OECD Public Governance Reviews

2219-0414 (online)
2219-0406 (print)
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This series includes international studies and country-specific reviews of government efforts to make the public sector more efficient, effective, innovative and responsive to citizens’ needs and expectations. Publications in this series look at topics such as open government, preventing corruption and promoting integrity in the public service, risk management, illicit trade, audit institutions, and civil service reform. Country-specific reviews assess a public administration’s ability to achieve  government objectives and preparedness to address current and future challenges. In analysing how a country's public administration works, reviews focus on cross-departmental co-operation, the relationships between levels of government and with citizens and businesses, innovation and quality of public services, and the impact of information technology on the work of government and its interaction with businesses and citizens.


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National Schools of Government

National Schools of Government

Building Civil Service Capacity You do not have access to this content

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29 Mar 2017
9789264268906 (PDF) ;9789264268890(print)

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National schools of government operate in a context of rapidly changing needs and expectations for governments, citizens and civil servants. Drawing on a 2014 survey, the report reviews how schools of government are adapting to address countries’ most pressing political and economic challenges. It analyses best practices, and includes recommendations on designing and implementing whole-of-government and organisation-specific civil service learning and development strategies. The report suggests ways to align learning programmes with the priorities of national governments, to enhance innovative techniques in the delivery and content of learning, and to ensure their stable and adequate funding.

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  • Foreword and Acknowledgements

    Governments around the world are under increased pressure to become more transparent, open and accountable, and build institutions that are responsive to citizens’ aspirations to restore or maintain trust in government. Effective implementation of these priorities strongly depends on the competencies and capabilities of public servants in national administrations.

  • Executive summary

    In the wake of global crisis, public administrations around the world struggle to find equilibrium between fiscal austerity and citizens’ expectations about how to address current and emerging challenges, such as the migration crisis, climate change and ageing populations. Governments also need to adapt their political and managerial agendas to the pace of technology and innovation, growing budgetary pressures, and civil society’s increasing demand for public and media scrutiny of decision making, spending and performance. Achieving such change – and stimulating inclusive economic growth and social well-being – requires an efficient and resilient civil service able to make strategic choices and be armed with fit-for-purpose skills.

  • Assessment and recommendations
  • Setting the scene: Civil service learning - An evolving priority

    This chapter describes main trends challenging governments and testing the resilience and adaptability of public service institutions. The chapter presents some of the concepts and outlines the methodology based on the findings of the 2014 OECD Survey of National Schools of Government, developed by the OECD Global Network of Schools of Government.

  • Encouraging and supporting civil service learning and skills development

    This chapter focuses on the role and responsibilities of schools of government in encouraging and supporting civil service learning and skills development. Developing professionalism in the public service and training and keeping public sector leaders abreast of the competencies that are required for the continuously changing situations and demands is instrumental for achieving national development agendas. In particular, the chapter reviews the ways in which schools determine and respond to the learning needs of civil servants.

  • Innovating in schools of government programmes

    The tools and technologies with which civil servants need to work have become increasingly sophisticated. This chapter considers the teaching and research activities of the schools of government through the lens of innovation and the increasing need for schools to keep pace with evolving technologies. The chapter provides an overview of the modern means and innovations used by schools of government to deliver training, learning and professional development opportunities to public servants.

  • Evaluating the success of national schools of government

    This chapter outlines and explores different approaches that schools of government use as ways to assess whether they are effectively maintaining and enhancing the quality of public administration education and training. The evaluation of learning activities has attracted increased attention in recent years in the context of reduced resources. The evaluation approaches aim at meeting citizens’ need to ensure that learning and development programmes are delivering value for money and have a positive impact upon public service delivery. An understanding of the political, social and economic contextual factors that shape educational programmes and their potential for producing desired outcomes is viewed as essential in assessing quality. The chapter looks into alternatives to current evaluation approaches.

  • National schools of government: Building relationships and co-ordination

    This chapter considers the institutional foundations of the schools of government and their relationship to government, as well as the means by which schools co-ordinate their activities with other government and non-governmental institutions. The chapter suggests that greater engagement is necessary to bridge the gap between curricula and practice. In particular, it examines the relationships of schools of government with the government and other institutional stakeholders. Finally, the chapter also looks into the internal governance and management of the schools and how this may influence their mandate, activities and capacity to respond to government priorities.

  • Future priorities and challenges for national schools of government

    Schools of government are operating in a context of rapidly changing needs and expectations on the part of governments, citizens and civil servants themselves. The new and complex challenges faced by countries (e.g. climate change, migrant crisis, etc.) will necessitate a workforce with new and agile skill sets. This context has driven learning and development to the top of the human capital agenda in most countries and across sectors of the economy. This chapter looks to the issues of the future priorities and challenges that schools of government will be facing in the near term, such as the availability of adequate funding and human resources, the need for enhanced interaction with government institutions in order to ensure the continued relevance of curricula and the development of monitoring activities to demonstrate actual results and impact for the investments made by governments in learning and professional development.

  • List of respondents to the 2014 OECD Survey of National Schools of Government
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