The Case of Huduma Kenya Programme in Kenya

Prof Margaret Kobia PhD, Chairperson, Public Service Commission (Kenya)Prof Margaret Kobia PhD is Chairperson of the Public Service Commission of Kenya and an Associate Professor of Management. She holds a PhD in Human Resource Education from the University of Illinois, M.Ed. from Kenyatta University and B.Ed.  from the University of  Nairobi. Prof Kobia is the Vice President CAPAM. Prof Kobia has taught management, entrepreneurship and research methods at university level and her research interests include public sector reforms and performance management training. Her head of state commendations and awards include: Order of Grand Warrior (OGW), First Class Order of Chief of the Burning Spear (CBS) and CAPAM Gordon Draper Award 2010. Before joining the Public Service Commission, she was the Director General, Kenya School of Government (2006-2013). Prof Kobia also sits on several public sector management boards. Her research interests include Public Sector Reforms and Management Training.

Nicholas CharneyAt the Public Service Commission of Kenya, Mr Daniel Oliech is the Design  and Quality Assurance lead for the Commission’s research and evaluation programmes. Mr Oliech is a CLEAR AA/ World Bank certified technical impact evaluations practitioner. In the course of his professional practice, Daniel has successfully implemented major regional and client organisation commissioned studies. He holds a Masters Degree in Economics of Education from Kenyatta University and a Bachelors Degree in Education Science from Egerton University, Kenya. He is a joint editor and peer reviewer of the Kenya Education Management Institute Journal of Education Management (KEMIJEM). He has expertise and professional grounding in study design, monitoring and evaluation, econometric modelling, and policy review and analysis. Previously, Oliech has led/participated in M&E tasks, research and capacity-building assignments across Sub-Saharan Africa.


