Striving for a modern and effective public service



The day aims to celebrate the value and virtue of service to the community.
Celebrating the day under the theme ‘Striving for a modern and effective public service’, the department of public administration has prepared the following about introducing result-based management for an improved quality service delivery and accountability within the public service in Seychelles.

Proponents of Result-Based Management (RBM) such as the United Nations, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco), OECD countries, the Commonwealth Secretariat, etc… have been supporting its adoption globally as more and more countries are relying on donor funds to implement economic and public administration reforms to meet stakeholders’ expectations as well as those of the citizens.

In the case of Seychelles the introduction of the economic reform in 2008 and the public administration and public sector reform in 2009, highlights the fact that the government recognises that addressing the efficiency of public spending is at the core of decreasing the gap in its public service delivery.

To achieve this, the government has formulated policy objectives that have been translated into a memorandum of action and reform programmes . The programme of action is driven at the highest level of government by Vice-President Danny Faure and it spells out the policy objectives and strategies that are driving the administrative reforms. Among the key policy objectives are the following:
• “Establish performance criteria for each ministry with clear targets and the achievement of results, leading to transparent and meritocratic recruitment, remuneration and career advancement;

•  Introduce decentralised monitoring through regular performance-based appraisals by proactive human resources units;

• Review performance appraisals based on productivity targets.

The intention of the reform is to define the results that each ministry, department and agency is to achieve and define the performance levels through objective measurement system. There is also a heavy emphasis on accountability hence the objective to “strengthen transparency mechanisms through improved and regular communication with the public”, thus suggesting an open system of sharing information on the performance of the public service; showing the extent to which the inputs like budget are converting efficiently to produce the results that the citizens expect.

Thus institutionalisation of the concept and principle of RBM is not only essential but critical as it has the potential to provide the platform for a paradigm shift from a traditional management practice which focuses on managing inputs and activities to managing for results to improve effectiveness and accountability.

What is Result- Based Management?

The definition of RBM as broadly agreed by experts and adopted internationally by agencies/bodies such as Unesco, United Nations, CIDA, European Union, etc…encompasses the following:
• It is a broad management strategy aimed at changing the way institutions operate, by improving performance, programmatic focus and delivery. It reflects the way an organisation applies processes and resources to undertake interventions to achieve commonly agreed results;

• It is a participatory and team-based approach to programme planning and focuses on achieving defined and measurable results and impacts. It is designed to improve programme delivery and strengthen management effectiveness, efficiency and accountability;

• It helps move the focus of programming, managing and decision-making from inputs and processes to the objectives to be met. In programming phase it ensures that there is a necessary and sufficient sum of interventions to achieve an expected result. During the implementation phase the RBM approach helps to ensure and monitor that all available financial, human and institutional resources continue to support the intended results.

RBM is a systematic management approach which ensures that programme/project processes, products and services contribute to the achievement of clearly stated results through the use of logical thinking and models. RBM has three main key components; strategic planning, performance monitoring and results-based reporting. RBM provides a coherent framework for strategic planning and management by improving learning and accountability.

How is result defined?
Adopted from Unesco:
“A result is the “raison d’être” of an activity, project or programme. A result can be defined as a describable and measurable change in state due to a cause and effect relationship induced by that activity, project or programme. Expected results are answers to problems identified and focus on changes that activity, project or programme are expected to bring about. A result is achieved when the outputs produced go beyond the purpose of the interventions. It is the last step of the transformative process, where inputs (human, institutional and financial resources) are used to undertake interventions which lead to outputs which contribute to a desired change of situation. The result expresses how a specific situation is expected to be different from the current situation. It often relates to the use of outputs by intended beneficiaries and is therefore usually not under full control of an implementation team.”

