This article throws light upon the six main methods used to supervise and control field-stations. The methods are: 1. Advance Review 2. Accounts and Reporting 3. Inspection 4. Budget 5. Investigation 6. Administrative Codes.
Method # 1. Advance Review:
Under this method the headquarters may provide that action by the field-stations will not be taken without obtaining prior sanction. The field-station refers every matter to the headquarters with relevant data and other material bearing on the matter and waits for its decision.
Thus the headquarters get full control of the activities of field- stations which leaves practically no initiative to the field-officers. This method is not very much recommended as it causes delay, inefficiency and rigidity in the performance of work. If other methods of control exist, the attempt to control through specification in advance may be foregone.
Method # 2. Accounts and Reporting:
This method is a good and effective method of control. The headquarters may receive reports—weekly, fortnightly, monthly and annually—from the fields stations and thereby judge their progress. To make this method effective, it is essential that reporting should be done in such a way as may secure the same form from all the field-stations.
The form and content of reports should be so prescribed as may reveal the errors of the field officers and may supply adequate account of the work of field-stations.
Method # 3. Inspection:
The system of control through accounting and reporting may be supplemented by personal inspection. The central agency should maintain a Central Inspection Service. The inspectors should inspect the filed-stations skillfully. They should have not only the insight to enter into the interior working of the field activities but also a fact not to injure the feelings of the field-officers.
Method # 4. Budget:
It is a powerful instrument of control. The field agencies must function within the budgetary allotment and for any deviation from or excess over it, the approval of the headquarters is necessary.
Method # 5. Investigation:
This is resorted to in order to discover malpractices and corruption.
Method # 6. Administrative Codes:
The headquarters lay down the rules and regulations which must be followed by the field staff.
Lastly, the need of harmonious relationship between the Headquarters and the field stations may be emphasized. The functions between them should be avoided.
The following methods can be helpful:
(i) The officials of the Headquarters should pay personal visits to be in touch with the field staff;
(ii) Sufficient confidence and trust should be reposed in the field staff;
(iii) The Headquarters should attach due importance to the opinions of the field staff;
(iv) Adequate means of communication should be developed;
(v) Uniformity should not be unnecessarily insisted upon;
(vi) A sense of partnership between the field staff, and the Headquarters’ staff should be developed.
(vii) For field agencies in our country, the role model should be executive agencies of UK as established by Ex-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in the eights of the 20th century. To promote accountability, a Memorandum of Undertaking (MOU) with the field organization concerned be always signed.