5. Strategic management of the public service in Haiti

Public service plays an essential role in promoting economic growth and welfare. Among other things, it provides sanitation services, runs schools and hospitals and attracts investment. This critical role explains why governments must be able to attract and recruit, train and retain public servants with the required competences.

This chapter highlights the role of leaders as key players in public administration reform, the importance of merit-based recruitment processes and career development opportunities and the need for effective inter-organisational cooperation to achieve them. It is encouraging that the State Modernisation programme 2023 (Programme de Modernisation de l’État- PME-2023) includes measures that address these three issues and reflects the spirit of the OECD Recommendation on Public Service Leadership and Capability. Nevertheless, the purpose of a plan is to be implemented, and in this regard, the Haitian public administration faces many challenges. Prioritisation of goals and effective communication between stakeholders will be essential to ensure a coherent approach to the implementation of the PME-2023.

Many OECD countries are working on similar issues, but Haiti's ability to implement good human resource management practices faces particular constraints. The 2010 earthquake profoundly affected the Haitian public service, resulting in the loss of more than 16,000 officials and the relocation of many others (PNUD, 2010[1]). This event has turned the public employment market upside down, posing considerable problems in terms of supply and demand. On the supply side, Haiti has found itself in a situation of rebuilding the public service. New officials were expected to have specific competences and capacities to respond to the short-term humanitarian crisis and long-term public governance challenges. On the demand side, the needs and expectations of the Haitian population have become more acute. This dual challenge explains the emphasis placed by the Haitian government on providing quality services to citizens, for example in the Charter of Commitment for the Provision of Quality Services to the User (charte d’engagement pour les prestations de services de qualité à l’usager) (OMRH, 2018[2]).

Through the Working Party on Public Employment and Management (PEM), the OECD has worked with many countries to build a strong, flexible and forward-looking public service. This chapter describes public employment in Haiti and the legal provisions that govern the main aspects of human resource management. This discussion refers to the OECD Recommendation on Public Service Leadership and Capability (OECD, 2019[3]). Recognising the need for a transversal approach to managing public sector employees, the OECD Council adopted the Recommendation on Public Service Leadership and Capability in 2019 (Figure 5.1). The Recommendation is a legal instrument to guide Members and partners in the development of a competent and well-managed public sector workforce based on effective organisation and practices.

As outlined in the 2023 State Modernisation Programme of the Office of Management and Human Resources (Office de management et des ressources humaines - OMRH), the renewal of the public service requires better forward-looking management of human resources and services (Office de Management et des Ressources Humaines, 2018[4]). Such a reform seems urgent, as the country is ranked 168 out of 198 countries in the 2019 Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (Transparency International, 2020[5]).

Such a level of mistrust in public action could hinder the best possible quality of service delivery to citizens. To meet this challenge, public management of human resources must achieve a higher level of transparency, emphasising the importance of meritocracy. Indeed, a professional public service can only exist if meritocratic procedures underpin a healthy public service culture. This meritocratic principle affirms the loyalty of its agents to the citizens and not to possible benefactors, which strengthens citizens' trust in the administration and encourages qualified candidates to apply for public positions. The reform projects launched by the PME-2023 are in line with this.

Article 236-2 of the 1987 Constitution provides that the Haitian public service is based on a career system. Employees of the public service or occupants of permanent posts have the status of officials. However, the administration can use contract personnel to fill non-permanent posts if necessary. The OMRH counted 31 contract personnel per 100 officials for the year 2016-2017, the last year for which figures were available (OMRH, 2018[6]). OMRH suggests that this trend "runs counter to the spirit and letter of the Constitution which enshrines a career public service", but in fact most OECD countries - even where there is a predominantly career public service - use a variety of contractual arrangements, as pointed out by Figure 5.2.

As of 31 December 2017, nearly 82,000 people were employed as officials (permanent agents of the public service) in Haiti. More recent estimates provided to the OECD in the context of the OECD questionnaire administered to the Haitian authorities for the purpose of this Review (hereinafter "the OECD questionnaire") put this figure closer to 71,000, or 76.4% of the public service workforce. Women accounted for 28.6%of the total and 35.8% of senior positions (OMRH, 2018[6]). As the regional public service is in the process of being established, local authority employees are not included. Data from the "SysPay" payroll system indicate that almost two-thirds of central government employees are between 35 and 55 years of age, compared to the OECD average of 55% (OECD, 2020[7]). The personnel working in the central administration is divided into four main groups or sectors: cultural, economic, political and social. The social sector accounts for the largest share (60%), with most of these employees (one in three) working in the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training. This is followed by the political, economic and cultural sectors.