Public sector reforms in Kenya date back to the preparation of Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 on African Socialism. Results of the government’s efforts in the implementation of the provisions of this sessional paper were seen in significant overall economic growth and development (Oyugi 2006). Hope (2012) also observes that, as a result of the policies arising from Sessional Paper No.10, the immediate post-independence period was, beyond the success with the economy, characterised by some forms of public sector transformation. Depending on the factors considered, different writers on public sector reforms and transformation in Kenya characterise Kenya’s reform journey into four phases. Oyugi (2006), for example, observes that although the first attempts at the reform and transformation of the public sector in Kenya began in 1965, it was not until the early 1990s that serious efforts were made toward the reform and transformation of the country’s public sector management. Other works (OPM/PST, 2010; Sawe, 1997; Nzioka, 1998) have generally characterised reform and transformation in Kenya into phases that more or less mirror the presidency regimes. In this classification, the first transformation phase spanned the 1963-1978 period of the first presidency. The second phase coincides with the second presidency of 1977-2002. Reforms under the third phase spanned 2003-2012. The fourth phase, the current, commenced in 2013.
In line with the aspirations of Kenya Vision 2030, the new Government, which came to office in 2013, prioritised the provision of quality public services to the citizens. The Huduma1 Kenya Programme, which is the public sector innovation of focus in this paper, is a critical plank in this effort. This Programme aims at transforming public service delivery by providing citizens with access to various public services and information from one-stop- shop citizen service centres called Huduma Centres and through integrated technology platforms. The decision by the current government to invest limited public resources on the Programme was informed by the belief that improved service delivery will lead to the realisation of the vision. The Programme was thus incorporated into the country’s system of planning, budget, disbursement, procurement, accountability for results, and value for money. To ensure quality and access to public services, the Huduma Programme specifically aimed at transforming the public service towards a people- centred, professional, efficient, transparent and accountable service that meets global standards and best practices. To this end, the Presidency through the Ministry of Devolution and Planning spearheaded the Huduma Kenya Programme as a flagship project under the Kenya Vision 2030.
Innovation and Public Sector Service Delivery
Innovation in the public sector refers to significant improvements to public administration and/or services. Drawing on definitions adopted for the business sector and their adaptation in the public innovation measurement, public sector innovation can be defined as the implementation by a public sector organisation of new or significantly improved operations or products (OECD, 2012). In their Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data, the OECD and Eurostat (2005) define innovation as the implementation of a new or significantly improved product (goods or service), or process, a new marketing method, or a new organisational method in business practices, workplace organisation or external relations. Early definitions of innovation, like Schumpeter’s (1934), were restricted to novel products and processes finding a commercial application in the private sector. Later definitions have broadened the scope, also including social innovations, innovations in services, and innovations in the public sector (Halvorsen, Hauknes, Miles and Røste, 2005).
Today, increasingly sophisticated public demand and new challenges due to fiscal pressures require innovative public sector approaches. However, knowledge about public sector innovation, and its results, costs and enabling environment, is fragmented. Public sector innovation is rarely institutionalised in government budgets, roles and processes, and there is limited knowledge and awareness of the full range of tools available to policy makers for accelerating innovation (OECD, 2012).
Governments around the world are looking for innovative solutions that enhance the design and delivery of public services. They are reaching out to the private sector and citizens to become partners in solving key social challenges (UNDP, 2016). Recognising this new push for co-design and co-production, the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence partnered with Social Innovation Camp Asia to explore social innovation as an approach for improving the reach, access and quality of public services. These could be in the form of a mobile phone application, a social enterprise or a platform for co-creation of public policy. Innovations could address demand-side issues (tools for citizens), support the supply side (tools for public servants) or even bridge the gap between the two and allow each to leverage their full potential (Ibid).
Theoretical Framework: Diffusion Theory of Innovation 
One theoretical framework for understanding the adoption or uptake of innovations in the public sector is the diffusion theory of innovations. In principle, the diffusion theory is considered a meta-theory based on the fact that, as pointed out by Rogers (1995), it combines several theoretical perspectives that relate to the overall concept of diffusion. Within the diffusion theory are four major supporting sub-theories: the innovation-decision process theory, the individual innovativeness theory, the theory of rate of adoption, and the theory of perceived attributes. The diffusion theory of innovation is applicable to the adoption and uptake of Huduma Kenya Programme and its services since it addresses both the supply and demand sides of the initiative, respectively. The innovation diffusion process on the supply side of the public service is seen in the increase of adoption of the Huduma Kenya Programme service delivery platforms by the various government department and agencies. On the other hand, demand side diffusion is seen in the uptake of the Huduma services across segments of the citizenry. For the present purposes, this paper focuses on two dimensions of the diffusion theory: the innovation-decision process theory and the theory of rate of adoption.
Innovation-decision process theory: Within the public service, the innovation-decision process theory can be based on time and five distinct stages (Nutley et al, 2002). The first stage is knowledge. Here, government departments and agencies, that are potential adopters, must first learn about the innovation. Second, the potential adopters must be persuaded as to the merits of the innovation. Third, they must decide to adopt the innovation. Fourth, once they adopt the innovation, they must implement it. Fifth, they must confirm that their decision to adopt was the appropriate decision. Confirmation of the appropriateness of adoption decisions would take the form of monitoring and evaluation of impacts of the innovations. Diffusion results once these stages are achieved (Rogers, 1995).
Theory of rate of adoption: The theory of rate of adoption suggests that the adoption of innovations is best represented by an s-curve on a graph (Nutley et al, 2002). In the case of the public sector organisations, this theory holds that adoption of an innovation among government departments and agencies may grow slowly and gradually in the beginning. The adoption will then have a period of rapid growth that will taper off and become stable and eventually decline (Rogers, 1995). The Bass model however suggests other representations (Robert-Ribes & Wing, 2004).
Another aspect of importance is time. This is because innovations are seen to be communicated across space and through time. Time has been identified as being significant in the diffusion of innovations in three main ways (Rogers & Scott, 1997). Firstly, the adoption or uptake of an innovation is viewed as a psychological process that evolves over time starting with initial awareness and initial knowledge about an innovation, which evolves into an attitude towards that innovation. This influences the decision of whether to adopt or reject the innovation. Secondly, in a voluntary adoption environment, the rate of adoption amongst individual government departments and agencies would differ throughout the public sector. This starts off slowly with only a minority of departments and agencies adopting the innovation. The rate increases over time and eventually reaches the rate where enough organisations have adopted the innovation making the rate of adoption self-sustaining. Thirdly, time is involved in the relative speed at which public sector organisations on the supply side adopt innovations. Closely related to the supply side adoption of public service innovations is the demand side where citizens are expected to uptake the new modes of service delivery. Ordinarily, where there are no supply side constraints across geographical regions, the innovation uptake rate among citizens is also expected to be represented by an s-curve (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Innovation Diffusion Model for Adoption and Uptake

Implications of the Innovation Diffusion Theory for Adoption and Uptake of Huduma Service Systems 
The public service and its agencies in Kenya provide hundreds of service streams. Whereas the exact count of individual streams of services remains unknown, in the absence of government process mapping, the Huduma Kenya Programme, which is in its nascent stages, has selected some 45 service streams to be delivered in the service centres. Viewed through the prism of the diffusion theory, the first 26 public agencies and departments, that have started offering their services within the service centres, qualify as early adopters of the Huduma Programme innovation. These agencies and departments constitute those that have been easy to reach with information from the Huduma Kenya Programme secretariat on the operational merits, economic benefits and efficiency benefits of relocating their services to the Huduma Centres. Notwithstanding the fact that information on the supply side of the Huduma Programme has been centrally “disseminated” from the Cabinet Summit and the Huduma Kenya Technical Committee, comprising accounting officers, principal secretaries, and CEOs of agencies and departments, the growth in its service diversity can still be likened to the conventional innovation diffusion process that is characterised by early adopters, majority early adopters, majority late adopters and the laggards or late adopters.
In general, the rate of innovation adoption under the Huduma Programme can be classified into two sides: the supply and the demand diffusion sides. On the supply side, the diffusion of the public service innovation under service integration in the citizen service centres implies that government agencies and departments receive communication or some form of signalling from the “centre” so as to adopt the option of providing their services within the one-stop-shops. The application of the diffusion theory on the demand side of public services is located in the fact that the citizens, who are the service seekers, also receive information on the citizen service centres and, after evaluating the merits, opt to adopt this service stream or continue with the diversely located traditional points of service.
With increased consolidation of more public services and migration to online platforms, the ‘central signalling’ of adoption of Huduma Kenya Programme services, especially on the supply side, tends to distort the expected bell-shaped distribution in the rates of adoption. The resulting distribution is thus expected to be a right-skewed distribution curve with more public agencies and departments bringing their services at the early adoption phase. The last few laggard supply side adopters would therefore represent those departments and agencies offering complex services whose integration require more time, technological adjustments and significant capital outlay to implement. The diffusion rate on the service demand side, that is supposed to drive uptake of services on Huduma platforms, may however depend on a lot more diverse factors such as the population distribution between urban and rural areas, proximity of the citizens to these service centres, the level of information symmetry and the expansion rate of the Programme.

