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Achieving Public Sector Agility at Times of Fiscal Consolidation

image of Achieving Public Sector Agility at Times of Fiscal Consolidation

Agility is a tool that can help governments to not only maintain but even improve public services in a time of fiscal consolidation. Financial uncertainty is not the only challenge governments face today. Changing demographics, globalisation, climate change, risk of potential large-scale disasters are among the many others. Agility can help governments meet these challenges as well. It's also not enough to be "agile". Governments must be quick and responsive in a strategic way. This means being aware of emerging opportunities, being able to make tough collective decisions and stick to them, and mobilising appropriate financial and human resources rapidly and efficiently to where/when they are needed most. This publication is supports reforms towards greater strategic agility in the public sector including the use of budgeting policy levers, human resource management strategies and ICTs. It presents, in a sense, a toolkit for reform, together with a broader framework for action, taking into account the enabling factors and potential risks that may occur. This report is also an attempt to show that the public sector has the capacity to reinvent itself during difficult times and that large public sector organisations are able to take on the challenge.

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Exploring the concept of "strategic agility" for better government

The concept of strategic agility was developed in the context of the private sector and builds on three key levers: strategic sensitivity, resource flexibility and leadership unity. This chapter looks at the interaction between the public governance approach and the private sector strategic management approach to see how the concept of strategic agility can be applied to a wide range of national and institutional settings. It discusses what governments need to do to become more strategically sensitive to emerging policy issues, to better align government policies and activities to shared objectives and the public interest, and to facilitate the timely reallocation of human and financial resources to emerging policy needs. It also discusses effective leadership in times of transformation and how senior executives can create shared visions in the public sector and sustain momentum for reform.

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