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Submitted by Edwin Lau on
The cross-cutting approach advocated in this consultation draft is welcome and reflects the thinking that organisations such as the OECD are also engaged in over how to move towards a more results-based focus in public sector management. I, in particular, appreciate the plea for a diagnostic approach rather than a “best practices” one which leads to “me too” reforms that are not necessarily suited to the needs and capabilities of the countries undertaking them. The OECD has been applying a similar approach through its Public Governance Reviews which seek to provide comprehensive analysis and recommendations to public governance and public management challenges in the country under review. It does so by interlinking horizontal public management issues such as HRM, e-government, public budgeting, and regulatory reform, with impact areas in the form of case studies in sectors such as elderly care, hospitals, waste management and education. So far, we have undertaken reviews of Ireland (2008), Finland (2010) and Estonia (2011), while reviews of Greece, Slovenia and Poland are currently underway. The key is finding the balance between comparable and results-oriented data and context-dependent “diagnostic” analysis that can identify both needs as well as possible solutions that are the most appropriate given a country’s institutional setup and public sector human capital. This also reveals the critical need for data to help match like with like in order to identify clusters of countries that can most usefully learn from one another. We have already begun this work within the OECD by looking at process and output indicators in Government at a Glance (see Zsuzsanna Lonti’s post of Wednesday, 27 April), and welcome a broader dialogue on getting the balance right.