copy the linklink copied! Chapter 1. Towards people-centric public services

copy the linklink copied! Introduction

Along with debt accumulation and economic uncertainty, the 2008 economic crisis provoked discontent among citizens. People wonder whether governments are truly working for the public interest or only for just a few. Such disenchantment is eroding the foundations of democratic systems in OECD countries and beyond and requires urgent action to strengthen the legitimacy of public institutions. Although in many OECD countries, there are signs that people’s trust in their government is finally improving after deteriorating since the crisis, in others, trust remains stubbornly lower than in 2007. This chapter argues that by taking a people-centric approach to policy making and service delivery, governments can rebuild trust in the public administration, improve the effectiveness of public action and better respond to the global and domestic challenges OECD countries face.

Population aging is modifying both the structure of the labour market and the demand for public services in many OECD countries. Prolonged life expectancy has resulted in longer periods of retirement: in 1970, a man would spend an average of 11 years, and a woman 15 years in retirement; by 2016 they would spend 18 and 22 years, respectively (OECD, 2017[1]). With fertility rates decreasing in most countries, pension expenditures are expected to increase and contributions to shrink. Most countries have enacted reforms to contain pressures on public finances, such as increasing retirement ages and limiting early retirements. However, costs are also expected to rise in other sectors, such as health care, where spending is expected to reach 10.2% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 (Lorenzoni et al., 2019[2]), up from 7.8% in 2017.

A large share of the population is vulnerable to financial shocks (e.g. long illness or job loss). Income gaps have widened in most OECD countries in the past two decades, and there has been a reduction of redistribution through taxes and transfers (Causa, Browne and Vindics, 2019[3]). Across OECD countries, the wealthiest 10% of households hold 52% of total net wealth, while the 10% of people at the top of the income distribution hold 24% of total income (Balestra and Tonkin, 2018[4]). This entails that wealth concentration (e.g. ownership of economic capital, such as real estate) is now twice the level of income inequality, which indicates that the capacity to respond to financial shocks is unevenly distributed among the population.

Furthermore, digital technologies are changing social and civic communities and how people participate in, and experience, civic and political life (Welby, 2019[5]). These technologies, the growing availability and use of data, as well as services provided by the private sector that are considered as benchmarks, are transforming how public goods and services are produced and consumed at a global scale. This, in turn, affects people’s expectations about how governments should work and provide services. Increasingly, people want to interact with their governments in more efficient ways, including through digital platforms, and they expect the same quality of service regardless of the channel chosen to access the service. Information and communication technologies (ICTs), when implemented appropriately, have helped simplify government processes, eliminate paper-based transactions and established single points of access to the public administration. Yet, new expectations pressure governments to make service delivery more integrated and proactive while operating under fiscal constraints.

This chapter draws from evidence included in the rest of the publication to showcase outcomes and governance processes in place in OECD countries to focus on a people-centric approach to policy making and service delivery. It also discusses areas where further improvements are sought and provides examples of good practices. More detailed data on the different policy areas can be found in the remainder of the publication.

copy the linklink copied! 1. What are people-centric public services?

“People centricity” means taking the needs and voices of people into account when designing, delivering, implementing and evaluating public policies and services. Governments can do this by directly involving citizens in decision-making processes and by collecting and analysing data that can be used both to evaluate the performance of policies and services against people’s needs and expectations and to anticipate these needs. Broadly, a people-centric approach is one where governments consult citizens about their needs and encourage their direct participation in policy making and service design and delivery.

People centricity also requires a civil service that is representative and inclusive of the society its policies and services target. A diverse and multi-faceted workforce integrates individuals from diverse backgrounds who bring talent, distinct skills and points of view associated with their experiences. When the various segments of the population are represented in the public sector, service delivery can be better tailored to their needs. Moreover, if managed constructively, the contrast of diverse perspectives can also enhance innovation (OECD, 2017[6]).As such, the notion of people centricity includes, but also goes beyond concepts such as “user centric” and “user driven”, which focus on engaging with people (users/citizens) to develop services and policies. People centricity also considers the capacity and characteristics of the work force as a key lever for delivering services that are inclusive.

Designing and delivering people-centric public services and policies entails overcoming resistance to change and breaking down silos in public administrations. This implies working with a common objective of putting people at the centre, building and sharing collective knowledge, streamlining information flows and integrating data processes in order to collaborate and reach citizens wherever they are. In such an approach, the interactions between governments, people and relevant private sector agents are guided by the principles of access, transparency, integrity, responsiveness, accountability, equality and stakeholder participation. Governments make conscious efforts to engage citizens in policy making, which means giving them the opportunity and necessary resources (e.g. information, data and digital tools) to collaborate during all phases of the policy cycle, and in service design and delivery (OECD, 2017[7]). Thus, open government lies at the core of a people-centric service provision model.

Inclusive policy responses should also target groups such as youth, the elderly, the poor, and those with limited access to information and technology, and/or perceive themselves as being left behind. The next section presents evidence on the performance of some public services in OECD countries and explores the link between objective measures of service performance and citizen satisfaction. This is followed by a section on “People-centric policy making”, which presents examples of best practices and actions that governments are taking to design and deliver people-centric public services.

copy the linklink copied! 2. Achieving and measuring people centricity in public services

This section analyses public services in OECD countries in terms of access, responsiveness, quality and citizen satisfaction, recognizing that higher satisfaction could lead to improved trust levels, a transmission mechanism referred to in the literature as the “micro-performance hypothesis” (Van de Walle and Bouckaert, 2003[8]); Yang and Holzer,M., 2006[9]) This chapter is based on the Government at a Glance Serving Citizens Framework, which provides a valuable lens for comparing performance across public services and countries. Along with evidence on key dimensions of the framework, it also includes satisfaction with services, a crucial measure of performance of public services.

2.1. The Serving Citizens Framework

Everyone, throughout her or his life, interacts with public institutions. These interactions commonly take place through the provision of services such as obtaining an identity card or benefiting from the public goods provided by governments, using services provided by public schools and hospitals, or filing an online request to qualify for a social benefit or a complaint about a specific situation. The framework described below is applicable to all types of service and is applied, to date, to health, education and justice, as these are the dimensions for which more evidence is available and where consensus exists among the relevant policy communities on the indicators to measure each of them. Nevertheless, it could potentially be extended to other services over time.

The term “public services” encompasses a wide variety of goods and services provided to the population, which address different aspects of societal and individual life. The Serving Citizens Framework (Table 1.1) was created by the OECD to provide a comprehensive structure that displays the key dimensions of public service performance that need to be evaluated from a people-centric point of view, irrespective of the nature of the service. It also allows for a rough comparison of the performance of different public services on the same dimensions and across countries, although the measures of those dimensions are dependent on the type of service, and are not directly comparable across services.

People-centric public services are those that are inclusive (i.e. accessible to all segments of the population, including the most vulnerable), tailored to citizens’ needs and expectations (i.e. responsive both to those who are more in need of government support and those who require less assistance and would prefer to use self-service channels) and of high quality. While each service has specific features, the framework dimensions (Table 1.1) allow to compare and assess how far OECD countries have progressed in achieving people centricity in public services.