The Office of Management and Human Resources, established by the Decree of 17 May 2005 on the organisation of the central State administration, is one of the main human resources management bodies, as indicated in Box 5.1. Following the March 2018 international forum on state reform, the OMRH prepared the PME-2023. Human resources are essential to the implementation of the programme’s three pillars:

  • Renewal of the administrative system;

  • Strengthening government coordination and local governance, and

  • Reform of public finance and economic governance.

The OMRH has direct responsibility for the implementation of the renewal of the administrative system and fulfils a support and coordination function for the other two pillars with line ministries, which are involved as players in the reform (Office de Management et des Ressources Humaines, 2018[4]). As the strategic arm of the Office of the Prime Minister, the OMRH must both promote and coordinate, at the inter-ministerial level, all reform initiatives undertaken in the different administrations (Office de Management et des Ressources Humaines, 2018[4]).

As noted in Box 5.2 the concept of merit as applied to the public sector means that people with the right competences and capacities can access and thrive in public sector jobs. Meritocratic governments reward talent rather than personal relationships. Lack of merit can lead to bad policies and waste of public resources. In the long term, this can lead to a diminished capacity for the public service and distrust of government. If citizens and public servants feel that recruitment, remuneration and promotion systems serve the interests of a few rather than society as a whole, this constitutes a major failure of public governance. This is a challenge for all jurisdictions, although the problem is particularly acute in Haiti.

The affirmation of meritocracy contributes to the professionalisation of the public service, which should lead to greater capacity in the medium term. Professionalisation is a way to reduce favouritism and private interests in favour of a public service for citizens (OECD, 2018[8]).

The affirmation of merit within the Haitian public administration has been widely recognised as an essential step in building public sector capacity. For example, RAND refers to the need to develop a "merit-based promotion system" (Crane et al., 2010[12]), while the IMF has called for improved human resource capacity and "merit-based promotions" (IMF, 2012[13]). Capacity development interventions have largely tended to encourage and strengthen an independent public service with merit at its heart - or, as the UNDP summarises it "a career public service, with political control but without political interference, with job security and career development, recruited and promoted on the basis of technical merit as opposed to political patronage, a hierarchical division of labour and rules-based decision-making" (UNDP, 2015[14]). The urgent need for action on human resource management was also highlighted in the 2018 speech by the US Ambassador to Haiti:

This week, the President presented to partners the top priorities - the seven priority areas of his government, which include: state reform - including the recruitment of skilled young people on a competitive basis to revitalise and modernise the public administration and the establishment of a results-oriented human resources management system (Ambassade des Etats-Unis en Haiti, 2018[15])

Analysis of merit-based reforms in various institutional contexts suggests that agreements to reduce patronage in human resource management practices in the public service serve to limit the importance of personal relationships between candidates and recruiters. The goal of this chapter is accordingly to present three key areas of public administration reform related to human resource management and to examine international examples of good practice in relation to the Haitian context.

It should be noted that the goal is not to propose a simple transposition of these practices to the entire Haitian public administration, but rather to highlight the means that promote the establishment of a competent and efficient public service. Merit is a central concept in the OECD analysis. The following sections will accordingly examine how the merit principle can and should have a place in the following areas:

  • Leadership can be a driving force for public sector reform in Haiti - but this group must be supported.

  • Formalising recruitment systems and developing career opportunities are essential to attracting talent and building confidence in the system.

  • Clarification of institutional coordination, including strengthening the role of human resources departments within ministries.

The professionalisation of the senior public service, like that of the public service as a whole, is based on meritocratic human resource administrative processes which contribute to the development of public sector capacity. This professionalisation of the senior public service is essential to limit the influence of private interests and favouritism, which are two major obstacles to the creation of a public service at the service of citizens. In general, increased professionalism has been shown to be a crucial element in reducing the risk of corruption in bureaucratic environments (Charron, 2017[16]), as well as in improving citizens' trust in government institutions and in the women and men who run them (Charron, 2016[17]).

According to Evans and Raunch (Evans, 1999[18]), meritocracy in the public sector emerges from a depoliticised recruitment process, allowing senior officials - or "grands commis" in Haiti - to develop a sense of loyalty to their peers rather than to politicians and to consider careers based on performance rather than political interference.

