recruitment

Thuli Madonsela

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I
Focus Area(s)
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1
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Tristan Dreisbach
Name
Thuli Madonsela
Interviewee's Position
Former Public Protector, South Africa
Language
English
Town/City
Cambridge, Mass
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

In this interview, Thulisile Madonsela talks about how she transformed the office of public protector into a powerful anti-corruption agency. After a career working in the trade union movement and the Department of Justice, Madonsela became South Africa’s public protector in 2009. The office, established by the constitution in 1995, had a mandate to investigate government misconduct but had primarily worked on administrative justice cases. Faced with an influx of corruption complaints when she took office, Madonsela began to reorganize the agency to better handle that caseload. She identified three main problems she needed to solve: assigning more investigators to corruption cases, creating a triage function to sort through a growing number of complaints, and increasing impact at the level of local government. To achieve these goals, she had to change the culture and performance expectations within the office and secure more financial resources during a difficult period for South Africa’s economy. Madonsela reorganized the office to create an anti-corruption unit, developed triaging criteria, decentralized some functions to provincial offices, created standard operating procedures for investigators, revamped the staff training program, and recruited auditors and forensic investigators. As the reports she released gained attention and brought to light instances of high-level corruption, resistance to her work grew. Madonsela had to fend off accusations and threats and found it increasingly difficult to get resources from parliament. She took care to avoid attacking individuals in the media, to present the investigations as statements of fact, and to link acts of financial misconduct to the suffering of poor South Africans. A 2015 Supreme Court of Appeal ruling further empowered the public protector by declaring that agencies could not ignore the office’s recommendations for remedial action. 

Profile

Thulisile Madonsela received her law degree from the University of the Witwatersrand in 1990 and began her career in the trade union movement. She then moved to the Department of Justice, where she participated in the strategic planning process to transform the justice system in post-apartheid South Africa. Madonsela also was involved in the constitutional dialogue during the 1990s. In 2006, after several years in the private sector, she rejoined the Department of Justice as a law commissioner. In 2009, after a multi-party parliamentary committee backed her nomination, President Jacob Zuma appointed Madonsela public protector. She served a seven-year term in the office. In 2016, she began a fellowship at Harvard University’s Advanced Leadership Initiative.

Full Audio Title
Thuli Madonsela Full Interview

Transferring Power in a Crisis: Presidential Transition in Chile, 2010

Author
Robert Joyce
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Abstract

In early 2010, Chile’s democracy faced a stern test. A January presidential runoff election had paved the way for the first hand-over between opposing political coalitions since Chileans had pushed out autocrat Augusto Pinochet in 1990. Two decades of rule by a left-leaning coalition of political parties called Concertación had obviated the need for any formal transition process from 1990 to 2010. Now, with the election of the first conservative leader since the dictatorship, politicians and civil servants on both sides had to find ways to ensure a smooth transition. The complicated process had just begun when a massive earthquake devastated Chile’s southern half, killing hundreds of people and causing damage equal to 17% of the country’s gross domestic product. Preparation, including policy planning and staff recruitment early on by the Sebastián Piñera administration and briefings from the outgoing Michelle Bachelet team enabled the new president to get to work quickly. The hand-over demonstrated the strength of Chile’s democracy and set a precedent for future cross-coalition transitions.

Robert Joyce drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Santiago in August 2014. Case published in November 2014.

Associated Interview(s):  Edmundo Perez Yoma

Judy Parfitt

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Focus Area(s)
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13
Country of Reform
Interviewers
David Hausman
Name
Judy Parfitt
Interviewee's Position
Former General Manager of Human Resources
Interviewee's Organization
SARS (South African Revenue Services)
Language
English
Town/City
Johannesburg
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

