civil service commission

Listening to the Public: A Citizen Scorecard in the Philippines, 2010-2014

Author
Maya Gainer
Country of Reform
Abstract

Citizens of the Philippines were used to receiving poor service in government offices. Activities as basic as obtaining a driver’s license were slow and complex, and the tortuous processes created opportunities for public employees to solicit bribes for faster service. In an effort to improve service delivery, Congress passed the Anti–Red Tape Act in 2007. But, getting civil servants to comply with the act from civil servants presented a big challenge. In 2010, the Civil Service Commission began to conduct annual social audits to assess both the public’s satisfaction with frontline services and the degree to which offices adhered to the Act’s provisions. For the audits to succeed, the commission had to both persuade skeptical citizens to cooperate with the survey, and find ways to motivate civil servants to improve in response to poor ratings. Because budget constraints limited the use of financial incentives, the commission linked the results to other oversight programs and used social pressure to prod civil servants to improve the quality and efficiency of their work. During the survey’s first four years, the commission oversaw improvement in citizens’ ratings of public services but still faced challenges in raising awareness of the law and using it reshape public expectations.

Maya Gainer drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Manila in November 2014. Case published April 2015.

Associated Interview(s): Jesse Robredo

Mohammad Mohabbat Khan

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G
Focus Area(s)
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10
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Andrew Schalkwyk
Name
Mohammad Mohabbat Khan
Interviewee's Position
Professor of Public Administration
Interviewee's Organization
University of Dhaka, Bangladesh
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Bangladeshi
Town/City
Dhaka
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Mohammad Mohabbat Khan details the challenges facing the civil service in Bangladesh at the time, chief of which was to restore credibility in the mind of the public.  He details some attempts at reform, which he characterizes as somewhat disjointed. He identifies the various commissions formed to assess and make recommendations for reforms, and describes their perceived failings and the obstacles they encountered.   He assesses the challenges to reform when high-ranking politicians and civil servants are comfortable with the status quo.

Case Study:  Energizing the Civil Service: Managing at The Top 2, Bangladesh, 2006-2011

Profile

At the time of this interview, Mohammad Mohabbat Khan was a senior professor in the Department of Public Administration at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He was appointed to the post of professor in 1983. He earned an honors degree in political science, a master's in public administration from the University of Dhaka, a master's in public administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a doctorate from the University of Southern California.  He served on the Bangladesh Public Service Commission and taught at universities in Jordan, Nigeria, Singapore and the U.S.  He has written 16 books in the areas of governance and public sector reform.

Full Audio File Size
17.4MB
Full Audio Title
Mohammad Mohabbat Khan- Full Interview

Dwarika Dhungel

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H
Focus Area(s)
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2
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Andrew Schalkwyk
Name
Dwarika Dhungel
Interviewee's Position
Senior Researcher
Interviewee's Organization
Institute for Integrated Development Studies
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nepali
Town/City
Kathmandu
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Dwarika Dhungel describes Nepal’s experience with civil service reform as it transitioned from a unitary state ruled by a monarchy to a multi-party parliamentary state evolving toward a decentralized federal system. At the start of this transition, an Administrative Reforms Commission chaired by the prime minister was established. It prepared 116 recommendations to right-size and rationalize the civil service and the organization and functions of government. However, while the commission did its work a large number of civil servants were fired, throwing the reform process into turmoil and the commission chairman resigned. Officials from the political parties then began to politicize the civil service, removing long-time employees and elevating party supporters. At the time of the interview, the Asian Development Bank pressed for some reform and anti-corruption efforts and a new “good governance” law had been enacted, but whether it would be implemented was unknown.  

Profile
At the time of this interview, Dwarika Dhungel was a senior researcher at the Institute for Integrated Development Studies in Kathmandu, Nepal. He served as Head of the Institute from October 2000 to April 2006. He served in the Nepal Administrative Service (NAS) starting in the 1970s rising from junior officer to the rank of Permanent Secretary. In 1991, he sat on the Administrative Reforms Commission to reorganize Nepal’s civil service. Subsequently he served as secretary to the Administrative Reforms Monitoring Committee. He left the NAS in 1998 and served briefly as a consultant to Transparency International and for the Centre for Democracy and Good Governance (CSDG). In 1999, he was a visiting scholar at Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana, USA.
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Audio file not available.

Peter Kenilorea

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N
Focus Area(s)
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8
Country of Reform
Interviewers
David Hausman
Name
Peter Kenilorea
Interviewee's Position
Speaker of Parliament
Interviewee's Organization
Solomon Islands
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Solomon Islands
Place (Building/Street)
Parliament
Town/City
Honiara
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Sir Peter Kenilorea, speaker of Parliament, describes and evaluates recent efforts to rebuild the Solomon Islands public service, which was near collapse when external intervention ended five years of civil unrest in 2003.  Kenilorea gives a detailed account of his own efforts, together with Taeasi Sanga, clerk of Parliament, and a United Nations Development Programme adviser, Warren Cahill, to strengthen the Parliament Secretariat.  By hiring and training a cohort of recent graduates, Kenilorea and Sanga largely avoided the absenteeism and patronage problems that plagued other parts of the Solomon Islands government.

