Januari 21, 2013
Implementation and service delivery are critical to effectiveness, that ‘managing for outcomes’ would necessary demand agencies pay maximum attention to them. (A lesson learned from New Zealand).
Drs. Alexander B. Koroh, MPM
Meeting citizens’ needs is pretty important for all agencies. Through this the well being of individuals and communities could become a reality. Hence implementation and service delivery should be conducted properly in order to fulfill public interest. The limitation of public resources and the rapid changing of the environment where public agencies exist need to be managed effectively. Thus, it is vital for agencies to pay maximum attention to Managing for Outcomes (MfO) in encouraging and supporting the effectiveness of implementation and service delivery. The engagement of stakeholders in playing their positive roles will assist agencies in meeting clients’ needs.
Keywords: citizen, well being, service, Managing for Outcomes, stakeholders.
Implementation and service delivery should be conducted precisely in order to meet the needs of citizens/costumers/clients. Unfortunately in practice the effectiveness of implementation and service delivery are still far from achieving the desired outcomes. This occurs because change happens and organizations in the political system carry out their affairs so often based on different motivations and interests (Jenkins, 1978:303). Agencies as the part of the political system are overshadowed also by political preferences. Put in a different perspective, Chase’s analysis points out “That in implementing human service policies, the context is complex and uncertain, even in such matters as space and equipment resources” (Parsons, 1995:481). While it is apparent that agencies lack attention for management for outcomes (MfO).
However many efforts have been applied to overcome implementation and service delivery problems. Approaches toward them, changing the paradigm and the model of public sector such as reinventing government in America and new public management in New Zealand are efforts to make implementation and service delivery more able to meet client needs. According to Ryan, MfO is the next stage after new public management. A stage where “We have gone beyond and obsession with the means of governing….and are turning attention once again to the ends: i.e. the impacts and effects of public policy.” (Ryan, 2004:39). Thus, it could be argued MfO is a crucial demand that can bring the effectiveness of implementation and service delivery to become a reality. This essay will focus on the attention of agencies to MfO, the demand to pay maximum attention to MfO and what is needed to be done.
Attention to MfO
The real test for implementation and service delivery is the satisfaction of clients in respect of public goods and services that have been provided by public sector (Parsons, 1995:525). Therefore, all benevolent governments attempt to meet the satisfaction of their citizens. In connection with this there are: Weberian bureaucracy, new public management (NPM), and MfO that conduct certain function and tasks in order to fulfill clients’ satisfaction. The traditional bureaucracy possesses to many structures so it could be argued the distortion of implementation and delivery is widespread. The NPM as a reform of the old bureaucracy has done much better in meeting clients’ needs. For instance, The United Kingdom, USA, Australia, and New Zealand are the countries that have encountered benefits from managerialism. In NPM the public sector becomes flat but rich of functions. However, NPM still needs to pay proper attention to process in governance theory and practice particularly of the policy-action connection to intended outcomes (Barret, 2004:260).
Evidence show obviously that managerialism is not sufficient in fulfilling the satisfaction of clients. At this stage, MfO is crucial because through it the state sector is able to bring that satisfaction into a reality. This can occur because government agencies collaborate with stakeholders and community in achieving desired outcomes. However, it could be argued that only countries that have encountered new public management can enter into MfO. Ryan explains that new public management is the first wave for the emergence of the second wave i.e. MfO (Ryan, 2006:39). Sadly, some developing countries for example Indonesia and Philippines that still practice “a Weberian bureaucratic model”, are struggling to implement MfO; this is considered impossible.
MfO shifts several basic aspects in governance practice in order to bring the satisfaction of clients: for instance client relationship from minister-official; networks not bureaucracies; engagement not working by one stakeholder; facilitation not command (Ryan, 2006: 39). He defines MfO as “developing and managing policy and the policy process in a manner that seems most likely to be effective in achieving government desired goals” (2006:4). The shifts show that MfO covers a broader arena compared to new public management. For example, networks cover government and non government participants. Thus their cooperation creates synergy in overcoming issues much better compared to face it partiality (Gray, 2002:24).
