Options to Overcome Challenges Workshop on Decentralizing Civil Servants Wednesday, 9 June 2004
What are the challenges? • Determining the ‘right’ degree of decentralization, and therefore what is appropriate in terms of administrative decentralization • Identifying the functions to devolve that are ‘doable’ or relatively easy, and offer the greatest impact • Balancing the need to devolve authority for staff to LGs with the need to preserve career opportunities for those transferred • Pushing ahead with concurrent civil service reforms at the center
Functions that tend to be devolved early (intermediate decentralizers) • These functions are arguably easier to do; while important, significant intervention may not be necessary for these to happen
Functions that only the strong decentralizers have devolved • Conclusion is that these four functions require the most attention and effort to achieve effective administrative decentralization
Challenge of horizontal mobility • Perhaps most institutionally challenging issue • In the cases, was a consistent concern of staff who had been decentralized • But it is also central to ability to attract & retain staff, especially at senior levels • The cases offered no clear empirical evidence for ways to address this satisfactorily • Possible options may include: • Standardized job descriptions, salary levels • Regional level civil service commissions • LG civil service cadres • Other?
Where does civil service reform fit? • In many cases, concurrent efforts at civil service reform at the center are trying to address: recruitment, career management, performance management • (Similarly, fiscal reforms may lead to greater financial flexibility) • The needs of decentralization may well speed up civil service reforms, but it is unrealistic to expect decentralized authority to outpace CS reforms at the center
Transitional issues & tools from the cases • Rapid assessment appraisals (Philippines, Indonesia) • Coordinating committees (Mexico, Philippines) • Local government associations (Philippines) • Recognition of excellence awards (Philippines) • Transitional provisions, such as temporary extension of payroll management (Philippines)