Ministry initiates strategy for accountable results-based public service

Tuesday, 10 September 2019 00:58 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The High-Level Forum to mainstream MfDR organised by the Ministry of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation and Youth Affairs. From left: V. Sivagnanasothy, Hanaa Singer, Alaina B. Teplitz, Minister Sagala Ratnayaka, Minister Kabir Hashim and Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy launching the program

The Ministry of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs has initiated action to launch and mainstream the strategy for Managing for Development Results (MfDR)/Results Based Management (RBM) for the public service based on a Cabinet Memorandum submitted by Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe as the Minister of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs. 

In this regard, a High-Level Forum on MfDR was held at Hotel Taj Samudra on 31 August with the participation of Senior Government Officials, Development Partners, Non-Governmental sector and Academia to discuss and formulate an implementation strategy for MfDR. This initiative was supported by Strengthening Democratic Governance and Accountability Project (SDGAP) under the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Grant.

Ports, Shipping and Southern Development Minister and Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Sagala Ratnayaka and Highways and Road Development and Petroleum Resources Development Minister Kabir Hashim, US Embassy in Sri Lanka Ambassador Alaina B. Teplitz, Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) Governor Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy, UN Sri Lanka Resident Coordinator Hanaa Singer and Ministry of National Policies, Economic Affairs, Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Northern Province Development and Youth Affairs Secretary V. Sivagnanasothy addressed the High-Level Forum on the importance of MfDR with international and national experiences.

Minister Sagala Ratnayaka in his address expressed MfDR as a modern public management tool and is an approach to ensure effective public service delivery in the Government. The need for measuring performance to make public service more accountable was also asserted. The Minister further added that the National Audit Act and the Right to Information Act (RTI) have contributed to create accountability in the public sector. 

Minister Kabir Hashim expounded the need to complement RBM with the National Evaluation Bill and the need for both accountability and learning was also emphasised. Alaina B. Teplitz stressed on the need for mainstreaming MfDR as a governance tool to improve the public service delivery in order to fulfil the citizens’ needs. 

Further, Dr. Indrajit Coomaraswamy set out the importance of performance management through Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) as a process to improve accountability for results and performance measurement. 

Hanaa Singer stated the need to align the results target of the Ministries with the National Development Plan and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and V. Sivagnanasothy explained best practice models namely, Minnesota Milestones of the US, Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit of the UK and Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU) of Malaysia and noted the importance of the shift of focus from ‘Compliance Oriented Accountability towards Accountability for Results’.

The MfDR process was recognised as a planning and budgeting tool to achieve results and also identified as a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) tool to measure achievements and results. Selecting SMART KPIs at the outcome level with a baseline target was considered as an effective process for results-based planning and outcome-focused budgeting. 

The High-Level Forum endorsed the piloting of these strategies in five key Ministries carrying important subject areas such as Resettlement and Rehabilitation, Health, Water Supply, Agriculture and Tourism and two Provinces covering North and Uva. 

Moreover, the workshop highlighted on the need for sensitisation of policymakers and senior government officials on the significance of MfDR and developing a MfDR framework with KPIs reported through scorecards for Monitoring and Evaluation, strengthening statistical capacities, linking the KPI-based framework to the budgeting system, capacity building for senior government officials, developing guidelines on methodologies and building MfDR in Universities and Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA) curriculum and supporting to create an enabling environment for performance auditing.

The MfDR process once fully operational, a new management practice and style to be established which holds Ministries, Departments and public officials accountable for results rather than merely efforts, said V. Sivagnanasothy and the workshop concluded on the note that the MfDR process will empower Parliamentarians, Media and Citizens to make public service accountable to results.