According to the UNDP governance can be seen as the exercise of economic, politicaland administrative authority to manage a country??™s affairs at all levels. It comprises themechanisms, processes and institutions through which citizens and groups artic ulate theirinterests, exercise their legal rights, meet their obligations and mediate their differences.Good governance is, among other things, participatory, transparent and accountable. It isalso effective and equitable, and it promotes the rule of law. It ensures that political,social and economic priorities are based on broad consensus in society and that the voicesof the poorest and the most vulnerable are heard in decision- making over the allocation ofdevelopment resources.Characteristics of good governance: -1. ParticipationAll men and women, inclusive of the physically challenged, should have a voicein decision- making, either directly or through legitimate intermediate institutionsthat represent their interests. Such broad participation is built on freedom ofassociation and speech, as well as capabilities to participate constructively.
Participation is a process whereby policy- making, prioritizing issues, accessibilityto public goods and services and also allocating resources is influenced by keystakeholders. It varies from one context to another and subject to differentprojects and visions. Participatory processes in a poverty reduction strategypromote information exchange and transparency in decision-making processes.The World Bank notes that this, in turn, will improve and, as a result, increase theoverall governance and economic efficiency of development activities.Generally, public involvement includes three elements or ???pillars??™:?· Public access to information;?· Public participation in decision-making processes;?· Public access to judicial and administrative redress often termed ???access tojustice??™.
Access to information can be passive or active. Passive access is where the publicwill get information upon request to government institutions. Active access iswhereby the government is obliged to give and disseminate information. Accessto justice is whereby the procedural rights of the public to information arerespected and guaranteed. This is because for rights to be effective, there shouldbe a corresponding remedy. The above pillars are also known in environmentallaw parlance as third generation human rights or environmental rights.
They arealso part of the basic tenets of good governance.The rationale for public involvement can be discussed from various dimensions.From a human rights dimension, people have the right to know, to be informedand participate in decisions that affect them as well as seeking redress.
From alegal, ethical and moral dimension, citizens and government officials are obligedto ensure good governance. It has been argued that government processes areimproved through public involvement.2. Rule of LawLaws, regulations and codes of conduct should be fair and enforced impartially,particularly the laws on human rights. One of the effective ways of tackling weakgovernance is to look at the disconnection between institutions within the broadergovernance environment including the scope of operation of the society ingeneral. The availability of information is critical to good governance.
Access toinformation and the promotion of procedural rights provide an enablingframework where accountability and improved delivery could enhanceinstitutional changes. Information is critical for the leaders and their constituentsto be informed of their problems as well as the solutions. Likewise, it is importantto review previous institutional constraints in order to map the future with viableoptions because a poor governance system serves private interests at the expenseof the poor and they suffer in a multiplicity of ways. A correct diagnosis of poorgovernance is important in that it determines practical strategies that aresustainable and effective in reducing poverty.3. TransparencyTransparency is built on the free flow of information. Processes, institutions andinformation are directly accessible to those concerned with them, and enoughinformation is provided to understand and monitor them. It promotes openness ofgovernment action, decision-making processes, and consultative processes amongpublic sector and all stakeholders.
These processes are subject to scrutiny by othergovernment institutions, civil society and external institutions.Lack of transparency, weak accountability, lack of responsiveness andinefficiency also compromise good governance. In a corrupt government, publicresources are diverted from meeting the needs of the poor and benefits do notreach the intended beneficiaries. Human security is compromised by corruption.This is because corruption is both a cause and effect of bad governance.
The poorare usually disproportionately affected by poor governance because health,education and police services are inaccessible. Their income is usually erodedthrough payment of bribes.Corruption can be classified into two broad categories, state capture andadministrative corruption. State capture takes place when a framework of lawsand rules has been distorted. This form of corruption is characterized byenactment of laws, policies and regulations that are influenced through illegal andnon-transparent ways, as well as serving private interests.
Administrativecorruption is about distortion of the implementation of these laws and policies. Itrefers to the ???intentional imposition of distortion in the prescribed implementationof existing laws, rules and regulations to provide advantage to either state or nonstateactors as a result of illegal transfer or concentration of private gains to publicofficials.???4. ResponsivenessInstitutions and processes try to serve all stakeholders within a reasonabletimeframe.
5. Consensus OrientationGood governance mediates differing interests to reach a broad consensus on whatis in the best interest of the group and, where possible, on policies and procedures.Underlying this characteristic is the theory of consensus and consensus decisionmaking.ConsensusConsensus has two common meanings.