Case Study:  Starting from Scratch in Recruitment and Training: Solomon Islands, 2004-2009

Profile

After playing a prominent role in independence negotiations with the U.K., Sir Peter Kenilorea became the first prime minister of the newly independent Solomon Islands in 1978.   He held that office until 1981, and served in the position again from 1984 to 1986.   He later served as minister of foreign affairs and, from 1996 to 2001, as governmental ombudsman.  In 2001, he became speaker of Parliament.   He was serving his second term in that office at the time of this interview.

Full Audio File Size
40MB
Full Audio Title
Sir Peter Kenilorea- Full Interview

Alfred Drosaye

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Y
Focus Area(s)
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3
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Jonathan (Yoni) Friedman
Name
Alfred Drosaye
Interviewee's Position
Principal Administrative Officer
Interviewee's Organization
Liberian Civil Service
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Liberia
Place (Building/Street)
Civil Service Agency
Town/City
Monrovia
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Alfred Drosaye describes the push for pay and pension reform in 2006 after the inauguration of the new president, Ellen Sirleaf-Johnson. He talks about the strategies to clear the civil service payroll of ghost workers. He describes the make-up and training of the teams sent into the counties to vet each worker and enroll the workers in the Biometric ID system which, among other benefits, enabled workers to receive pay via direct deposit.

Case Studies: Cleaning the Civil Service Payroll: Post-Conflict Liberia, 2008-2011 and Building Civil Service Capacity: Post-Conflict Liberia, 2006-2011

Profile

At the time of this interview, Alfred Drosaye was the principal administrative officer in the Liberian Civil Service and the project director for the Biometric Program in the Human Resource Management Services Directory of the Civil Service.  His position required him to manage three directories in the civil service: employment, human services management and career and training.  He joined the civil service in 1997 as an analytical secretary and rose to assistant director and then director of Classification Selection Standards.  As the principal director, he was in charge of the review of public employment.

Full Audio File Size
89 MB
Full Audio Title
Alfred Drosaye Interview

Denis Biseko

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E
Focus Area(s)
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2
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Andrew Schalkwyk
Name
Denis Biseko
Interviewee's Position
Senior Public Sector Specialist
Interviewee's Organization
World Bank
Language
English
Town/City
Dar es Salaam
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Denis Biseko of the World Bank traces the history of civil service reform in Tanzania back to the mid-1990s, focusing on two phases of the Public Service Reform Program. He outlines some of the institutional underpinnings of reform, such as open performance appraisals for public servants, merit-based recruitment, and capacity building. He also describes various challenges involved in reform, including retaining qualified staff, a lack of political will, and announcing new policies without taking into account the plans that had already been set out. Biseko argues that the government should have started small rather than push for a comprehensive approach of pursuing reforms simultaneously. He discusses pay policy reform in detail as well the evolution of donor relations. Donors have played an instrumental role in civil service reforms in Tanzania, but the government has by and large been in the lead in terms of their design. Biseko explains how reform was affected by the decentralization process. He relates the process for determining allowances and setting targets for advanced salary enhancements and describes various methods for determining the success of reform policies. He maintains that the government was not able to maintain the size of its workforce because of the growth in the demand for social services, especially education and health. He highlights the importance of being able to ensure that successes are demonstrable on a smaller level before moving to a larger scale.
Profile

At the time of this interview, Denis Biseko was the senior public sector specialist for the World Bank in Tanzania, where he managed a World Bank project involving public financial management reform and legal and judicial reform. Before joining the World Bank, he was a consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he worked primarily on public sector reform and organization and capacity building.

Full Audio File Size
75 MB
Full Audio Title
Denis Biseko - Full Interview

Marcílio Marques Moreira

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U
Focus Area(s)
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5
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Deepa Iyer
Name
Marcílio Marques Moreira
Interviewee's Position
Member
Interviewee's Organization
Brazilian Public Ethics Commission
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Brazil
Place (Building/Street)
Princeton Club of New York
Town/City
New York City
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

Marcílio Moreira of the Brazilian Public Ethics Commission details the nature of public ethics in 20th century Brazil and discusses the commission's structure and functionality.  Moreira describes the commission as a sort of consulting board that works in the service of the president, with its unpaid members probing only ethical problems rather than addressing or investigating criminal matters.  Moreira contends that the central obstacle that practically any government struggles to overcome is the tendency for private or special interests to overshadow those of the common good.  In an attempt to curtail the level of influence that companies can have on members of government, particularly the legislature, the commission set up a well-enforced system of clear and robust rules to clarify and define ethical standards of behavior.