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Table 1.1. The OECD Serving Citizens Framework

Access

Responsiveness

Quality

Affordability

Courtesy and treatment

Effective delivery of services and outcomes

Geographic proximity

Match of services to special needs

Consistency in service delivery and outcomes

Access to information

Timeliness

Security/safety

The dimensions are equally relevant, because an excessive focus on one aspect may lead to underperformance in the other two. For example, high quality (e.g. high student performance) could be achieved at the expense of restricting access (e.g. only providing schooling to those who live in certain areas or can afford them) and excluding those who need further support (e.g. providing standardised instruction, regardless of students’ interest in and understanding of the subject).

The framework can be used as a theoretical lens to compare indicators that would otherwise be incomparable (e.g. enrolment rates and health care coverage), provided that they refer to the same dimension (e.g. access). Still, the framework could be further complemented either by other indicators or by self-reported measures found to be essential for improving well-being.

For example, so far, there are little internationally comparable data on patient experiences. The OECD has recently launched the PaRIS (Patient-Reported Indicators Survey) to collect data on patient outcomes and experience with health care (for example, whether the doctor provides enough explanation on treatment options). These measures can provide valuable evidence on whether the treatments followed by doctors (e.g. knee replacements) contribute to improving patients’ quality of life, for example, by reducing pain. Such evidence is crucial when making decisions on the basket of medical treatments and procedures to be covered by public health insurance.

The data for compiling indicators on each dimension could come from existing administrative records (e.g. from line ministries/service providers), household surveys from national statistical offices and international sources, among others.

2.2. Satisfaction with public services

Satisfaction with public services is considered a crucial outcome of government activities, which reflects aspects that are crucial to people’s lives (OECD, 2017[8]; OECD, 2017[9]). It is commonly accepted that satisfaction is shaped by expectations, as well as by experiences with these services, and information about them from other sources (e.g. media, the Internet, acquaintances, etc.) (Jakobsen and Jensen, 2015[10]; James, 2009[11]). Better understanding the drivers of satisfaction allows governments to detect areas where changes are required in order to meet citizens’ needs and preferences. Satisfaction with services indicates the extent to which they meet the wishes, expectations and needs of citizens, and, as such, can only be reported by individuals themselves. This is in contrast with objective measures of service performance (e.g. time to close a case in first instance courts, which come from administrative data) that do not capture how citizens perceive the service they receive (e.g. if it delivers on what they think is most important).

Since satisfaction with a service is, partly, a result of the accessibility, responsiveness and quality of the service as perceived by citizens, measuring it can contribute insights to service improvement. Listening to the feedback from diverse population groups can help reduce costs. For example, cheaper and faster solutions can be offered to those who do not require much assistance for a specific service, thus increasing their satisfaction. In this way, the pressure on existing delivery channels can be aleviated, and the savings can be reallocated to support other segments that require more attention from the government. Since there is no “one-size-fits-all solution”, people-centric innovation is key to ensure that public services are responsive to citizens’ needs.

In a people-centric approach, decisions regarding resource-allocation and changes in service design and delivery cannot be taken without consulting citizens or assessing the impact on their well-being. Satisfaction measures help policy makers understand whether policies and services are responding to citizens’ needs and expectations. Following this approach, citizen satisfaction should be incorporated alongside efficiency and cost-effectiveness, which are metrics that governments use to assess the performance of service delivery.

According to the Gallup World Poll, on average, 70% of citizens of OECD countries were satisfied with the health care system in 2018 (the same proportion as in 2007) and 66% with the education system (a 3 p.p. increase from 2007). In 2018, on average, 55% of citizens reported having confidence in the judiciary, a 4 p.p. increase from 2007. Although there are many factors that can influence responses to such opinion poll – such as recent experience with civil servants, respondent fatigue and response styles – and the samples are small (1,000 cases per country), Gallup World Poll allows for comparison of citizen perception over time and across OECD countries.

Still, there is wide variation across OECD countries; Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland enjoy the highest satisfaction levels in the three services. Additionally, satisfaction in Belgium is the second-highest for health care (89%), and Finland is the third-highest for education (84%). There have been improvements in citizen satisfaction in health care in Estonia (21 p.p.) and Lithuania (19 p.p.) between 2007 and 2018. The Netherlands, Switzerland and Israel are among the countries with the most significant improvements in citizen satisfaction in education (16 p.p. and 12 p.p., respectively). In stark contrast, Turkey has experienced the largest decrease (17 p.p.) in this sector.

2.3. Service performance and citizen satisfaction

The Serving Citizens Framework scorecards were introduced in the 2017 edition of Government at a Glance. As mentioned above, they show countries’ relative performance in terms of access, responsiveness, quality and citizen satisfaction with services for education, health and justice services. The indicators included in the scorecards have been selected in consultation with OECD topic experts considering their adequacy to measure the concepts as well as the availability of data with the intention of keeping the selected indicators stable from 2017 to 2019. The scorecards are, of course, only a partial depiction of the accessibility, responsiveness and quality services. Nevertheless, they illustrate satisfaction and performance of services in OECD countries. While later in the publication, the performance of the three sectors – education, health and justice – is compared side by side on each dimension, the analysis below displays access, responsiveness and quality of each individual service.1

In terms of health care, the indicators selected for the Serving Citizens Scorecards address the quality of health policies as a whole, including prevention. In this sense, they are different from those used in the OECD flagship report on health (Health at a Glance), where the quality of care provided to patients is emphasized (e.g. avoidable hospital admissions, obstetric trauma). This distinction is relevant because the indicators displayed in the Serving Citizens Scorecards also capture the self-care attitudes of the population (e.g. following recommended schedules of medical check-ups).

Each scorecard focuses on one service (education, health and justice) and compares their performance across the dimensions of the framework. For each indicator, countries are classified in three quantiles according to their performance: 1) top-third quantile (green); 2) middle-third quantile (orange); and 3) bottom-third quantile (red). Additionally, each country is ranked among those countries for which data are available, so as to provide additional information on performance (the country with the best performance is ranked number 1). If several countries have the same value for an indicator, they are assigned the same rank.

As shown in Table 1.2, according to the selected indicators, no country outperforms the others in all three dimensions of access, responsiveness and quality of health care policies. The majority of OECD countries perform better in one (or two) dimension(s) than the other(s), and within one dimension they may rank highly in one indicator and lower in another. Furthermore, the rates of mortality for the three causes depicted in the scorecard (heart attack, stroke and breast cancer) are affected by many other factors, including behavioural ones (e.g. smoking) that are not fully manageable by health care systems.

