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Working with the Grain for Reforming the Public Service : A Live Example from Sierra Leone

ACCOUNTABILITY ADMINISTRATIVE REFORMS APPOINTEES AUDITORS BENEFICIARIES BEST PRACTICE BEST PRACTICES BUDGET PROPOSALS BUDGET SUPPORT BUREAUCRACY CAPACITY BUILDING CAPACITY CONSTRAINTS CITIZENS CIVIL SERVANTS CIVIL SERVICE CIVIL SERVICE REFORM CIVIL SERVICE REFORMS CIVIL WAR COLLECTIVE ACTION CONFIDENCE CONSOLIDATION CORPORATE INCOME TAX CORRUPTION DECENTRALIZATION DECISION-MAKING DECISION-MAKING PROCESS DELIVERY OF SERVICES DEMOCRACIES DEMOCRACY DISCRETIONARY POWER DONOR ASSISTANCE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ECONOMIC GROWTH ETHNIC GROUPS FINANCIAL RESOURCES FINANCIAL SECTOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT FISCAL CONSTRAINTS FOREIGN AID GOVERNANCE REFORMS GOVERNMENT EFFECTIVENESS GOVERNMENT FINANCE GOVERNMENT PERFORMANCE HEALTH CARE HEALTH SECTOR HEALTH WORKERS HUMAN RESOURCE HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT INCOME INFORMATION ASYMMETRIES INFORMATION FLOWS INITIATIVE INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS INTEGRITY INTEREST GROUPS INTERNAL AUDITORS LACK OF COORDINATION LEADERSHIP LOCAL COUNCILS LOCAL GOVERNMENT LOCAL GOVERNMENT FINANCE MARKETABLE SKILLS MDAS MINISTER MINISTERS MINISTRY OF FINANCE MISTRUST NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS PATRONAGE PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL PERFORMANCE CONTRACTING PERFORMANCE CONTRACTS PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT PERFORMANCE OF GOVERNMENT PERSONAL GAIN POLITICAL COMMITMENT POLITICAL COMPETITION POLITICAL ECONOMY POLITICAL LEADERSHIP POLITICIAN POLITICIANS POOR PERFORMANCE POVERTY REDUCTION POVERTY REDUCTION STRATEGY PRIVATE GOODS PRIVATE SECTOR PROCUREMENT PRODUCTIVITY PROGRAMS PROVISION OF SERVICES PUBLIC EXPENDITURE PUBLIC EXPENDITURE REVIEW PUBLIC EXPENDITURES PUBLIC FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT PUBLIC GOODS PUBLIC INTEREST PUBLIC MANAGEMENT PUBLIC POLICY PUBLIC RESOURCES PUBLIC SECTOR PUBLIC SECTOR GOVERNANCE PUBLIC SECTOR MANAGEMENT PUBLIC SECTOR PERFORMANCE PUBLIC SECTOR REFORM PUBLIC SECTOR SPECIALIST PUBLIC SERVICE PUBLIC SERVICE ETHIC PUBLIC SERVICE MANAGEMENT PUBLIC SERVICES REFORM AGENDA REFORM APPROACHES REFORM EFFORTS REFORM OBJECTIVES REFORM PLAN REFORM PROCESS REFORM PROGRAM REFORM STRATEGIES RESOURCE ALLOCATION RESOURCE ALLOCATION DECISIONS RESOURCE MANAGEMENT RULING PARTY SANITATION SERVICE DELIVERY SERVICE EMPLOYMENT STRATEGIC PLANS SUB-NATIONAL GOVERNMENTS TAX REVENUES UNINTENDED CONSEQUENCES VESTED INTERESTS
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World Bank, Washington, DC
Africa | Sierra Leone
2012-12-21T19:05:00Z | 2012-12-21T19:05:00Z | 2012-07

Development practitioners still lack a critical mass of empirical evidence which can help identify the set of interventions that are more likely to work, and inform the design and implementation of feasible reforms. This paper contributes to fill this gap by looking at the case of the 'Sierra Leone Pay and Performance Project', a World Bank-supported initiative to reform the civil service. It analyzes the functional problems characterizing the civil service and discusses what factors account for the observed dysfunctions. The central argument is that the current dysfunctions might be difficult to reverse as they define a sub-optimal equilibrium which serves political purposes (dysfunctions by design). However, politics is not all that matters. This equilibrium is further reinforced by systemic dysfunctions that may not be the consequence of any strategic design or the outcome of elite preferences (dysfunctions by default). This is where there is scope for change, even in the short run. The authors conclude that the chances of successful civil service reforms are likely to be maximized if reform initiatives support modest and incremental changes that work with the grain of existing incentives and are consistent with government preferences. The Sierra Leone Pay and Performance Project aims to do so by adopting a limited and targeted focus on pay reform, performance management and recruitment and staffing. In addition, the use of the results-based lending instrument is expected to help mitigate the current dysfunctions by aligning the incentives of the various players and, in this way, create the conditions for greater coordination across government agencies. Although the suggested approach is not without risks, recent dynamics suggest that the chances of success are greater today than in the past.

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