After Apartheid, the South African Revenue Service (SARS) underwent a significant transformation in becoming a more inclusive, transparent and efficient organization. Largely behind this effort was the Human Resources management team under the leadership of Judy Parfitt. The human resources challenges upon her arrival were significant, as the existing procedures were largely outdated and inappropriate. However, thanks to the fact that SARS had administrative autonomy, the HR department was able to change everything from the grading system to the performance management system to the remuneration system. This case study details the challenges involved and the remedies they underwent to ensure a sustainable and well-received transformation. Throughout the interview, Ms. Parfitt stresses how the organization underwent a shift in formal procedures but also a shift in the organizational culture as an emphasis was placed on competency and performance rather than previous loyalties. There was a significant need for good black talent and in the search for these individuals to fill new positions, the HR team looked for specific job knowledge but also generic competencies that would foster a positive and collaborative working style. Additionally, the interview stresses the importance of working with the unions through the Siyakha protocol where a shared strategy was devised and discussed in detail in order to take into account the structural changes on personnel. These collective agreements were essential to organizational reform, and despite significant disagreements between management and the two major unions, there was a general commitment to creating a better life for all.

Case Study:  Reworking the Revenue Service: Tax Collection in South Africa, 1999-2009

Profile

At the time of this interview, Judy Parfitt was General Manager of Human Resources (HR) at the South African Revenue Services (SARS). She began her career in journalism. But, in the wake of state censorship exercised in South Africa during the state of emergency declared in the late 1980s, Parfitt returned to school and obtained a Master’s in International Relations in Warrick, United Kingdom (U.K.). She then worked for Volkswagen South Africa, and later helped set up the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration in South Africa, specifically the Eastern Cape region. In 1998, Parfitt was recruited by SARS.

Denyse Morin

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E
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
7
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Andrew Schalkwyk
Name
Denyse Morin
Interviewee's Position
Senior Public Sector Specialist
Interviewee's Organization
World Bank
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Canada
Town/City
Washington, DC
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Denyse Morin details the planning and motivation behind the civil service reform programs in Tanzania.  She talks about the changes in recruitment policy and procedure within the civil service and the difficulties of rolling out a performance-management system.  She describes the role and independence of the Public Service Commission, Tanzania's massive retrenchment program and attempts to tackle the difficult issue of pay reform and control of allowances.  She closes the interview with a reflection on the importance of strong monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.

Case Study:  Creating an Affordable Public Service: Tanzania, 1995-1998

Profile

Denyse Morin began working at the World Bank in Washington, D.C., in 1994 in the areas of public-sector governance and capacity development.  Before that, she worked at the World Bank office in Nairobi on issues related to water and sanitation. Prior to joining the World Bank, she worked at the Canadian International Development Agency.  She has lived in Kinshasa, Nairobi and Dar es Salaam.  At the time of the interview, Morin was a senior public-sector specialist at the World Bank and the task team leader for the Public Service Reform Program in Tanzania.

Full Audio File Size
43 MB
Full Audio Title
Denyse Morin - Full Interview

Keith Biddle

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Focus Area(s)
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4
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Gordon Peake
Name
Keith Biddle
Interviewee's Position
Retired
Interviewee's Organization
British police
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
English
Town/City
Cheshire, Manchester
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Retired British police officer Keith Biddle recounts lessons learned from working on police reform programs in diverse contexts, including in Sierra Leone, where he headed the police force from 1999 to 2004, and in Somalia, South Africa and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Biddle discusses the challenges of effective information gathering in police force vetting and recruitment. He emphasizes that recruitment is a community- and school-based process that should not be rushed. He goes on to discuss his experience in Sierra Leone in determining whether to recruit rebels into the police force and describes the types of challenges countries have faced in building more professional and meritocratic police forces. Next, Biddle discusses the importance of effective organizational structures to lead the police and cautions that efforts to recruit new talent may be futile to the extent that new officers enter a corrupt structure with the “wrong ethos.” Training programs, he states, should be developed in-house, with regard to context and existing skills, knowledge, and staff capacity, and include topics such as human rights, anti-corruption, and enforcement standards. Effectively combating corruption, Biddle posits, requires making the police vocation “valuable” in terms of reputation and fringe benefits. Ultimately, Biddle notes, police reform is “part of good governance” and must receive support from the highest levels of government. While police reform may be costly, he concludes, post-conflict countries cannot be expected to more forward without sustainable and effective police forces.    

