With the impact of the global recession continuing to squeeze and reshape economies around the world, public administrators are facing up to the challenging task of developing more innovative solutions to protect essential public service delivery frameworks and buffer the public sector reform process in the face of deep financial cuts.
There has been much debate in trying to define what public sector reform is, and how it should be implemented. The United Nations Economic and Social Council, in its 2006 paper, stated that:
Public sector reform consists of deliberate changes to the structures and processes of public sector organizations with the objective of getting them to run better. Structural change may include merging or splitting public sector organizations while process change may include redesigning systems, setting quality standards and focusing on capacity-building.
In terms of service delivery, governments around the world have to balance resources and investment with results and outcomes. Public Administration itself, whether at local, regional, federal, or national levels, comes under increasing public scrutiny as citizens come to regard this aspect of national activity in the same way as any other – one from which they expect efficiency, accountability, productivity and responsiveness. In order to meet citizen’s demands and to operate within the present financial constraints, public administrations are having to embrace reform.
The International Centre for Parliamentary Studies (ICPS) carries out a substantial amount of work to support administrations across the world in their efforts to bring about change and reform, providing a range of different services:
ICPS research makes a significant contribution to learning about electoral processes, highlighting best practice, current trends and leading thinking. The Centre has a repository of materials, including research papers, films and documentaries, and works in collaboration with a number of academics, universities and research organisations across the world.
High level networks
ICPS has developed a network for senior officials that have a professional interest in the field of electoral affairs, and provides opportunities throughout the year for them to gather and share ideas and best practice
ICPS provides consultancy services to public administrations around the world on areas including: voter registration, the role of technology, working with stakeholders, communications strategies, project management, managing data, training personnel, electoral psychology, managing polling day, awarding and managing contracts, holding the ballot count, technology and counting the vote, ensuring robustness and transparency, delivering reliable and internationally credible results, statutory models, boundary commissions, programmes for inclusion of minorities, all the way through to rebuilding states after conflict, and basic human rights.
ICPS provides training and advice to those involved in organising and overseeing elections, through working in collaboration and delivering bespoke training programmes which are tailored to their precise requirements. The Centre also provides internationally recognised professional qualifications in the areas of electoral processes, governance, Parliament and policy, and these are accredited by the Chartered Management Institute.