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Discussion Papers

  • Ageing in the Irish Civil Service: A Human Resource Management Response
    This paper highlights the importance of developing a number of HR initiatives as a means of planning for and managing the large number of staff departures and consequent loss of experience which both ageing and decentralisation will generate. The concept of workforce planning, an integrated approach to managing changes that impact on staffing, is introduced.
  • A New Change Agenda for the Irish Public Service
    The Strategic Management Initiative (SMI) for the Irish public service is now over six years old. Since 1994, there have been significant developments in public service management.
  • A Review of Annual Progress Reports
    This paper examines annual progress reports produced by government departments and offices.
  • A Review of Knowledge Management in the Irish Civil Service
    This study seeks to raise awareness of knowledge management and its potential to support organisations in achieving their business objectives. The research also identifies the concrete steps and cultural change required of government departments in order to more effectively use and share knowledge.
  • A Review of Civil Service Grading and Pay Scales
    The Irish civil service has a common pay and grading system. This means that all departments and offices have the same approach to grading with pay levels in respect of each grade determined centrally. The traditional rationale of these arrangements is to promote and preserve an independent and impartial civil service. However, a fundamental question for HR policy is the extent to which they are still relevant and desirable. The issue was noted in Towards 2016 (2006) the national social partnership agreement, which states (para. 29.6) that "the parties agree to engage in discussions to identify and explore the full range of issues involved in rationalising grade structures".
  • Career Progression in the Irish Civil Service
    A new approach to HRM is a priority in the Irish civil service due to difficulties in recruiting and retaining the best staff.
  • Civil Service Perfomance Indicators
    The evidence base to inform management and policy decision making is still elementary in many instances in the civil service. This paper provides practical assistance to civil service managers involved in the development of performance indicators.
  • Cross Departmental Expenditure Reviews: Lessons from the pilot exercises
    While each individual cross-departmental review will have its own specific terms of reference, there are common issues that most cross-departmental reviews would be expected to address. Just as there are generic terms of reference provided by the Department of Finance as a guide for departmental expenditure reviews, it is helpful to have generic terms of reference for cross-departmental reviews. This review highlights some of the methodological approaches possible for the review of cross-departmental expenditure.
  • Developing an Effective Internal Customer Service Ethos
    Departments can best expect to meet targets in respect of delivering a quality customer service to the public if the needs of their own staff are likewise met with similar standards of timeliness, courtesy and consultation by colleagues.
  • Developing an Integrated Performance Measurement Framework for the Irish Civil Service
    This discussion paper focuses on performance measurement in the civil service. Measurement systems are widely seen as crucial in underpinning effective performance management and accountability regimes .
  • Developing a Strategic Approach to HR in the Irish Civil Service
    This paper examines the extent to which strategic HR is being implemented across the civil service and offers guidance to departments wishing to further progress this area.
  • Effective consultation with the external customer
    This paper focuses on experiences to date and lessons to be learned by public service organisations in the drive to deliver better services to their external customers, including a wide range or organisations as well citizens generally.
  • E-Government and Organisation Development
    This study presents an overview of the synergies between organisation change and ICT developments. It provides important insights into the way e-government is planned, implemented and evaluated at organisation level. It also gives an opportunity to examine theories of e-government progress and organisation development issues.
  • E-government and the Decentralisation of Service Delivery
    This study sets out to show what e-governent is about, what stage of development it is at in Ireland, how Ireland compares with other countries in this, and how its agenda can be further shaped and advanced.
  • Evaluation In The Irish Health Sector
    The report seeks to establish a specific role for evaluation in the management of health services in Ireland through a review of current practice while at the same time identifying ways in which evaluation can be enhanced further.
  • Evaluating Public Expenditure Programmes
    This discussion paper explores the programme review function of government. The topic is of particular interest at the moment, as a government decision of 25 March 1997 introduced a programme of comprehensive expenditure reviews.
  • From Personnel Management to HRM: Key Issues and Challenges
    This paper examines why and how government department personnel functions should re-orient their activities to take a more strategic and developmental approach to human resource management (HRM).
  • Governance and Accountability in the Civil Service
    This paper explores the governance and accountability implications for the civil service arising from recent legislative changes.
  • Improving Public Service Delivery
    Improving Public Service Delivery discusses some of the key issues that have to be addressed by public service managers in efforts to improve the delivery of services to the general public.
  • Improving Public Services in Ireland: A Case-Study Approach
    Achieving a significant and on-going improvement in the quality of services delivered to the public is a cornerstone of the current public service reform programme at both national and local levels.
