Analytical efforts to identify the sources of government failure should not be construed as ‘government bashing’. As we think about the problems of government, we should bear in mind that government is often called upon to address problems that were already in the ‘too hard’ basket of the market or of the other social institutions
In this context, it could be argued that the unindented consequences of the State Sector Act 1988, which gave chief executives greater autonomy, led to coordination issues and inconsistencies of how Departments and Ministry would perform.
The PIF is a great start to identifying key successes and weaknesses of each government agency but more importantly, this is a tool that can potentially address issues around coordination and inconsistencies within the public sector. However, until that occurs, institutional inertia and perhaps path dependency are still very much at play two decades after the State Sector Act came into place.
Comparative Institutional Analysis
While the comparative institutional analysis is commonly used by governments to compare policy arrangements from different jurisdictions, I have chosen to use this tool for this project because of its transferrable nature and also because I view the workings of each Ministry as separate entities, despite the fact they are all government agencies.
Comparative institutional analysis is predicated on the view that effective policy responses to current problems are most likely to be struck on when policy design is closely informed by knowledge of actual working policy settings found elsewhere.
By comparing the PIF findings for each Ministry, I would be in a good position to identify best practice frameworks to developing and strengthening leadership in Ministry that are lacking in the area of leadership development. This could also be practical element to closing the fragmentation and alignment gaps. Understandably, this could cause some concerns around my final findings and recommendations because comparative analysis is conservative, that its prescription of taking our cue from existing policy settings stifles the possibility of original thought.
The other perspective could be that the focus on actual working policy settings can promote creativity. Through playing around with evidence from elsewhere, by talking through the possibilities, we might develop breakthrough policy designs.
The Performance Improvement Framework
For this project I am only gathering information from Leadership and Governance, and Leadership and Workforce Development. Using the rating system below, the PIF also provides a succinct summary for each of its key elements.