Public Service Reform Plan 2014-2016

1.2 Reform Framework

Public Service Reform is broad, challenging and complex, and is delivered across a number of related strands. It involves around 290,000 staff in hundreds of diverse organisations working together better to deliver quality services to end users. The main strands of the overall reform programme are described briefly here and set out in the diagram below.
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1.2.1 Cross-cutting Strategic Reform

Cross-cutting strategic reforms are those that generally apply across all sectors of the Public Service. They are informed by the Programme for Government and also best practice in other jurisdictions and in the private sector, where appropriate. This plan sets out a series of cross-cutting strategic reforms with the objective of delivering better outcomes through a focus on service users, efficiency and openness. These will be underpinned by enhancing leadership, capability and delivery. Specific reforms that arise in this context include increased digitalisation, better value-for-money procurement and greater use of shared services.

Also included under this broad heading is the programme of political and legislative reform that is already well underway with the aim of improving openness, transparency and accountability. This is part of the Government’s objective of rebuilding the relationship with the citizen and restoring public trust in the institutions of the State. The main cross-cutting strategic reforms for delivery by 2020 are set out in Section 2 of this plan, with more specific actions for the next three years set out in Appendix 1.

1.2.2 Sectoral Reform

Sectoral reforms are taking place across all sectors of the Public Service on foot of the major commitments to reform in the Programme for Government and are led by the relevant Ministers and their Departments. There is a particularly strong focus on the key sectors of Health, Education, Local Government, Justice and the Civil Service. For example, there are ambitious sectoral reform programmes in place in the Health Sector (‘Future Health’) and the Local Government Sector (‘Putting People First’), as well as initiatives across the Education and Training and other sectors. These are aligned with the overall Public Service Reform programme. An important initiative on Civil Service Renewal commenced in 2013, with the objective of setting out a practical, shared and motivating vision for the future of the Civil Service, underpinned by clear actions to achieve it. This vision and strategy will be set out in a Civil Service Renewal Plan in 2014 (See Section 3.1).

Some of the priority reforms in the main sectors, which are led by the relevant Ministers and their Departments, are outlined at a high-level in Section 3.

1.2.3 Operational Reform

Operational reforms include plans to change how the Public Service does its business, with the objective of increasing efficiency. These include a broad range of initiatives to improve productivity, reduce costs and provide greater value for money. In the context of this plan, operational reforms will be driven by management, enabled by the productivity measures agreed in the Haddington Road Agreement, which is addressed in more detail in Section 2.
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