Effective public service and service delivery, crucial for competitiveness of economy: Think Tank

July 17, 2015 (LBO) – An efficient service delivery in the public service is crucial not only to achieve a competitive economy but also to meet the needs of poor and vulnerable sections of the society, a think tank said.

“The efficiency of the public service, in terms of policy development and service delivery, is a crucial determinant of the competitiveness of an economy,” Pathfinder, a Colombo based think tank said in its report “Charting the Way Forward: Prosperity for All”.

“In addition, efficient service delivery is crucial not only to achieve a competitive economy but also to meet the needs of poor and vulnerable sections of the society,”

The Sri Lankan public service is one of the largest in the world on a per capita basis.

It has increased from 600,000 in 2005 to 1.4 million today and absorbs considerable human and financial resources and yields a very low return.

High priority needs to be attached to downsizing, the report says as well as improving productivity, morale and accountability.

“As a lower middle-income country, with no access to concessional financing, Sri Lanka can no longer use the public service as an employment agency,”

“This places an even higher premium on increasing the competitiveness of the economy and empowering young people through better education, training and skills development to promote a modern economy with high value employment.”

The report also suggests several ways of overcoming this burden.

Redundancy Schemes to reduce the size of the public service, learning from the experiences of other countries are among them.

“Attention should be paid to careful sequencing with policies designed to create the conditions for generating alternative employment,” the report said.

Other alternatives to overcome the situvation included increasing autonomy and accountability of public servants, introducing an independent and demand driven recruitment system and introducing an independent institutional arrangement for appointments, promotions, etc.

Using electronic databases and ICT solutions to improve service delivery could also help the report added.