OECD Public Governance Reviews

English
ISSN: 
2219-0414 (online)
ISSN: 
2219-0406 (print)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/22190414
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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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Northern Ireland (United Kingdom): Implementing Joined-up Governance for a Common Purpose

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Author(s):
OECD
06 July 2016
Pages:
516
ISBN:
9789264260016 (PDF) ;9789264260009(print)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264260016-en

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Northern Ireland is currently undertaking public administration reforms organised around three main objectives: improving strategic approaches, improving operational delivery of services to citizens and businesses, and improving engagement with people. This review supports those reforms by providing an assessment and recommendations on a wide range of issues, including strategy-setting and co-ordination, strategic government-wide human resources management, open government, regulatory reform and digital government. It highlights areas where Northern Ireland possesses strengths upon which to build future reforms and suggests actions for the future. This is the first Public Governance Review to be conducted by the OECD at the subnational level.

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  • Foreword

    In 2014, the Government of Northern Ireland asked the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to provide an assessment of its public-sector reform agenda. The necessity for Northern Ireland to pursue public-administration reform is explained by three factors: first, fiscal pressures on the Northern Ireland budget as a result of reductions in the United Kingdom grants to Northern Ireland that reflect the United Kingdom’s general fiscal consolidation efforts mean that Northern Ireland is designing and delivering public services in a context of diminishing financial resources. Second, because of this, public-administration reform constitutes a key element of the 2011-15 Programme for Government (PfG) and the political agreement between Northern Ireland’s political parties codified in the December 2014 Stormont House Agreement. Third, reform is being designed and delivered against the exigencies of what the Agreement calls a Divided Society – a polity marked by persistent, long-standing community fault-lines.

  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary

    In 2014, the Government of Northern Ireland asked the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development to provide an assessment of its public-sector reform agenda. Public-administration reform was a key commitment in the 2011-15 Programme for Government (PfG). To help the Northern Ireland Executive give effect to this commitment, this Review assesses reforms already undertaken by Northern Ireland and makes recommendations on potential improvements to existing initiatives and provides advice on possible new reform avenues.

  • Assessment and recommendations

    In November 2014, Northern Ireland’s Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) commissioned the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) to undertake a Public Governance Review (PGR or "the Review") of Northern Ireland (NI). Its purpose is to provide an assessment of, and recommendations on, public-sector reform in Northern Ireland that will align with the NI government’s own medium-term priorities for public-administration reform. This PGR focuses on analysing factors affecting reform to assist NI in pursuing improvements to public-service delivery and enhancing value for money. As requested by NI, in assessing Northern Ireland’s policy direction and capacity to implement reform, it also identifies areas in need of further reform that could be pursued as a complement to those already launched, and advises on possible courses of action to assist the Government of Northern Ireland in meeting its reform objectives.

  • Context: Public governance in Northern Ireland

    This chapter discusses the context for Northern Ireland’s public-sector reforms and the economic, social and political factors which underpin them. The need for reform primarily results from fiscal pressures exerted on Northern Ireland’s budget from reductions in transfers from the national treasury.

  • Improving strategic approaches through enhanced co-ordination and better use of evidence in Northern Ireland

    This chapter is the first of two chapters to discuss the theme of improving strategic approaches as the first of Northern Ireland’s thematic priorities for this Public Governance Review. This chapter assesses Northern Ireland’s capacity to pursue its strategic objectives for its people and society in key social and economic areas. This chapter notes several factors which contribute to effective public policy and programmes including the ability to co-ordinate across administrative silos and evidence-based decision making and performance monitoring.

  • Good-governance enablers to improve strategic approaches 

    This chapter is the second chapter to discuss improving strategic approaches and how "strategic enablers" can be harnessed to pursue the objective of enhancing outcomes for people. This chapter notes that Northern Ireland has in place the prerequisites for strategic human resources management to contribute to public-sector reform, but that this needs to be further developed with a whole-of-government outlook.

