Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development)


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Citizen’S Participation (GH0016)

Politics is widely regarded as affecting and being affected by the performance of public services, yet little research differentiates between services in exploring these effects. The article addresses this gap by proposing a framework for understanding and comparing the politics of different services. It identifies how the nature of the good, type of market failure, tasks involved in delivery, and demand for a service—hitherto regarded largely as economic and managerial concerns—affect political commitment, organizational control, and user power.

Policy responses can be targeted to address service characteristics where they present opportunities or constraints to better services.

We use cookies to help provide and enhance our service and tailor content and ads. By continuing you agree to the use of cookies. Download PDF Download. Few would disagree that a better understanding of PFM and public sector management is central to reducing poverty. Fiscal stability is needed to promote economic growth and create jobs; while the distribution of public resources including many forms of external aid is the basis for providing public services that are critical to improving living standards.

Yet PFM looks increasingly unbalanced in many developing countries: while macro-fiscal outcomes seem to be doing well, if not spectacularly so, public service provision is not. PFM has emerged as one of the most successful governance themes in international development.

Our Mandate - Grand Council Treaty #3

Over the past two decades, the profession has built up an armoury of standards, tools and norms to guide interventions. Today, those standards are fervently infiltrating public sector reforms around the world. It could even be argued that these have contributed to the remarkable stability shown by developing countries following the global economic and financial crisis. Yet, despite this progress, the PFM discipline has much less to say about how it can go further to improve service delivery. Organised by the Overseas Development Institute and the World Bank, the conference explored lessons from engaging on governance and anti-corruption projects and deliberated on future priorities for the World Bank.

Three points stood out from the discussion. Firstly, the standard tools and measures of PFM are inadequate to address concerns about service delivery. But few countries have managed to fully reconcile the need to balance fiscal stability with the construction of good infrastructure projects.

Though some indicators do exist, information that would be considered basic in a private company is often missing from the diagnosis of a PFM system: How many contracts have been signed and paid on time? What proportion of capital projects were budgeted for but never completed?

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That allows things to go wrong without anyone knowing, or being able to find out, why. Secondly, it is not clear why the gap between PFM and service delivery exists though there was much speculation at the conference.

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Perhaps it is because services are highly complex and not easily supported by standardised PFM tools? Others asked if the reasons are more political.

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Do economists and finance ministries have an overarching say in shaping PFM systems? How well do donors talk and bridge disciplines within their organisations? Or does the gap exist because PFM solutions cannot address the incentives that surround service delivery in developing countries? After all, PFM almost always involves money, and incentives that involve money can be unpredictable.


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Thirdly, there is no consensus on how PFM could be made more service-oriented. Most likely, different sectors will have different needs. In two separate break-out discussions on health and infrastructure development, both raised the need to address incentives, but differed otherwise. Health units need flexibility to respond to changes in health needs during the year.

It may also be possible to get better health outcomes by getting basic PFM systems right particularly systems for managing the payroll and cash management or by learning from the experiences of using payment-for-results PforR.

Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development) Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development)
Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development) Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development)
Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development) Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development)
Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development) Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development)
Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development) Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development)
Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development) Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development)
Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development) Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development)
Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development) Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development)
Citizens and Service Delivery (Directions in Development)

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