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Table 1.2. Scorecard on access, responsiveness and quality of health care policies and services

 

Healthcare services and policies

Access

Responsiveness

Quality

Satisfaction

Healthcare coverage

Unmetcare needs

Share of out-of-pocket medical expenditure inhousehold consumption

Did not always hear back from doctor on thesame day

Waited six or more days for an appointment withnurse or doctor

Waitedtwo months or more for a specialist appointment

Mortalityrate - Acute Myocardial Infarction (heart attack)

Mortalityrate- Cerebrovascular disease (stroke)

Breastcancer mortality in women

Netherlands

2

2

8

3

2

1

7

16

26

1

Belgium

4

9

25

n.a

n.a

n.a

9

12

24

2

Norway

1

7

22

4

1

8

20

9

6

2

Denmark

1

7

17

n.a

n.a

n.a

5

18

27

3

Switzerland

1

4

35

1

4

1

4

1

15

3

Australia

1

n.a

16

4

3

5

14

10

9

4

Austria

2

1

30

n.a

n.a

n.a

24

6

18

5

New Zealand

1

n.a

4

6

8

4

30

23

16

6

Germany

1

3

11

2

11

3

23

13

28

7

Luxembourg

n.a

3

2

n.a

n.a

n.a

10

5

22

8

Finland

1

17

24

n.a

n.a

n.a

25

22

9

9

Sweden

1

8

27

7

9

7

21

14

7

9

United Kingdom

1

15

7

8

7

6

15

15

22

10

Slovenia

1

15

1

n.a

n.a

n.a

27

27

28

11

United States

10

n.a

14

8

5

2

16

11

9

12

Canada

1

n.a

13

9

10

9

17

3

12

13

Czech Republic

1

3

5

n.a

n.a

n.a

19

26

14

13

Japan

1

n.a

10

n.a

n.a

n.a

1

13

3

14

Korea

1

n.a

34

n.a

n.a

n.a

6

20

1

15

France

2

6

3

5

6

3

2

2

21

16

Israel

1

n.a

18

n.a

n.a

n.a

3

4

23

17

Spain

2

2

26

n.a

n.a

n.a

6

8

5

18

Ireland

1

13

12

n.a

n.a

n.a

29

17

29

19

Portugal

1

10

29

n.a

n.a

n.a

13

28

10

20

Slovak Republic

5

11

6

n.a

n.a

n.a

26

33

25

20

Estonia

6

20

19

n.a

n.a

n.a

8

19

11

21

Turkey

3

12

n.a.

n.a

n.a

n.a

32

32

2

21

Mexico

11

n.a

23

n.a

n.a

n.a

33

21

4

22

Lithuania

8

8

20

n.a.

n.a.

n.a

11

34

13

23

Poland

9

16

9

n.a

n.a

n.a

12

25

20

24

Italy

1

9

21

n.a

n.a

n.a

8

24

17

25

Hungary

7

5

28

n.a

n.a

n.a

28

31

30

26

Greece

1

19

32

n.a

n.a

n.a

22

29

19

27

Chile

7

n.a

31

n.a

n.a

n.a

31

30

8

28

Latvia

1

18

33

n.a

n.a

n.a

27

35

26

28

Iceland

1

14

15

n.a

n.a

n.a

18

7

28

n.a

Year

2017

2018

2017

2017

2017

2017

2017

2017

2017

2018

 

Top-third performers

 

Middle-third performers

 

Bottom-third performers

Note: Countries are listed in ascending order according to their rank in satisfaction. Due to limited data availability, colour coding for responsiveness is not displayed. The number in the cell indicates the position of each country among all countries for which data is available. For health care coverage, the clustering was produced in the following way: top-third group (between 95% and 100% for health care coverage), middle-third group (between 90% and 95%), bottom-third group (less than 90%). Data on unmet care needs come from the EU-SILC survey, which asks respondents whether, at any point in the 12 months before the interview, they felt they needed a medical examination and did not receive it. Data only present the number of respondents who could not get it because of distance, waiting times or costs. Out-of-pocket payments are costs that patients cover directly from their income when medical services or treatments are not included in the collectively financed benefit package of public or private health insurance schemes or are only partially included (co-payments). They also include estimations of informal payments to health care providers in some countries. The question “After you were advised to see or decided to see a specialist, how many days, weeks or months did you have to wait for an appointment?” was asked only to respondents who indicated that they saw or needed to see a specialist in the past two years. Waiting time for doctors and specialists is only a share of those respondents who needed to make an appointment. The level of satisfaction with health care is based on the proportion of respondents who reported being “satisfied” when asked, “In the city or area where you live, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the availability and quality of health care?”.

Health care coverage data is from 2017, except for Japan and Spain, which are from 2014. Data on unmet care needs for France, Germany, Ireland Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom are for 2017; for Iceland, data are for 2016 instead of 2018. Data for share of out-of-pocket medical expenditure for Chile are from 2014. Data on acute myocardial infarction, cerebrovascular disease and breast cancer mortality for Australia, Belgium, Chile, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States refer to 2016 instead of 2017. Data for Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland, Italy, Latvia and Slovenia are for 2015 instead of 2017. On data for Israel, see http://doi.org/10.1787/888932315602.

Source: OECD (2019), OECD Health Statistics (database); Eurostat (2019), Commonwealth Fund (2017) Commonwealth Fund International Health Policy Survey of Older Adults, Gallup World Poll 2018 (database).

Most countries with higher satisfaction levels have achieved universal coverage of health care and have a low share of unmet health care needs (regardless of the share of out-of-pocket expenditures on household consumption). They also perform relatively better in some aspects of responsiveness and quality. For example, despite not having the lowest overall mortality rates for heart attacks, Australia and Norway are among those that have the lowest 30-day mortality rate following admission for this condition (see the indicator on the quality of health care in Chapter 11 on “Serving citizens”).

With regard to education, most countries whose citizens are highly satisfied with the education system, such as Norway and Switzerland, perform strongly in at least one of the selected indicators of quality, responsiveness and access (see Table 1.33). Common to these countries is the relatively low private expenditures on education (mainly by households) from primary to tertiary education, and their relatively high performance in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) (except for Luxembourg). These countries are also responsive to the needs of students and schools to a certain extent, either using adaptive teaching methods or offering study help, and providing adequate educational material.

Lower satisfaction in countries that obtain good results in PISA could be due to the financial strain on households, either for tuition fees or after-school learning, and the pressure for students to obtain good results. As the Serving Citizens Framework shows, services must be accessible and responsive to all for citizens to be satisfied.

Finally, regarding the judiciary system, Table 1.4 shows that, most countries where confidence in the judiciary is higher, perform relatively better in terms of access, responsiveness and quality according to the selected indicators. In particular, confidence is aligned with the indicators of quality (effective enforcement of civil justice, freedom of improper government influence and the absence of violence to redress personal grievances).

The three scorecards provide a hint that satisfaction with services has to do with the interplay among access, responsiveness and quality. Satisfaction with health care and confidence in the judiciary show clearer links with performance measures than satisfaction with the education system. For example, the percentage of individuals reporting confidence in the judiciary is correlated with the effective enforcement of civil justice (r = 0.67) and satisfaction with health care is negatively correlated with unmet care needs of low-income individuals (r = -0.57). The limited data availability and the overall number of observations do not allow for more sophisticated analysis, including the size of the relative effects and the relation among the dimensions. Still, this overview – and the fact that some countries have a relatively higher citizen satisfaction in one or two services than in the remaining one(s) – indicates that there may be lessons (e.g. decentralisation, open government practices) to learn from the governance of one sector for the other(s).

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Table 1.3. Scorecard on access, responsiveness and quality of education

 

Education

Access

Responsiveness

Quality

Satisfaction

Privateexpenditure on education (primary to tertiary)

Enrolmentat age 4

First-timetertiary entry rates

Indexof shortage of educational material

Availabilityof study help in schools

Useof adaptive teaching methods

PISAmean score in science

PISAmean score in mathematics

PISAmean score in reading

Norway

2

8

12

18

30

11

18

14

7

1

Switzerland

n.a.

32

3

4

23

20

12

3

22

2

Denmark

n.a.

