Current Public Sector Reform Process Is Best - Prof. Wereko
Current Public Sector Reform Process Is Best - Prof. Wereko Website
The introduction of client service units and a new charter for public officials have been identified as major paradigm shift in Ghana's public sector reforms that would inject better responsiveness to the needs of the citizenry. Delivering a lecture on the public sector reforms in Accra on Wednesday, Professor T. B. Wereko, Chairman of the Council of the Institute of Local Government Studies, said even though the new reforms had seen some resistance and problems, the concept of the client units would address the public needs timely and in a more effective manner. He was speaking at the Second Ghana Speaks Lecture/Seminar Series organized quarterly by the Institute of Democratic Governance (IDEG) in collaboration with Joy FM, a radio station in Accra. Prof. Wereko said the introduction of the Citizens' Charter would further entrench the new reform he called the post-bureaucratic paradigm in public service delivery between service providers and the public. The Charter constitutes a bond of agreement between public service providers and the public with the former undertaking to make their outputs accessible to clients or public in the most effective and timely manner. He said Ghanaians were now witnessing this paradigm shift, which was consistent with global concept of effective public service delivery, good governance and enhanced potential for national development. Prof. Wereko, however, said it would be too optimistic to conclude that after only a few years of the new paradigm, a culture of timely and effective public service delivery had been attained or entrenched in Ghana. He said public perceptions should persist that the quality and mode of public service delivery still needed further improvement. "Expressions of such perceptions should now have the bite and positive effect of pushing service providers to a persistent search for better and continuous improvement in delivery." Providing reasons why reforms in the past did not work, Prof. Wereko identified factors such as individual and institutional resistance to change, financial and logistical constraints, the absence of change management teams to implement reforms and lack of commitment on the part of institutional heads. He said when individuals and institutions perceived reforms (change) as a threat to their entrenched way of doing things then implementation became a problem even from the very beginning. On funds and logistics, he said unless the reform anticipated and made provision for its implementation, it would be difficult to drive it to fruition. Chairing the function, Mr Samuel Owusu-Agyei, Minister of Public Sector Reforms, told the participants that reform in the past did not yield the desired impact because it was seen as an event and not a process. Again, he said, there was no institutional home like the Ministry of Public Sector Reforms to drive the process adding, "what was missing also was the institutional ownership of the reform programmes." Mr Owusu-Agyei said the new reform had identified most of the challenges and weaknesses in the past reforms which explained the appreciation of the new process which had shifted from an old impervious bureaucratic model to a new environmentally responsive bureaucratic system.