The OECD Recommendation of Council on Public Service Leadership and Capability provides an insightful framework for building the capacity of public service leaders. It includes the following:

  1. 1. Clarify expectations of senior public servants as politically impartial leaders of public entities who are trusted to deliver on the priorities of political authorities and to uphold and embody the highest standards of integrity without fear of political reprisal;

  2. 2. Consider merit-based criteria and transparent procedures for the appointment of senior officials, and hold them accountable for results;

  3. 3. Ensure that senior public servants have the mandate, competences and conditions necessary to provide non-partisan, evidence-based advice and truthful language to political leaders and

  4. 4. Strengthen the leadership competences of current and potential senior officials (OECD, 2019[3]).

In the same vein, the PME-2023 states the importance of competence building of the senior public service as a condition for its implementation and success. Among the factors for successful implementation of the PME-2023 is the need for "real commitment from the highest political and administrative levels" (Office de Management et des Ressources Humaines, 2018[4]). For this purpose, the PME-2023 gives priority to strengthening the management capacity of the public administration, which in turn depends on strengthening the capacity of senior officials. Indeed, a managerial capacity based on the principles of good human resources management can only be developed if they are strong advocates and promoters of these principles, capable of leading and adapting to a complex environment. In the short term, a well-functioning senior public service would provide a solid basis for strengthening the organisation and coordination of the country's various administrations. Pilot projects on the design of career management for senior officials, from appointment to departure from the public service, including competency-based promotion processes, could be implemented in some pre-identified jurisdictions. Other countries, such as France, have also set up interdepartmental working groups to define the necessary competences, for each position in turn.

The Haitian senior public service is characterised by a significant degree of politicisation in the recruitment process for senior officials. According to information provided by the Haitian administration in the context of this project, the process of appointing senior officials is left solely to the discretion of the government of the day, with no public definition of the criteria or selection process. Other OECD countries are also characterised by a high degree of politicisation of their senior appointments processes, but in this case senior public service systems combine political appointments to senior positions with guarantees that the necessary competences for the job are acquired; politicians are also held to some degree of accountability in a process that must be transparent (see Box 5.3).

This relative politicisation of appointments, if it does not interfere with the mission of senior officials, enables greater consistency between political projects and their administrative implementation. Whatever the motivation, this appointment process must remain based on merit, stability in the position and independence (Gerson, 2020[19]), merit being interpreted here in terms of competences and knowledge of the administrative machinery. Equally essential to a well-performing senior public service are the concepts of stability, which makes possible an appointment process that is separate from the political calendar, and independence, which ensures that the work is based on evidence and not on political will. This independence is reflected, for example, in many OECD countries by the existence of a document defining the managerial responsibilities of senior officials, in terms of financial management, human resources or crisis management, as shown in Figure 5.3.

Nevertheless, the degree of politicisation of the recruitment process mentioned only concerns the appointment of a few personalities, and generally coexists with more robust recruitment processes in which the meritocratic dimension is central. For example, almost two-thirds of OECD countries recruit very high-level officials (D1 and D2 level according to the International Labour Organisation categorisation) through competitive examinations for specific positions. In only eight countries, such as Haiti, do political leaders have discretionary control over the process of appointing or hiring senior officials (OECD, 2020[20]).

In addition, the second component of the strategy for building the capacity of the senior public service must be the development of career opportunities for senior officials. Discussions with Haitian interlocutors indicated that the position of Director General, given its highly political nature, was usually the last position held before leaving the public service. In addition to its negative effects on the constitution of a talent pool, such a practice undermines the existing rules on illegal interest taking for former senior officials working in the private sector, as well as the independence and neutrality of the public service.

Another characteristic of the senior public service common to OECD countries, but absent in Haiti, is the existence of specific human resource management mechanisms. Haiti does not have a specific employment framework for senior officials. Because of their responsibilities, they are often confronted with more sensitive situations than other public servants, which often leads to adapted human resources practices. This means that Haiti is not implementing any of the four measures mentioned in Figure 5.4. In addition, performance assessment of senior officials is an area of reform that has only been sketched out in Haiti, which is hindering the adoption of related human resource (HR) management policies, such as performance bonuses, individualised training paths, or competency-based mobility opportunities. As noted in Figure 5.4, Box 5.4 and Box 5.5 some OECD countries have developed specific management frameworks for officials.

More generally, and despite the existence of certain corps (senior registrars, for example), there is no “culture de corps” in Haiti that would make career prospects and salary scales more easily understandable. An interministerial reflection could be carried out on the constitution of dynamic professional categories, making the contractual terms more transparent for each public agent. In this regard, the OMRH indicated that it was working on a project to organise the public service into occupational categories for all categories A, B, C and D.

