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Public Servants as Partners for Growth

Toward a Stronger, Leaner and More Equitable Workforce

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Public Servants as Partners for Growth:Toward a Stronger, Leaner and More Equitable Workforce compiles the main policy lessons of the work of the Public Employment and Management Network of the Public Governance Committee on reallocation of the public workforce, managing competencies, and fostering diversity. Its basic underpinning is that for the public service to make a contribution and underpin the economic recovery and growth it requires modernising its governance structures. Civil service systems are at public management’s core; hence they are central to governmental effectiveness. In the current context, countries need to ensure that the public workforce is motivated and committed to delivery, and produce change, despite the need for pay restraints and redundancies. Investments in the quality of people management, strategic workforce planning, competencies and diversity of the public workforce are critical to make it more competent, flexible and adaptable in order to have a competitive, innovative and inclusive public sector. Governments have to maintain and improve the capacity of the public service while at the same time producing savings. The key issue is seeing the public workforce as an asset and not as a cost.

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Executive summary

The global financial and economic crisis is keeping several countries in the spiral of low growth, high unemployment and lower potential output, putting public finances under heavy fiscal restraint and undermining political credibility and stability. Countries are beginning to head towards a crisis of perceived government incompetence, which could damage the credibility and trust in public institutions and make it harder for governments to address other priorities due to the lack of legitimacy. Thus, a key challenge for countries is to come up with a comprehensive, long-term strategy for growth that finds the right balance between revitalising economic growth and consolidating public finances. Government should have a leading role in defining the strategy for growth, in partnership with the public service.

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