Gadjah Mada University, Indonesia
This article discusses the “citizen’s charter” as an instrument for the development of a democratic public service. Theoretically, linking public service to democracy is a challenging task in public administration. Traditional models of public administration consider the government as responsible for ensuring public service efficiency and effectiveness. On the contrary, the citizen’s charter model espouses the notion of involving citizens in determining public service delivery methods. This article will discuss the adoption of the citizen’s charter in the service of birth certificate delivery in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia. There was a need to improve the delivery of birth certificate services due to the fact that the process one had to follow to get them was plagued with red tape and uncertainty with respect to procedures, time required, and charges, as it involved several agencies. In fact, possessing a birth certificate influences right of access to delivery of other public services such as education and health services. The participation of citizens has not only contributed significantly toward improving public service quality generally, but has also enhanced political consciousness of the citizen’s right to influence government processes. Consequently, local officials such as the village heads and the sub-district heads have become more accountable in providing public services.