In both the public and private sectors, recruitment can be seen as a balancing act between supply and demand, with each market having its own particularities. On the demand side, potential candidates need to know about job opportunities and the selection criteria for applying for these positions. The lack of information about the job and the conditions of access to it can indeed limit the quantity and quality of applications. Whereas this could now be taken for granted in many OECD governments, this minimum level of transparency is an essential step in strengthening public sector integrity and capacity. A lack of transparency can potentially lead to a demand problem, opening the door to nepotism and cronyism - both of which can create a vicious cycle by weakening the capacity of the workforce, undermining confidence in the recruitment system and discouraging candidates from applying.

A long-term approach to human resources management is essential to the effective functioning of jurisdictions, as it helps to attract and retain candidates with the required competences. The recruitment process is not limited to the signature of a contract, but includes the steps of attracting candidates, selecting them, retaining them and managing their departure. The ability of the public sector to attract the necessary talent depends on the consistency and clarity of this process over the long term.

Once candidates have been recruited and have joined the public service, managers and leaders have an important role to play in ensuring that they can make full use of their talents. In the Haitian context, it is essential to ensure that new employees remain in the public service, develop new or lateral competences and perform well. In Haiti, where the lack of competitive salaries, described in the inventory of axis 3 of the PME-2023, is a hindrance, a brain drain has been noted towards non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and international organisations that provide better wages (Bureau de l'évaluation du Programme des Nations Unies pour le Développement, 2006[21]). This difficulty should lead managers to work on other criteria for motivating employees, such as career advancement, i.e. the possibility of being promoted and taking on new responsibilities.

The driving force of a successful public service is the importance of competences. Many OECD countries are still under fiscal pressure from the austerity waves of the 2010s, and are now facing an ageing public service. Similar problems are also encountered in Haiti, hence the need to optimise the competences of agents. Strategic personnel management can help administrations achieve their goals effectively, provided that the tasks and competences required for each job are explicitly detailed (OECD, n.d.[22]). These competences can be acquired by jurisdictions in a number of ways, as outlined in Figure 5.5.

All OECD governments face the need to recruit people with different types of competences and capacities. Governments compete with the private sector for highly specialised experience, such as lawyers or computer experts. At the same time, these administrations must also develop tools to recruit more and more people with competences in areas where qualifications do not exist: the ability to solve problems, to negotiate outcomes acceptable to different interest groups, or to co-create new ways of working. This could be more difficult than theory suggests, as many public sector recruitment systems have been designed to ensure that candidates' technical knowledge in specific areas is treated in a standardised way in order to respect the merit principle. This dimension is reflected in the debate in many OECD countries about the renewal of competitive examinations to regulate access to specific parts of the public service, as indicated in Box 5.6.

In the context of the OMRH's formalisation of competitive recruitment processes in the Haitian public service, strengthening the role of competencies in recruitment and career progression is essential. In this respect, the second pillar of the Council Recommendation on Leadership and Competence in the Public Service recommends investing in public service capacity through the following measures:

  • Continuously identifying the competences and capacities needed to translate the policy vision into services that add value to society;

  • Attracting and retaining employees with the competences and abilities required in the labour market;

  • Recruiting, selecting and promoting candidates through transparent, open and merit-based processes to ensure fair and equitable treatment;

  • Developing the necessary competences and capacities by creating a culture and environment conducive to learning within the Public Service, and

  • Evaluating, rewarding and recognising performance, talent and initiative (OECD, 2019[3]).

This pillar of the recommendation is accordingly directly linked to Title VIII, Article 236.1 of the Haitian Constitution, which states that: "The law governs the public service on the basis of ability, merit and discipline". Axis 3 of Pillar 1 PME-2023 on public service renewal attempts to modernise and clarify the scope of this article. It identifies the challenges in terms of career management and related aspects on the one hand, and the role of the recruitment process and human resources departments on the other. These are key factors for the successful implementation of the PME-2023.

Haiti's efforts to improve the recruitment system focus on strengthening the use of competitive examinations as a method of entering the public service. This is to reduce the opportunity for direct appointment of personnel where there is no clear need for a role, no clear description of the work to be performed and no reference to a minimum experience or skill level.

For example, in 2018, the OMRH launched a competition to recruit architects and engineers - two key professions for which employment opportunities in the public sector have traditionally been less attractive than in the private sector. This corps of civil engineers and architects, which included only six women out of approximately 100 men, was tasked with building the capacity of town halls in the area of construction and improving the resilience of municipalities to the consequences of natural disasters.

