Robertson Nil Akwei Allotey explains the history of civil service reform in Ghana and the National Institutional Renewal Program. Phase 1 of the program began in 1994 and ended in 2000. It redefined the mission of the ministries and set out methods to improve the delivery of services to the citizenry and to publicize the services offered to the public. The Civil Service Improvement Program analyzed ministries, departments and agencies to reorganize them, to decide on the optimal size, to retrain, and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery with attention to work ethics and transparency. The first task was to reduce political and social influence in recruitment and promotion by open civil service examinations and performance assessments carried out by retired senior civil servants. In Phase I, a “single spine” pay policy was instituted to insure pay equity. Increases in salary were based on performance. In Phase II, emphasis was placed on private sector growth for the government’s development agenda. He says that the reform effort targeted all public agencies, not just the civil service, with decentralization and the restructuring of central management agencies with emphasis on procurement and records management and information technology as support interventions. The major reform initiatives were part of the government’s poverty reduction strategy program, which was linked to the Millennium Development goals developed by the United Nations.
At the time of this interview, Robertson Allotey had been acting chief director at the Ministry of Public Sector Reform in Ghana for six months. Allotey began his career in civil service reform in 1998, when he was the director in charge of the Customer Services Improvement Unit in the office of the head of civil service. He earned a master’s degree in urban policy and housing and was particularly interested in the accessibility of urban housing stock and what factors made people content with their environments. Improvement of public service delivery to citizens played an important role and prepared him for his work with the civil service to improve delivery of services.