Empowering people to make reforms work

One key aspect of the recent Royal Address in the Parliament was that despite a lot of budget and time spent in the past to address various issues facing the nation, the outcome was not satisfactory.

The address in essence brought out the repeated failures of the governance system and those within it to address the problems facing the people.

When one takes a close look at the various failed or unsatisfactory initiatives and exercises to improve governance by various elected governments, one common element stands out, time and again.

In the time of the first government the civil servants were called on to perform and deliver the targets set by politicians. All kinds of exhortations and appeals were made, including threats.

There was also an OD exercise by the RCSC.

In the time of the second government again there were efforts to improve governance and in came measures to monitor the performance of agencies through annual agreements and also civil servants.

There was another OD exercise by RCSC again with all kinds of recommendations to improve performance and certain changes were made.

In the time of the third elected government there were again moves to improve services and bring out changes before the major reforms came in.

However, the results have been limited in all of the above, and the common element that all of the above failed to bring in was measuring the quality of services by feedback from clients, which are the people.

The past initiatives all failed because while it set ambitious targets and tightened monitoring and made many changes internally, but they all failed to take into account the feedback of the people as the main measurement tool and also the basis for making changes and improvements.

The resultant system was the government measuring and testing itself, declaring good results all around with no major changes on the ground.

However, if the past exercises had placed people at the heart of the changes and empowered them to give feedback, which would be taken seriously, then it would have been more painful but also more honest and effective.

An example of the failed past systems is the bosses and employees in the civil servants all rating each other as excellent as a mutual back scratching exercise.

Added to this was politicians and political parties who were eager to declare their five years as being wildly successful when they could affect very little change on the ground, apart from a few farm roads and other infrastructure.

Now with the new and deep reforms being carried out it will be important for the government, RCSC and the implementers to take public feedback as the main judge of the success of the reforms.

Agencies and officials should no longer be allowed to score and judge each other like in the past, but the people or clients should be empowered as the main judges and score keepers now.

It is only then that the real problems will come to the surface and remedies will be applied.

Truth matters. Checks and balances matter.
Maria Ressa

Check Also

Paying for Professionals

If one does an analysis of the salary structure in JDWNRH one will find that …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *