Burgas municipality was certified in the integrated system for Quality management, Environmental management and Information security management according to the international standards ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001:2004 and ISO 27001:2005.
The result analysis from the research shows that when the quality systems according to standard ISO 9001:2000 were introduced to the municipalities quite some problems emerged. On the first place we have to mention that the standard is directed towards business administration. Although the new version of ISO 9001:2000 made an attempt to adapt it to the specific features of the public administration, it leaves much to be desired because not everything in the specific character of the administrations was taken into account. For that reason currently about 20 municipalities are certified out of 264 according to data from ‘Club 9000’7.
Without taking into account the subjective difficulties which are understandable but can easily be overcome, there are some objective difficulties. Some of the more important are the following:
The municipal activity is extremely regulated with more than 150 state specifications which are often out-of-date, contradictory and even mutually incompatible. Together with that the municipal councils and the mayors pass local specifications – regulations, decrees, instructions and decisions, orders. This entire normative base is carefully analyzed because QMS has to be based on it and cannot contradict it.
There are a lot of obsolete specifications in the Bulgarian legislation in which the required by ISO procedures cannot be built in. Yet the documents according to the system have to bear legal value because they introduce rules whose violation will be sanctioned.
The municipalities have at least three types of customers (according to terminology of the standard) – citizens, state institutions and others (companies, non-profit organizations, sports organizations, culture organizations, parties, etc.) Services done by the Municipality, although with economic logics, are not business processes. The issue of the profit does not exist and the degree of customer’s satisfaction is a notion that is difficult to be measured. The municipalities do at least 150 administrative services to citizens, another 100 to the state, which are closely intertwined with the former ones and the public utilities which are the most expensive services are not personified services to separate citizens (organizations), but are done for the whole community (planting, waste collection and transporting, water supplying, etc.) and are difficult to be measured.
The introduction of ISO in a municipality is a long and difficult initiative and it really can be said that a transformation of the entire municipal management and administrative activity occurs, but it cannot happen instantly. Even when a quality certificate has been given, it cannot be guaranteed that the municipality has fulfilled all the criteria and requirements of ISO. It rather shows that the municipality is following the right way and not earlier than two years (if it keeps up the system and the certificate is maintained) the positive results can be notices.
The greatest benefit from the application of the standard is actually in quite different direction. The certificate guarantees that the description and rationalization of the administrative processes in corresponding procedures which are clearly traceable have been done. All this combined with the introduced personal responsibility of every employee for his/her activity greatly facilitates the implementation of the so-called e-municipality which is now only
7 See – the official website of the Association ‘Club 9000’.