowerment, weak leadership, weaknesses on policy formulation, business process, and management system.


As regard the lack of capacity as mentioned in point (1) above, building capacity in local governments covers:(1) strengthening local government capacity through education, training-based performance, and competence; (2) strong commitment in implementing local government policy; (3) capacity building, transparency, accountability, and public participation in public service delivery; (4) increasing government motivation and innovation to build local government competitiveness and trust local government; and  (5) implementing decentralization to reach good local governances.


Thecapacity,in its relation tobest practices, can be seen in the impact on education and training, partnership between service providers and consumers, sustainability of capacity building, increasing motivation and innovation, and  replication to another public service providers. As regard good public governance,it pushes participation, upholds rule of law, transparency and accountability, responsiveness, equity, concensus orientation, effectiveness and efficiency, and strategic vision.


In its relation to good corporate governance, it concentrates on transparency, accountability, responsibility, independency, and fairness in business activities. In its relation to leadership style, it covers among other things commitment from  leaders, competence and performance-based education and training, and international cooperation.


And  strategies to enhance local governments cooperation and improve public services are (1) coordination, integration, and synchronization on education and training for civil servants and public services providers; (2) internalization and dissemination of policies; and (3) strong leadership, shifting paradigm, mind-set, culture-set, ethics, code of conduct, citizens’ participation, and customer-oriented.     


To what extent the regents and mayors’ innovation breakthroughs help public service delivery implementation during the decentralization period of 2001-2009? People in the regions practicing prime public service delivery triggered by their regents and mayors’ innovation breakthroughs, enjoyed their improved well-being and welfare as economic conditions in the regions keep flourishing and unemployment decreases. What should the regents and mayors do to improve public service delivery? They have to learn the experiences of the more advanced regencies/mayoralties adopting prime service delivery or best pratices, good public governance, and good corporate governance, and imitate leadership styles they possessed.


Aspects supporting public service delivery that should be reformed:


a.    financial (management, accountability, efficiency, standard operating procedures, salaries, organization, planning, implementation, monitoring, evaluation, and supervision);


b.   regulation (overlapping, outputs, outcomes, coordination, synchronization, reposition, revitalization, and advocacy);


c.    human resources development (competencies, education, training, capacity building, criteria, job qualification,  competencies, job analysis, profile, merit system, reward and punishment, changing mind-set and culture-set, habits, understanding, motivation, innovation, pro-status quo, discipline, change to management of values,  ethics and code of conduct, character building, out of the box thinking, government public relations, and environment friendly).




4.2.  Future Public Service Delivery


The Law on Public Services was signed on 18 July 2009 and should be effectively implemented two years after that[3]   However, the implementation of the law is still postponed until now because the implementing government regulations have not been signed and dissemination of the law has not been carried out in all local governments.


After 2009, deregulation process has been continued so that the decentralization implementation is able to further spur efficiency and effectiveness in regional development. Regents and mayors can not fully implement public service law without government regulations and presidential decrees as its guidelines. By implementing the existing regulations, the progress of public service delivery is still faced with some constraints.In addition, the lack of socialization and dissemination of this law at the local government, hampers the solution of public service delivery problems.


Many problems in public service delivery that should be overcome such as (a) public service implementing organizations have not been evenly developed; (b) IPSDO to improve the ease of doing business has not been reformed; (c) no significant changes of mind-set and culture-set of public services providers; (d) insufficient public services infrastructure; (e) not many strong leadership, commitment, and consistency in delivering public services; and (f) not many  good  public-private partnership in delivering public services.Eventhough there has been many innovation breakthroughs that have been created by regents and mayors, with the imposition of the public service law, they have to implement their service deliveries based on this law. More attention that should be given to the issues of public services are basic understanding, service standard, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation.


In 2010, the President signed the Presidential Regulation Number 81 of 2010 on The 2010-2025 Grand Design of Bureaucratic Reforms  (GDBR) and followed by the Menpan’s Regulation Number 20 of 2010 on The 2010-2014 Road Map of Bureaucratic Reforms  (RMBR):


1. The GDBR: (a) is related to the Law on The 2005-2025 Long-term Development Plan; (b) regulates goal, objective, vision, mission, policy, strategy, action plan (every five years), performance indicator, and implementation strategy; and (c) the keywords: clean government, good governance, most improved bureaucracy, the quality of public services, effectiveness, efficiency, proactive and anticipative bureaucracy, innovation, breakthrough, out of the box thinking, outcomes oriented, better performance, world-class governance, quick wins, change management, knowledge management, reward and punishment, decentralization, coordination, and prime public services.