  • Improving engagement with people in Northern Ireland

    This chapter discusses the theme of improving engagement with people as the second of Northern Ireland’s thematic priorities for this Public Governance Review. This chapter notes that citizen engagement is an important contributor to policy and programme development and to their successful implementation. This chapter finds that a number of tools exist to support citizen engagement practice in Northern Ireland, but that these tools need to move beyond traditional public consultation processes to include new approaches such as social media and innovation labs.

  • Improving operational delivery of services to citizens and businesses in Northern Ireland

    This chapter discusses the theme of improving operational delivery of services as the third of Northern Ireland’s thematic priorities for this Public Governance Review. This chapter assesses several areas where Northern Ireland has taken steps to make the public sector more open, collaborative, experimental and innovative.

  • Northern Ireland for a common purpose

    This chapter discusses the principal findings of this Public Governance Review and proposes a series of considerations for the implementation of its recommendations. Based on experiences of other OECD countries the conclusion proposes for Northern Ireland a process of incremental reform based on dialogue with key stakeholders inside the public sector and beyond. This chapter further proposes that the governance of Northern Ireland public sector reforms, including the implementation of the recommendations of the Review, be assigned to a dedicated project office in order to provide for a whole-ofgovernment approach.

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    • Introduction to the Public Governance Review of Northern Ireland case studies

      Northern Ireland’s (NI) Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) commissioned the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in November 2014 to undertake a Public Governance Review (PGR) of Northern Ireland (NI). Its purpose is to provide an assessment of, and recommendations on, public-sector reform in Northern Ireland that will align with Northern Ireland’s own medium-term priorities for public-administration reform. Under the Terms of Reference for the PGR the OECD also undertook five case studies focusing on specific topics that fall within the responsibility of NI departments and which highlight issues raised within the main report (OECD, 2014).

    • Problem-solving justice in Northern Ireland

      This case study on problem-solving justice discusses Northern Ireland’s experience with the Domestic Violence Listing Arrangements (DVLA) based on an assessment of a pilot project conducted in the Magistrates’ Court and Family Justice Centre in City of Londonderry. This case study explores the feasibility of broadening the scope and ambition of a problem solving justice within the judiciary of Northern Ireland. The findings and recommendations of this case study form part of the overall recommendations of the Northern Ireland Public Governance Review.

    • Improving educational outcomes for looked-after children in Northern Ireland

      This case study discusses the emerging policies and practices concerned with lookedafter children in Northern Ireland. This case study explores the holistic approaches to supporting child well-being and standard setting with a focus on continuous improvement, as well as some targeted interventions that show some promise for meeting the complex needs of looked-after children and supporting long-term success. The findings and recommendations of this case study form part of the overall recommendations of the Northern Ireland Public Governance Review.

    • The governance of public procurement in Northern Ireland

      This case study discusses the governance of public procurement in Northern Ireland and its reform. This case study explores the principal stages of reform which have contributed to improving public procurement in recent years. The findings and recommendations of this case study form part of the overall recommendations of the Northern Ireland Public Governance Review.

    • Northern Ireland's Delivering Social Change initiative

      This case study discusses the Delivering Social Change Initiative, from its programme origins through to implementation. This case study considers how Delivering Social Change was established as a means of spurring new policy and programme approaches to tackling poverty and social exclusion as well as demonstrating the potential of whole of government interventions to address these problems. The findings and recommendations of this case study form part of the overall recommendations of the Northern Ireland Public Governance Review.

    • Health services commissioning in Northern Ireland

      This case study discusses the principal elements of Health and Social Care commissioning in Northern Ireland. This case study explores how the commissioning system functions and how its supports the delivery of health and social care. The findings and recommendations of this case study form part of the overall recommendations of the Northern Ireland Public Governance Review.

    • Northern Ireland's better regulation strategy

      This case study discusses the reforms aimed at streamlining Northern Ireland’s regulation regime. This case study explores how regulatory capacity can be leveraged to support the goals of Northern Ireland’s public sector reforms and, at the same time, create conditions favourable to economic development. The findings and recommendations of this case study form part of the overall recommendations of the Northern Ireland Public Governance Review.

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