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Civil service reform . Some key issues for consideration when assisting civil service personnel management reforms in developing countries Presentation at the 1 st UNDP Global Sub-Practice meeting on Public Administration reform . Objective of the Presentation.

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Civil service reform

Some key issues for consideration when assisting civil service personnel management reforms in developing countries

Presentation at the 1st UNDP Global Sub-Practice meeting on Public Administration reform

Bangkok SURF

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Objective of the Presentation

  • Political, economic, social and cultural dimensions

  • Unique experience of Timor-Leste

  • 5 key issues in civil service personnel management:

    • Scope of civil service

    • Classification system: man-in-rank or job-in-rank

    • Pay and compensation policies

    • Ethics and Integrity

    • Institutional aspects: centralised – decentralised

Bangkok SURF

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Scope of the Civil service

  • Public service – diversity of employment regimes

  • Traditional approach: permanent positions, tenure of office and job security

  • Today distinction between civil service law and labor law is softening (NZ, Australia, Switzerland)

  • New Public Management (e.g. Samoa)

  • Timor Leste: initially fully integrated system

  • Key issue: local government

Bangkok SURF

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Personnel ranking system

Man-in-rank system

Employee is rated (Personnel characteristics)

Grade is connected to the person

Equal pay for comparable qualifications and seniority

Close career system

France, Japan, Belgium, Lusophone countries

Position system

Job-in-rank system

Job is rated (Job characteristics)

Grade is connected to the job

Equal pay for comparable jobs

Open system

UK, NZ, Australia, Canada

Foundation: position system or personnel ranking system?

Bangkok SURF

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Personnel ranking system – position system - implications

  • Position system is more complex (job analysis, job evaluation, job classification)

  • But two systems are not mutually exclusive

  • Usually one model dominates but elements of other system can be incorporated

    • Restrictions on external recruitment for senior positions

    • Examples of position systems that are closed career systems

    • Senior Executive Service

    • Personnel ranking systems that incorporate professional classification

Bangkok SURF

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Key Problems in developing countries

Inadequate pay

Non-transparent remuneration systems

Unclear link pay-responbilities

Unclear link pay-performance

Insufficient pay to retain qualified staff

Key elements

Compression ratio

Public sector versus private sector wages

Bonuses and allowances

Pay and compensation policies

Bangkok SURF

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Compression ratio

  • Comparison between lowest and highest pay

  • Reforms are politically and culturally sensitive

  • Main problem: senior ranks

  • Solutions

    • Bonuses and allowances

    • Senior Executive Service

Bangkok SURF

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Public private sector wages

  • In general public wages are 70-80% of private sector wages

  • Comparable - not necessarily the same (public sector has other advantages)

  • Problem: NGOs, projects, embassies

  • Need for regular monitoring

Bangkok SURF

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Bonuses and allowances

  • WB: No automatic relation between bonuses and effectiveness

  • Foundation is the performance appraisal system

  • Monetisation of benefits: rationalisation and transparency

  • Compensation policy and corruption

  • Timor Leste: study tours (Malaysia, Singapore, Australia) – decision is still pending

Bangkok SURF

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Ethics and integrity

  • Past decade increased focus on ethics

    • Reaction to NPM

    • Restoring trust in government

    • Changing values in society and

  • Two key issues for discussion:

    • Merit principle in recruitment and promotion

    • Conflicts of Interest

Bangkok SURF

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Merit system

Appointment of the best through competitive recruitment and promotion

Impartiality – neutrality

Allows for continuity and neutrality

Rights-based approach: Non-discrimination/equal access

Reduces risk of nepotism

Merit versus patronage

  • Patronage

    • Appointment of the politically appropriate candidate

    • consequence of democracy

    • Regular rotation of policy makers (will of the people)

    • Allows for flexibility and allows to avoid in-breeding

    • Equal access

    • Risk of nepotism

Bangkok SURF

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UNDP’s position: hybrid system

  • Accept that patronage is unavoidable at senior levels, better to regulate

  • Principle:

    • Politically inspired selection of senior level appointments should also be linked to merit selection, embedded in a strong ethical framework and counterbalanced by an effective system of checks and balances.

    • The fundamental principle is to reduce the discretionary power of politicians over recruitment and promotions (e.g. Pool system)

  • Timor Leste: risk

Bangkok SURF

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Conflicts of interest

  • Cannot be avoided, but must be managed

  • Range of measures (civil service act, code of conduct/ethics, asset declaration, institutional arrangements (e.g. Nolan commission), restricted use of information

  • Special case: post-retirement appointments in the private sector (e.g. Japan)

  • Timor-Leste: risks

Bangkok SURF

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Measures taken in Timor Leste

  • Civil service Act (participatory process)

    • Code of conduct & principles of employment

    • Rights and obligations of civil servants

    • Institutional aspects

  • Manual of HRM

  • Help desk in the NDPS

  • Leadership Development centre

  • Mainstreaming ethics in training programs

  • Institutional issues

Bangkok SURF

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Institutional arrangements

  • Machinery for managing the civil service personnel system: different institutions involved - diversity

  • Differences between the Anglo-Saxon system and the civil law system

  • Roles and responsibilities of different agencies (oversight, policy, monitoring, finance and establishment control)

    • Annexes to the paper

    • Bangkok SURF work in progress

  • Centralised system or decentralised system

Bangkok SURF

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Main of HRM functions executed at central level

Economies of scale and skill development in key agencies

Establishment control : ex ante control mechanisms

Reduces risks of nepotism

Decisions taken by outsiders

Slow decision-making process

In post-conflict: unifying factor

Centralised versus decentralised system

  • Decentralised

    • Functions devolved to ministries or special agencies

    • Loss of economies of scale, corporate policy/values

    • Ex post control mechanisms risk of staff increases

    • Risk of nepotism

    • Decisions taken by managers, speed, based on perceived need

Bangkok SURF

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Conclusion Institutional Arrangements

  • Decentralised systems needs robust personnel management system

  • Administrative discipline is required (e.g. Laos)

  • Solution: hybrid system: strong central agency and certain functions delegated. At central level:

    • Recruitment for senior levels

    • Establishment control

    • Monitoring and appeals

    • Often ex ante controls remain

  • Timor leste: hybrid system. Intensive training of HRM focal points

Bangkok SURF

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  • Example of TL highlights political, social, economic, cultural dimensions of civil service reform

  • Peer reviews confirmed stereotype approach

  • Caution when implementing reforms: assess political, social, economic and cultural climate

  • Pilots

  • Avoid copying HRM approaches from developed countries: foundations need to be in place – cultural aspects (e.g. Samoa) .

Bangkok SURF