3

4

11

1

7

15

7

15

3

Finland

1

28

21

23

15

14

3

8

2

3

Ireland

10

1

n.a

28

28

19

13

13

3

4

Netherlands

22

9

14

12

22

17

11

6

12

4

Slovenia

12

22

11

8

24

n.a

7

9

11

5

Luxembourg

3

14

28

15

2

31

26

26

28

6

Belgium

7

2

9

25

26

27

14

10

17

7

Poland

13

27

7

5

13

22

16

12

10

8

Austria

6

18

13

10

36

34

20

15

25

9

Canada

26

n.a.

n.a

1

7

2

4

5

1

9

Czech Republic

17

23

17

16

18

30

23

21

24

9

France

16

1

n.a

14

16

28

21

19

16

9

New Zealand

28

10

1

17

8

3

6

16

8

9

United Kingdom

31

1

10

19

3

10

9

20

19

9

Australia

33

24

n.a

3

6

4

8

18

13

10

Germany

18

13

20

22

25

33

10

11

9

11

Mexico

25

21

23

33

34

6

36

36

36

11

Portugal

20

19

19

24

12

1

17

22

18

12

Israel

23

4

15

32

17

21

31

31

29

13

Spain

24

5

6

27

32

15

24

25

21

13

United States

32

31

25

6

4

5

19

32

20

14

Sweden

4

16

18

9

5

12

22

17

14

15

Estonia

9

20

n.a

20

21

23

2

4

4

16

Japan

29

12

5

36

9

35

1

1

6

17

Italy

15

15

24

35

35

29

27

23

26

18

Slovak Republic

19

29

22

21

20

32

32

30

34

18

Chile

34

26

2

7

33

8

34

34

33

19

Greece

8

30

26

30

27

25

33

33

32

20

Latvia

11

17

n.a

13

14

9

25

27

23

20

Korea

30

7

n.a

31

29

24

5

2

5

21

Hungary

21

11

27

34

19

26

28

29

31

22

Lithuania

14

25

8

29

10

16

29

28

30

23

Turkey

27

33

n.a

26

31

18

35

35

35

24

Iceland

5

6

16

2

11

13

30

24

27

n.a

Year

2016

2017

2017

2015

2015

2015

2015

2015

2015

2018

 

Top-third performers

 

Middle-third performers

 

Bottom-thirdperformers

Note: Countries are listed in ascending order according to their rank in satisfaction. The number in the cell indicates the position of each country among all countries for which data is available. The index of shortage of educational material was calculated based on the responses provided by school principals on the extent to which their school’s capacity to provide instruction was hindered (“not at all”, “very little”, “to some extent” or “a lot”) by a shortage or inadequacy of physical infrastructure, such as school buildings, heating and cooling systems and instructional space; and educational material, such as textbooks, laboratory equipment, instructional material and computers. The average of the index is zero and the standard deviation is one across OECD countries. Availability of study help refers to whether school staff provides students help with their homework, this was reported by school principals. The indicator on the use of adaptive teaching methods covers the share of students that report that their teachers provide individual help when a student has difficulties understanding a topic or a task in “many lessons” and “every lesson or almost every lesson”. The level of satisfaction with education is based on the proportion of respondents who reported being “satisfied” when asked, “In the city or area where you live, are you satisfied or dissatisfied with the education system and the schools?”.

Primary education in Canada includes pre-primary, and pre-primary in Ireland includes early childhood education. In Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, the high share of private expenditures on education is associated with a large share of students receiving loans and scholarships.

Data for Denmark and Switzerland are not available. Data for private expenditures on education for Greece are for 2015 and for Chile are for 2017. On data for Israel, see http://doi.org/10.1787/888932315602.

Source: World Justice Project (2019), Rule of Law Index 2019, CEPEJ database (2017)

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Table 1.4. Scorecard on access, responsiveness and quality of the judiciary system

 

Judiciarysystem

Access

Responsiveness

Quality

Confidence

Peoplecan access and afford civil justice

Alternative dispute resolution mechanisms areaccessible, impartial and effective

Dispositiontime for first instance civil, commercial, administrative and other cases

Dispositiontime for litigious civil and commercial cases

Dispositiontime for administrative cases (supreme courts)

Effectiveenforcement of civil justice

Civiljustice is free from improper government influence

Peopledo not use violence to redress personal grievances

Norway

9

1

12

10

n.a

2

1

4

1

Denmark

4

4

1

12

n.a

4

2

2

2

Switzerland

n.a

n.a

9

3

8

n.a

n.a

n.a

3

Finland

17

19

9

16

11

6

8

5

4

Luxembourg

n.a

n.a

n.a

2

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

4

Canada

23

16

n.a

n.a

n.a

13

7

7

5

Germany

2

5

n.a

13

15

5

3

12

5

Netherlands

1

6

6

4

7

3

6

18

5

Austria

10

20

4

6

16

8

9

9

6

United Kingdom

26

17

n.a

n.a

17

14

13

15

7

Ireland

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

8

Sweden

3

26

10

11

3

1

5

1

9

New Zealand

8

12

n.a

n.a

n.a

15

12

11

10

Japan

11

2

n.a

n.a

n.a

12

16

3

11

Australia

20

9

n.a

n.a

n.a

10

4

13

12

France

15

7

15

21

14

11

15

22

13

Belgium

6

15

n.a

n.a

19

9

11

17

14

Lithuania

n.a

n.a

3

1

1

n.a

n.a

n.a

14

United States

27

18

n.a

n.a

n.a

17

19

16

15

Czech Republic

18

11

11

8

18

18

17

6

16

Greece

16

23

n.a

24

22

25

23

26

16

Israel

n.a

n.a

16

20

2

n.a

n.a

n.a

17

Estonia

7

8

2

7

3

16

10

10

18

Portugal

14

10

n.a

19

20

24

14

24

19

Hungary

24

27

4

9

4

26

27

8

20

Poland

21

13

7

14

5

20

25

19

20

Turkey

25

24

n.a

22

6

22

28

23

20

Slovak Republic

n.a

n.a

8

5

9

n.a

n.a

n.a

21

Spain

5

14

14

18

13

23

22

21

22

Mexico

28

28

n.a

n.a

n.a

27

26

28

23

Italy

22

25

17

23

21

28

20

25

24

Slovenia

12

22

5

17

12

21

24

14

24

Latvia

n.a

n.a

13

15

10

n.a

n.a

n.a

25

Chile

13

21

n.a

n.a

n.a

19

21

27

26

Korea

19

3

n.a

n.a

n.a

7

18

20

n.d.