Case Study:  Building Strategic Capacity in the Police: Sierra Leone, 1998-2008

Profile

At the time of this interview, Keith Biddle was a consultant on police reform efforts in Africa and a retired officer of the British police. He became involved in international police reform in 1994 as a member of the British police force, in which capacity he served as deputy assistant commissioner in the Metropolitan Police and later as assistant inspector of the Constabulary in the Home Office. In 1994, he became the policing adviser to South Africa’s Independent Electoral Commission in advance of Nelson Mandela’s election. Following his work in South Africa, Biddle began to work with the U.K. Department for International Development on issues involving police reform, including in Indonesia, Ethiopia, Namibia and South Africa. Between 1999 and 2004, while working with the United Nations under DFID, Biddle headed the police force in Sierra Leone. He subsequently worked on police reform projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Somalia, and continued to be involved in police reform efforts in Africa.

Full Audio File Size
178 MB
Full Audio Title
Keith Biddle Interview

John E.K. Sotenga

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Focus Area(s)
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6
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Interviewers
David Hausman
Name
John E.K. Sotenga
Interviewee's Position
Deputy Commissioner for Operations
Interviewee's Organization
Internal Revenue Service, Ghana
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Ghanaian
Place (Building/Street)
IRS head office
Town/City
Accra
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
Yes
Abstract

John E.K. Sotenga discusses his long experience in Ghana's Internal Revenue Service and the gradual improvements that were made in capacity. He focuses on the challenges of reorganizing tax administration along functional lines. As the first director of Ghana’s Large Taxpayers Unit, a one-stop shop for large taxpayers, Sotenga encountered the difficulties of integrating staff from three separate agencies: the IRS, the customs agency, and the value-added tax agency. He stresses the importance of placing employees from the three different agencies in groups together on specific tasks, thereby allowing them to gradually transfer their skills to one another.

Case Study: Professionalization, Decentralization, and a One-Stop Shop: Tax Collection Reform in Ghana, 1986-2008

Profile

At the time of this interview, Mr. Sotenga was deputy commissioner for operations at Ghana's Internal Revenue Service.  He joined the Ghanaian Central Revenue Department in 1978 as an assistant inspector and moved up through the ranks, first becoming chief inspector, then heading several regional tax offices. In Accra, he directed first the Large Taxpayers Office—a division of the IRS created in 1996—and later the Large Taxpayers Unit, a one-stop shop that allowed large taxpayers to pay all taxes at one central location.

Full Audio File Size
66.5MB
Full Audio Title
John E.K. Sotenga Interview

Yim Sovann

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K
Ref Batch Number
12
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Rohan Mukherjee
Name
Yim Sovann
Interviewee's Position
Member of Parliament
Interviewee's Organization
Cambodia
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Cambodian
Town/City
Phnom Penh
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Yim Sovann describes an initiative to reform Cambodia’s Finance Ministry and curb corruption in 1993-94. He says that when he joined the ministry as an assistant to the new minister, the treasury was bankrupt and inflation was running as high as 300%. Civil servants had not been paid for as long as four months, and there was no public finance law, no law regarding revenue collection or expenditures, no inventory of state assets and no anti-corruption law. The first task was to draft an entire complement of financial reform laws based upon past practices and outside experience. The greatest resistance came from high government officials engaged in non-transparent privatization of state assets and military groups engaged in illegal businesses and smuggling. He says that the ministry was successful in improving revenue collection and paying civil servants and soldiers. The minister’s resulting credibility enabled him to deal with soldiers to combat smuggling and corruption and to encourage ministry employees to enter positions and win promotions based upon merit. Corruption in the ministry virtually disappeared, he says. However, without top political support, such reforms could not endure. Many gains were lost after administrations changed.
 
Profile

At the time of this interview, Yim Sovann was serving his third term as a member of Parliament for Phnom Penh. He was an assistant to the minister of finance during 1993-94, after which he studied in Japan for a degree in economics. He was elected to Parliament in 1998 after he had returned to Cambodia. 

