Competitive Grant 8:

Capacity Development for Improvement of Performance of Water Utilities: Regulation, Efficiency and Quality

FYR Macedonia - Association of Public Communal Service Providers in the Republic of Macedonia (ADKOM)

 

Description of the activity

ADKOM, the Association of Public Communal Service Providers in the Republic of Macedonia received a grant from IAWD to implement a project aimed at strengthening the capacities of management staff of public water supply and wastewater utilities. The project touched upon aspects of regulation, service quality and service efficiency. ADKOM coordinated the project with Grant 9: Reduction of Non-Revenue Water in Kumanovo, and with a project for coaching of public utilities, funded by Switzerland. Activities started in February 2014 and finished in April 2015.

Implementation of the activity

This capacity development project used a number of activities to strengthen utility managers and ADKOM, ranging from policy reviews to workshops on performance efficiency, and to a study trip to the Turin School of Local Regulation in Italy.

As the project’s first step, ADKOM hired a consultant to define key efficiency and quality indicators as the basis for the new sector information system called MAKBIS, and to prepare a performance baseline report. In order to establish MAKBIS, the procurement of some hardware and software was necessary. The same consultant developed and implemented two one-day workshops on performance efficiency and benchmarking, which were both held in Skopje in November 2014. Over 30 managerial staff from 21 utilities participated in these trainings.

The association hired a second consultant to conduct a policy review on service quality and efficiency in Macedonian water supply and wastewater utilities. This review elaborates the concept of quality management in water services, and assesses the status quo in Macedonia. A third consultant comparatively analyzed Macedonia’s water sector regulation, and provided some hints to identify the key challenges to tackle upon the establishment of a regulatory body.

Providing an opportunity to learn from an experienced hub for research and training on regulation, a group of 18 utility managers, ADKOM staff and ministerial officials went on a study tour to the Turin School of Local Regulation in June 2014.

Challenges and lessons learned

Management staff of Macedonian water and wastewater utilities simultaneously serve in governing functions of ADKOM. Training this group in the fields of regulation, quality and efficiency therefore yielded the synergy effect of equipping ADKOM members with the required knowledge and tools to advise government entities on informed policymaking.

On a more technical level, the policy review on service quality and efficiency elaborates that there seems to be a disparity between what utilities and customers take into consideration when thinking of the quality of water services.