The issue of broadening recruitment processes to include candidates from diverse backgrounds and adapting selection criteria to ensure that different types of competences can be assessed in a transparent manner are questions that many OECD governments are asking, and which are also being asked in Haiti. The actual recruitment process starts before the final decision is made, with the communication of existing offers and the selection process. In Haiti, communication strategies need to reach more diverse audiences, focusing in part on youth and reflecting the place of the Creole language in Haiti.

More than half of the OECD countries have predefined selection criteria, which are generally available to all applicants (see Figure 5.6). This is generally simplified by the creation of competency frameworks that enable the establishment of a job classification system.

However, these procedures are prepared upstream and require the involvement of institutions such as the OMRH and human resources directors (HRD). In order to make generalised competitive recruitment effective and transparent, the chain of decision-making must be clearly established so that supervisors do not have the ability to arbitrarily impose recruitment decisions on their subordinates. In this respect, some countries, such as France, have introduced legislation to ensure that the constitutional principle of equal access to public employment through competitive examination is respected. In this context, the selection of candidates is made by an independent and sovereign jury on the basis of written and oral tests to assess the merits, competences and abilities of the candidates on the basis of goal evaluation criteria. In particular, the gender and professional diversity of the panels is a key factor in ensuring the effectiveness and impartiality of the process. On completion of the competition, successful candidates will be appointed to a post by the Human Resources Management Department in such a way as to match, as far as possible, their competences to the needs of the employer.

This level of transparency in the decision enables administrations to define their exact needs in terms of tasks and candidates to know what competences are required or need to be developed. It supports the rest of the recruitment process with pragmatic and strategic elements, while limiting the risks of recruiting outside the established procedures.

In OECD countries, a fundamental shift is taking place in the recruitment paradigm from an overemphasis on the candidate's education to a focus on competences (OECD, n.d.[22]). This means that public services must be able to assess the competences of candidates from the moment they apply. Competitions, whether for entry into the public service, for a specific job category or for a specific position, can facilitate this paradigm shift - while ensuring that the values of professionalism and fairness are respected (OECD, n.d.[22]). However, in Haiti, a number of recruitments are linked to direct appointments, bypassing the selection procedures in place and the supervision of the OMRH. This practice highlights the need for a change in administrative culture to facilitate the use of competitive examinations and to ensure that they become one of the main options for recruitment to decision-making bodies. In addition, in a predominantly male Haitian administration, the issue of equal opportunity and gender equality in the public service, which is highlighted in the PME-2023, requires an acceleration and deepening of the pilot projects carried out in certain ministries.

A merit-based public service is the key to an effective public service that serves citizens. The OECD Recommendation on Public (OECD, 2017[23]) Integrity thus encourages the development of a professional, merit-based public sector committed to public service values and good governance, in particular to:

  1. 1. ensure human resource management that consistently applies fundamental principles, such as merit and transparency, to support professionalism in the public service, and that prevents favouritism and nepotism, protects against undue political interference and mitigates the risk of abuse of power and misconduct, and

  2. 2. ensure a fair and transparent system of selection, recruitment and promotion, based on goal criteria and a formalised procedure, as well as an evaluation system that promotes transparency and public service ethics.

The introduction of the concept of merit in the public service also creates an esprit de corps that values performance and competence, thus playing a central role in the personal motivation of the most competent officials (Charron, 2017[16]). Finally, the professionalisation of the public service through merit enables officials to focus on their work and long-term career prospects, rather than stagnating at a certain hierarchical level - as is often the case in Haiti - and being tempted by external opportunities (OECD, 2020[24]). However, this meritocratic dimension of career management must be present at all stages of an official's career, from recruitment to exit, through dynamic career development based on performance assessment and training. This meritocratic career management requires a clear and transparent definition of the different positions, the associated tasks and the required competences.

Career management is also seen as a fundamental pillar of employee development and motivation to enter and remain in the public sector. This whole area of human resource management seems to be neglected, despite the existence of administrative structures. This means that although there are individual performance assessment tools in Haiti, there is no formal and systematic performance assessment that is mandatory for officials. However, it is a useful source for identifying training needs, which is essential in the promotion process. There could be some aversion to evaluation, but this can be overcome by setting up in-depth interviews, moving away from simple formal evaluation. These interviews can be conducted jointly with the human resources director (HRD) and the manager. However, they must go hand in hand with career prospects, built on career frameworks linked to grades or steps, which are still too often lacking in Haiti, despite a few exceptions such as the one mentioned above.

