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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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Using human resources management strategies to support strategic agility

Resource flexibility, one of the key elements of strategic agility, is not only about budgets, but also about ensuring that the right human resources can be acquired, developed, and deployed in line with shifting priorities. Recent reforms to downsize the public service workforce, coupled with constant pressures to contain costs and increase value for money, are leading countries to strive for leaner, more strategic public services. At the same time, it is important to ensure that budget cuts do not unduly compromise the quality of public services. This chapter looks at the various tools and strategies countries have been using to make the public sector more agile, including strategic workforce planning, skills and competency management, promoting greater mobility in the public service, targeted recruitment and hiring, using performance management and compensation as incentives, fostering diversity, and changing the public service culture.

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