Iceland

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

n.a

Year

2019

2019

2016

2016

2016

2019

2019

2019

2018

 

Top-third performers

 

Middle-third performers

 

Bottom-third performers

Note: Countries are listed in ascending order according to their rank in satisfaction. The number in the cell indicates the position of each country among all countries for which data is available. World Justice Projects’ Rule of Law Index, is based on a general population survey of 1000 respondents (representative) in the three largest cities of each country and a survey of experts in civil law (practitioners and academics). Each dimension of the index has a score ranging from 0 to 1; a higher score means better performance on the dimension. Access and affordability of civil justice gauge awareness of rights and mechanisms to resolve disputes, costs of legal services, existence of discrimination of minorities, among others. Accessibility, impartiality and effectiveness of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms gauges the costs of such mechanisms, the time required to reach a resolution, enforcement of decisions, among others. Freedom from improper influence is gauged by asking how likely a litigant is to win a case against the state, how likely the government is to respect such decision and to seek to influence the court. Effective enforcement of civil justice measures the enforcement of court rulings and their timeliness. Effectiveness and timeliness of the criminal adjudication system enquires means how long it takes to take a suspect to trial and the length of pre-trial detention, as well as whether the perpetrators of violent crimes are caught and taken to court. Resorting to violence includes intimidating or attacking the perpetrator of an offense, for instance. Effective control of crime includes citizens’ perceptions of being safe when walking at night and being the victim of a crime in the past year/three years (depending on the question), among others. Disposition time indicates the estimated time needed to solve a case, which implies the time taken by a first instance court to reach a decision. It is calculated by dividing the number of pending cases in a given year by the number of cases that were solved the same period, multiplied by 365. Litigious civil and commercial cases refer to disputes between parties, such as litigious divorces. Non-litigious cases concern uncontested proceedings, e.g. uncontested payment orders. Commercial cases are addressed by dedicated courts in some countries and by civil courts in others. Administrative cases refer to disputes between citizens and local, regional or national authorities. There are specialised courts dealing with these types of disputes in some countries, civil courts deal with these in others. Countries differ in the ways they administer justice and distribute responsibilities between courts, hence, cross-country comparisons must be taken with caution. There are differences in the types of courts and cases included in this exercise, as well as different methods of data collection and categorisation. Confidence in the judiciary is based on the answers to the question “In this country, do you have confidence in each of the following, or not? How about the judicial system and courts?” The data are expressed as the proportion of respondents who replied “yes”. Data on confidence for Korea are not displayed (n.d.). On data for Israel, see http://doi.org/10.1787/888932315602.

Source: World Justice Project (2019), Rule of Law Index 2019, CEPEJ database (2017).

copy the linklink copied! 3. People-centric policy making

People-centric policy making relies on having inclusive processes, evidence and structures in place to ensure that policies and their implementation reflect and integrate the perspectives of those who are affected. Improving people centricity is crucial: overall, in OECD countries people report that public benefits and services are hard to access, and many of them believe they are not receiving the benefits they should get relative to the taxes they pay (OECD, 2019[12]). Openness and digitalisation should, over time, enable a shift towards gathering and analysing feedback on satisfaction with services (e.g. doctors, teachers, etc.) and using tools such as surveys and big data to better understand, and incorporate people’s needs into policy design and delivery.

Three main pillars have been identified as supporting a people-centric approach to policy making. First, a citizen-centric approach to policy making requires transparency, openness and meaningful engagement from citizens. Second, services need to be designed and organised around people’s needs. This requires data on user preferences and service usage that can provide input into the ongoing design and delivery of public services. All types of government activity also need to be analysed and evaluated to promote continuous improvement as well as transparency on successes and failures (OECD, forthcoming[13]). Finally, people centricity requires a civil service with the skills and capabilities to respond to and anticipate people’s needs.

3.1. Open, transparent, participative and accountable governance

Openness, engagement, transparency and accountability are interconnected; this section will provide examples, based on OECD countries, of how governments can approach them in a range of public governance domains. Today, the range of mechanisms and tools for including and engaging citizens in an ongoing and constructive dialogue is greater than ever, particularly with the use of information and communication technologies, digital platforms and open government data. OECD countries have widely adopted digital technologies, both as a channel for delivering services to citizens and as a tool for generating efficiencies through the simplification and the automation of processes. ICTs could be nevertheless a powerful tool for understanding and anticipating needs; assessing, redefining and upgrading services; and placing the needs of users at the core of service design. Furthermore, emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain hold considerable potential for making public services “smarter”, i.e. more agile, efficient, user-friendly and, as a result, more trustworthy (Ubaldi et al., 2019[14]).

A successful digital transformation of services requires adopting a user perspective when designing digital solutions, in order to reduce access barriers. However, delivering efficient online services to citizens means breaking down silos in public administrations and enhancing collaboration (e.g. information sharing and joint planning with pooled budgets) across departments. National online portals can also contribute to the transition towards a “digital government”, for example, by promoting the integration of services (see Box 1.1). They combine data, information, systems, and processes to provide citizens with a single point of access to government services. According to the latest available data (2014), 19 out of 21 OECD countries that participated in the Digital Performance Survey reported having an online portal for delivering services to citizens.

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Box 1.1. Key features of a coherent digital government approach

The Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies consists of 3 pillars and 12 principles that ensure the successful design, development and implementation of digital government strategies to enable transformation towards a digital government. As the OECD has worked with countries in the years since its publication in 2014, the Recommendation has been refined to six dimensions of activity that are highly influential in the level of digital government maturity a country might experience. The dimensions are:

  1. 1 Digital by design: The intent of a government to approach “digital” with an understanding of all the strategic activities needed to facilitate successful and sustainable transformation by changing the culture of delivery.

  2. 1 Data-driven public sector: The importance of data as a foundational enabler in the public sector, working together to forecast needs, shape delivery, and understand and respond to change.

  3. 1 Open by default: The willingness of governments to collaborate across organisational boundaries, and involve those outside of government is an important marker for a culture that will embrace the principles of transparency and accountability that sit behind digital ways of working.

  4. 1 User-driven: An approach to delivery enabled by an open culture and supported by ambitions of digital by design to include, and be led by, the needs of the public rather than the assumptions of government.

  5. 1 Government as a platform: Building an ecosystem to support and equip public servants to make policy and deliver services that allows for the exploration of opportunities for government to collaborate with citizens, businesses, civil society and others.

  6. 1 Proactiveness: The ability of governments to anticipate, and rapidly respond, to the needs of their citizens through the application of these other five dimensions. Transformed government allows problems to be addressed from end to end, rather than by the otherwise piecemeal digitisation of component parts.

A legally recognised digital identification mechanism (e.g. digital signature) provides citizens with access to multiple government online services via the national citizens’ portal. Digital identification enables the provision of more advanced services that could better respond to people’s needs and expectations. According to the latest available evidence for 2014, 20 out of 21 OECD countries have put in place digital identification mechanisms. The experience from countries shows that to increase the uptake of digital mechanisms, it is essential to cover as many services as possible, to make their use very simple, and to build interoperability across systems.

New technologies integrated into a digital government are also essential for achieving open government, understood by the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Open Government as “a culture of governance that promotes the principles of transparency, integrity, accountability and stakeholder participation in support of democracy and inclusive growth.” Open government is built on a citizen-centred approach to creating public value through collaborative schemes to co-design and co-implement public policy. According to the latest available data, all 36 OECD countries have open government initiatives in place, either integrated into an open government strategy or as part of other plans or strategies (see Figure 1.1). Moreover, in 2016, in 21 OECD countries, the centre of government was involved in designing open government strategies and initiatives, and, in 20 of those, in implementing them as well. Open government initiatives are found in several policy fields, and many tend to be cross-cutting. However, the existence of these mechanisms does not necessarily mean that open government is being used to its fullest potential. For example, making sure that these initiatives lead to actual improvements in people’s lives by monitoring their development, evaluating their impact, and using such information to improve policies is critical to ensure that people continue to participate.

