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Submitted by Mark Ahern on
As someone working on PFM reform - most recently in the Middle East -I found much to agree with in the proposed public sector management approach. In particular: • the need for an ongoing dialogue to identify the real problems and constraints, and provide timely support. • the benefit of a flexible approach to implementation that recognizes that the reform path is unpredictable and requires the reformer to take opportunities as they arise. • the value in a local solution that invariably has greater ownership than a parachuted in “best practice” model. One issue raised by the approach, however, is the resource implications for the Bank. To implement a more nuanced and flexible approach there is a need for experienced PSM specialists with up to date country knowledge. Without this it would be difficult to have the necessary understanding of the underlying PSM systems and country context to advise on: • what really are the “functional” problems? • whether a home grown reform is a “good fit” solution, or a wasteful dead end? or • whether a departure from the initial reform plan is astute management in light of the evolving country context, or a wrong turn that will not deliver results? The Bank has been prepared to make an investment in country based (or linked) specialist staff in other areas of activity in order to have the necessary mix of skills and country knowledge - economic monitoring comes to mind. Is it a priority to do something similar on public sector management?