Framework for Public Sector Innovation 
A public sector innovation framework proposed by Hughes, Moore and Kataria, (2011) shown in Figure 2 reflects innovations that are important in the public sector, whilst remaining consistent with an international standard definition of innovation.

Figure 2: Framework for Innovation in Public Sector Organisations

The framework by Hughes et al (2011) reflects that public sector organisations operate in a range of different systems and assesses the impact of the system conditions on innovation in organisations. The coloured areas within the circle represent those aspects that are within the control of a public sector organisation: these are ‘Innovation Capability’, which underpins public sector ‘Innovation Activity’, which in turn, ‘Impacts on Performance’. The area outside, ‘Wider Sector Conditions for Innovation’, represents those aspects that are outside of the control of the organisation, but within the control of policymakers or other public sector bodies of strategic influence. These conditions describe how the system in which a public sector organisation operates helps or hinders innovation (i.e. how the system impacts an organisation’s innovation activity and capability).
Framework for Citizen Service Centres: Types of One-Stop-Shop Models 
The one-stop-shop concept is based upon the provision of public services to citizens, in one place and providing facilities by grouping representatives of the government’s department/departments under one roof, ensuring ease and speed of service delivery, and therefore reducing costs, as well as providing better services (USAID, 2011). In its brief on a methodology to implement a one-stop-shop in the public sector, USAID (2011) identifies two foremost models. The first, the single door model, is a type of one-stop- shop where representatives of different government agencies are brought together in one place, with each representative handling the procedures of his/ her agency. This approach does not require changes in legislation or institutional authorities; it only requires cooperation between the parties involved in the provision of services. The second, the single window model, is a type of one-stop-shop where only one employee deals with service recipients. The employee receives the required documents and forms and then distributes them to the organisations’ representatives in the same site, who then implement the required processes. Upon completion, the application is handed to the service recipient through the window. This model requires that the single window attendant must be aware of the sequence of processes between organisations and of the required documents.
While all citizen service centres (CSCs) aim to integrate multiple services into a single location, CSC systems can be differentiated along four primary dimensions that need to be considered during the design stage: channels, levels of service, financing, and the types and number of participating departments and organisations. The decisions made regarding these design issues determine the final form that CSC initiatives may take (World Bank, 2011).
CSC Channel Types: Merits and Demerits 
A channel refers to the delivery model a CSC uses to provide services. Whereas some initiatives primarily use one CSC channel, others integrate multiple channels into their CSC programmes. Choices about which channel, or combination of channels, to adopt should be based on available resources and the characteristics and geographic distribution of beneficiaries. Table 1 presents a typology of CSC channels and their respective merits and demerits.
Table 1. Merits and Demerits of CSC Channels

The Huduma Model and Delivery Channels
Kenya’s Huduma Programme currently combines the stationary CSC with multiple windows and Internet portal delivery channels. To actualise the Programme, a strategic implementation model that involved integrating the delivery of all transactional and citizen-facing public services from “one-stop-shops” was formulated. This “one-stop-shop” approach enables citizens and customers access various public services and information from a single location and integrated service platforms with an emphasis on high customer service standards and a customer dignity. Currently, the Programme has established five “one-stop- shop” channels as platforms for integrated service delivery: Huduma centres, Huduma Web Portal, Huduma Mobile Platform, Huduma Call / Contact Centre and Huduma Payment Gateway (Figure 3).

Figure 3. One Stop Government: Single Front Office Structure in Huduma Centres

Of the five channels, the first two are already operational. Huduma Centres are physical facilities in which several transactional public services by different ministries, departments and agencies are provided. Huduma Web Portal is an online portal that enables customers to transact public services electronically. One of the three planned channels is the Huduma Mobile Platform, which will offer m-Government services to citizens from the convenience of their mobile phones. The second delivery channel currently in the pipeline is Huduma Call/Contact Centre, which is intended to be a toll-free contact centre to provide services using a single dialling prefix that citizens can use to enquire about services offered by different government agencies. For handling future transactions, a third channel, a unified and integrated multi-channel payment gateway – the Huduma Payment Gateway – will facilitate ease of payment for government services through debit cards, m-pesa, and PayPal, among others (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Huduma Delivery Channels

Figure 4: Huduma Delivery Channels

Source: Huduma Kenya, 2016.

