Why is it important

Though the day-to-day operations and maintenance (O&M) of the toilets might be handed over to private enterprises for a fixed term under a contractual framework, the municipality needs to regularly monitor the operators’ performance to ensure prescribed service standards are met. While a contract can be drafted with well-meaning intentions, it only becomes an effective management and service delivery tool if monitored and enforced in the right spirit. Indeed, effective monitoring is crucial to the project’s success.

Monitoring success factorsHow to go about it

The onus of monitoring is on the municipality. It will need to manage the different contracts (e.g. one contract per cluster). Municipalities are advised to put in place a robust monitoring framework and tools to keep an eye on user perceptions and the operator’s service delivery, thereby ensuring and controlling the PT’s effective planning and management. Monitoring can be done internally (through the municipality), by the community or outsourced. The development of the monitoring framework should involve the following steps:

1. Define service standards

The operation of any toilet depends on the performance standards that need to be maintained. Standards are defined using toilet operations guidelines (e.g. CPHEEO), universal standards, inputs from user perception surveys and by referring to best practices. Performance standards decide the operational aspects and model for running toilets to the defined performance levels (e.g. manpower optimization by sharing cleaners among 2–3 toilets during non-peak hours), which in turn decides the cluster and contracts to be monitored.

2. Formulate performance indicators as well as a service charter and commitments

Based on the defined service standards, the performance parameters and indicators need to be formulated (e.g. litter bins and mirrors to be cleaned x times per day). Indicators should be simple, objectively verifiable and measurable. They need to link to non-performance under the contract and associated remedial actions. The municipality should develop and update the service charter of the contract to ensure and control the operator’s service delivery (e.g. gender access obligations).

  1. Build the municipality staff’s capacities to administer the contracts
  2. Establish a framework for efficient monitoring

The monitoring framework helps examine the progress and quality of PTM at two levels:

  1. Ward level – Actual services: User satisfaction and inspection of sanitation facilities. Involves city, operator, user and community
  2. City level – Compliance to contract agreement: City analyses the data captured at ward level and enforces contract conditions for O&M and if applicable construction on the operator (operational standards and performance benchmarks and penalties). Involves city and operator.

Monitoring framework Monitoring using the online asset inventory

5. Populate and monitor inventory (supply enquiry matrix)

Data collected should be captured and monitored in the online asset inventory. 

6. Plan service delivery and take corrective measures if needed

Monitoring allows the municipality to assess if the project is on schedule in meeting its objectives and performance targets and, if required, to take corrective action. The inventory data show the PT status – whether indicators are met or not (performance appreciation or complaint) – and as such facilitates decision making:

  • Complaints Page: Overview of all reported issues, which can also be viewed on a map (red circle icons that when clicked provide a complete list of issues and the basic PT details).
  • Update and Address Issue Page: The user can request or initiate corrective measures for a specific toilet (select toilet, issues and sent complaint or remark).



Application On Ground


The inventory analysis showed most toilets lacked basic facilities (user perception survey). With access to toilets being a basic human right, Shimla decided to develop performance standards that are the same for each toilet irrespective of its revenue potential, user type or any other aspect of toilet: (1) 100% cleanliness in and around toilet throughout day; (2) Operational from 6am–8pm (3) Availability of running water for flushing and ablution; liquid soap and toiletries; lights (inside, outside, on access road); exhaust fans, hand dryers, paper napkins; complaint register; user charge display (collection as per agreed rates); cleaning time sheets (filled by cleaner); (3) All electrical fixtures working (timely replacement); (4) Women’s toilets with separate cleaner; (4) Regular maintenance of all plumbing, floors, pump, etc. (replacement if required); (5) Half-yearly painting; and (6) Data collection on water usage, footfalls, etc. as specified by Municipal Cooperation Shimla (MCS) in contract


As part of the monitoring framework, TMC developed a Quarterly Reporting Template to be submitted by the operator to TMC every 3 months, providing information on: (1) number of users per day – male and female, type of usage; (2) User fee collected for each user (number and type) and advertisement revenue; (3) Water consumed, water supplied by TMC and quantity required for next 3 months; (4) report on performance standard (achievement) for each toilet and copy of inspection cards; (5) Repair or maintenance work carried per toilet and respective cost incurred; (6) Manpower deployed, number of shifts and gender breakdown; (7) update asset inventory with all repairs and replacements; (8) Number of complaints and suggestions received, type and resolution; (9) Other as by TMC.