Thursday, May 20, 2010

Wrong Incentives Against Improving Public Service

Public Service can improve, PM says
Fiji Sun - 20 May 2010

Sai's Comments:
  • There are real contradictions in the illegal PM's call for improved services from the Fiji civil service more for reasons to do with the lack of integrity in the messenger than the message itself.
  • In any country, improved civil services is a much desired goal and expectation. But when you are dealing with people, incentives play a vital role in setting expectations and regulating performance.
  • In a climate of fear and "do as you're told", incentives to do the right thing for the right reason becomes distorted to one of "pleasing your master". Civil servants therefore take their cue from their masters and this becomes the default action. It certainly does not result in improved services as standards and expectations become one of "satisfising" as opposed to maximising in terms of performance and productivity.
  • Leaders become an object of study and worship as part of this "satisfising maxim. This is precisely what is happening in the the Fiji civil service.
  • No amount of good intentions or platitudes will change this reality. Aping your betters leaders), though illegally installed becomes the norm.
  • The longer the illegal regime stays the more ingarined this culture becomes. For Fiji's sakes and its people pray a return to democratic government happens soon to drag Fiji back from the abyss.

The civil service still needs to improve, Prime Minister Commodore Voreqe Bainimarama said at the launch of Civil Service Week at Ratu Sukuna Park in Suva yesterday.

“On my recent visits to the rural, maritime islands and my engagement with other segments in our society, it is evident the civil service still needs to improve to ensure, appropriate, timely and professional services to the members of the public,” he said.

Commodore Bainimarama said the service still had a reputation of being slow, bureaucratic, and non-responsive.

“The Civil Service Exhibition Week, which commences today, is an initiative that seeks to inform members of the public of the services provided by the civil service and how citizens can access such services. In this non-office environment, members of the public are encouraged to inform government departments about the problems they face so improvements can be made.

“My government policies, which are framed by the Peoples Charter and the resultant Strategic Framework for Change, is focused on mitigating the many challenges of the civil service that have not been addressed for decades,” he said.

“My Government is focused on ensuring that the civil service is modernised.”

He said that would mean Fiji had a civil service with the appropriate technology, the right size, a civil service that was service and result-oriented, had the right attitude, and was professional with appropriate skill sets.

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