One is a general agreement among themembers of a given group or community. The other is as a theory and practice ofgetting such agreements.The process of achieving consensus involves serious consideration of every groupmember??™s or stakeholders??™ considered opinion. Consensus usually involvescollaboration, rather than compromise. Instead of one opinion being adopted by aplurality, stakeholders are brought together until a convergent decision isdeveloped.Consensus decision-makingConsensus decision-making is a decision process that not only seeks theagreement of most participants, but also to resolve or mitigate the objections ofthe minority to achieve the most agreeable decision. Consensus decision-makingis intended to deemphasize the role of factions or parties and promote theexpression of individual voices. This method also increases the likelihood ofunforeseen or creative solutions by juxtaposing dissimilar ideas.
Consensus decision-making involves identifying and addressing concerns,generating new alternatives, combining elements of multiple alternatives andchecking that people understand a proposal or an argument. This empowersminorities, those with objections that are hard to state quickly, and those who areless skilled in debate. Therefore, consensus decision-making can be seen as aform of grassroots democracy.6. EquityAll men and women have opportunities to improve or maintain their well-being.7. Effectiveness and efficiencyProcesses and institutions produce results that meet needs while making the bestuse of resources. This characteristic promotes efficient public delivery systemsand quality public outputs.
It deals with the amount of public respect the civilservice has. One aspect of poor service delivery is corruption. One of the ways offighting corruption is through competitive salaries and motivating staff throughincentives. There is also a need to introduce legislation governing civil serviceand a code of conduct. This legislation will define the appointments andpromotions of civil servants through merit based processes as well as theorganizational structure.
8. AccountabilityDecision-makers in government, the private sector and civil society organizationsare accountable to the public, as well as to institutional stakeholders. Thisaccountability differs depending on the organization and whether the decision isinternal or external to an organizatio n. Central to the principle of accountability isinformation sharing and transparency which should be promoted by governancestructures.
Hence, accountability is hard to achieve especially in the absence ofaccess to information. Public accountability is founded on two pillars. The firstpillar is related to accountability by the executive and the second pillar is based oninstitutional change. Accountability can be classified in four categories. These arepublic, financial, horizontal and vertical.
Horizontal accountability is therelationship between the executive, legislature and the judiciary. Verticalaccountability is whereby one actor reports to another subject to the interpretationof constitutional provisions. Informal checks on these relationships are reinforcedby the civil society and the donor community.9. Strategic VisionLeaders and the public have a long-term perspective on good governance andhuman development, along with a sense of what is needed for such development.There is also an understanding of the historical, cultural and social complexities inwhich that perspective is grounded.Good governance leads to a number of positive consequences, including:?· People trust your organization?· You know where you??™re going?· Your board is connected to your membership and stakeholders?· You get good decisions; people value your work?· You have the ability to weather crises?· Financial stabilityImplications of Good GovernanceSustainable development, social cohesion and environmental management are dependenton governance and efficient public sector management. Hence, good governance isrepresentative of a successful public sector reform programme that promotes equity andsustainable development.
A weak governance system compromises the delivery ofservices and benefits to those who need them most; the influence of powerful interestgroups biases policies, programs and spending away from the poor and lack of propertyrights, police protection and legal services disadvantages the poor and inhibits them fromsecuring their homes and other assets and operating businesses. Poor governancegenerates and reinforces ??“ and subverts efforts to reduce it, while bad governance acts asa barrier to economic development to both domestic and foreign direct investment andthis leads to the collapse of the nation state.Why Public Sector ReformThe impetus for reforming the public sector is based on several stimuli. Globalisationwith its multi- faceted implications is undoubtedly the single most dominating factor.
Theeffects of globalization can be seen in all areas of the business environment. It affects thepolitical, economical, technological and social environs. The concept of public sectorreform has evolved from isolated occurrences and is now seen largely as a globalmovement. The success of reform initiatives has been replicated in a number of territoriesand this has added momentum to the global revolution. The pressure exerted ondeveloping countries has also contributed to this paradigm shift. Finally, theinefficiencies and ineffective processes in terms of organizational structure, managementpractices, legislation, political interference, outdated work processes and procedures,redundancy, nepotism, poor utilization of resources ??“ human and materials, poorappraisal systems, lack of rewards and recognition systems, poor working conditions andcorruption have all contributed to the internal turmoil that is characteristic of publicsector departments.