This lack of mandatory performance evaluation leads to a real weakness in professional mobility in Haiti, where a large proportion of Haitian officials remain in the same position for a long time, with no prospect of promotion. This lack of mobility, and the resulting stagnation in the same job, discourages the best people and prevents institutions from training their personnel in the necessary competences. Moreover, this situation is aggravated by the lack of an explicit policy on retirement and pensions, for which HRDs lack resources. Indeed, the survey conducted in the context of this project revealed a marked indeterminacy of minimum and maximum retirement ages. All government employees, whether public servants or contract workers, are eligible for the government pension plan. However, there is no mandatory retirement age defined by law. The existing system accordingly poses two problems: on the one hand, a lack of visibility of personnel members' pension rights and, on the other, a tendency to prefer not to retire in view of the drop in purchasing power that this could entail.

In OECD countries, central human resource management institutions, similar to the OMRH, have different missions. However, they are generally responsible for policies related to recruitment and promotion, the implementation of which they delegate to departments and other administrations. This leads to a more or less decentralised process, in which the central human resources institution accompanies, advises and possibly supervises the other institutions. A central human resources management (HRM) institution with a strong role and capacity enables more effective delegation of certain HRM measures (OECD, 2012[25]). In addition to the human and financial capacity and the policy framework, this means that the central HRM institutions must assume a cooperative role with other institutions in terms of logistical support, definition of guidelines and evaluation or feedback.

As noted in the Recommendation on Public Service Leadership and Capability, cooperation can only exist if there is a clear definition of the responsibilities of each stakeholder. This definition must be accompanied by verification and control mechanisms, allowing each stakeholder to maximise its usefulness within the public administration.

The first part of this chapter examined the role of leaders in managing public servants. The second part focused on the role of recruitment and career management systems in the development of an effective public service. For both to work, it is essential to know how the organisations responsible for personnel management work together. The OECD Council Recommendation on Public Service Leadership and Capability stresses the importance of clearly defining institutional responsibilities for workforce management in order to enhance the effectiveness of the public employment system, including by:

  1. 1. defining institutional competencies to set and oversee common minimum requirements for merit-based workforce management;

  2. 2. delegating appropriate flexibility to individual agencies and departments, managers and/or supervisors to tailor their workforce management to their strategic goals;

  3. 3. establishing appropriate communication and information sharing mechanisms between the institutional players of the public employment system and;

  4. 4. ensuring that each institutional actor in the public employment system has the necessary mandate and resources to function effectively.

This part of the recommendation echoes Pillar 2, axis 5 of the PME-2023 on strengthening government coordination. Indeed, this axis stresses the need to ensure the proper implementation of the prerogatives of institutions, including the OMRH, and to establish a framework to strengthen the dialogue between central institutions and regional authorities. In Haiti, responsibilities for personnel management could be clarified at two levels: on the one hand, to enable the human resources directors of the ministries to fulfil their functions as defined by Article 72 of the Decree of 17 May 2005 on the organisation of the central administration of the State, and on the other, to ensure inter-organisational cooperation between OMRH, the Ministry of the Interior and Local government (Ministère de l’Intérieur et des Collectivités Territoriales - MICT) and the Higher Council for the Administration of the Public Service (Conseil supérieur de l’administration de la function publique - CSAFP). The latter is responsible for examining general issues relating to the modernisation of the public service, but the scope, results and current status of this body are poorly defined and invested.

The organisational responsibility for personnel management in the Haitian public service at the central level is officially the responsibility of the OMRH. Within the MICT, the Local Government Directorate (Direction des Collectivités Territoriales – DCT) is the administrative and technical link between the State and local governments. This Directorate is responsible, in particular, for steering the executive's policy on decentralisation, deconcentration of State administrative services and local development. This includes planning and organising training courses for regional managers in cooperation with the competent bodies.

Human resources directors play an essential role in the supervision of all stages of a person's career and in the management of the human resources of the State and its administrations. It is accordingly essential that this function be valued and respected by line managers. Within OECD membership, the role of HRDs has evolved considerably over the past decades, from a primarily salary function to a range of responsibilities related to work organisation, career development and training and change management. As noted in Box 5.7, several OECD countries have put in place initiatives to support and strengthen the HR sector. This development justifies the importance of HRDs in the public service and the centrality that their function should have. However, this role seems to be clearly devalued in Haiti.

HRDs in Haiti operate in a conflicting environment, often subject to political pressures and the existing regulatory framework. They are not protected and can be pressured or transferred if they do not obey the demands of their superiors, despite a law on arbitrary dismissal. Human resources departments can accordingly be purely formal and not be able to fulfil their missions. It accordingly seems urgent in Haiti to provide HRDs with a status that protects them from potential pressures, to create an independent body responsible for protecting their rights, those of officials, and the meritocratic aspect of the system, while depoliticising the HR function, as is the case for public accountants. At the same time, Haiti could consider supporting HRDs with professional training on modern human resource management methods. This is particularly important for HRDs so that they can implement development practices for public servants and support large officials in developing and implementing HR strategies.

