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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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Fostering diversity in the public service

Workforce diversity makes for a stronger, fairer public service, one that better understands and meets people’s expectations. By improving representation in government of the different social groups, diversity in policy making can play a part in maintaining core public values, increasing managerial efficiency, improving policy effectiveness, raising the quality of public services, and enhancing social mobility. Governments do, however, need to see diversity as an asset, and unfortunately real evidence of the benefits has been weak. Other obstacles to introducing diversity include the lag between political and managerial timing (this is a long-term process), regulatory barriers, budgetary constraints, rigid HRM frameworks, lack of flexibility, and HRM arrangements already in place. Diversity requires a common vision, coherence, a strong link to strategic workforce planning, firm leadership, managerial flexibility, a good balance of responsibility between central government co-ordination and delegated implementation, addressing discriminatory practices already in place, and regular programme evaluation.

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