The Sierra Leone Public service faces many seemingly insurmountable challenges – the “brain drain” during eleven years of war, lack of purposeful training and tools, and uncompetitive remuneration are some of the key factors responsible for the poor performance of our Public Service over the years.
The purpose of the Public Sector Reform Programme is to re-engineer, capacitate and re-vamp our Public Service institutions and workforce for increased service delivery. The Programme aims to transform the Public Service (including the Civil Service) to deliver relevant services in an equitable, efficient and cost effective way. We live in a dynamic world and as a result we must strive to become more accountable, efficient and effective in our delivery of services to the general public.
The Programme is owned, coordinated and led by the Government of Sierra Leone through the PSRU, in the Office of the President which was established to provide strategic leadership and co-ordination of reforms geared towards a performance-oriented Public sector, as outlined in the Agenda for Prosperity (Pillar 7).
We cannot do this alone. The Programme is implemented in close collaboration with our key partners – the Cabinet Secretariat; the Public Service Commission (PSC), the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO), the Ministry of Finance & Economic Development (MOFED), the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) and staff and Management of all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Equally important, the programme has been designed with substantial support and commitment from our key Development Partners – the World Bank, the European Union (EU), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), African Development Bank (AfDB) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID). We are grateful to all these partners, the private sector and other Non-State actors and welcome them in joining us in re-building our Public Sector.
There will be positive changes across the Service and we hope that you will be involved in this change process - the success of this modernization is dependent on your involvement. Although it will take some time to begin to feel the real impact of the Reform Programme, many of you are already familiar with recently introduced Performance Management systems. With a focus on recruitment of mid-level professional and technical staff (“the missing middle”), increasing numbers of you have already been recruited through the new merit-based Recruitment procedures and participated in the new Performance Management training.
These are exciting times for the Public service - PSRU has undertaken Management & Functional Reviews (MFRs) of all MDAs which resulted in the creation of new systems, processes, cadres and structures such as Human Resource officers, Internal Audit, Monitoring & Evaluation, Policy Research & Planning and Records Management. The role of some MDAs will become more defined, reducing functional duplications and re-focusing on the key outputs that will result in improved service delivery. The Individual Performance Appraisal System (IPAS) is being introduced in order accurately to measure our outputs. We still face challenges in terms of Records Management, implementation of MFRs and in institutionalizing effective Change Management Teams within each MDA. We at PSRU are re-doubling our efforts in this regard.
As a public servant, you may be asking “what is in this reform programme for me?”. We will also be focusing on Pay Reform which is long overdue. In this regard we are embarking on a comprehensive Job Evaluation exercise which we expect will result in a new Civil Service Pay & Grading structure by the end of 2014. This will not only address current distortions in the pay & grading systems but will, in time, serve as a Guideline for implementation across the wider public service including Commissions and subvented agencies. Your personal development as a public servant is equally important and the HRMO workstream includes management development programmes directly targeting all levels of the Service. With the Training Vote recently transferred to HRMO, training will be geared towards addressing skills gaps across the service. The courses available at the Civil Service Training College courses are designed to strengthen your ability to execute your duties. We will be going back to basics, re-building the Service in a systematic and structured manner. It will become increasingly challenging particularly as we re-balance, harmonise and standardise various aspects of the public service.
Reform is an ongoing process and the Programme allows us to implement public sector reform initiatives in a co-ordinated and holistic manner. It guards against duplication and wastage and maximizes our productivity. The needs of Government, its employees and the public we serve continue to change and evolve and as a result, the Reform Programme must be flexible and reflect the emerging priorities and needs of Sierra Leone, within the Framework of the National Development Agenda.
We must work better together and as such we urge you to familiarise yourself with the Public Sector Reform Programme and the various ongoing projects. Become Involved. Participate. Contribute to our Newsletter, ask questions and be the change you want to see.
The success of the reform initiatives is dependent on the willingness of ALL Public servants to embrace these necessary changes and to implement them so that the Sierra Leone Civil and Public Service can excel.
Sidratu Koroma, Director PSRU.