The Ministry of Political and Public Affairs (MPPA) of the Republic of Sierra Leone expressed its commitment to strengthen its oversight, monitoring and supervisory functions. To achieve this overarching goal, the Ministry solicited the thematic expertise of the Public Sector Reform Unit (PSRU) with the complimentary support of the Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) to conduct a Management and Functional Review with critical attention, if possible, to review the functions of the Ministry with a view to avoid duplicity with other institutions that performs similar roles and to create a “Research, Policy and Planning unit” within the Ministry.
The mission of the Ministry is to “monitor government policies and project implementation through research and engage citizens on issues that are geared towards promoting democracy, good governance and development in Sierra Leone”. However, the research aspect of the Ministry’s mission has not been functional since its establishment; therefore, citizens’ perception surveys relating to the performance of the government are not conducted regularly and with empirical evidence. In most cases, these surveys are conducted by Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the outcome of these surveys hardly made available to the government. In light of these challenges, the proposed Research, Policy and Planning Unit will create a platform for citizens and service providers to interface and jointly identify problems, as well as, find solutions to these issues. Furthermore, topical issues brought to the fore by citizens are processed, analyzed and brought to the attention of the relevant authorities by the Researchers for action. It is therefore imperative that a comprehensive review of this nature is conducted, given the importance and relevance of the Ministry. The creation of the proposed Research, Policy and Planning unit would have a meaningful impact on governance in Sierra Leone.
This report provides the findings and recommendations deduced from the Management and Functional Review (MFR) conducted. After critical assessment of the proposed changes to the operational function of the Ministry of Political and Public Affairs, the review report has affirmed that the suggested restructuring to including the establishment of the Research, Policy and Planning unit will be useful for effective and efficient policy implementation of the Ministry. PSRU came to this conclusion having identified the gaps and challenges, as well as the 7 opportunities to strengthen its functions in terms of clarity of objectives, coherence, priorities, roles and relationships, with other institutions of Government under its supervision.
This review has also helped to gain an increased insight into the administrative and operational functions of the Ministry, whilst also analyzed its structure and constituent departments; as well as the suitability and sustainability of the proposed units for delivering its mandate with optimum efficiency and effectiveness. PSRU was also particularly able to review key administrative procedures, communication and coordination mechanisms, work schedules, approval processes for optimum efficiency and effectiveness of the Ministry.
With a mixed method adopted, PSRU held a preliminary consultative meeting with MPPA during which, the two institutions noted with keen interest the institutional challenges and concerns expressed by the leadership of the Ministry for which the proposed changes will help to address. Such a request is not surprising since the Ministry provide oversight, monitoring and supervisory functions to institutions that are towards improving democracy, good governance and economic development in Sierra Leone.
In doing so, the review team paid keenattention to operational efficiency and programmatic effectiveness that are inextricably linked to help redirect the attention of the Ministry to what it can do better. In view of the above, the team was able to justify the need to establish the Research, Policy and Planning Unit; and the review of its functions with a view to effectively delivered on its mandates.