The Huduma Programme initially offered 20 services at the first Huduma Centre located in Nairobi’s Central Business District opened in November 2013. Subsequently, an additional 20 Huduma Centres have been set up bringing the total number of Huduma Centres to 21 by mid-2014.  By the end of the first quarter of 2016, 33 centres were fully operational in 26 counties out of 47 counties.
The service menu in each Huduma Centre comprises between 25 – 45 National and County Government services on an end-to-end basis (Table 2). 

Table 2. Hudama Kenya Adoption by Public Sector Organisation and Services Offered

The initial services were carefully identified based on specific criteria, namely: relevant services; services commonly sought after; high-impact services; services for common citizens and not specialized clientele; transactional services; and services whose processes have some level of automation.

Implementation of the Innovation: The Huduma Approach
Implementation of the Huduma Kenya Programme has been undertaken in three phases. The first phase involved piloting the concept in two pioneer service centres within the capital, Nairobi. The other two phases were made to run concurrently.  In the second phase, the government has rolled out the one-stop-shops in the counties in a manner that allows citizens access to various public services and information conveniently under one roof. In the third phase, government services are being moved from analogue to digital platforms. This effort is supported through various structures, initiatives, and strategies, including: a formal governing structure, piloting of the Programme, post-pilot scaling, whole of government approach, leveraging existing infrastructure, use of broad band connectivity/back-end support, decentralization/aligning scaling to government structures; integration of ICT/ digital solutions; and incremental service scope.
A Formal Governing Structure: The governing structure of the Huduma Kenya Programme was formalised through a gazette notice April 2014. At the top of the structure is the Service Delivery Summit, comprising the entire cabinet led by the president. Under the Summit is the Huduma Kenya Technical Committee comprising accounting officers, principal secretaries, and CEOs of agencies and departments represented at the Service Delivery Summit. The committee defines the strategic actions undertaken in the rollout of the Programme and oversees its overall implementation. The Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Devolution and Planning chairs the committee.
Piloting: In absence of a feasibility study, the implementation of the Programme used two pilot centres. Piloting was used to ascertain the viability of the concept and the feasibility of the proposed model.
Post-Pilot Scaling: Once feasibility and viability were determined in the pilot centres, appropriate budgets were allocated for the scaling of Programme to cover more centres within the capital city and other counties.
Whole of Government Approach: The implementation of the Huduma Kenya Programme was premised on a whole of government approach that has since attracted service providers from across the public service.
Leveraging Existing Infrastructure: In the rollout phase, the Huduma Kenya Technical Committee identified existing government post offices whose utility was otherwise sub- optimal to be the sites for Huduma centres. In essence, the conversion of those offices into ‘one-stop-shop’ service centres greatly reduced the initial costs that could have gone into the construction or renting of office space for the centres.
Broadband Connectivity and Back-end Support: With only few personnel in the front desk at the Huduma Centres, the system relies on reliable broadband connectivity to back-end systems in the respective public sector organisations whose services are provided at the centres.
Decentralization/Aligning Scaling to Government Structures: Scaling on coverage has been aligned to Kenya’s new governance model characterised by devolution. The initial coverage plan is to establish at least one Huduma Centre in each county.
Integration of ICT/ Digital Solutions: The set-up of the Huduma Kenya Model greatly leverages on ICT as a key component in the successful delivery of services in the Huduma Centres.
Incremental Service Scope: One strategic approach in the rollout was to start with fewer and less complex service systems in the pilot phases followed by integration of more complex forms of public services with advanced infrastructure, technology and interconnectivity requirements.
Presently, an assessment of the impacts of the Huduma Kenya Programme on public service can only be based on the available and observable documentary or anecdotal evidence. Given that the implementation of the Huduma Kenya Programme has only completed two budget cycles, and no impact evaluation has been undertaken as yet, very little solid or hard data evidence exists on its impacts. For the present purposes, therefore, an assessment of the impact of the initiative relies largely on anecdotal evidence, stakeholder observations and self-reported facts from the Programme Secretariat.
Supply and Demand Side Impacts of the Huduma Programme 
Although the Huduma Kenya Programme was established almost exclusively as a service delivery improvement initiative for Kenya’s Public Service, it has since registered significant impacts that spread way beyond the initial goals. The present anecdotal and observable impacts of the Huduma Programme are consistent with those found in similar programmes in other jurisdictions. Broadly, over the short period since its inception, the legacy impacts of the Programme can be classified into three dimensions namely: governance, economic, and social (SDC 2010; Fredriksson, 2015; Annenberg, 2005). Similar to the public service reform impacts cited in Fredriksson (2015) on Poupatempo, a similar initiative in Brazil, the Huduma Kenya Programme has registered major service efficiency gains. Examples of specific demand and supply side impacts of the Huduma Programme include: regional momentum for public service improvement seen in benchmarking visits from African countries, seamless services, decongestion of government offices, improved efficiency and speed of services, customer care and comfort, complementarity, improving compliance, bridging the gap between citizens and government, cost-effective service provision, changing people’s perception of government, improving transparency, the pull effect for service convergence, and breaking broker cartels. Figure 5 is an illustration summarizing the impacts of the Huduma centres.