Elements of Result-Based Management
RBM has the following main elements:

1. Results based programme planning, to ensure that the sum of interventions is sufficient to achieve the expected results;
2. Results based programme management, to ensure that human and financial resources stay focused on the expected results throughout the cycle.
RBM builds on other planning approaches and provides a more systematic and concrete approach. As such, it provides clearer focus on:
• Analysing the problems to be addressed, to determine their causes and effects;
• Identifying measurable changes (results) to be achieved, based on appropriate problem analyses;
• Designing strategies and activities that will lead to these changes (results);
• Balancing expected results with the resources available;
• Monitoring progress regularly and adjusting the activities as needed to ensure that the desired results are achieved;
• Evaluating, documenting and incorporating lessons learned into decision-making and into the next planning phase;
• Reporting on the results achieved.

Institutional arrangements for Result-Based Management in the public service

One key pillar of success in RBM is structures that support its use in managing performance, especially structures that build accountability.  An example of such structure is the public sector commission contract.

The effort towards institutionalisation of RBM across the public service has obtained the government’s approval through the adoption of an RBM policy.
The RBM policy lays the foundations for a robust framework to enable a shift from traditional public-sector management to results-oriented management. This policy should augment existing efforts of the government to control expenditure and add to the tools required to measure and improve the effectiveness of public spending. The policy should be regarded as a living document to provide guidance during that journey of institutionalisation of RBM.

In the near future all ministries, departments and agencies will be introduced with a common strategic planning template to ensure that common terminologies are used for ease of monitoring and evaluation within the accountability framework.

The Result-Based Management framework
The RBM framework typically aligns planning and implementation from the highest level within the system. The figure below illustrates the important components of RBM.

From government policies, ministries/departments develop plans and budgets for implementation.

Benefits of Result-Based Management for the Public Service
The introduction of Results-Based Management system in government is therefore expected to achieve and ease the following:
• Alignment vision, mandates and goals towards the delivery of government’s mandates;
• Development of implementation strategies that will be linked to the country’s vision;
• Alignment of implementation plans at the ministry/agency level with the country’s goal;
• Develop and implement performance measurement system to track results and use of the performance information in decision making;
• Inculcate a culture of performance reporting and communication of results throughout government and to all stakeholders.

Sustaining Result-Based Management
To give impetus to reform process there is a challenge to build institutions that will play a key role in institutionalising RBM at policy, implementation and monitoring levels. The challenge is to ensure that the roles of these institutions are well defined and developed. Failure to institutionalise the RBM process into the mandates and structures of these institutions can create a problem of continuity. More importantly it can lead to a situation where RBM is not useful if it does not, for instance, feed into the budgeting, the performance contract, the reporting for performance at chief executive, ministerial, parliament and auditing levels.

Sustainability of the results-based management within the government will depend on the following:
a) Clearly defined roles and responsibilities. This may require clearly defining and separating, policy roles from implementation and regulatory responsibilities;
b) Maintaining focus on vision, policies and implementation plans;
c) Capacity building, development of systems, and communication of results to all stakeholders to maintain the momentum of desired change;
d) Creating a sense of urgency in the staff;
e) Performance appraisal system with reward and recognition systems that support efforts to motivate employees to do the right things.

The introduction and implementation of RBM in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) will necessarily facilitate a shift to a new mind-set and behavioural change with acceptability of the need for greater accountability: both for MDAs and for individuals working in the public service. RBM will necessitate joint planning among parent ministries and agencies thus bringing more cohesion in the achievement of government’s policy outcomes.

Seychelles has reached the crossroad where like other developing nations it shall not be spared of the effects of globalisation and as such its progress in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and sustaining them cannot be over-emphasised. Being a member of the international community, Seychelles needs to continue to embrace best practices that would improve public service management. Seychelles has great potential as demonstrated through the successful implementation of the economic reform 2008. Without the right management tool and capacity, sustaining the achievements could be challenging. Thus an RBM philosophy and tool should provide MDAs with the means to improve on their performance and for greater accountability within the system.

For implementation of RBM to be successful there is a need to create a sense of urgency for such a change by all and commitment of champions at all levels of the system:  most particularly by the leadership; both political and administrative.

Government of Seychelles (2009): Memorandum of Action public Administration and Public Sector Reform Policies