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Figure 1.1. Existence of an open government strategy, 2015
Figure 1.1. Existence of an open government strategy, 2015

Note: On data for Israel, see http://doi.org/10.1787/888932315602.

Source: OECD (2015[15]), Survey on Open Government Co-ordination and Citizen Participation in the Policy Cycle.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934031142

The success of open government initiatives depends largely on achieving meaningful engagement with relevant stakeholders, which include citizens, businesses, consumers and employees. By engaging with them and including their experiences, expertise, perspectives and ideas in the discussion; governments gain valuable information on which to base their policy decisions. Information from stakeholders can help to avert unintended effects and practical implementation problems of policies or regulations (OECD, 2018[16]).

Stakeholder engagement is an example of how open government policies could become an effective channel for achieving people-centric services. In 2016, 28 OECD countries reported that their centre of government consulted directly with stakeholders on policies. Moreover, according to the OECD Indicator of Regulatory Policy and Governance (iREG), OECD countries show a general commitment to stakeholder engagement to inform the development of regulations, for both primary laws and subordinate regulations. The iREG indicator looks at four aspects (methodology; systematic adoption; transparency; and oversight and quality control). However, there is room for improvement to make consultations more open to the wider public and more useful in the policy process.

All surveyed jurisdictions (i.e. OECD and accession countries and the European Union) require stakeholder engagement for the development of at least some regulations. Overall, formal requirements and consultation practices are less stringent for subordinate regulations (see Figure 1.2). However, stakeholder engagement usually happens at a late stage in the development of a regulation, once it has already been decided how to solve a policy problem. This denies stakeholders the opportunity to provide input at the stage where alternatives could be suggested by affected parties and assessed by policy makers.

Over time, there have been mild improvements in stakeholder engagement in developing subordinate regulations. The transparency of the system – including public access to information on planned consultations, on comments received by stakeholders during the consultation phase, and on replies to consultation comments – account for most of this change. There have also been some improvements in the methodology of stakeholder engagement, including more engagement at earlier stages of the development of regulations (see Figure 1.2).

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Figure 1.2. Stakeholder engagement in developing subordinate regulations, 2017
Figure 1.2. Stakeholder engagement in developing subordinate regulations, 2017

Note: On data for Israel, see http://doi.org/10.1787/888932315602. Data for OECD countries is based on the 34 countries that were OECD members in 2014 and the European Union. Data on the new OECD member and accession countries Colombia, Costa Rica, Latvia and Lithuania is only available for 2017. The more regulatory practices as advocated in the 2012 Recommendation a country has implemented, the higher its iREG score. The iREG score ranges from 0 to 4, being 0 the lowest and 4 the highest. The indicator only covers practices in the executive.

Source: OECD Indicators of Regulatory Policy and Governance (iREG) 2015[17] and 2018[18], http://oe.cd/ireg.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934032681

Countries have much to gain from further improvements in transparency and oversight of their stakeholder engagement systems. For example, while many countries publish consultation comments on line and pass them on to decision makers, most countries do not systematically inform the public in advance about upcoming consultations, or circle back to the public on how comments were taken into account. This may lead to an unwillingness among stakeholders to participate in further consultations and, possibly, to less civic engagement and voluntary compliance with regulations – the opposite of what stakeholder engagement ought to achieve (Lind and Arndt, 2016[19]). In the area of oversight, most countries currently do not conduct regular evaluations of the performance of their stakeholder engagement systems.

Finally, the use of policy evaluation can help increase the transparency and accountability of the public sector, especially when the results of policy evaluations are openly debated, connected to the policy decision and accessible to practitioners and the public. The majority of OECD countries have developed some mechanisms to promote the use of policy evaluation findings; these include incorporating evaluation findings into the budget cycle, discussing them at the Council of Ministers, creating a management response mechanism, etc.

3.2. Improving public service delivery through a more data-driven government

To provide people-centric public services, governments need information and data about people’s needs, preferences, concerns and expectations, as well as the role that they expect to play in shaping and developing public policies and services. Governments, both local and national, accumulate an enormous amount of data while providing services, implementing laws and regulations and conducting financial transactions. These data have attributes and values that could be used to better tailor services to citizens’ needs. Governments increasingly consider data as a strategic asset that could enhance policy making and service design and delivery (OECD, 2014[20]).

The application of data in the public sector can generate public value through three types of activity:

  • Anticipation and planning: Using data in the design of policies, planning of interventions, the anticipation of possible change and the forecasting of needs.

  • Delivery: Using data to inform and improve the implementation of policy, the responsiveness of government and the activity of providing public services.

  • Evaluation and monitoring: Using data to measure impact, audit decisions and monitor performance. Evaluation and monitoring rely on a mix of survey and administrative data to contribute to the design of public services ex ante and the evaluation of performance ex post. Competences for policy evaluation across government are most often attributed to the centre of government andalso to ministries of finance to ensure proper coherence, incentives and quality standards( (OECD, forthcoming[23]).

Big data, understood as data that is high in volume, high in velocity and high in variety (Kim, Trimi and Chung, 2014[21]) is one type of data that could lead to value creation in public services. Increasingly, governments are being asked to incorporate these technologies into their way of working. Big data may help governments produce timely indicators, identify turning points much faster, and make better and faster decisions when facing emergencies (e.g. natural disasters, pandemics, economic crises) (see Box 1.2).

People centricity in public service provision also entails allowing people to access and re-use all types of government data. Open government data (OGD) offers new opportunities to empower citizens, businesses, civil society organisations, researchers and journalists through enhanced access and re-use of data. As a result, many OECD countries are using OGD to fuel an ecosystem that can provide innovative services and policy solutions through private, entrepreneurial and civic efforts (e.g. by creating applications that rely on government data or accessing open data in an automated way through applications, and programming interfaces to better monitor public procurement).

The OECD Open Useful Re-Usable data (OURdata) Index benchmarks government efforts to design and implement open data policies and initiatives based on the availability, accessibility and government support for the re-use of OGD to create economic and social value. It builds on the OECD analytical framework for open data policies, which is also connected with the principles of the International Open Data Charter (Lafortune and Ubaldi, 2018[22]). The OURdata Index helps countries assess their relative strengths and identify potential areas for action.

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Box 1.2. Examples of the use of big data by governments in OECD countries

In Ireland, the biggest use of big data for policy making is mapping. The Ordnance Survey of Ireland’s Geohive service provides easy access to publicly available geospatial data. Combined with data from other sources, this mapping data underpins the analysis of housing trends and flooding risk. A further development in Ireland is the creation of Pobal, a website and support service providing information on deprivation profiling in a particular area, details of local childcare services, and information about other funded services available for people to access. This is a resource not just for policy makers but for citizens and community organisations, too.

In Korea, the Public Sector Big Data Analysis project has been supporting data-driven, scientific administration of the central government, local governments and public institutions since 2014. Korea has developed a standardised model for analysing big data within the public sector so that data generated in one part of the public sector can be compared with what is generated elsewhere. The use of the resulting models informs policy making in areas such as citizen services, tourism, transportation, public, closed circuit television (CCTV) and public housing, etc. with 16 standardised models having been provided to 175 organisations by 2017. Such standardisation minimises local differences in the analysis that takes place between different institutions, and in particular central and local governments, which allows policy to be informed by a more accurate and comprehensive understanding of a given dataset.