Figure 5: Summary of Supply and Demand Side Impacts of Huduma Kenya Programme

Regional Momentum for Public Service Improvement: Resulting from the awards and rising global profile of the Huduma centres as models for public service excellence, delegations from 16 African countries have since visited Kenya to assess the Huduma Programme. These visits are the first steps towards possible uptake and replication of the Huduma concept and model for service delivery across other countries in the region.
Seamless Services: By clustering 25-45 different service points under one roof, the Huduma Centres effectively help provide connected government services by placing linked services within close proximity. For example, since the issuance of a voter’s card is dependent on being a holder of a National Identity Card, having the two service points under one roof increases the chances that new ID holders will also take up voter’s cards.
Decongestion of Government Offices: Given that most government offices, which have historically doubled as service points, were not designed for hosting large groups of service seekers, the Huduma centre innovation has been effective in reducing the number of citizens who visit government offices. Moreover, as originally designed, most government offices do not have the open-office plan that characterises most Huduma centres.
Improved Efficiency and Speed of Services: By integrating ICT solutions to service provision, the Huduma Centre service points have significantly improved the efficiency and speed with which public services are provided. For example, acquisition of documents that previously took days or weeks in paper-based processing now take only a few hours, most of which are spent in the queue owing to high demand for such services.
Customer Care and Comfort: Huduma Kenya has profoundly revolutionised the way government services are provided, from that of a monopoly of largely substandard services to a focus on the principles of citizen-centred services that emphasises customer care and comfort.
Complementarity: Under Huduma Kenya, all related services are provided under one roof. This makes it possible to conveniently acquire all services without the need to move from one point to another.
Improving Compliance: One explanation for low levels of citizen compliance with their public obligations, such as payment of taxes or renewal of permits and licences, is the inconvenience of service segregation. By placing many interconnected services under one roof, the Huduma Kenya Programme has succeeded in improving overall compliance.
Bridging the Gap between Citizens and the Government: The government monopoly of service provision has historically resulted in citizen disillusionment with service quality. As a result, the citizens often lose faith in the government’s ability to provide services to acceptable standards. By ensuring quality service to the people, the Huduma Programme has effectively restored the citizens’ faith in government.
Cost-effective Service Provision: Compared with the previously largely disparate and silo model of service delivery, the Huduma model has achieved expected service results, quality and standards at much lower cost.
Economic Cost-Savings: Resulting from the overall cost-effectiveness associated with the integration of ICT in the provision of Huduma Kenya services, various departments and the whole of government, generally, benefit from cost savings in a way that frees public resources for other equally high-return public investments.
Changing People’s Perception of Government: The overall improvement in service quality, promptness, cost effectiveness, and reliability under the Huduma model has played a major role in changing the perceptions of citizens on the government’s capability and willingness to offer services that meet the minimum standards. Because the model works, citizens who have experienced the Huduma service system get to believe that government can indeed invest in systems and processes that work for its people.
Improving Transparency: Provided in an open office space plan, the provision of government services within Huduma Centres has greatly improved transparency in the supply and demand for public services. The open plan in service provision is a major disincentive for bribery or rent-seeking behaviour that characterises closed spaces.
The Pull Effect for Service Convergence: Owing to its publicly known and recognised successes, the Huduma Kenya Programme has prompted a convergence of public services with erstwhile isolated public agencies, like independent commissions, into also setting up service desks at the Centres. Examples here include the Higher Education Loans Board (HELB) and the Ethics and Anti- Corruption Commission (EACC).
Breaking Broker Cartels: By significantly reducing the amount of waiting time for services, the Programme has helped eliminate rent-seeking middlemen and brokers who thrived on citizens who would rather pay a little money for broker services than incur the huge opportunity cost associated with the to-and-fro travels in search of scattered government services.
Notwithstanding the absence of an objective programme-wide evaluation for the Huduma Kenya Programme, available secretariat data points at phenomenal growth in a number of key progress indicators:
Increased Number of Centres: From only two pilot centres within the City of Nairobi, the number of Huduma Kenya centres had increased to 33 spread across 26 counties by the first quarter of 2016.

Increased Number of Services: At the start, the pilot Huduma Centres offered around 10 services. This has since increased to an average of 45 services.

Exponential Growth in Customer Numbers: From only a handful of clients on day one of the Programme, the initiative has undergone exponential growth to serving more than 30,000 customers per day by the 33 operational Huduma Centres. Cumulatively, more than 4 million people have visited Centres by the first quarter of 2016. This is also a pointer to the improved productivity of the Centres as Government Service Points.

Growth in Revenues: By June 2015, the total revenue collected from services thatrequire payments amounted to over Kenya Shillings 6 Billion (USD 60 Million).
Often, outcomes are considered medium- to long-term results of a policy or programme. Owing to the uniqueness of its model and the public service situation in the Kenyan context prior to its commencement, there exists some observable and anecdotal evidence that the Huduma Kenya Programme has already registered some notable outcomes over its twenty-month life. The following are highlights of examples of the Programme outcomes:
High Customer Satisfaction: By the first quarter of 2015, customer satisfaction levels at the pioneer centre, the Teleposta Huduma Centre, stood at 93%. Customers have lauded the courtesy, guidance and information points at the Centre.

