Transforming the public service?

The report of the Task Force on the Public Service was published and launched by the Government today. The report’s title is Transforming Public Services: Citizen Centred – Performance Focused. It is a significant report, and takes its agenda in part from the OECD review of the Irish public service issued earlier this year, and which I mentioned in a previous post in this blog.

The title is, in many ways, quite revealing: the focus is on process, such as how to manage under-performance, how to make the work of the public service more accessible to citizens, how to coordinate the civil and public service, and so forth. These are all important topics and deserve attention, but it seems to me that in many ways they are in the second row of what needs to be transformed. There is a more pressing ned to clarify what it is that we, as a society, expect of the public service, and what we want it to deliver. How it is delivered is important, but cannot properly be addressed until we know what it is that we want delivered.

I would still welcome the report, however, and hope that its implementation will proceed. But we need to have a more fundamental debate in Ireland about the mix of public and private organisational and social and cultural aims that we would like to see pursued in Ireland, and how then we can ask ourselves how the state and its agencies can achieve that for us. During the recent US election campaign President-elect Obama addressed these issues much more succinctly than we have done so far; we also need to tap into that sense of idealism to which he refers. Public service as bureaucracy – even efficient and value-for-money – is not the whole story.

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One Comment on “Transforming the public service?”

  1. Would you consider subscribing to my blog?

    We were recognized by on Nov. 19 under the headline “A student at the University of Georgia tries to reinvent the GOP.”

    Thanks, fellow blogger.

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