The European Union is currently funding several transboundary projects on the use of big data. One of those projects is MIDAS (Meaningful Integration of Data Analytics and Services). The objective of this platform is to map, acquire, manage, model, process and exploit existing heterogeneous health care data and other governmental data along with external open data to enable the creation of evidence-based, actionable information. This platform is expected to inform better long-term policy-making decisions and yield a positive impact on point-of-care health in all policies across Europe at regional, national and European levels.

Global collaboration: Much government data are global in nature and can be used to prevent and solve global issues; for example, the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) is a collaborative international intergovernmental effort to integrate and share Earth observation data. Its Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), a global public infrastructure that generates comprehensive, near-real-time environmental data, intends to provide information and analyses for a wide range of global users and decision makers.

The advancement of OGD policies has contributed to increasing interaction with users and data communities to create public value. Across OECD countries, there is an improvement in the overall score of the index, when compared with the results of the 2017 edition. Today, 90% of OECD countries for which data is available, require government data to be available free of charge, 87% require government data to be available with an open licence, and 93% are required to provide data in machine-readable formats (see Figure 1.3).

In general, governments have also intensified their efforts to support the reuse of OGD. Some 64% of OECD countries are prioritising collaboration and co-creation events with users as well as building skills and capacities within their public administrations. Compared to 2017, more countries are exploring the potential impacts of OGD through research or by collecting re-use examples (see Figure 1.3). Still, there is potential to further integrate and exploit the benefits OGD; for example, governments can go further in creating frameworks with standards for data formats and publication procedures that promote greater data quality and accessibility. Moreover, feedback channels and other features on open government data portals can encourage open data users to contribute (OECD, 2018[25]).

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Figure 1.3. Open Useful Re-Usable data (OURdata) Index, 2017 and 2019
Figure 1.3. Open Useful Re-Usable data (OURdata) Index, 2017 and 2019

Source: OECD (2016[23]), Open Government Data Survey; OECD (2018[24]), Open Government Data Survey.

Note: On data for Israel, see http://doi.org/10.1787/888932315602. OURdata Index ranges from 0 to 1, being 0 the lowest and 1 the highest score.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934031180

3.3. A civil service that reflects society for service provision

Important aspects of people centricity are diversity and inclusion in public administrations. Governments are increasingly recognising the importance of having a civil service workforce that reflects society and where all socioeconomic and other personal characteristics are represented in order to ensure that the needs, aspirations and experiences of a wide range of citizens are reflected in decision making and that barriers and gaps in service delivery can be better understood. In turn, inclusion entails putting diversity into practice, and supporting, valuing and respecting all experiences and perspectives in the workplace, and harnessing them in a beneficial way.

Depending on the policy area or sector, a more representative public sector can contribute to tap on previously overlooked knowledge, networks and perspectives for better policy development and implementation (OECD, 2011[26]; OECD, 2014[27]). In turn, a diverse public sector workforce is crucial for building a more efficient and empathetic public sector, as acknowledged by the growing number of diversity and inclusion strategies in OECD countries (Marina, 2015[28]; Edlin and Delamore, 2018[29]), which are characteristics of a people-centric public sector. The kinds of groups that have legitimate expectations of being represented in the public sector have increased over the years, and now include, sexual, ethnic and religious minorities, the poor, the elderly, people with disabilities and other minority groups, such as indigenous populations (White and Rice, 2015[30]). However, while data exist on gender representation, little evidence is available about the representation of other socio-economic groups based on ethnic, sexual or religious orientations in the public workforce, largely because of the sensitivity of such data.

On average, in OECD countries, women represented 60% of public employment in 2017. There could be several reasons for this overrepresentation of women in the public sector: overall, the public sector still provides more stable and family-friendly working conditions than the private sector. Furthermore, many public sector occupations, such as teachers and nurses, have become female-dominated. Nonetheless, and even though the gender gap in senior positions is shrinking, women tend to be underrepresented in senior management positions within the administration: on average, only about one-third of such positions are filled by women. A similar value is observed for women’s representation among parliamentarians, ministers and Supreme Court judges (see Panels A, B and C of Figure 1.4). Several strategies have been used by OECD countries to achieve a better gender balance in senior positions within the administration, such as including gender balance as a major goal of diversity strategies and establishing hiring or promotion targets (OECD, 2014[27]).

Other types of practices can be used to address the range of inequalities that have become embedded in public policies and the allocation of resources. These approaches tend to focus on the impact of different policies on key population groups and policy areas. For example, “gender budgeting” refers to the systematic application of analytical tools and processes, as a routine part of the budget process, to look at the impact of budgetary decisions on women and men, highlight gender inequality issues and to inform, prioritise and resource gender-responsive policies. The OECD Recommendation on Gender Equality in Public Life (2015) and its implementation toolkit identify gender budgeting as a crucial part of a system-wide government approach to promoting gender equality.

The number of OECD countries that have introduced gender budgeting increased from 12 in 2016 to 17 in 2018 (Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Portugal, Spain and Sweden). Implementing an effective and sustainable gender budgeting approach can be challenging. Some of the challenges derive from the differing levels of importance given to gender equality by successive governments, whereas others relate to fiscal constraints or, more broadly, to the challenges faced when implementing any new public financial management practice or procedure in government. In order to embed gender budgeting as a valued and enduring feature of policy making and insulate it, as far as possible, from fluctuations arising from the economic or political environment, slightly more than half of the countries currently practising gender budgeting have incorporated it in legislation. The implementation of gender budgeting varies across countries but usually entails adopting tools such as gender equality baselines analysis, ex ante and ex post gender impact assessment or gender needs assessment (OECD, 2019[32]). For most countries, gender budgeting is still in its early stages of development.

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Figure 1.4. Gender equality in parliaments, ministries and high-level courts (Panel A)
Figure 1.4. Gender equality in parliaments, ministries and high-level courts (Panel A)

Note: Data for Finland for 2019 were provided by national authorities. Bars in light orange represent countries with lower or single house of parliaments with legislated candidate quotas as of April 2019. On data for Israel, see http://doi.org/10.1787/888932315602.

Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), PARLINE (database); IDEA Quota Project (database).

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934031199

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Gender equality in parliaments, ministries and high-level courts (Panel B)
Gender equality in parliaments, ministries and high-level courts (Panel B)

Note: On data for Israel, see http://doi.org/10.1787/888932315602.

Source: Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Women in Politics, 2019, 2015 and 2012.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934031218

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Gender equality in parliaments, ministries and high-level courts (Panel C)
Gender equality in parliaments, ministries and high-level courts (Panel C)

Note: On data for Israel, see http://doi.org/10.1787/888932315602. Data for Germany and Portugal were provided by national authorities.

Source: Council of Europe European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice (CEPEJ) data, 2016; OECD (2017[31]), “Survey on Gender-sensitive Practices in the Judiciary.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934031237

The OECD’s First Attempt at a Gender Budgeting Composite Index is designed to help policy makers and the public track the progress of gender budgeting over time, focusing on the governance framework, operational tools and supportive environment in place (see Figure 1.5). Countries with a high score, such as Spain and Mexico, have created a comprehensive gender budgeting framework with key governance aspects in place, a broad spectrum of tools applied throughout the budget cycle, and wide institutional support to the practice. However, such index does not measure how successfully any given system of gender budgeting operates. Success is better evaluated by examining the extent to which the government’s approach to allocating resources helps achieve overarching gender objectives. Additionally, other practices to facilitate women’s access to business opportunities with governments, such as public procurement from women-owned enterprises, have also been implemented by slightly more than one-fifth of OECD countries (see the section on “Strategic public procurement” in Chapter 8).