The implications of good governance coupled with the stimuli impinging upon publicsector reform have led to the formalization of goal two: ???Firm craftsmen of our fate???:New Governance for new Times; from the draft document The National Strategic Plan ofBarbados 2005-2025. This goal essentially acknowledges that in order to equip Barbadosto function in the global economy will necessitate a transformation of not only theBarbadian society and economy, but also the way we govern ourselves. We will need anew paradigm of governance that speaks not just to the government of the society butalso to governance in the society. Furthermore, at the heart of the new arrangement forgovernance must be greater transparency and accountability, based on a heightened senseof trust, not only in the public sector, but also in the corporate sector and civil society. Itnotes, that the public service must be a catalyst for change, and it is essential that publicsector reform goes far beyond its present scope to embrace a radical overhaul of theadministrative machinery of government. Civil society must also be strengthened as acritical part of governance.
Non-governmental organizations (NGOs), single interestgroups, faith-based organizations and community-based groups will have increasinglyimportant roles to play in the governance of our society which must be characterized byhigher levels of self-reliance, less dependence on the state and greater diversity andtolerance.Role of Office of Public Sector Reform (OPSR)The myth surrounding the Office of Public Sector Reform has permeated the entire publicservice unchecked for quite some time. It is assumed that the Office has the power andresponsibility to enforce public sector reform initiatives.
But in reality, the role of theOffice of Public Sector Reform is to facilitate the development, co-ordination andimplementation of Public Sector Reform Initiatives. The Office takes direction from thePolitical Directorate ??“ Prime Minister, Ministers, Permanent Secretaries and other suchpersons. Any initiatives undertaken must be sanctioned by those in authority. Therefore,in order to ensure the characteristics of good governance are adhered to and to fullyrealize true public sector reform will entail autonomy of the Office to develop andcoordinate reform initiatives.
It will also require the power and support to implement andmaintain the initiatives that are reminiscent of the objectives set, and the annihilation ofthe inherent inefficiencies and ineffectiveness plaguing current Public SectorDepartments.Creating the Conditions for Good GovernanceGiven the characteristics of good governance, its implications and the relevance to publicsector reform within small developing nations, governments must create and sustain theconditions necessary for good governance within their respective territories.Conditions for good governance1. Create and adapt basic legislation and institutions that guarantee political andeconomic freedoms as well as strive to meet a broader range of basic humanneeds (food, housing, health and medicare, education, etc.
).2. Relax regulations in order to remove obstacles to economic participation.3.
Improve financial management.4. Build infrastructure to ensure that organizational capacity is available to handlethe growing needs for services, increasing demands for better and moreresponsive services, and creating conditions for economic progress and socialcohesion.5.
Train public officers, business people and entrepreneurs. With the improvementsin access to education brings the challenge of rapid changes in many knowledgeareas therefore government must institute an ongoing development programmefor its human resources to ensure that they are equipped with the necessary skills.6. Reform public management practices to address issues such as budget deficits,external pressures on competitiveness (globalization), antiquated workprocedures, excessive centralization, inflexibility, lack of efficiency and perceivedlack of public confidence in government.
7. Freedom from distortionary incentives ??“ through corruption, nepotism, patronageor capture by narrow private interest groups.8. Accountability of politicians and civil servants to ensure that the power given tothem through the laws and regulations they implement, resources they control andthe organizations the y manage is used appropriately and in accordance with thepublic interest.
Examples of Public Sector Reform Initiatives Promoting GoodGovernance1. Eliminating CorruptionCorruption can manifest itself as individual, organisational or institutional and canbe found in both the public and private sectors. In the context of the state,corruption most often refers to criminal or otherwise unlawful conduct bygovernment agencies, or by officials of these organisations acting in the course oftheir employment.In Barbados, the Ombudsmans office was established in 1987. It hearscomplaints against government offices for alleged injuries or injustices resultingfrom administrative conduct. The office is proscribed from involving itself inissues involving foreign affairs, immigration questions, and certain other matters.2. Public Service code of conductA public service code of conduct provides guidance on required behaviourswithin the service and prescribes required standards of integrity and professionalconduct.
Such codes relate directly to conditions of employment and legallyenforceableregulations.In Barbados the public service act is being drafted.3. Improving Policy Presentation/CommunicationThe broad purpose of policy presentation strategies is:?§ To create and maintain an informed public;?§ To harness all suitable publicity methods; and?§ To sound out public opinion on policy changes and service developments.
In Barbados, the Government Information Service (BGIS) is the officialcommunications arm of the Barbados Government. This Department isresponsible for the dissemination of public information to the various news mediaand the general public. Over the years, the Department has evolved from afledgling information management function to a broad based news and publicrelations agency of government, impacting on the opinions of the people ofBarbados regarding matters of governmental and national importance.4. Roles and ResponsibilitiesThe need to define management roles, the desire for improved support servicesfor decision-makers (politicians) and the quest for meaningful and effectiveallocation of duties and responsibilities among public officials has all been centraland critical to efficient government.The Barbados Government also utilised a retreat setting to bring togetherparliamentarians and senior public servants to focus on, among other issues; theappropriate relationships between elected and appointed officials.5.