Convenience to Customers: The establishment of Huduma Centres has ensured customers are able to accessa myriad of government services end-to-end, at one service point, and in real time without being referred to other points. Further, the provision of a convenient and integrated payment gateway to facilitate ease of payment for government services in all Huduma Centres through the Posta Pay platform has enhanced the convenience.

High Customer Service Standards: Staff are trained on customer excellence before their deployment to offer services in the Huduma Centres. Further, they are motivated in various ways through recognition of their excellent work. This has resulted in Huduma Centre staff offering services that adhere to high customer standards, which has subsequently led to a visible transformation in public service delivery.

Predictable Service Turnaround Times: A comprehensive Huduma Centres service charter has led to predictable government service turnaround times by the ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) offering services in the Huduma Centres.

New Government Brand: The implementation of the Huduma Programme has helped create a new government brand that Kenyans and customers associate with newness,freshness and high standards in the delivery of public services. This new brand marks the shift in public service management, and customers have provided positive feedback about the good quality of service and efficiency in the Huduma Centres.

Ease of Doing Business: Service provision in the Huduma Centres has contributed to an overall improvement in the Ease of Doing Business Index. This can be attributed to both the devolution of services such as search and reservationof business names, and predictable government service turnaround times in Huduma Centres.

Meeting Citizens’ Service Expectations: The Huduma Model has facilitated the implementation of a modern government service delivery model that meets citizens’ expectations around timely access to services and is anchored on new and emerging technologies. 

Achievements and Awards 
Over a short period of only three budget cycles, the Huduma Kenya Programme has shown great promise as evidenced by the number of local and international awards that it has received for public service excellence. The Programme has won at least a dozen national and international awards for service excellence. Examples of the main awards include:
  • Top prize in the Africa Innovative Management of Public Service Awards by the African Association for Public Administration andManagement (February 2015);
  • Top prize in the United Nations Public Service Award in the category of Improving the Delivery of Public Services (June 2015);
  • Winner in the African Public Service Awards in the Special Recognition category (June 2015);
  • Number one in Customer Service Excellence in Public Sector, Awards by the Institute of Customer Service Kenya;
  • Winner in the use of ICT in the Public Service, Awards by the Information Communication Technology Association of Kenya. 

Structural Challenges 
Like all forms of change, innovations in the public sector are bound to face all manner of challenges. This section reviews the main structural and systemic challenges that the implementation of the Huduma Kenya Programme has faced over its two years of life.
Latent Demand: whereas client reach remains impressive in the areas where the centres have been set up, a significant proportion
of the potential demand for the services still remains unmet.
Limited Infrastructure to Cope with Demand: Closely related to the latent demand problem are the infrastructure limitations. Huduma centres require developed, permanent and spacious sites for the mounting of services and associated back-end infrastructure. In the absence of appropriate sites, no centres can be mounted, even in the face of a concentrated demand potential for services.
Support Service Constraints: The successful mounting of Huduma centres requires the existence of other services such as electricity, broadband connectivity and roads for the supply of materials. Hard to reach and economically marginalised segments of the population, such as those in remote regions, slums and informal settlements who should otherwise be the target of the Huduma initiative, end up excluded by these support service constraints.
High Initial Cost: With the aim of establishing at least one Huduma centre in each of the 47 counties in Kenya, the initial cost may prove inhibitive. This is especially true in erstwhile marginalised and un- serviced regions where virtually no primary infrastructure and supporting services can be found.
Long-term Sustainability Concerns: The Huduma Kenya Programme currently enjoys immense political good will at the top. However, not much is known about the extent to which sustainability considerations have been integrated in the concept. The current model is a skewed one where only one player in the supply side, the Ministry of Devolution and Planning, is responsible for initial structural set up costs.
Information Asymmetry/ Low Levels of Public Awareness: The expected full-scale impact of the Huduma Kenya initiative remains limited by asymmetric information distribution across segments of the citizenry. In urban areas, for example, it is the poor who are unlikely to even raise fares to the reach the town centres where the Huduma centres are located. These people also lack information and access to ICT facilities necessary for transactions and payment for services offered under Huduma.
The Last Mile Problem: While the provision of public services under the Huduma Kenya initiative targets the marginalised and traditionally poor and hard to reach segments of the citizenry, the Centres face user-proximity limitations since most remain concentrated in mostly urban and peri-urban areas.
Systemic Challenges: Public Service Culture Impediments 
Behavioural Resistance to Change: Notwithstanding the real and well-documented positive impacts of the Huduma Kenya Programme, there exists a residual segment of the public that remains sceptical about the lasting legacy prospects of the initiative. To this group, the initiative, like some white elephant projects of previous governments, may just be a ‘flash in the pan’.

