OECD Report


Many governments face complex, multifaceted challenges, solutions of which often depend on management quality and leadership skills of the senior executives. For example, global COVID-19 pandemic has shown the urgent need to make quick decisions on provision of basic civil services, while ensuring protection of both citizens and public service employees.  

Leaders are defined as the highest level representatives of civil service, who are responsible for managing and improving public functions. They provide political orientation of strategic documents and state programs, main aim of which is a health, safety and economic viability of citizens. However, leaders shall have both necessary skills and institutional support to help them achieve their goals and function effectively.  

Special feature of the OECD Leadership for a high performing civil service (hereinafter referred to as the Report) is a disclosure of 14 principles of civil service dedicated to specific goals solutions, which include recommendations on developing leadership skills for formation of innovation policy. These principles are the results of work of 10 OECD Member States Group. Research conducted in the period from 2017-2019 was based on 9 cases that arose during discussion of problems in the field of central administration management in a number of countries. Research of those cases is devoted to the following two topics:
  • Leadership capability (skills, competencies and management model) to respond to complex challenges
  • Policies, processes and tools needed to develop those capabilities and support senior civil servants (SCS)
9 cases presented by foreign practice are collected from international experience of Finland, Ireland, France, Australia, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Estonia and Korea.

3 categories were identified as fundamental elements of this research that form the basis of public service work in the future:
  1. Forward looking. In fast-changing modern environment of labor relations, with scarce skills and resources on one side and unpredictable changes on the other, strategic workforce planning becomes a cornerstone of public employment policies.  These challenges force governments to provide training opportunities with advanced knowledge and skills.
  2. Flexible. Most civil service systems were established with an emphasis on stability and predictability, but while responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, certain shortcomings were identified in traditional civil service system.   Therefore, introduction of flexible operational procedures that allow public sector to adapt to multi-level challenges is an integral element of public service functioning.  
  3. Fulfilling. Civil servants shall feel the value and effectiveness of their work. In this regard, state apparatus needs to focus on involvement and effectiveness in personnel policy planning.
OECD experts also analyzed innovative skills model based on 6 elements that have to be implemented in the process of training leaders. At the same time, Report developers stipulate that CSC do not need to master the following skills (Figure 2) – it will be enough if they are optimally used.

In turn, speaking about the role of leaders in current reality, main idea of the Report was to rethink the leaders role as such. Beside being aware of their strengths and reliable team, leaders shall compete with their own colleagues. Employees shall have strong values to achieve this goal, which in turn will allow them to bring a variety of positions and methods, guided by common motives and goals.

In conclusion, readers are give opportunity to take a test that contains key components of each section of the Report.

Full text of the Review available at the OECD website: http://www.oecd.org/innovation/leadership-for-a-high-performing-civil-service-ed8235c8-en.htm





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