It is difficult to identify tangible progress in civil service reform (Evans 2008), but a wide range of tools for measuring public administration performance is available as a basis for designing indicators.
Evans (2008) suggests improving evaluation practice by linking civil service reforms to more concretely measureable public finance management reforms (e.g. payroll and HR databases, training and capacity building) and by developing more measurable indicators of results (one example is the percentage of recruitment done on merit).
The most recent World Bank approach to public sector management reform, which includes civil service reform, proposes improving country level public sector institutional tracking. This involves extending the range of indicators of strength of country systems, developing quality standards and priority areas for case studies and undertaking more rigorous impact evaluation of public sector reform results (World Bank 2011b).
UNDP’s (2009) Users’ Guide to Measuring Public Administration Performance. introduces 18 measurement tools that can be used to design specific indicators. These tools are:
- Quantitative Service Delivery Surveys (QSDSs)
- Citizen Report Cards
- Common Assessment Framework (CAF)
- Country Governance Assessment (CGA)
- Capability Reviews
- Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETSs)
- Self-Assessment Tool for Customer Service Excellence
- Performance Measurement Framework (Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability – PEFA)
- Public Officials’ Survey
- Country Assessment in Accountability and Transparency (CONTACT)
- Evaluation Matrix of Civil Service Human Resource Management in the European Union
- Control and Management System Baselines
- Human Resources Self-Assessment Guide
- Human Resource Management (HRM) Assessment Instrument
- Analytical Framework for Institutional Assessment of Civil Service Systems
- Engendering Budgets: A Practitioners’ Guide to Understanding and Implementing Gender-Responsive Budgets
- National Integrity Systems (NIS)
- Diagnostic Framework for Revenue Administration
While little specific work is available on value for money (VFM) in civil service reform, Barnett et al. (2010) outline an approach to VFM in governance programmes in general. They note that VFM can be optimised by strengthening and balancing three processes and measures: economy, efficiency and effectiveness – achieving relatively low costs, high productivity and successful outcomes. It is the conversion of inputs to outputs and of outputs to outcomes that is of particular interest in VFM judgements. To evaluate these conversion processes, the authors recommend using a balanced selection of governance indicators linked to a programme’s theory of change and to data sources such as logframes, country databases and management information systems. Developing reliable benchmarks (such as unit costings) is a prerequisite for conducting VFM assessments. UNDP (2009), may serve as a useful source for reliable indicators.
Barnett, C., Barr, J., Christie, A., Duff, B., & Hext, S. (2010) Measuring the impact and value for money of governance programmes. ITAD.
Evans, A. (2008). Civil service and administrative reform: Thematic paper. IEG Working Paper 2008/8. Washington D.C.: World Bank.
UNDP. (2009). A users’ guide to measuring public administration performance. Oslo, Norway: UNDP Oslo Governance Centre.
World Bank. (2011b). World Bank approach to public sector management 2011-2020: Better results from public sector institutions. Public Sector and Governance Board. Washington D.C.: World Bank.