Time for Transformation

The 2016 PRB Report is geared towards transforming the public sector into a better performing sector.

No doubt, the recommendations made in terms of compensation (pay) including benefits and allowances for the civil servants, employees of the parastatal organisations, local authorities, Members of the Parliament, municipal/district councillors, advisers and others, the organisation re-design, digitalisation of the systems, etc., form the total package of the review aimed at transforming the public sector to better the service delivery in the briefest possible time. (Re. Chapter 4 Vol.1 PRB Report 2016)

Transformation is a dynamic, focused and relatively short-term process, designed to fundamentally re-focus certain actions in an organisation. It is different from the broader, longer-term and on-going process of administrative reform. This is not to suggest that transformation and reform cannot take place concurrently. In fact, this is what happens during the first years, with transformation being the dominant immediate process. Thereafter, reform will be shaped up and negotiated to become more of the order of the day.

So as not to negate the very objective of the 2016 PRB Report, the immediate concern is to facilitate the shorter-term process of transformation for each organisation (which we understand were, a priori, discussed with the stakeholders, re para 1.14 Vol1). This will evidently bring greater demands on heads of ministries, departments and organisations but will undoubtedly positively impact on the service delivery, justifying the additional costs.

The perception of the public service by the stakeholders changes when radical transformations are brought to the organisation, to the operating system, to the way of doing things, etc – much the same way eggs of butterfly are seen undergoing transformation and becoming larva, pupa and finally adult butterfly. Or the way bacteria are transformed by the introduction of DNA from another cell to become a transformed bacteria (fit for industrial use).

I sincerely hope that this transformation lap is not business as usual for the public sector. It has the PRB Report as a launching pad for metamorphosing and making itself more efficient, effective, and accountable. It can act quickly to spot out ways and means to transform itself effectively for the better, as recommended (understandably following intensive consultations with the stakeholders) and not revert to the routine of the past.

* Published in print edition on 10 June 2016

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