OECD Public Management Reviews: Ireland 2008

Towards an Integrated Public Service

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Ireland's economic success story is one that many OECD countries would like to emulate. Of the many factors linked to this success, understanding the public sector’s role is key. Integration matters. The key public service reform challenge for Ireland going forward is for the different parts of the Irish Public Service to work cohesively together, with a more integrated approach at the national and local levels.

This book provides an overview of the Irish Public Service, its fiscal and demographic context, and looks at capacity and motivation issues, improving service delivery, and strengthening governance. It also provides four case studies and a series of recommendations.

This report is the first in a series of OECD country reviews that will look at public management reform and governance issues from a comprehensive perspective. These reviews will help countries to identify how reforms can better reinforce each other in support of overall government objectives. They also examine reform strategies that have worked in other countries and provide advice as to which reforms can be appropriately adapted to a given country.




Executive Summary

Ireland’s economic success story is one that many OECD countries would like to emulate. While the reasons underpinning Ireland’s success are varied, the Irish Public Service has played a central role in ensuring that the right economic, regulatory, educational and social conditions are in place to facilitate growth and development. As with other OECD countries, Ireland has continually sought to modernise and reform its Public Service systems and practices to ensure that it can continue to meet the needs and expectations of Government and citizens. Over the past decade, thanks in no small part to its economic performance, the country has also seen significant changes in its demographic make-up. Ireland is now looking for new directions in which to further renew its agenda for public service modernisation, so that it continues to deliver improved outcomes for citizens, to respond to shifting and complex societal needs, and support business in gaining competitive advantage, thereby contributing to sustained economic success for Ireland. The approach taken by Ireland in trying to assess its Public Service as a whole is a first in terms of reviewing and seeking to benchmark the Public Service and its contribution to national well-being and quality of life. In undertaking this first such Review, the OECD provides a new and different kind of analysis that seeks to contribute both to a renewed agenda for Public Service reform in Ireland, and to the international effort to describe a comprehensive approach for public service reform. The line of inquiry suggested by the OECD in terms of deepening connections at all levels may offer member states new directions or ways to advance their reform agendas.


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