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.



Strengthening Governance

In an increasingly globalised world, the stakes – as well as the complexity – of public management are ever increasing. The Public Service is subject to more pressures from the supranational level, as well as from civil society, businesses, and individual citizens. Internally, public services tend to become more complex over time as they grow and as constituent populations become more diverse and more sophisticated. Balancing competing concerns – between coherence and innovation, between efficiency and representation, and between flexibility and equality – requires debate over values and objectives, as well as careful reflection about the institutions, accountability structures, and formal and informal networks that best promote them. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Each country must find its own equilibrium based on its values, laws and national consensus.


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