2. The RMBR: (a) is related to The 2010-2014 Medium-term Development Plan; (b) regulates organization and management of bureaucracy at national level institutions and  local governments, bureaucratic reform at micro level, reward and punishment as part of remuneration, priorities, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting; and (c) the  keywords: nine micro programs, include public services. [4] 


In order to implement bureaucratic reform, successful collaborative governance comprising coordination, integration, synchronization, simplification, cooperation, revitalization, transformation, capacity building, training,  and best practices is badly needed. All central and local governments should implement these regulations focusing on public service implementation. The success of the implementation of public services in 2001-2009 and beyond, should be maintained and improved further in line with the law on public services. Best practices in public service delivery should be replicated and implemented in other regions.


Specific areas of the public service law should be understood, such as the term public services, implementing agency/organization, public service provider, service standard, service charter, scope, public participation, and complaints resolution. Stresses should be concentrated on the regulations on scope, integrated public services, service standards, access proportion and community category, public participation, and the mechanism and provision for granting compensation. 


            It is imperative to give attention to (a) the promotion of  the right person on the right place, communicative, innovative, trust, and learning capacity; (b) information of service quality: internal-external reports, survey, discussion with customers, interview, focus group discussion, and implementation of information technology (Myung Jae Moon, 2008); (c) front-line service quality (front office, back office), reliability, and fairness; (d) public service leadership, commitment, consistency, and seriousness;  (e) citizens’ charter and integrity pact; (f) the customer-driven strategy to deliver excellent public services (Farida Rahmawati, 2008); (g) transparency, accountability, and public participation; (h) knowledge management, paradigm shift, mind-set, and culture-set; (i) intergovernmental and public private partnership; and (j) related to public services law such as bills on governance administration, government ethics and code of conduct, intergovernmental relationship, accountability system, and civil service reform.




5.  Conclusion and Recommendation


Public service delivery improvement in regency and municipality levels have been implemented following the enactment of the regional autonomy law stressing on decentralization and the government regulations related to public services. Through regents and mayors’ innovation breakthroughs such improvement have successfully made people of those regencies and mayoralties’ welfare increased. This is indicated in the many awards that they  have received, either from national or international institutions.


Best practices, good public governance, good corporate governance, and leadership style as shown in section 3.4. are important in implementing decentralization and public service delivery. The ideal solution to solve the decentralization problems, as part of mending or fixing the whole government management, could be from downstream through to the mainstream and upstream. Although it is not easy, we could start from the public service providers, frontline, front office and back office, and e-government. After that, at the same time, fixing the mainstream and upstream.


In the period of 2001-2009, a significant  number of local governments’ public service delivery  showed significant achievement although in sporadic and partial manner as a result of the umbrella law’s non-existence, the law on public service. The success of more than 100 regencies and municipalities in their public service’s best practices, untill 2010, has not been followed by almost 300 others. In most of those 300 regencies/municipalities, their public service delivery is not good with unclear regulations, high fee or tariff, uncertain finishing time, and unavailability of service standard and citizens’ charter. People in those regions demand reform of their local governments’ poor bureaucracy.


The Government of Indonesia has  strong commitment to implement bureaucratic reform, increase transparency and accountability, eradicate corruption, and improve public service delivery, by among other things, enacting the Law on Public Services and its implementing regulations (including the GDBR and RMBR). All implementing agencies/ organizations, and public service providers should keep in mind to make these law and regulations as references in implementing public service delivery. Also, special attention should be given to service standards, citizens’ charter, clear regulations, scope of services, integrated public services system, special services to certain communities, infrastructure, leadership commitment, provider behaviors, public participation, and complaints resolution.


 In order to materialize good governance and provide prime public service delivery, it is recommended that we shouldconcentrate on similar perception of public service activities, transparency, accountability, e-government, public participation, customer-driven, motivation, innovation, consistency, seriousness, mind-set and culture-set, work ethics, code of conduct, shifting paradigm, and developing a better attitude, skill, knowledge, entrepreneurship, and enterprising governance.






1.         Alex Brilliantes, “Service Delivery and Access: A Context Presentation, Emphasis on Participation, Transparency, and Accountability”, Regional Forum on Reinventing Government in Asia:  Towards Transparent and Accountable Governance, UNDP-UNGC, Jakarta, 14-16 November 2007.


2.         Cerdas Kaban, “Accelerating Good Governance and Improving Public Service Delivery – Indonesian Experience”, The Regional Forum on Reinventing Government in Asia: Towards Transparent and Accountable Governance”, UNDP and UNGC, Jakarta, 14-16 November 2007.