Systemic Resistance to Change: This is exemplified by instances of passive incompetence of public sector organisations and agencies as a result of the difference between the capacity required for the new model of service delivery and the capacity they have to implement the model. The unavailability of many customer-facing public services on the Huduma platform can in part be explained by this passive incompetence stemming from a lack of service delivery capacity in some government agencies.
The Public Sector Silo Mentality: Like the case with most developing economies, the public sector in Kenya is still bedevilled by the silo mentality where each public agency feels obliged to protect ‘its turf ’. Such constraints result in unfavourable conditions for shared information, data, services and facilities at the level required by the Huduma Kenya model.
Lack of a Shared Vision in the Public Sector: Closely related to the behavioural resistance problem is the lack of a shared vision across the public sector. In this case, not all public officers own the reform agenda. As a result, people pull in different directions in a way that only helps defeat reform initiatives of great promise.
In establishing a basis for recommendations on scaling and successful uptake of similar innovations by other developing countries, this section outlines and discusses the collection of factors to which the success of the Huduma Kenya Programme can be attributed.
Political Goodwill at the Top: The public sector momentum generated by Huduma Kenya Programme is, in part, attributable to the political commitment and goodwill at the highest levels of government, especially the Presidency. The Programme thus serves as a compelling illustration of the strong impact of government priorities on change in the way people receive services and are generally governed.
Staff Capacity and Capability Improvement: To support efficient and effective delivery of identified services, staff have been carefully identified and trained in customer service excellence and Huduma Service Delivery Standards before they are deployed. This action was geared at: ensuring adoption of the desired values, ethics, attitude and dedication to service; consistent customer friendliness; and according clients unparalleled customer experience. A manager in each Centre reports results to the Huduma Kenya Secretariat.
Public Sector Momentum for Change: Kenya’s momentum and drive for the provision of better services has peaked at a level that provides an enabling environment for public investment in all practical, viable and economically sustainable solutions aimed at improving the overall efficiency and effectiveness of service delivery.
National Development Blueprint: The Kenya Vision 2030, the national development blueprint, identifies ICT, science, technology and innovation as enablers across the economic, political and social pillar goals. Public investments in the enabling infrastructure for Huduma Kenya Programme are thus seen within the purview of broader national development priority investments under the Kenya Vision 2030 goals.
A number of strategic options exist to support the scaling of the Huduma Kenya for legacy impacts:
Review of the Regulatory Framework: The disjointed nature of Kenya’s regulatory framework for public sector service provision towards efficiency and effectiveness goals requires a review of existing policies and legislation to provide an enabling environment for enhanced, seamless, efficient
and effective sector-wide service delivery.
Service Supply and Demand Side Capacity Building: Low ICT literacy among public servants and the citizenry, generally, can slow down uptake and adoption of service delivery on e-Huduma and m-Huduma platforms. This option calls for interventions by both private and public sectors to mount programmes that target the user skills on the both supply and demand sides of the Huduma model.
Public Sector ICT Budget Scaling: Because the new frontiers of the Huduma model are expected to be driven by emerging technologies, the systemic capacity gaps in the public sector calls for increased budget allocation to high-impact ICT investments that would elevate service delivery from operational efficiency to social and economic inclusion.
Engagement with Public Policy Implementers: Lack of buy-in among those charged with the implementation of government policies is partially attributable to low government investment in ICTs that would provide an enabling environment for the Huduma model. Targeted awareness programmes that expose this segment of the public service to the overwhelming evidence on the benefits of ICT and E-Government uptake would be instrumental in establishing a critical mass of change agents and early adopters of technology for e-Huduma and m-Huduma.
Improving Interoperability: In moving towards “whole of government” planning for the integration of e-Government solutions in the Huduma Kenya Model, investment decisions on government ICT systems should also focus on interoperability of systems across the entire government. This would be one critical step towards breaking institutionalised public sector service silos.
Strengthening the PPP Approach for Sustainability: As an economy with competing public sector investment needs, and against a backdrop of limited or even declining public revenues, the government should leverage PPPs in scaling the Huduma model across all regions of the country. This would help solve the problem of asymmetric distribution of supporting infrastructure for the Huduma Kenya Programme.
Integrating Monitoring and Evaluation: Deliberate programmatic improvements should be undertaken to establish key impact indicators on both the supply and demand sides of the Huduma Programme. This will improve the ability of the secretariat to objectively monitor and evaluate Programme impacts.
Change Management: The changes that the Huduma Kenya Programme is effecting require significant shifts in the “silo” framework of operation prevalent in the public service.  Coupled with the “whole of government” approach informing reform efforts, it will be critical that change management efforts are intensified to secure the appropriate institutional culture focusing on the citizen and collaboration across and between public agencies at the national and county levels of government.

Compared to past initiatives, evidence from progress with the current public service transformation, under the Huduma Programme, suggests that top- level government support remains a critical factor to the success of public service transformation efforts. For operational efficiency and effectiveness, staff capacity and capability development in the delivery of quality services remains central to the success of citizen-facing initiatives like the Huduma Kenya Programme. Further, centralisation of the Huduma Programme has proved effective in the implementation and management of sector-wide service integration for results. In terms of impact measurements, programmatic improvements for establishing key impact indicators on both the supply and demand sides of the Huduma Programme will be vital in its objective monitoring and evaluation. The present implementation, developmental, and result trajectory of the Huduma Kenya Initiative suggest that sector- wide innovations can be capital intensive. As a result, such large- scale projects require direct top-level government support and goodwill, and the accompanying budget prioritisation. In addition, the Huduma Kenya case indicates that, for governments to reap the maximum long-term benefits of innovations in service delivery, they must accept present trade-offs and overlook initial costs. Overall, the Huduma Kenya Programme is a self-sustaining innovation since its long-term economic and social benefits resulting from cost effectiveness and cost efficiency will far outweigh the initial investments.
1 Huduma is Swahili word for service. Huduma Kenya loosely translates to service for Kenya.


