OECD consults public sector staff on what fit-for-purpose civil service looks like

First draft recommendation on public service leadership and capability published


By Mark Smulian

14 Aug 2018

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is calling for views from public servants in its member countries on how to improve public service employee policy.

The OECD has issued its first international recommendation on public service leadership and capability in draft form, and is seeking input from public employees and interested citizens on its work so far.

It aims to set out what a fit-for-purpose public service, including civil service, should look like. The online public consultation is open until 14 September.


Daniel Gerson, OECD project manager for public employment and management, said the recommendation sought to help member states decide how public employees should be managed and how employment policy should be set.

In an OECD blogpost, Gerson said: “To date, very little international guidance exists to address the complex challenges posed by people management and civil service reform in public administrations. As the first OECD Recommendation to address public sector employment, the draft Recommendation fills an import gap.”

He said the capabilities of public servants and those who lead them “are constantly required to adjust to challenges that are increasingly complex and specific”, with leaders now expected to work across organisational boundaries, sectors and jurisdictions.

“Too often, public employment systems are seen to be too slow to bring the right skills in, too rigid to re-skill existing employees and reallocate talent to emerging areas of need,” he added.

“In many areas, public services suffer from legacy employment policies which were designed for another context.”

The OECD said the draft recommendation sought to provide for public services “commonly understood values [to] guide a results-oriented and citizens-centred culture of leadership and policy and services design”, and support to motivate staff and identify and develop skills and resources needed.

OECD recommendations are international standards which reflect good practice but are not legally binding, though those that agree to them commit to try to implement their objectives.

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