The reviews are in: Public sector management reform – Canadian Government Executive

NEWS

SEARCH

Development
September 18, 2013

The reviews are in: Public sector management reform

Decades of reform in developing countries point to four enduring dilemmas:

1. Reforms focus on changing rules and behaviour by design rather than on changing practices during implementation;
2. Reforms rely on brokering the politics of special interests rather than on serving greater interests for lasting results;
3. Reforms that work in one place do not always work the same way in another place; and
4. Reforms have a long results chain, where a weak link anywhere can undermine implementation.

Nick Manning of the World Bank says that, “Lessons learned from past reform efforts suggest that the notion of ‘best practice’ needs to be replaced by ‘best fit’, where more pragmatic, context-sensitive solutions replace grandiose, comprehensive reform designs.”

Rather than starting from scratch every time, there is inherent pressure to adopt “best practices” from donor countries and international consulting firms in the absence of solid evidence to debunk claims. To adapt on the basis of evidence means tailoring reforms using rigorous diagnostics and extensive stakeholder consultations to specify problems. Reforms must be implemented with agility, learning on the go and sharing knowledge about what works.

The 2013 IPAC National Conference probed the general case under the theme of “Reinventing Public Administration.” The organizers asked: “Why do so many reforms disappoint or fail, while others mark an entire generation? We seek to identify and understand the factors responsible for this, with case studies drawn from here and elsewhere.”

Joe Eshun shared highlights from Deloitte’s 2013 study of East Africa reforms:

• Focus – public service, local governance, financial management, health, education, and justice;
• Challenges – governance, accountability, and corruption topped the list at 72.8%, followed by resources, implementation, government commitment, timing, and publicity; and
• Keys – behaviour change, execution capability, tapping into youth, and a solution economy.

Maria Barrados, former President of the Public Service Commission of Canada, stated that reform is simply “managing change to achieve a desired end state.” Drawing upon her international project experience, she observed that often there is “too much study and not enough action.” She called for clear direction — political support, stakeholder consultation, legislation when necessary — on what is to be done.

Canada has a moderate tradition of incremental reform, featuring interrelated initiatives. It has much to learn from comparative study of international development, as well as from cultural responses to approaches like index rankings, peer reviews, self-improvement tools, and south-south cooperation.

About this author

0 comments

There are no comments for this post yet.

Be the first to comment. Click here.

Development
 
Over the last two years, an ever-growing number of organizations around...
 
Ships docked in a harbour may not be going anywhere; however,...
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) and CATAAlliance , Canada’s one voice for...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
In this episode of CGE Radio, J. Richard Jones is joined...
 
Behavioural Insights (BI) is a multidisciplinary approach that uses principles and...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Canadian Government Executive Media (CGE) announced last Friday, that George Ross...
 
We are thrilled to offer the July/August issue of Canadian Government...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
We are happy to share with you the May/June issue of...
 
The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA Alliance) is Canada’s One Voice...
 
Since Confederation in 1867, more than 17 million immigrants landed in...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
During the past decade, the international university-level student population in Canada...
 
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with its 28 independent member countries...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Professionals, managers, and executives in the cost estimation industry can gain...
 
Canadian Government Executive kicked off its CGE Leadership Series for 2017...
 
The rapid advances in digital technology, demographic and societal shift even...
 
Having the right talent is critical to delivering right results. But...
 
An Interview with Larry Ostola, Toronto’s Director of Museums and Heritage...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Canada’s top soldier said the Armed Forces continue to be locked...
 
BC Hydro said it is pushing through with it $9-billion, hydroelectric megaproject on...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
By Nicole Verkindt Despite growing up in a small town in...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Please to view this Content. (Not a member? Join Today! )...
 
Huawei is bringing back to Canada and expanding its information communication...
 
Many women entrepreneurs in Canada struggle to access capital, technology, networks...
 
Written by Tim Wacker Almost a quarter century ago, when most...
 
Written by  Brady G. Wilson You may not realize it, but...
 
Continuous, life-long learning is the future of the public service. Building...
 
Mega-ConnEX is an annual speed networking event organized by the Health...
 
Canada’s contribution to development and humanitarian assistance is recognized around the...
 
Deliberations and negotiations in the United Nations are intensifying on what...
 
The UN consultations on the post-2015 development framework are focused on...
 
At the turn of the millennium, the international community made a...
 
Budgets are statements of political will and power. They are performance...
 
Decades of reform in developing countries point to four enduring dilemmas:...
 
The Lough Erne Accountability Report states that the G8 has played...
 
While there can be no singular solution for good governance, building...
 
it’s not the most original saying...
 
With the demographics of an aging workforce and a significant number...
 
Shakespeare’s “dark comedy,” Measure for Measure, deals with the issues of...
 
Reform is almost always about developing the capacity of government to...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.3 March 2007 Assembly of First Nations National Chief...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.5 May 2008 Before dawn on Monday, 18...
 
CGE Vol. 14 No.4 April 2008 “What is a Foreign Service...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.3 March 2008 Most observers expect more than 40...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.3 March 2008 The Commonwealth Secretariat convened the first...
 
If you want to understand someone else’s position, walk a mile...
 
What makes a perfect mentor? Is it age and seniority? Perhaps...
 
Often, decisions about how to recruit are made based on habit...
 
It has been said that if everything is important, nothing is...
 
The Mosaic Index, by Professor Richard Florida, which measures the percentage...
 
Government policy agendas have long been fraught with complexity....
 
Looking at all the engineering diagrams overlaid on maps on the...
 
Gérés efficacement, les conflits peuvent favoriser la résolution conjointe des problèmes,...
 
Popular wisdom holds that the public service will need to recruit...
 
CGE Vol.14 No.2 February 2008 As I mentioned previously, one cannot...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.9 November 2007 What is the toughest job in...
 
CGE Vol.13 No.9 November 2007 Growth can mean opportunity. Significant increases...
 
The subtitle of this report, prepared by the U.S. National Governors...
 
We can learn from archetypes. They can help us lead, if...
 
Improving leadership development is widely recognized by HR leaders and senior...
 
Natural Resources Canada is accustomed to nurturing, protecting and growing Canada’s...
 
In an increasingly competitive and complex global marketplace, both employers and...
 
The transition from the private sector into an executive role in...
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
 
Some title Some author
Some excerpt
Over the last two years, an ever-growing number of organizations around...

Member Login

Forgot Password?

Join Us

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.