Annenberg, D., 2006. Poupatempo program: the citizen service center and its innovations. Presented at the World Bank, E-Development Services Thematic Group; Shared Service Delivery Infrastructure: Single Window Citizen Service Centers. 30 May 2006.

Dearing, J., W., & Permanente, K. (2012); Diffusion of Innovations: Implications for Practice. A presentation at CRISP Conference, University of Colorado October 15, 2012.

Ekobom, A. (2012). Adoption of smartphones: iPhone. Research of adopting a mobile phone innovation from private consumers’ viewpoint. Unpublished Masters Thesis. School of Economics, Aalto University. Espoo.

Fredriksson, A. (2015). Citizen service centers in Brazil – Evidence from the poupatempo reform. A Project Report funded by the Handelsbanken Research Foundations, grant P2010-218. Centre of Research in the Economics of Development, Département de Economie, Université de Namur. Belgium.

Halvorsen, T., Hauknes, J., Miles, I., & Røste, R., (2005). Innovation in the Public Sector: On the differences between public and private sector innovation. Oslo: PUBLIN.

Hope, K. R Sr. (2012). Managing the Public Sector in Kenya: Reform and Transformation for Improved Performance. Journal of Public Administration and Governance ISSN 2161-7104 2012, Vol. 2, No. 4 pp. 128-143. DOI:10.5296/jpag. v2i4.275.

Huduma Kenya Programme Secretariat (2016). Services Offered at Huduma Centres. Nairobi: HKPS.

Hughes, A., Moore, K., & Kataria, N. (2011). Innovation in Public Sector Organisations: A pilot survey for measuring innovation across the public sector. London: NESTA.

Kobia, M. (2014). E-government in Kenya: Enabling Environment, Uptake and Challenges. A paper presented in the 11th HOPS forum. July 7-12, 2014, Port Louis, Mauritius.

Ministry of Devolution and Planning (2015) Huduma Kenya: The New Face of Public Service Delivery in Kenya. A status Report on the Huduma Kenya Programme. June 2015.

Nutley, Nutley, S. Davies, H & Walter, I. (2002). Conceptual Synthesis 1: Learning from the Diffusion of Innovations. Davies & Walter, 2002

Nzioka, G. (1998). Civil Service Reform in Southern & Eastern Africa: Lessons of Experience – Kenya. Report on Proceedings of a Consultative Workshop held at Arusha, Tanzania, March 4 – 6 1998.

OECD & Eurostat (2005). Guidelines for Collecting and Interpreting Innovation Data. Paris: OECD.

OECD, (2012). Building Competences And Capacity To Innovate: Public Service Innovations. OECD Science, Technology and Industry Outlook 2012.  OECD. Paris.

OPM/PSTD [Office of the Prime Minister, Public Sector Transformation Department] (2010), Public Sector Transformation Strategy: From Reform to Transformation 2010-14. Nairobi: OPM/PSTD.

Oyugi, W. O. (2006), “Public Service Reform in Kenya: Lessons of Experience”, In K. Kiragu and G. Mutahaba (eds.), Public Service Reform in Eastern and Southern Africa: Issues and Challenges. Dar es Salaam: Mkuki na Nyota Publishers, pp. 3-65.

Republic of Kenya (2012) Kenya Vision 2030. The popular version. Nairobi: Government Printer.

Robert-Ribes, R & Wing, P., 2004. Predicting the Speed and Patterns of Technology Take-Up. Australian Venture Capital Journal, Volume 131, ISSN 1038-4324, pp34-36.

Rogers, E. M. (1995) Diffusion of Innovations. New York: Free Press.

Rogers, E.M., Scott, K.L. (1997). The diffusion of Innovations Model and Outreach from the National Network of Libraries of Medicine to Native American Communities. Draft paper prepared for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, Pacific Northwest Region, Seattle, USA.

Sawe, A (1997). Case-Study of Kenya the Kenya Civil Service Reform (CSR) Programme. Unpublished Brief. Nairobi, Kenya.

Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation [SDC] (2010). One stop shops – in the service of the Population of Vietnam. How good governance can cut Bureaucracy - Partnership results. Berne: Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.

UNDP (2016). Public Service Innovation Lab. Retrieved from

USAID (2011). One Stop Shop Best Practices: A Methodology to implement One Stop Shop in Public Sector. Fiscal Reform II Project Brief.

Waiguru, A. (2013) Huduma Kenya to spur service delivery. The Star – Friday, September 20 page 26.

World Bank (2011a). Citizen Service Centres: Enhancing Access, Improving Service Delivery and Reducing Corruption. Washington D.C.: World Bank.

World Bank (2013). Delegating Functions to Citizen Service Centers. Lessons from One Window Service Offices in Cambodi. DFGG Learning Note 9. Washington D.C.: World Bank.

World Bank (2014). Changing attitudes: The key to improved service delivery in citizen service centers in Cambodia? DFGG Learning Note 18. Washington D.C.: World Bank.