The OMRH thus finds itself in a position wherein it can neither act as the manager of a unified national human resources policy nor as the overseer of further coordination of jurisdictions in the HR field. Nevertheless, examples of cooperation between HRDs and OMRH exist and could be replicated and intensified. This is the case, for example, of the competition for departmental commissioners, which was conducted by HRDs with the support of the OMRH throughout.

Another area of potential collaboration between the OMRH and the HRDs concerns the poorly developed training offer of the Haitian public service. These two entities must be able to work together, sometimes with the training directorates of certain ministries, to allocate clear budget lines for the entire public service, based on the competences needs of each ministry.

Figure 5.7 illustrates how OECD countries structure their institutional responsibilities for learning and development. The distribution is fairly even between countries where a single government institution is responsible for learning and development (e.g. Italy), countries where responsibility is delegated to sectoral ministries (e.g. Denmark), and countries such as France, where there is strong coordination between different central and federal levels. In Haiti, greater coordination of learning and development efforts across ministries could help address common needs while reducing costs through economies of scale.

In its function of overseeing the management of the State's human resources, the OMRH must accordingly strengthen its capacity to collaborate with other institutions. Cooperation between OMRH and the Ministry of the Interior and Local Government (MICT) has paved the way for the creation of a regional public service in Haiti. The experience of the OECD in this area can be instructive, particularly with regard to administrative competence building in the context of decentralisation (see Box 5.8). Haiti is in the process of setting up its regional public service. Equally important, at the local and regional level, is to strengthen merit by analysing the accountability mechanisms of leaders to the people, the way they manage the recruitment of local personnel and key human resource responsibilities such as training and development.

In France, specific institutions have been created to oversee and manage the various aspects of recruitment and training at the subnational level, and to promote public service in the regions as a career opportunity.

  • The National Centre for Local public service (Centre national de la fonction publique territoriale - CNFPT) is a decentralised joint public institution whose training and employment missions help to support local authorities and their employees in their public service mission. It has three main missions: training, comment and the organisation of competitions for the A+ job categories. The National Institute for Local Studies (Institut national des études territoriales - INET), in conjunction with the CNFPT's Competitive Examinations and Executive Mobility Department, supports executives throughout their professional careers: training guidance, career advice and mobility assistance.

  • INET also contributes to the collective reflection on regional issues by producing studies and books, or by organising events. The INET provides initial training for successful candidates in the competitions for administrators, chief engineers, library curators and heritage curators, as well as continuing education for local authority senior managers in all fields: administrative, technical, cultural and medico-social.

  • The management centres (centres de gestion): these are local public establishments of an administrative nature, managed by regional employers and created at departmental level (or interdepartmental level for the Ile-de-France region). They are entrusted with certain tasks relating to the recruitment and management of local level personnel, without relieving local authorities of their decision-making powers. Rather, their role is to promote, through various forms of intervention, the uniform and equitable application of the regional public service statute. The centres are primarily made up of the local authorities that are "affiliated" to them. This membership, which is accompanied by the payment of a fee, is compulsory for the smallest local authorities, i.e. municipalities and public establishments employing less than 350 officials, and optional for other local authorities. In principle, non-affiliated local authorities, i.e. primarily the larger ones, perform the tasks assigned to the centres by law. However, they could choose to use the centres for some of these tasks. In addition, some of the compulsory tasks carried out by the centres concern all local authorities, whether or not they are affiliated.

It is necessary for the success of the PME-2023 to start modestly with the simplest solutions, which seem "within reach", while keeping in mind long-term changes. For instance, political appointments can work provided there are clear rules about the goals and criteria for appointment, so that political appointees are supported by an independent and professional senior public service to which they are accountable. In the short term, specialised training could be provided to senior managers, and in the longer term, a body could be created to make recommendations on the direction and management of this group. With respect to recruitment, a clear priority in the transition to an entry-level competition is to ensure that the examination tests the required competencies and that those responsible for assessment have the independence to make decisions based on merit. This goal can only be achieved if the responsibilities of each actor in public personnel management are clearly defined.