Countries that have experienced managerialism are applying MfO. For instance, New Zealand government realizes that MfO is vital. In December 2001, Cabinet introduced new planning expectations that set the arena for the Managing for Outcomes initiative (CAB Min (01) 38/6A). These expectations need all Public Service departments to adopt a more strategic and outcomes-focused approach to management and reporting. Furthermore, in 2003 the government issued guidance for MfO for its departments. According to this guidance “MfO covers the management cycle of setting direction, planning, implementing and delivering, and reviewing the results, which then feeds back into the cycle to inform future planning, enabling a cycle of ongoing improvement.” (Steering committee, 2003:2).
Government agencies possess a fundamental duty to meet the public needs. Therefore, the paradigm that directs the agencies in conducting their services should be appropriate to answer the needs. Improper paradigm or model will bring the agencies to different directions that cannot fulfill clients’ needs properly. Services that fulfill the needs will support government to achieve its desired objectives. Therefore, agencies have a responsibility to ensure that their services run well and meet the needs of client whatever their backgrounds. These are crucial because there is no choice for agencies’ client to go to another place if they do not satisfy with certain agencies’ services (Report of the Controller and Auditor-General, 1999: 23).
Most agencies do not pay maximum attention as a result of being overshadowed by new public management. This happens because the chief executive of ministries and agencies make agreements with ministers to deliver certain outputs such as services or goods, for a specified price, with broad discretion as to inputs. In a certain authority chief executives determine agencies’ staffing, salaries, and rules of operation (James, 1997:10). The focus of agencies is outputs with a clear vertical relationship to the chief executives. James argues that some fragmentations have caused the unclear interest of the government as a whole because every agency focuses on a narrow task based on their contracts. Furthermore, the emergence of stand-alone agencies and management by contract have created a competition for contracts between government and non-government agencies to deliver services, but only to meet their outputs (James, 1997:11). It could be said that agencies do not respond properly to their external environment because they are focusing too much on the outputs. Hence agencies decisions do not reflect the overall situation encountered by clients, entities being handled, or the community as a whole.
To some extent, agencies still see clients not as a real object of their strategies. Agencies define clients based on their purposes thus they do not find the real clients’ needs. For example, ‘working age people’ in the current Ministry of Social Development show that it is too broad as clients. There are some essential clients in that term that need to be defined precisely and clearly. Defining clients precisely will help ensure that public services and goods are delivered to the right targeted-clients (Ryan, 2006:43). Furthermore, Ryan asserts that “Understanding clients as real people, their actual needs and actions, where, when, how, why and what they do with agency outputs….is critical to the success of any focus on outcomes.” (2006:44).
The demand to pay maximum attention and what needs to be done
The performance of agencies in the managerialism paradigm has achieved better results compared to traditional bureaucracy. However, in order to meet clients’ needs precisely agencies should pay maximum attention to MfO. This means that government agencies need to concentrate on wider outcomes, and then focus on their work. By this, in turn, agencies will be able to implement and deliver services that satisfy clients and at the same time it can fulfill government desired objectives. Hence there are some matters that agencies need to do in applying MfO. They can apply it through the phases of the management cycle. The phases are planning for outcomes, implementing for outcomes, resourcing for outcomes, and monitoring and evaluating outcomes, and accounting for outcomes (Ryan, 2003: 11-83).
Planning for outcomes means agencies in the first stage of planning place outcomes as the core. This is vital because the uncertain internal and external environment and their increasing complexity should be considered seriously. According to Ryan, outcome refers to certain conditions of affairs that agencies want to conduct a certain role together with other stakeholders in creating a bright future (Ryan, 2003:11). At this stage, agencies need to arrange and align goals and objective in order there is no overlapping while creating efficiency. Meanwhile, agencies need to understand and define clients properly so that the outcomes really represent the need of clients.
In developing those phases, agencies need to comprehend and realize deeply concerning collaboration, identify the barriers of collaboration, and work with stakeholders. Collaboration is a voluntary action to work together without legal binding among parties in enhancing public value (Gray, 2003:8). Research shows collaboration is able to improve outcomes for individuals or their families (Ministry of Social Development, 2003:2). Through inter-agency collaboration in service delivery it is expected to have the capacity to improve outcomes and services for all actual or potential service users: it can reduce duplication and overlap of services and increase efficiency; it can build collaboration between parties to respond to a certain problem and; it can use various approaches to overcome certain individuals/families problems properly (Gray, 2003:18).
