COMPROMISED PERFORMANCE

Too little liability in the public sector reduces efficiency

Well-intentioned development programmes have been undermined by inefficiency, wrong-headed priorities and outright graft

In Summary

• Public entities should use resources effectively and economically to achieve value for money. 

• They should have policies to underpin the highest standards of integrity, for example, a policy on fraud. 

Graft
NO TRANSPARENCY: Graft
Image: COURTESY

Taxpayers have come to regard the government as unresponsive, inefficient and lacking transparency. All too often, well-intentioned development programmes have been undermined in the past by inefficiency, wrong-headed priorities and outright graft.

It is crucial to enhance the effectiveness of our country’s public spending on social goals. The public sector, however, cannot in general, be relied upon to reform itself in isolation. The pressure of informed domestic public opinion is a crucial stimulus. I’m reminded, though, of a famous quote by Alexander Hamilton, “A government ill-executed, whatever may be the theory, in practice is a poor government.”

Our government has become so big, complex and riddled with competing agenda that its performance is terribly compromised. There are too many decision-makers, too many bases to touch, layers of management, too many managers in each layer, and too little accountability.

 

The civil service system should be retooled such that it meets the demands presented by a modern, multiagency enterprise approach to government. Such a system would improve the ability of the enterprise to recruit and retain our nation’s best and brightest talent. Employees should be provided with good working spaces and equipment. Public entities should use resources effectively and economically in achieving their policies to achieve value for money.

The public entity needs to acknowledge this and take action to mitigate any risks that might arise. Where there are multiple providers, the entity should give a fair opportunity for all. It should have policies to underpin the highest standards of integrity, for example, a code of conduct; a policy on fraud.

PhD student, University of Nairobi