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Special Operating Agencies (SOA)
What are Special Operating Agencies (SOAs)?

SOAs are flexible instruments to enhance performance and accountability in the provision of public services. This section of the Guide explains the rationale for SOAs; outlines their characteristics; suggests best candidates for SOA status; and explains what they are not.
Over time, SOAs are intended to:

  • improve customer service, client consultation and monitoring of service quality;
  • promote cost-effective service delivery processes
  • gradually change attitude and behavior;
  • delegate more responsibility for operational matters throughout the organization;
  • make better use of information technology;
  • demonstrate government action and concern for efficient management;

The Special Operating Agency is responsible for the following:

  1. Contribute to the achievement of the SOA mechanism objectives:
  2. Dutifully implement its Terms of Reference and Management Contract;
  3. Improve ongoing performance and accountability
  4. Develop internal capacity

The objectives of SOAs are to:

  1. Improve the quality and delivery of public services where and when needed in response to needs;
  2. Change behavior gradually towards the principles of motivation, loyalty, service and professionalism;
  3. Promote prudent, effective and transparent performance based management;
  4. Develop sustainable service delivery capacity within the Public Administration.

Figure below shows the cascade of arrangements for internal contracting across the various levels of the health system. Reading from top to bottom, at the top the central MOH executes a Performance Agreement with a PHD Commissioner, which in turn executes a Service Delivery Management Contract with an SOA OD or PRH. Each SOA then contracts with service delivery facilities in its jurisdiction, either with the facility team as a whole, or through individual performance contracts with facility staff. Accountability of peripheral levels to their beneficiaries, communities and clients, is ensured through quarterly reporting to local governments, the implementation of client satisfaction surveys, the community score card system, the participation of provincial/district councils and financing committee to SOA review meeting and vice versa.


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