New administration must focus on productivity in public service – Business Daily
People waiting to be served at Huduma Centre. FILE PHOTO | NMG
Now that the dice has been cast and we have new leaders at the county and national governments, we need to talk about the delivery of results. While politicians can win elections, converting a manifesto into tangible results needs different skills: planning and execution. Some of the new leaders will find it rough balancing between the promises to their campaign financiers and those to the people who elected them.
Secondly, they will have to reckon with the existing county or ministry employees, especially those in senior positions. Some of these are the sustainers or enablers of corruption, slow and poor services. The other significant problem is the new leaders themselves. Their ego, propensity to amass wealth and the perks of power: power corrupts. There will be a feeling of being on top of the world. The net effect of this is arrogance, impunity, not following policy and procedures, etc. It is against these odds that we still expect the new leaders to succeed in delivering results.
A focused leader will need to quickly sit down and recheck their manifesto. From this they need to ask themselves — how will I achieve this in five years? How much resources do I need? Who will I work with to achieve this? How will I know if my input is achieving results? How do I refocus the existing team to deliver on my mandate? What made the former office bearer fall short or fail?
They will have to bear with most of the existing staff which is where the issue of productivity comes into place. Productivity is the relationship between inputs and outputs.
A key productivity indicator for public service is the time taken to deliver a service. The President, governors, Cabinet Secretaries and their new teams will find a backlog of outstanding tasks, a quick measure of their productivity is the time taken to clear the outstanding tasks.
All government employees’ work has a computer interface — be it in planning, health, education, or water. This means it can be determined how long it takes for a task to be completed if a good monitoring software is in place. The new leaders need to seriously invest in technology so as to be able to measure the daily productivity of their teams.
The writers are directors of Industry Edge – a social enterprise group.