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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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Policy lessons for restructuring public workforce management

Fiscal consolidation goals require a high-performing public service, yet consolidation strategies call for reducing government operational expenditure – a paradox that can only be solved through reforming public service management. That reform will entail a coherent, strategic framework rooted in forward-looking assessment of organisational capabilities, with a strong focus on innovation. An integrated approach to HRM should introduce flexibility and adequate mechanisms for accountability, to foster innovation and value for money. Investment in the public workforce should balance costs and quality, and regular assessment of HR policies will be critical for reallocating resources and ensuring achievement of objectives. Competencies can strengthen performance management; diversity can enhance core public service values as well as efficiency and effectiveness; and upholding merit can boost not only capacity but also morale and commitment. Ultimately, real leadership is needed for the kind of high-quality change management capable of building confidence and sustaining capacity for reform.

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