The central government plays a significant role in conducting collaboration. Many government agencies are doing creative and healthy work to increase collaboration among agencies and with other stakeholders. Unfortunately, some barriers still hamper the capability of agencies to collaborate with others. Those barriers are organizational culture where to some extent, secrecy mentality and action still operate in agencies’ daily activities. The funding process is different among agencies which can cause confusion and uncertainty. Government structure and system limit the activities of agencies; they cannot work beyond the structure of the system. Policy development and implementation still lack appropriate response and sensitivity to the local needs. It needs to be more flexible (Ministry of Social Development, 2003:33).
Those obstacles can be overcome through central government officials such as ministers, chief executives and senior managers. They need to promote openness and cooperate among agencies as well as other stakeholders. For instance a minister is able to direct from the top through supporting the definition of joint outcomes, determine the chief executives’ accountability for the achievement, and holding the chief executives accountable for the quality of collaboration. Furthermore, chief executives and senior managers can direct from the top by giving a real example of collaboration among them rather than compete among each other. This also means that the central government needs to decentralize appropriate authority to local managers in conducting their affairs. In this context, leadership from the top is vital in developing and maintaining a robust and integrated service delivery. Furthermore, ministers, chief executives, and senior managers need to encourage information sharing, support collaborative works, encourage relationship building, and enhance staff capacity for collaboration, and establish collaboration into performance assessment criteria (Ministry of Social Development, 2003:35-37).
Working with stakeholders is a crucial element that also determines the achievements of desired outcomes. The core of collaboration is agencies working with stakeholders to identify and establish integrated outcomes. They need to carry it out successfully based on their specific capability and role. For instance, Iwi and Maori have the principles of Waitangi that support their working together with government. Furthermore, the Local Government Act 2002 provides certain outcomes that local agencies and local community want to achieve. At this stage, government agencies need to realize that individuals in communities have different values, preferences, and needs. Specifically, government agencies, individually or on a whole of government basis, need to work in partnership with mana whenua to:
· “Identify the aspiration and needs of Maori, and indentify where these needs are not being met
· build the capacity of government agencies and Maori organizations to deliver responsive services
· ensure that resources are available to support Maori communities
· create appropriate decision making, governance, monitoring and evaluation processes
· make services accountable to Maori as well as government
· address issues for Maori that affect collaboration, such as contested boundaries, different priorities, and different stages of Treaty settlement” (Ministry of Social Development, 2004:53).
The important point is the relationship among agencies and stakeholders needs to expand based on honesty and for a long time period. At the same time, government agencies should make clear how the achievement of community outcomes matches their organizational accountabilities.
It could be said that collaboration and working together are and application of horizontal management. Horizontal management is “the coordination and management of a set of activities between two or more organizational units, where the units in question do not have hierarchical control over each other and where the aim is to generate outcomes that cannot be achieved by units working in isolation” (Bakvis and Juliet, 2004:7). In this context, agencies, stakeholders, and communities can be more creative and innovative in setting their goals and objectives. By which agencies are working in a network while absorbing and sharing benefits in fulfilling the desired outcomes. Every party plays a proper, hence the balance is created. Clients also can see, feel, and participate positively in achieving the outcomes. In this management the burden of agencies, stakeholders and community could be shared appropriately so there is no extra burden in a certain party in achieving outcomes. However, perhaps the role of agencies as primus inter pares among stakeholders and community is still needed in achieving goals and objectives. But this does not mean that agencies will be dominant in planning, setting, and implementing strategies and programmes.
Implementation and service delivery provided by agencies can fulfill the satisfaction of clients if they are conducted properly. Managing for Outcomes as a part of public sector reform after managerialism provide better results in fulfilling clients’ needs. Unfortunately, there are some barriers that prevent agencies to apply MfO in their daily activities. Those obstacles are secrecy within the organizational culture, complicated funding processes, government structure and system structure and system that limit the activities of agencies. Policy development and implementation still lack an appropriate response and sensitivity to the local need (Ministry of Social Development, 2003:33).
The barriers need to overcome in order for agencies to apply MfO that will meet the need of clients. Collaboration, role of central government and working with stakeholders will overcome those barriers. Through collaboration, agencies, stakeholders, and communities will play appropriate roles that lead to the application of MfO that will achieve desired outcomes. Central government plays a significant role in changing the organizational culture, and encouraging agencies to collaborate among agencies and other stakeholders in achieving government and with stakeholders will give a new perspective and sense to agencies in fulfilling clients’ needs. Through these agencies applying MfO properly and significantly will give impact to a better implementation and service delivery.
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