Delivering people-centric public services relies on having a civil service that is capable of responding to policy challenges and of delivering services effectively; hence, having a professional civil service is a fundamental condition of people centricity. This means that civil servants should be qualified, impartial, values-driven and ethical. Addressing complex, cross-cutting challenges such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and building capacity for effective decentralisation requires strategic skills. Civil servants will need to encourage collaboration, manage risks, and have foresight and resilience. Regardless of the type of civil service system (i.e. predominantly career-based or predominantly position-based), there is a need to build the values and skills required to respond to complex governance demands, to focus on the attractiveness of public sector jobs relative to the overall labour market, and to ensure the quality and integrity of recruitment mechanisms.

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Figure 1.5. First pass at a composite indicator on gender budgeting, 2019
Figure 1.5. First pass at a composite indicator on gender budgeting, 2019

Note: This figure presents data for the OECD countries that have introduced gender budgeting. The indicator ranges from 0 to 1, being 0 the lowest and 1 the highest score. Countries have been categorised as having an advanced gender budgeting practice (score 0.9 or above); a mainstreamed gender-budgeting practice (score between 0.5 and 0.9); an introductory gender budgeting practice (score between 0.2 and 0.5); or a threshold gender-budgeting practice, where there is limited gender budgeting in place (score below 0.2). On data for Israel, see http://doi.org/10.1787/888932315602.

Source: OECD (2019[32]), Designing and Implementing Gender Budgeting: A path to action, OECD Publishing, Paris, https://www.oecd.org/gov/budgeting/designing-and-implementing-gender-budgeting-a-path-to-action.pdf.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934031256

Being able to address complex problems, particularly in the digital age, requires civil servants to possess the right skills, knowledge and attitudes. However, a first essential step for fostering those skills in the civil service is understanding them, adjusting job profiles accordingly and providing training or retraining opportunities. Strategic and targeted learning and development investments are essential for public services to keep up with the fast-changing demands of citizens and technological advancements. Furthermore, access to learning opportunities can be an important attractor and motivator for high-performing civil servants. The 2019 OECD Recommendation on Public Service Leadership and Capability advocates that adherents create a learning culture and environment in the public service that extends well beyond traditional classroom training.

The data displayed in Panels A and B of Figure 1.6 suggest a wide recognition of the importance of learning and development among governments in OECD countries, as seen, for example, in the number of civil services that now have civil-service-wide training strategies. Training for the executive leadership is prioritised in two-thirds of OECD countries, which demonstrates the vital role of this group as catalysts of strategic reforms across the civil service. On the other hand, slightly less than half of OECD countries reported that training on information technology/digital skills is a priority in the central administration, a relatively low figure given the importance of such skills. Another tool to enhance learning and development are mobility programmes, yet only about half of OECD countries have them.

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Figure 1.6. Learning and development initiatives and training priorities in public administrations, 2019
Figure 1.6. Learning and development initiatives and training priorities in public administrations, 2019 Figure 1.6. Learning and development initiatives and training priorities in public administrations, 2019

Note: The figure shows data for the total respondents of 36 OECD countries.

Source: OECD (2019[33]), OECD Survey on Strategic Human Resource Management.

 StatLink https://doi.org/10.1787/888934031275

People centricity also entails listening to the feedback of public employees and acting upon it. Employee surveys allow public organisations to measure and benchmark employees’ job engagement as well as their perceptions of their job and the work environment. Such surveys could provide useful input to management decisions on how to improve well-being, leadership and inclusion at work. Studies carried out in the private sector have shown that employee engagement is correlated with workplace productivity. The use of employee surveys in OECD countries is widespread, as more than 85% report collecting them. However, their content and scope of use vary. In most countries, these surveys serve the purpose of measuring employee engagement, motivation, satisfaction and commitment, as well well-being. Yet, they are used to a lesser extent to assess issues related to diversity and inclusion.

copy the linklink copied! Conclusion

In a context of slowing economic growth, aging populations and people’s disenchantment with governments, a people-centric approach to public governance and public service can support the efficient use of limited public resources, strengthen the legitimacy of public institutions and restore trust in public service competence and values. People-centric public services begin with people and take into consideration their needs, aspirations and behaviours. At the same time, these services should be geared towards building the evidence base, from existing data or by generating new data, to inform policy making, tailoring service provision and tracking policy evolution over time – all of which should lead to higher levels of satisfaction. The provision of people-centred services requires a people-driven administration driven by a problem-solving work culture characterised by curiosity and empathy, and constantly seeking to interpret how people engage with their world. A people-driven public administration believes in collaborative engagement with relevant stakeholders to better grasp the tough challenges that people face in their daily lives and involves them in developing solutions.

The consolidation of people-centric public services entails building a government workforce that reflects the wider society, with a greater representation of women, minorities or people with disabilities, particularly in senior management and political leadership positions. Governments could also focus on developing the strategic and innovative capacity of their civil servants, including identifying and developing the right skills to embrace new technologies, innovate and cope with change. Governments could also develop policies using new digital tools, constructive dialogue and citizen participation, in ways that promote transparency and accountability.

This chapter presents evidence and discusses several practices currently being undertaken by OECD countries to achieve people centricity. However, it also shows that people-centric public services are an emerging and complex area of work, one in which countries are learning from each other. There is potential to further increase transparency, build meaningful engagement and break barriers and silos that hamper innovation. The chapter also conveyed the importance of focusing on outcomes that are important to people and assessing how the work carried out by public administrations is contributing to such outcomes. Investing in better understanding the linkages between government practices and how they affect people’s perceptions and experience of the administration, as reflected in satisfaction with services and institutional trust, could contribute to building bridges that will bring people and governments closer.

Finally, building people-centric public services entails looking at available evidence (including big data) in a holistic way and identifying gaps that need to be closed. Undoubtedly, there is an agenda ahead to develop more and better evidence. Nevertheless, a combined analysis of the different dimensions of the OECD Serving Citizens Framework, along with perceived levels of satisfaction with services, provides useful insight. It sheds light on key aspects and delivery models that could lead to higher satisfaction and are more representative of a people-centric approach to public services provision.

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Note

← 1. Some indicators displayed in the scorecards of this chapter differ from those displayed in Chapter 11. The purpose of this chapter is to provide an account of how satisfaction with each service relates to the dimensions of access, responsiveness and quality. Chapter 11, on the other hand, seeks to display how countries are performing in terms of the dimensions of the framework, rather than in each service. For this reason, this chapter presents indicators on responsiveness and quality of education from the 2017 edition of Government at a Glance (i.e. index of shortage of educational material, availability of study help in schools, use of adaptive teaching methods, PISA mean score in science, PISA mean score in mathematics, and PISA mean score in reading), despite the fact that no new data for them was published (the results of the 2018 PISA round will be released in December, 2019). In Chapter 11, indicators on responsiveness are not displayed due to lack of country coverage, which would limit any potential comparison.

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Chapter 1. Towards people-centric public services