[15] Ambassade des Etats-Unis en Haiti (2018), Discours de l’Ambassadeur Sison à la Cérémonie d’Ouverture du Forum International sur la Réforme de l’Etat, https://ht.usembassy.gov/fr/discours-de-lambassadeur-sison-la-ceremonie-douverture-du-forum-international-sur-la-reforme-de-letat/.

[21] Bureau de l’évaluation du Programme des Nations Unies pour le Développement (2006), Evaluation of UNDP Assistance to conflict-affected countries: Case study Haiti, https://www.oecd.org/countries/haiti/44826404.pdf.

[16] Charron, N. (2017), “Careers, Connections, and Corruption Risks: Investigating the Impact of Bureaucratic Meritocracy on Public Procurement Processes”, The Journal of Politics, http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/687209.

[17] Charron, N. (2016), “Measuring Meritocracy in the Public Sector in Europe: a New National and Sub-National Indicator”, European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10610-016-9307-0.

[9] Cortazar, J., J. Fuenzalida and M. Lafuente (2016), Sistemas de mérito para la selección de directivos públicos: ¿Mejor desempeño del Estado?: Un estudio exploratorio, http://dx.doi.org/10.18235/0000323.

[12] Crane, K. et al. (2010), Building a More Resilient Haitian State, RAND Corporation, https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/10.7249/mg1039srf-cc.18.pdf?refreqid=excelsior%3A6cc9360645ab4b484a8bb86cfc967d46.

[10] Dahlstrom, C., V. Lapuente and J. Teorell (2011), “The merit of meritocratization: Politics, bureaucracy, and the institutional deterrents of corruption”, Political Research Quarterly, Vol. 65/3, pp. 656-668, http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/1065912911408109.

[18] Evans, R. (1999), “Bureaucracy and Growth: A Cross-National Analysis of the Effects of “Weberian” State Structures on Economic Growth”, American Sociological Review, Vol. 64/5, pp. pp. 748-765, http://www.jstor.org/stable/2657374.

[19] Gerson, D. (2020), “Leadership pour une haute fonction publique performante: Vers un système de haute fonction publique dans les pays de l’OCDE”, No. 40, Éditions OCDE, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/f87e7397-fr.

[13] IMF (2012), Haiti: Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper—Progress Report, https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/scr/2012/cr1275.pdf.

[11] Meyer-Sahling, J. and K. Mikkelsen (2016), “Civil Service Laws, Merit, Politicization, and Corruption: The Perspective of Public Officials from Five East European Countries”, Public Administration, Vol. 94/4, pp. 1105-1123, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/padm.12276.

[7] OECD (2020), Enquête sur la composition des effectifs des administrations centrales ou fédérales.

[24] OECD (2020), Manuel de l’OCDE sur l’intégrité publique, Éditions OCDE, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/84581cb5-fr.

[20] OECD (2020), Module sur le leadership de l’enquête sur le leadership et les aptitudes de la fonction publique.

[3] OECD (2019), Recommendation of the Council on Public Service Leadership and Capability, http://dx.doi.org/OECD/LEGAL/0445.

[8] OECD (2018), OECD Public Governance Reviews: Paraguay: Pursuing National Development through Integrated Public Governance, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264301856-en.

[23] OECD (2017), Recommandation de l’OCDE sur l’intégrité publique OECD/LEGAL/0435.

[25] OECD (2012), Developing Human Resource Management Strategies to Support Strategic Agility in the Public Sector.

[22] OECD (n.d.), OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://dx.doi.org/10.1787/22190414.

[4] Office de Management et des Ressources Humaines (2018), Programme de modernisation de l’Etat 2018-2023, http://www.omrh.gouv.ht/Media/2-DocumentsStrategiques/fp/PME-2023_20190313_09h31.pdf.

[2] OMRH (2018), Charte d’engagement pour les prestations des services de qualité à l’usager, http://www.omrh.gouv.ht/Media/2-DocumentsStrategiques/fp/CHARTE_D_ENGAGEMENT_POUR_LES_PRESTATIONS_DE_SERVICES.pdf.

[6] OMRH (2018), Rapport sur les effectifs de la fonction publique en Haiti, http://www.omrh.gouv.ht/Media/news/rfph_201802.pdf.

[1] PNUD (2010), 1 Year Later, https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/crisis-prevention-and-recovery/haiti_one_year_later.html.

[5] Transparency International (2020), “Corruption Perceptions Index”, Website accessed 29 January 2020, https://www.transparency.org/en/cpi/2019/index/hti#.

[14] UNDP (2015), Restore or reform? UN support to core government functions in the aftermath of conflict, https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/librarypage/crisis-prevention-and-recovery/Executive_Summary_Public_Administration.html.

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