Full Audio File Size
57MB
Full Audio Title
Yim Sovann Interview

Gregory Ellis

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N
Focus Area(s)
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1
Country of Reform
Interviewers
David Hausman
Name
Gregory Ellis
Interviewee's Position
Senior Operations Officer, Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries Group
Interviewee's Organization
World Bank
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Australian
Place (Building/Street)
World Bank
Town/City
Washington, D.C.
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Gregory Ellis, drawing on his experience in reform programs in various countries, discusses general themes in civil reform service across various contexts, especially from the point of view of donor organizations. He emphasizes the need for understanding the political economy of countries undergoing reform, and the need for understanding indigenous customs. He places immense import on the citizen-state relationship in fragile states, and discusses how a state should be involved in service delivery. Ellis especially emphasizes deference to the host nation’s priorities in creating a reform agenda. In discussing capacity building in the Solomon Islands, Ellis reflects upon the dichotomy between service delivery by donors and the sometimes deleterious effect of technical assistance on long-term capacity building. He goes on to discuss restructuring organizations and combating patronage through professional associations, decentralized recruitment and autonomous decision making. Ellis emphasizes especially the role of local consultation, continuity in visionary leadership and long-term commitment in achieving success in fragile states.
Profile

At the time of this interview, Gregory Ellis had been a senior operations officer at the Fragile and Conflict-Affected Countries Group at the World Bank for about a year. His parent organization was the Australian Agency for International Development. He was posted by AusAID in the Solomon Islands between 2005 and 2007, as deputy program manager for the Machinery of Government Program, part of the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands. Prior to that, between 2000 and 2002 he held a posting in Timor-Leste after the withdrawal of Indonesian forces. 

Full Audio File Size
71MB
Full Audio Title
Gregory Ellis Interview

Ahmed Makarfi

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Ref Batch Number
8
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Itumeleng Makgetla
Name
Ahmed Makarfi
Interviewee's Position
Senator and Chairman
Interviewee's Organization
Kaduna North
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Nigerian
Town/City
Abuja
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract
Senator Ahmed Makarfi of Kaduna North in Nigeria recounts his experiences using reform to diffuse clashes that took place over the implementation of Sharia law in 2000. He discusses the process of mediating issues in mixed Christian and Muslim communities, particularly clearing up misconceptions in Christian communities about whether such laws would apply to them. He also addresses the implementation of a system to officially recognize the traditional leaders of communities within Kaduna North and to facilitate cooperation between traditional leaders and local and state government. Makarfi also offers insights into the judicial and legal reforms that led to a tripartite legal system comprising common law, Sharia law, and customary law for specific communities.  He then discusses the capacity building problems facing Nigeria and what reforms were undertaken to address these gaps. Finally, Makarfi focuses on his belief in inclusiveness, openness of government and accessibility as a key part of both conflict resolution and service delivery.    
Profile
At the time of this interview, Ahmed Makarfi was serving as senator for Kaduna North, Kaduna State, Nigeria, as a member of the People’s Democratic Part (PDP). Makarfi has been involved in Nigerian politics for over 15 years and served as governor of Kaduna State for two four-year terms starting in 1999. He has also served on the Kaduna State Executive Council as State Commissioner for Finance and Economic Planning, and on the board of Trustees at the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution. Makarfi also has a bachelors in accounts and a masters of science degree in accounts and finance.
Full Audio File Size
97 MB
Full Audio Title
Senator Ahmed Makarfi Interview

Shukri Ismail

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Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
14
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Richard Bennet and Michael Woldemariam
Name
Shukri Ismail
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
Somali
Town/City
Hargeisa, Somaliland
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Shukri Ismail discusses the formation and work of Somaliland’s first national election commission. She explains the difficulties the commission faced organizing Somaliland’s first elections, which included a difficult voter registration process, setting the election timetable and dealing with weak and newly formed state institutions and untested election law. Ismail also discusses the difficulties with political party formation, hiring and training election staff and the potential for violence when the commission ultimately determined the presidential election had been won by 80 votes. She also touches on working with international consultants, the electoral commission’s relationship with the media, the role of the clan in Somaliland’s elections, the lessons learned from Somaliland’s first elections and the challenges still ahead.

Case Study:  Nurturing Democracy in the Horn of Africa: Somaliland's First Elections, 2002-2005

Profile

At the time of this interview Shukri Ismail was the founder and director of Candle Light, a health, education, and environment non-profit based in Somaliland. She was the only female national election commissioner with Somaliland’s first National Election Commission.

Full Audio File Size
91.5 MB
Full Audio Title
Shukri Ismail Interview