  • Innovation in the Irish Public Sector
    This study attempts to assess the critical factors necessary for public sector organisations that are implementing innovation programmes. The research also identifies the critical steps and cultural change needed of government departments and public sector organisations in order to benefit more effectively from, and develop, innovation potential. The study also seeks to provide a useful guide to organisations undertaking innovative initiatives by learning from good practice case studies included in the study.
  • Key Human Resource Management Issues in the Irish Public Service
    With nearly 221,000 staff employed in total, there is no doubt that people are the Irish public service's most valuable resource.
  • Measuring Public Sector Productivity: Lessons from International Experience
    This is a study of international experience in measuring public service productivity. The research informs possible approaches to public service. The study focuses on three main aspects of productivity measurement: attempts to develop comparative, cross-national assessments of public sector efficiency and performance; national and sectoral public sector productivity initiatives; and a more micro-level examination of productivity measurement, looking at organisation-based and bottom up initiatives to measure public sector productivity.
  • Multi-Stream Structures in the Public Service
    This paper examines the implications of a structure of separate administrative, professional and technical streams for the management of the public service.
  • Performance Measurement in Local Government
    Performance measurement is an important element of local government modernisation as outlined in the fifth national social partnership agreement Programme for Prosperity and Fairness (2000).
  • Performance Measurement in the Health Sector
    This paper provides an overview of the development of performance measurement in the Irish health sector, drawing on reported developments in other health systems.
  • Performance Verification and Public Service Pay
    Performance verifcation is a means of formally linking public service pay with industrial relations stability, co-operation with flexibility and ongoing change, and the implementation of an agenda of public service modernisation. This study provides an assessment of the performance verification process, and how the efficiency and effectiveness of the existing process can be improved.
  • Promoting longer-term policy thinking
    This study looks at ways of influencing and shaping the future rather than attempts to forecast it. It focuses on the government's capacity to identify and address key, strategic and cross-cutting policy issues with a longer-term perspective.
  • Public Service Decentralisation: Governance Opportunities and Challenges
    This discussion paper identifies and analyses a number of key governance issues that are relevant to 'decentralisation' as a concept in public sector reform.
  • Public Service Values
    Values are essential components of organisational culture and instrumental in determining, guiding and informing behaviour. For bureaucracies, adherence to high-level public service values can generate substantial public trust and confidence. Conversely, weak application of values or promotion of inappropriate values can lead to reductions in these essential elements of democratic governance, as well as to ethical and decision-making dilemmas. While a core set of public service values is necessary, it is also true that different values apply to different parts of the public service. For example, a distinction may be made between technical, regulatory and administrative tasks, or between those parts of a bureaucracy in direct contact with the public and those which are not.
  • Regulatory Impact Analysis: Lessons From The Pilot Exercise
    Regulation affects all areas of public life. Government policy is for regulation to be more rigorously evaluated to ensure that it is needed and that regulation does not become over bureaucratic. Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) is a tool for assessing the likely impact of regulatory proposals. This paper examines the pilot testing of the application of RIA in five government departments and offices in Ireland.
  • Regulatory Reform: Lessons from International Experience
    Regulations affect most aspects of life. Often, regulations are needed to protect and promote the public good. In areas such as health and safety, consumer protection and gender equality, regulations are needed to promote desired practices.
  • Service Planning in the Health Sector
    Through an exploration of the experiences of service planners and the processes and issues involved , a framework for service planning is developed.
  • Team-Based Working
    This discussion paper looks at team-based working in the civil service. Teams are increasingly being turned to as a means of tackling issues in a less bureaucratic manner, and as a means of addressing 'cross-cutting' issues such as poverty and crime.
  • The Effective Use of Competencies in the Irish Civil Service
    This research explores the development of competency-based human resource management (HRM) in the Irish civil service.
  • The Fifth Irish Presidency of the European Union
    The Fifth Irish Presidency of the European Union (EU), from July to December 1996, is regarded as having been the latest in a series of successful presidencies over the past two decades.
  • The Use of Rewards In Civil Service Management
    This discussion paper looks at the use of rewards in the civil service. Rewarding good performance is a challenging task, given the constraints which operate in the public service. Defining outstanding performance can be difficult.
  • Understanding and Managing Organisational Culture
    This study reviews evidence that shows why managing culture is important to effectively enhance both organisation performance and, in macro terms, the public service modernisation programme. Based on the national and international literature reviewed and interviews conducted, guidance is provided in relation to more effectively managing culture, and issues to be addressed in terms of its effective engagement and use in the public service are outlined.