Case Study:  Ingraining Honesty, Changing Norms: Government Ethics in Brazil, 1995-2004

Profile

At the time of this interview, Marcílio Moreira was a member of the Brazilian Public Ethics Commission.  After his appointment in 2002, he intermittently served as the commission’s president.  Moreira began his career in the foreign service in Washington.  He spent nearly two decades at the financial group UniBanco, after which he was Brazil's ambassador to the United States.  By 1991, he was appointed by President Collor as the minister of Economy, Finance and Planning.  Moreira subsequently served as an international adviser for Merrill Lynch and on the board of a number of prominent businesses in Brazil.

Full Audio File Size
103 MB
Full Audio Title
Marcílio Moreira Interview

Kathleen Imholz

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D
Focus Area(s)
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8
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Jona Repishti
Name
Kathleen Imholz
Interviewee's Position
Expert on Law Drafting and Legal Approximation
Interviewee's Organization
European Assistance Mission to the Albanian Justice System
Language
English
Town/City
Tirana
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Kathleen Imholz draws from her experience and perspective as a lawyer to analyze civil service reform in Albania, particularly in the context of the 1999 Civil Service Law. She describes some of the supporters and proponents of civil service reform before arguing that the Civil Service Law is unclear and had ambiguous coverage. She highlights the role of the courts and the independent commissions in working with the law but notes that many institutions have become weaker outside the civil service area because of the centralizing tendency. Imholz believes that civil society and media typically play a generally positive role but are not necessarily positive forces in pushing reform. She observes that anti-corruption initiatives have been minimal but does describe a number of other reforms that have been put in place simultaneously with civil service reform. She points to some of the main challenges that civil servants face and notes that motivating people to really want to improve the civil service is always a hard challenge. In general, she believes there is a need to expand the coverage of the civil service law.
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Kathleen Imholz was an expert with the European Assistance Mission to the Albanian Justice System, where she worked on all aspects of the justice system. From 1999 until October 2005, she worked for several years with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the World Bank as an adviser to the Albanian government and the General Secretary of the Council of Ministers. Before that she taught commercial law as a Fulbright Fellow in Albania and worked on a legal education program in the country.

Full Audio File Size
42 MB
Full Audio Title
Kathleen Imholz - Full Interview

George Pessima

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A
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3
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Summer Lopez
Name
George Pessima
Interviewee's Position
Secretary to the Cabinet and the Head of the Civil Service of Sierra Leone
Language
English
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

George Pessima describes his central role in the efforts to reform the Sierra Leonean civil service. Pessima argues that though the Sierra Leonean service was once one of the best in Africa, it has been in rapid decline, in large part because of its unnecessarily massive size, the under-qualification of many of its employees, and the rates of pay, which he describes as being some of the lowest in Africa. Pessima emphasizes the importance of fair and open recruitment through the publication of openings which include full job descriptions. He goes on to identify the promotion system and the lack of extensive training facilities for a number of sectors as the major areas which require immediate attention and reform. 

Profile

George Pessima was the Secretary to the Cabinet and the Head of the Civil Service of Sierra Leone, as well as the Chairman of the Steering Committee on Good Governance. He entered the civil service in 1975, and has worked in a number of ministeries and offices in his career. As the leader of the civil service, he has been one of the most central figures in the efforts to reform it. 

Full Audio File Size
101 MB
Full Audio Title
George Pessima - Full Interview

Selina Mkony

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E
Focus Area(s)
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6
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Andrew Schalkwyk
Name
Selina Mkony
Interviewee's Position
Program Coordinator
Interviewee's Organization
Public Service Management Office, Tanzania
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Tanzanian
Town/City
Dar es Salaam
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Selina Mkony draws upon her extensive experience to discuss the goals of reform in Tanzania and some of the related challenges and issues. She describes the procedures and standards used in the system of recruitment and how this changed over the period of the reform program. She lists some of the criteria used in promotions, including things like seniority, education, skills, and performance management. She underscores the government efforts to move away from nepotism and toward greater transparency in hiring. She also describes the process of and challenges facing performance management and evaluation. Mkony characterizes the sequencing and management of the reform process and relates how the reform process fits in with the goals of streamlining government. She highlights the importance of leadership in controlling and managing reforms. She also touches upon a number of other aspects of civil service reform, including the organizational structure of the civil service, pay policy, training programs, and capacity building. She describes the retrenchment process in the 1990s, ways the government has improved the working environment in order to retain quality people, and the importance of local cultural divisions or language differences and how they impact service delivery.    

Profile

At the time of this interview, Selina Mkony was program coordinator at the Public Service Management Office in Tanzania. She joined the Civil Service Department in 1994 as an accountant and was later assigned administrative duties as well. The Civil Service Reform Program lasted from 1994 to 1998, when a new program was developed to focus on institution performance management systems and making the public service efficient. She continued on as an accountant and administrator before a new phase began in 2007. At that time, she became the program coordinator. 

Full Audio File Size
73 MB
Full Audio Title
Selina Mkony - Full Interview