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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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Foreword and acknowledgements

Governments operate in an ever more complex and demanding environment. They are facing increasingly “wicked”, interdependent problems and, like the private sector, are having to adjust to both the challenges and opportunities presented by globalisation and rapid technological change. The effects of the financial and economic crisis of 2008 have put further pressure on governments to cut costs and increase value for money. It is clear that the traditional model of the state, with its rigid, vertical hierarchies or “silos”, is no longer adequate. Modern economies and societies require a more strategic, flexible public sector that can adapt quickly to change and draw on a broader range of views, knowledge and expertise in designing and delivering public policies and services.

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