Achieving better results from public sector institutions


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After a year of intensive consultation among development partners and with technical experts within the World Bank, I am pleased to announce that the World Bank Approach to Public Sector Management (2011-2020) has been agreed by the Public Sector Governance Board (the internal body that maintains professional standards on PSM and governance work within the Bank).

The Approach focuses on Public Sector Management (PSM) as a vehicle to overcome development challenges from budgeting to service delivery, reflecting both research findings and practitioner experiences. It is far-reaching–in its focus on the range of development outcomes that hinge on Public Sector Management–and pragmatic–in its emphasis on fitting reforms to country contexts. It also orients the Bank towards understanding PSM as a problem-solving endeavor, not a goal in its own right. The Approach charts a course for PSM work that combines the experience of public management experts with sound empirics and detailed diagnostics of the immediate context–including political economy realities–to find the most promising and sustainable method for easing binding constraints to improved public sector performance. It sets a learning agenda to systematically import lessons from research, while simultaneously laying a stronger empirical foundation for the discipline in the future. The Approach offers some clear directions for the Bank's operational work, its approach to research, and its staffing and structures. Importantly, it commits the Bank to reviewing progress annually.

Our agreement on this Approach does not mean an end to the debate. As we note, PSM is a challenging reform area in which to offer assistance. Sustainable institutional change often requires that thousands of public agents alter their behavior, and political incentives may be aligned against improving public sector performance. 'What works' in PSM reform is highly context-dependent and explicit evidence remains limited. We will continue to seek guidance and to encourage an open debate as we gain more experience in implementing this Approach.



Linda Van Gelder

Country Director, Western Balkans, Europe and Central Asia

Join the Conversation

Lanre Rotimi
February 10, 2012

We welcome recent release of New PSM Vision Document. The Big Issue is How do we (World Bank Group and Partners – International Institutions; Developed Countries Governments; Developing Countries Governments; Private Sector; and CSOs’) IMPLEMENT and Monitor, Evaluate and Assess the Implementation of the Ideas set out in this important document?

We have sent mail forwarding our Comments on Priorities and Direction Moving Forward. We wish to make the following additional Comments:-
1. Dissemination: The Sustainable Solutions to Europe Crisis; World Fuel, Food, Finance, Trade, Terrorism and Climate Change problems on the ground lies in Making Globalization and Governance Work for Citizens in both Developed and Developing Countries, particularly the Poor (whose numbers are increasing in Developed Countries, given Triple Whammy Effect of Low Growth; High Inflation and High Unemployment). To achieve these Sustainable Solutions, both Developed and Developing Countries NEED Public Services (and Civil Services) Fit for the 21st Century. The New PSM Vision Document, fully implemented, could contribute much towards finding; fully implementing and effectively monitoring, evaluating and assessing the implementation of these Sustainable Solutions; hence URGENT Need to ensure Global Dissemination of this Important Document.
2. Utilization: If this Important Document is to effectively support World Bank Group and Partners – International Institutions; Developed Countries Governments; Developing Countries Governments; Private Sector; and CSOs’ in the Delivery of Sustainable Benefits to Target Groups within Comprehensive Program for Sustainable Solutions to Europe Crisis; World Fuel, Food, Finance, Trade, Terrorism and Climate Change problems; there MUST be Effective Utilization of Ideas set out this Important Document. To achieve this, there is a Need for PSM Global Pilot Programs.
3. Competencies: The Document identified PSM Competencies Gap. To Fill this Gap, One Worldwide Competencies Framework for all Involved in PSM needs to be Institutionalized from Village to Global levels. Also arrangements for Building Database of adequate numbers of Professionals / Experts with adequate levels of Competencies needs to be discussed and established on time. Again relevant PSM Policy, Program, Project Interventions within these Activities are best Designed and Delivered within PSM Global Pilot Programs.
4. Debate: The idea of Continuing PSM Discussion is Commendable. However, if the Discussions are not to be Empty Professional Debate or Abstract Academic Discussion; then it should derive Content and Context from Personal Experience of Internal Consultants; External Consultants; Representatives of other relevant Stakeholder Groups; that is all Concerned World Bank Group Internal and External Publics; Gained from PSM Vision / PSM Interventions / PSM Approach Implementation Realities. Again relevant PSM Policy, Program, Project Interventions for ENRICHING Continuing PSM debate as suggested, are best Designed and Delivered within PSM Global Pilot Programs.

Lanre Rotimi
Global Center for Learning in Evaluation and Results
International Society for Poverty Elimination /
Economic Alliance Group
Secretariat to MPCOP-PE&ES and 3PCM and CSR Project
Abuja Nigeria; Kent UK

Anand P. Gupta
February 06, 2012

I am currently engaged in work on reforms in the management of public expenditures in India and have been struggling with the issue of how to change the behaviour of those responsible for managing public money. A message seems to have gone around that public money is nobody’s money and therefore it is meant to be looted. I will look forward to the work that may be done on this issue under the World Bank Approach to Public Sector Management (2011-2020).

Dr. Olubunmi Ajayi
February 18, 2012

Dear Mr. Rotimi,

I agree with your comments in particular, your point number 4. I would like to have a discussion with you at your earliest convenience.


Dr. Olubunmi Ajayi, FRSA, FCMI

Working with Governments, Citizens and Communities on the Frontlines of Local Government Improvement

(T) +44 (0) 7905 766 991
(E) [email protected]

Sino.AS Soegihartonotonegoro
September 05, 2015

To SUPPORT ALL PROGRAM since 1966 Investment Dispute on ICSID we elcome to support with Resolution Reform of Currency as Command and Control a Nations Currency through distribution Payment Order 1-11. Why The World Bank hasnot of its own? World Bank same with the meaning of Cooperation in the name World Bank and Not esencial of The World Bank. We prepare the first world currency of the Central World Bank on behalf Bullion Bank Transaction. The World Bank-UBS-BI-State Program under Delivery Mandate 1. M1.