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Engaging for results in civil service reforms : early lessons from a problem-driven engagement in Sierra Leone

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  • Roseth, Benjamin
  • Srivastava, Vivek

Abstract

Two related propositions have been central in the recent debates on public sector reforms. The first of these is that the appropriate measure of institutional strength is the ability of public sector management systems to deliver ("functionality") rather than the institutional"form"or what these institutions look like. This is a central idea in the World Bank's Public Sector Management (PSM) Approach 2011-2020. Second, and consistent with this, is the recognition that the process of engagement matters in the sense that how problems, solutions, and reform approaches are identified matters at least as much as what the solution is. This suggests that development institutions should focus on bringing a broad range of stakeholders together and facilitate a process of collective problem and solution identification. Recent contributions to the literature describe a"Problem-Driven Iterative Adaptation"approach as a means of putting this idea into practice. While both of these propositions have considerable intellectual and intuitive appeal, they are based on an inductive logic and neither is currently backed with a large body of robust evidence. This paper contributes to this literature by documenting the experience of a civil service reform project -- the World Bank-financed Sierra Leone Pay and Performance Project -- the objective of which is to improve the performance of the civil service in Sierra Leone by targeting a narrowly defined set of critical reforms. The paper concludes that intensive, client-led engagement together with use of a results-based lending instrument provide a promising way forward on a difficult reform agenda.

Suggested Citation

  • Roseth, Benjamin & Srivastava, Vivek, 2013. "Engaging for results in civil service reforms : early lessons from a problem-driven engagement in Sierra Leone," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6458, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:6458
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Blum, Jurgen, 2012. "Public Sector Management Reform: Toward a Problem-Solving Approach," World Bank - Economic Premise, The World Bank, issue 100, pages 1-9, December.
    2. Tim Kelsall, 2008. "Going with the Grain in African Development?," Development Policy Review, Overseas Development Institute, vol. 26(6), pages 627-655, November.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Banks&Banking Reform; Public Sector Corruption&Anticorruption Measures; Government Diagnostic Capacity Building; E-Business; Access to Finance;
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