COMMONWEALTH ASSOCIATION FOR PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION AND MANAGEMENT BIENNIAL CONFERENCE 2006 SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA Rising Challenges in Public Sector Reform: Fashions, Fads, Opportunities and Risks. Dr. M. Yayale Ahmed, CFR Head of Service of the Federation of Nigeria firstname.lastname@example.org Background of Public Sector Reform in Nigeria Our Experience in implementing system improvement reforms in Nigeria since 1974. The rising tide of New Right thinking and Thatcherism of the late 70s – early 80s. Revitalization of Public Administration Globalisation of Public Administration & Management Practice Current proliferation of best practice fashion and fads. Best Practice vs Fashions and Fads Universal adoption of ‘New Public Management Model’ despite differences in the contextual realities. Clarification of issue of Conception and definition of take-off point. Best practice is useful if subjected to adaptation Definition of best or successful practice by Alberti and Bertucci (2005:15) “….. an activity or procedure that has produced outstanding results and could be adapted to improve effectiveness and efficiency in another situation”. Prone to less risk if explored as part of a process of learning , feedback, reflection and analysis cycle Fashions: These are activities, ideas, materials, etc that is/are popular at a point in time, they usually last for a longer period. Fads are fleeting style and idea that is popular for a very short period. Personal Professional Reflections Challenges: Opening up to new ideas Challenging our basic assumption with the new ideas Pursuance of changes Opportunities: Working within framework of international agreement and globally set protocols, e.g. in Aviation, Telecom, etc. Converting ‘brain drain’ crisis into ‘brain gain’, Best practices in the context of benchmarking studies targeted at unearthing principles behind successes of innovations in their original countries. Risks • Equating new policy to reforms • Carrying reform for fashion • Not setting restructuring within specific focus and direction of an envisioned future pubic service • Personalization of innovation(s), e.g. 1974 & 1988 Reforms and Reform for ‘road show’. • Institutionalized resistance to reform by core stakeholders • As a result of lack of ownership, reforms die with change in leadership. • Risk of non-inclusiveness and the need for critical mass of change agents. • Rightsizing to displace and replace instead of retraining, upgrading and empowerment. Professionalisation of the Public Service The institution of a new peformance – oriented business model; Intensive deployment of information technology; Exploring partnership with stakeholders to enhance service delivery and system’s accountability. Use of human resource management modern technique Restructuring the cadres and staff pooling system Benchmarking military-type training-base assessment career/professional development management system Moving towards a new workforce composition New Performance measures Overhauling of training policy to emphasise on-the-job training, mentoring, role modeling, staff exchange scheme, sabbaticals and franchising of training institutions Moving to knowledge management system CONCLUSION Our contribution in a very specific manner our sense of what fads and fashions means. Identification of the Nigerian reform’s path as that of fashions and trend Expounding opportunities that leveraging on the global standards as best practices in reformation Pointed out the risks in the exclusivist messianic attitudes that are essentially self promoting road- shows Underscoring the strength of communication and change management strategy Inviting the on-going reform initiatives to reprofessionalise the Nigerian Civil Service Thank You!
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