3.         Dennis A. Rondinelli, “Government Serving People: The Changing Role of Public Administration in Democratic Governance”, 7th Global Forum on Reinventing Government, Building Trust in Government, Vienna, Austria, United Nations, New York, 2007.


4.         Dzulkifli Abdul Razak, “Out of the Box”, Rector of the University Sains Malaysia. Regional Forum on Reinventing Government in East and Southeast Asia, Penang, Malaysia, 21-23 August, 2004.


5.         Eko Prasojo, “Public Sector Management and Implementation”. Training on Good Governance and Public Services, Ministry of Administrative Reform, Jakarta, 27-28 February 2008.


6.         Fadel Mohammad, Governor of Gorontalo, “Significancy of Empowering Enterpreneurial Management Capacity to Reach Good Governance Performance”, Regional Forum on Reinventing Government in Asia:  Towards Transparent and Accountable Governance”, UNDP-UNGC, Jakarta, 14-16 November 2007.


7.         Farida Rahmawati, “Customer Satisfaction of Public Service Delivery”, Training on Good Governance and Public Services, Ministry of Administrative Reform, Jakarta, 27-28 February 2008. John-Mary Kauzya, “Strengthening Local Government Capacity for Participation”, in Dennis A. Rondinelli and G. Shabbir Cheema, “Reinventing Government for the Twenty-First Century – State Capacity in a Globalizing Society”,


Kumarian Press, Inc., New York, 2003.


John-Mary Kauzya, “Strengthening Local Governance Capacity for Participation”, in Reinvening Government for the Twenty-First Century, Kumarian Press, Inc., New York, 2003. 


8.         I Gede Winasa, Regent of Jembrana, “Local Government Innovation in Jembrana”. Workshop on Best Practices of Bureaucratic Reform, Surakarta, 25 April 2007. 


9.         Komarudin, “National Policy and Strategy for The Development of E-Government in Indonesia”, International Symposium for e-Government, “Next Steps toward e-Government, “Theories, Practices, and Strategies”, Seoul, Korea, November 9-11, 2005.


10.     Komarudin, “The Experience of Performance Measurement in Asian Countries: The Case of The Republic of Indonesia”, International Conference on Performance Measurement and Government Innovation, Hangzhou, China, July 9-12, 2007.


11.     Komarudin, “Capacity and Accountability for Local Governance”, Regional Forum on Reinventing Government in Asia:  Towards Transparent and Accountable Governance”, UNDP-UNGC, Jakarta, 14-16 November 2007.


12.     Myung Jae Moon, “Building Great State Through Public Innovation, Performance Management, and e-Government”. One Day Seminar, National Planning Agency, Jakarta, 16 July 2008.


13.     Osborne 2007, “Reinventing Government: What A Difference A Strategy Makes”. Seventh Global Forum on Reinventing Government: Building Trust in Government, Vienna, Austria, 26-29 July 2007.


14.     Robertson Work, “Decentralizing Governance: Participation and Partnership in Service Delivery to the Poor”, Kumarian Press, Inc., New York, 2003.


15.     Shabbir Cheema, “Towards Effective Local Governance”, Regional Forum on Reinventing Government in Asia:  Towards Transparent and Accountable Governance, UNDP-UNGC, Jakarta, 14-16 November 2007.


16.     Untung Wiyono, Regent of Sragen, “Best Practices of Bureaucratic Reform in Sragen.” Workshop on Best Practices of Bureaucratic Reform, Surakarta, 25 April 2007.


[1]  Ten characteristics of what effective government should be catalytic, community empowering, competitive,    mission driven, result-based, customer-driven, enterprising, anticipatory, decentralized, and market oriented.

[2] Ten characteristics of good public governance are equity, supervision,  law enforcement, responsiveness, effectiveness and efficiencies, participation, professionalism, accountability, strategic vision, and transparency.

[3] The Public Service Law regulates general provision (public services, public services implementing agency/organization, public service provider, service standard, service charter, public service information system, mediation, adjudication, and ombudsman), purposes, objectives, principles, scopes, public service supervisors, public services management system, rights, obligations, prohibitions, public participation, complaints resolution, and sanctions.

[4] Nine Micro Programs of Bureaucratic Reform: change management, law and government regulation management,  organization empowerment, system and procedure/business process, human resources management, supervision and control, accountability, improvement of public service quality, monitoring, evaluation, and reporting), with keywords outcomes oriented program, key performance indicator, quick-wins, free of corruption, collution, and nepotism, mind-set, culture-set, right-sizing, e-government, quality assurance and consulting, performance salary, efficiency, equal-pay for equal-job, reward and punishment.   




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