Rethinking The Capability Readiness Of The Public Service | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Agenda, Opinion

Rethinking The Capability Readiness Of The Public Service

Posted: Jun 2, 2015 at 12:19 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

We must also recognise the depth of the capacity gap that the Ministry of Communication Technology (MCT) and other ministries need to grapple with. Bukar-GoniThus, the existing operational and management structures on ground would still need to be backstopped by programme management office (PMO) concept. With this concept, we will be able to establish enterprise standards for project management, improve programme management capability in all sectors, create synergy between and among departments and project managers with joint responsibilities with a mind to the economies of scale that eventually affect implementation timelines, make possible a consolidated financial statement that determine funding allocation efficiency, allow for quality specifications while facilitating the implementation of capacity development and training programmes that not only reduce the need for outsourcing to external consultants but also enhance the skill sets of employees, train them in best practices and build expertise in a manner that enhance organisational ability to execute and manage the interface of PPPs and contingent business models.

There is also a message here for future ministers bringing into the MDAs strong technocratic competence and best practices knowledge, not to regurgitate the old tradition of indifference to the challenge and necessity of institution building. In the final analysis, and today’s event bears that out, it is precisely their contribution to institution building that will constitute their strongest legacy. The usual practice that defines institutional indifference is that of building parallel structure of Special and Technical Assistants which over the years have not only left the civil service prostrate in terms of core competences but has equally crowded out development budget dysfunctionally in favour of payroll.

This equally lays a burden on the public service itself to initiate several programmes that would enable it build core competences of its very best talents in the lower and middle management cadres with profiles that could fill in for competency requirements of very smart ministers. This critical requirement in terms of creating core competences also makes it inevitable that the  public service must also become more innovative in harnessing the competences of expert outsiders brought in by the Ministers to enhance the civil service overall institutional capacity.

Further reform necessities will include the following:

We need to rethink the management and operations systems and processes in MDAs and its intellectual foundation, fundamentally

In so doing, we need to document MDAs’ skills requirements sector by sector, and adjust the skills composition to benchmark their skills-mix

Besides, we need to get MDAs’ work aligned to strategy rather than current traditional alignment to hierarchy

We need to do better matching of Permanent Secretaries with Ministers, with desired results and impact as the core focus

The long standing performance constraining factors and structural weaknesses in each sector that is documented after deep-seated capability review should form briefing notes to new Ministers and Permanent Secretaries on resumption as critical working assumptions on which to define praxis

Managerial system and operational requirements in performance terms needs to be benchmarked for MDAs, while Permanent Secretaries should be reoriented and specifically inducted into their requirements and working when appointed.