CorporatisationThe strongest form of commercialisation is corporatisation, a structural shifttowards a more autonomous business unit, coupled with competitive neutrality.In Barbados, the government has already corporatised the Barbados PortAuthority. The Port of Bridgetown is a general services port, managed andoperated by the Barbados Port Inc.
as a commercial enterprise geared to marketforces through competitive pricing and effective services.6. Reforming Financial ManagementThe public service is responsible for protecting the value of the physical andfinancial assets owned by the government.
In 1996, the government has introduced a system of Programme and PerformanceBased Budgeting (PPBB). PPBB aims to improve the budgetary and financialmanagement systems of the Barbados Government. PPBB lays greater empha sison the classification of the budget, and is viewed as forward looking. It alsoplaces greater emphasis on prior accomplishment and performance indicators.7. Estate ManagementThe estate is the land, buildings, equipment, and perhaps the infrastructur e, ownedby the government. This represents in all countries a massive accrued investment.
The Property Management Unit of the Ministry of Housing, Lands andEnvironment was established in 1980 in recognition of the Ministry??™sresponsibility for Governme nt offices, land and other property involving theadministering of leases, licences and contracts.8. External AuditsThe purpose of an external audit in the public sector is to provide assurance totaxpayers as to the integrity of public finances (the financial audit), and also toensure that value is being achieved in public spending (the value- for-moneyaudit).In Barbados, the Audit General??™s Office is responsible for carrying out value- formoneyaudits in all government departments and agencies.
The legal mandate toperform this type of audit is listed in section 26(3) of the Financial Administrationand Audit Act. This section states that ???the Auditor General may carry outexaminations into the economical, efficient and effective use of resources of anyMinistry or Department or any other entity required to be audited by him.??? It isimportant to recognise that the Audit Office does not have any power to enforceits recommendations. It is the responsibility of the management of theMinistry/Department to ensure that it is utilizing its resources in an efficientmanner.9. Partnership for DevelopmentPartnership for development can be defined as an agreement negotiated by thestate and social partners, namely private sector institutions and civil societyorganisations.The Social Partnership in Barbados was first solidified in 1992, as a response toeconomic turmoil the country was experiencing. This tripartite partnershipamong government, labour and the private sector continues to show success.
Oneof the objectives of the social partnership is to increase competitiveness throughimproved productivity and efficiency in the workplace.10. Corporate MissionsThe mission of a public or private sector organisation captures its overallpurposes, what it exists for, and what it intends to achieve within its area ofoperation and responsibility.
In Barbados, the new Performance Review and Development System requires allgovernment agencies taking part in the pilot phase to develop a strategic plan. Asyou know a mission statement is an integral part of a strategic plan.11. Performance IndicatorsPerformance indicators are statistics, used as a management tool, which reflect theactivities of the public service, and give insight into how well it is functioning.
Performance indicators are used to monitor a particular programme or activity, orthe performance of an organisational unit, such as a ministry or department.In Barbados, the new Performance Review and Development System is anorganisational approach to improve performance by aligning planning withmanagement. It links corporate planning and budgetary cycles and plans todivision, team and individual work planning, training, and reward and recognitionactivities. It promotes a non-blame approach to problem solving, employeeempowerment and the development of a performance culture.12. Capacity-BuildingManagement development institutes are established in most Commonwealthcountries.
Their role was to provide training, consultancy and research services togovernments. The main target group and recipients of their services were toplevel, senior and middle managers within the bureaucracy. In addition to buildingcapacity for the public sector, they were also expected to serve as think-tanksthrough their research into public policy formulation and policy reforms.The Centre for Management in Barbados, which is an autonomous body withinthe University of the West Indies, delivers graduate and executive programmes. Itrecently launched an MBA for public service managers.
13. Efficiency AuditsEfficiency audits are also known as value- for-money audits, and have much incommon with efficiency scrutinies.In Barbados, the Auditor General??™s Office performs value- for-money auditingwhich looks at the economy in acquiring resources, efficiency in the use ofresources and the effectiveness of programmes.14. Performance AppraisalPerformance Appraisal is a system by which an individual is guided towardsmaking an effective contribution to the work of the public service.
Barbados has created a Performance Review and Development System Unit toimplement the new appraisal system.15. Information and communication technology (ICT)Information and communication technology (ICT) is revolutionizing the waygovernments operate around the world by enabling them to improve the deliveryof services to their customers and to streamline their operations.The Government of Barbados intends to utilize all available new and emergingtechnologies to enhance the quality of life of its citizens.