Managing the Public Service: Strategies for Improvement

2310-2012 (online)
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A strong and achieving public service is a necessary condition for a competitively successful nation. This series maps current and emerging best practices in public service management from across the Commonwealth. It draws on the experience of practitioners, managers and policy-makers to point the way to practical strategies for improvement.

Designing Performance Appraisals

Designing Performance Appraisals

Assessing Needs and Designing Performance Management Systems in the Public Sector You do not have access to this content

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Commonwealth Secretariat
01 Jan 2000
9781848597136 (PDF)

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Many organisations in public service are under pressure to improve their performance and achieve set goals and objectives. Through case studies in Barbados, Samoa and Tonga this book shows how to measure performance in the delivery of service to the public. It shows how to conduct a needs assessment in the ministries, how to design an appropriate appraisal system, how to train the people who will be using it, and how to integrate it into the public service machinery.

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  • Foreword

    A strong and achieving public service is a necessary condition for a competitively successful nation. The Management and Training Services Division (MTSD) of the Commonwealth Secretariat assists member governments to improve the performance of the public service through actionoriented advisory services, policy analysis and training. This assistance is supported by funds from the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC).

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction

    Performance management is a concept that has come into popular use in the management of an organisation's human, material and financial resources for the benefit of the public or consumers. Globally defined performance management is the use of performance measurement in shaping the performance of organisations and people. Many leading organisations use performance measurement - the process of assessing progress towards achieving predetermined goals - to gain insight into, and make judgements about, the effectiveness and efficiency of their programmes, processes and people.

  • Socio-economic and organisational environment

    Increasingly, many Commonwealth countries face a continued need to improve the ways in which public administration operates. The most immediate challenge for improvement comes from the demands that are created by attempts to respond and adjust to the new economic policies, social development strategies and managerial systems. The transformation for example, from planned economies and rigid bureaucratic structures to flexible, needs-driven management also creates further demands.

  • The disintegration of the pre-independence appraisal system

    In the public sector, performance appraisals are not new. They were in existence during the colonial era although for different reasons, i.e. supporting the colonial administration. While they were effective and appropriate in the colonial administration, they could not fit the new dispensation following the achievement of political independence. Self-rule ushered in a new set of managers, employees, organisational structures, objectives, needs and demands of the majority of people. The pre-independence administration structures were dominated by expatriates managing small number of ministries and civil servants with limited objectives.

  • The pressures for change

    While an improved performance management system is desirable in the proper use of available resources, it has nonetheless, been triggered by various forces operating in society. The need to improve the performance appraisal instrument is not automatic but is a result of many sources and factors in society that make it imperative for the public service to change. The following are some of the forces that have brought pressure to bear on management to design new performance approaches.

  • Performance management: ends or means
  • Needs assessment

    Organisational reform during the past two decades has commonly involved a number of actions. These include devolution of responsibility for managing people to departments, and central agencies adopting budgetary, strategic planning, policy development, information provision, and programme and policy monitoring roles.

  • Designing the system

    For individuals and teams modifying or designing performance management approaches, a thorough knowledge of performance management principles is essential.

  • Implementing the system

    Implementing a new or changed performance management approach is a major organisational intervention that requires careful planning and resourcing. Ownership and resourcing issues will need to be resolved at the initial stage of a performance management project.

  • Performance management training

    The introduction of Performance Management often demands a radical departure from old styles of managing and being managed.

  • Institutionalisation of the performance management system

    A successful performance management system will be an integral part of the fabric of the organisation. It will translate organisational objectives into tasks, outputs and outcomes. It will increase understanding and co-operation between employees and management. Management decision-making and resource allocation will be informed by training needs identified and performance appraisal outcomes generated by the system. Employees will enjoy greater clarity of role and task expectation, supervisor support and fairer performance reward.

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  • Expand / Collapse Hide / Show all Abstracts Case studies

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    • Designing performance appraisal systems

      The Barbados Public Service is approximately 23,000 strong, comprising general service personnel, teachers, nurses, police, prison and fire officers as well as personnel of statutory corporations. It is a centrally controlled system with a Public Service Commission and provides for transfers across the service. In addition, there is also a Police Service Commission as well as a Judicial and Legal Services Commission.

    • Needs analysis and design of performance management systems in the samoan public service

      Samoa is situated just east of the International Dateline making it the last country to say farewell this millennium. Samoa is about 1,770 kilometres north-east of New Zealand and 50 kilometres west of American Samoa. The country consists of two large islands: Upolu (1,100 and

    • Tonga

      The Government of Tonga, as part of its vision for national development, is committed to the creation and maintenance of an efficient and well-structured government sector, which embodies the qualities of good governance and accountability.

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