Opinion
May 7, 2012

Advisory committee plays it safe

 

Quote of the week

“…these changes (must) be grounded in the ensuring values of the Public Service.”

— PM Advisory Committee on the Public Service

Editor’s Corner

The Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service has been around for seven years and has released its most recent report.

Not surprisingly, it focuses on change and renewal, unerringly responding to the prevailing winds blowing through Ottawa. And it doesn’t say a lot that’s new or surprising, certainly not anything that would make the government seriously pause and reflect upon what it’s doing.

It tells public servants to take a Valium, arguing that this (yet another) review of how government works is needed. It reminds them that in the “private sector, every successful enterprise has been obliged to re-examine how it does business, manages people, and services its customers.” 

The report makes little comment on the impending cuts to the public service, except to remind the government that departures of those laid off must not be allowed to “undermine the longer-term capacities of departments.” No sense of how to accomplish that.

Looking forward to what it calls “a new business model,” it calls for a clear mission, longer-term goals, efficiencies through modern technology, closer linkages to partners inside and outside government and faster decision making and quicker “reaction time.”

Hardly a new business model: only the last point says anything remotely new. And how government would reform its hierarchical structures and processes to ensure faster decision making and reaction time isn’t explored.

The report praises the government’s social media guidelines, presumably believing that anything governments publish is better than nothing, however cumbersome and unwieldy they may be.

In fact, the entire report plays it safe and makes no waves, saying, in short, “well done and stay the course.”

 

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