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    The reform decreases corruption perception and increases public satisfaction

    Güven Sak, PhD07 March 2009 - Okunma Sayısı: 1757


    First findings of the research "Vision of the Society about Public Administration and Public Services" were recently announced. The research was carried out by Fikret Adaman from Bosporus University, Ali Çarkoğlu from Sabancı University and Burhan Şenatalar from Bilgi University, on behalf of TEPAV (Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey). The data for the study carried out with the participation of around 2040 respondents from all around Turkey representing the urban population was compiled during November-December 2008. First findings were announced the week before. The comprehensive report will be published in two months.

    The satisfaction as well as the dissatisfaction of the society about public services originates from the operation style of the public administration. Therefore, the study provides a data set pertaining to the operation style of the public administration both in local level and national level. The fundamental result reached is this: Those making reforms are awarded for their efforts. Each step taken with respect to public administration reform improves satisfaction about public services and decreases bribery and corruption perception. Therefore, it is crucial that Turkey returns back on the path of reformation. Have you started to say "It is really surprising. Bribery is decreasing"? Please do not and give me a chance to explain it.

    Rather than examining all results, let us examine the perception about the quality of the service provided only in public hospitals as we are on the eve of the March 14 Medicine Day. First graph shows how the perception of corruption changes for public hospitals. Second graph evaluates the public satisfaction about the services provided by public hospitals. The results are apparent. The first result is that satisfaction about public services as regards public hospitals has increased in 2008. With this respect, 59 percent of the respondents are satisfied with the services provided in public hospitals in 2008 (Graph 1). And the second result is that this level of satisfaction is not sufficient. In another question, respondents were asked to rank the level of satisfaction from one to ten. And the 59 percent satisfaction rate for 2008 corresponds to total number of respondents who gave 6 to 10 points for the services provided. But, if an average value is sought, the current location in the satisfaction scale where 10 points represent high satisfaction is 6 points (Graph 2). So, what does this mean? Public services are skill located on the average levels on the public satisfaction scale. The quality of public services on the eyes of service users is no more than average. There are reforms to make and steps to take to improve the satisfaction about public services. And this is the second result to be reached from the graphs. Furthermore, although the improvement is limited, bribery perception with respect to public hospitals has been diminishing from 2000 to 2008 (Graph 3). And this is the third result revealed by the study.

    But, how shall we assess these figures? The first point to be considered is this: The study is based on a perception survey. 2040 respondents of the survey do not comment on the level of bribery but the level of bribery perception. On the other hand, perception surveys pertaining to public services measures the perception of citizens on the minor corruptions they encountered while receiving services.

    The second point with respect to perception survey is this: While citizens manage to assess all issues calmly if they are happy, they fail to do so at times when they are unhappy in general. In other words, perception surveys considerably reflect the trends of the moment though this is an undesired situation. It is obvious that feeling the impact of the economic crisis at times when the survey was carried out, they were not particularly happy, respondent citizens were not happy in particular. The questions asked to measure the mentioned trend indicates that survey respondents had in mind a pessimistic economic picture since December 2008. This reality shall be elaborated on in detail. This situation is perhaps the main factor showing why in 2008 only the level of satisfaction in 2004 was managed to be maintained.

    But, despite all drawbacks, how the increase in satisfaction with respect to public hospitals must be considered? At this point, it is necessary to consider whether there occurred a change with respect to public administrative reform or reorganization of operation process. In the previous period, a series of changes in the field of health varying from automation to appointment making system, from service quality to expansion of service providers was introduced. The patients that were able to apply only to the public hospitals in the past are now able to select any hospital they want. Social Security Reform as a whole was an intervention in the operation of the health system. It appears that rapid steps taken in the field of health improved the satisfaction about public services in this field as a whole. The study on public service satisfaction underlines that a comprehensive research on the field would be of great help. And this is the third outcome of the study.

    Satisfaction about public services in the field of health is enhanced despite unfavorable conditions. Reform has been increasing the satisfaction of citizens. It will be beneficial for all of us if Turkey gets back in the track of reforms. This is the conclusion we drew from the study.


    Graph 1

    20090307v01 1

    Source: Adaman F., Çarkoğlu A., Şenatalar B. Vision of the Society about Public Administration and Public Services, TEPAV, 2009

    Graph 2

    20090307v01 2

    Source: Adaman F., Çarkoğlu A., Şenatalar B. Vision of the Society about Public Administration and Public Services, TEPAV, 2009

    Graph 3

    20090307v01 3

    Source: Adaman F., Çarkoğlu A., Şenatalar B. Vision of the Society about Public Administration and Public Services, TEPAV, 2009


    This commentary was published in Referans daily on 07.03.2009