Pan-Commonwealth Virtual Meeting of Heads of Public Service/Cabinet Secretaries
| Onkareshwar Pandey - Editor in Chief - CEO, IOP - 31 May 2022

2nd Biennial Pan-Commonwealth Virtual Meeting of Heads of Public Service/Cabinet Secretaries from Jun 6-8, 2022

Theme: Frontiers of Government Performance Management: Towards Generally Accepted Performance Principles (GAPP)

Prime Minister of Republic of Barbados Rt Hon Mia Amor Mottley QC, MP,and Lyonchhen Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister Kingdom of Bhutan will be keynote speakers in this BIENNIAL PAN-COMMONWEALTH MEETING OF HEADS OF PUBLIC SERVICE, Prof. Trivedi added.

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Date - June 6, 2022 TIME - 13:00 BST London Time / 5:30 pm IST India Time

By Onkareshwar Pandey

What are the common challenges hindering government performance management in Commonwealth countries?

What can we learn from the various Commonwealth country experiences in designing and implementing a successful government performance management system?

What has been the role of Cabinet Secretaries / Heads of Public Services in designing and implementing effective government performance management systems?

What are the Generally Accepted Performance Principles (GAPP) on which there seems to be widespread agreement across the Commonwealth?

What are the “necessary” and “sufficient” conditions for designing an effective government performance management system?

All these questions will be raised, debated and discussed in the 2ND BIENNIAL PAN-COMMONWEALTH (VIRTUAL) MEETING OF HEADS OF PUBLIC SERVICE/CABINET SECRETARIES ON Jun 6-8, 2022. The core theme of this 3 day meeting is – “Frontiers of Government Performance Management: Towards Generally Accepted Performance Principles (GAPP)”

This landmark event in the area of government performance management is being organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat, United Kingdom. 

“In the past, participation in this important event was limited to the heads of public services and cabinet secretaries from the Commonwealth countries. This year, this meeting will be held virtually, and we have decided to invite members of our Community of Practice (COP) as observers. An observer will be able to send their questions and comments via Chat Box in Zoom but will not be able to make live (real-time) interventions. In other words, observers will be able to see and hear Heads of Public Services but not interact with them. Since all members of our COP are familiar with the issues to be discussed, we expect very high quality of debates and discussions among us. Of course, we will continue to debate these issues on CANVAS long after the meeting is over,” said Prof. Prajapati Trivedi, Special Envoy for SDG Implementation in an exclusive invite sent to selected few.

The Rt Hon Mia Amor Mottley QC, MP, Prime Minister of Republic of Barbados and Lyonchhen Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister Kingdom of Bhutan will be keynote speakers in this BIENNIAL PAN-COMMONWEALTH MEETING OF HEADS OF PUBLIC SERVICE, Prof. Trivedi added.

A Barbadian politician and attorney Mia Amor Mottley, QC, MP has served as Prime Minister of Barbados since 2018 and as leader of the Barbados Labour Party since 2008. She is the eighth person to hold the office of Prime Minister in Barbados and the first woman to hold either position.

Bhutanese politician and surgeon Lotay Tshering is the current Prime Minister of Bhutan, in office since 7 November 2018. He has also been the president of Druk Nyamrup Tshogpa since 14 May 2018.

“There is generally a widespread consensus that government performance is critical to service delivery and achievement of national development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It is now abundantly clear that the competitive and comparative advantage of nations depend primarily on the performance and effectiveness of government. An ‘effective’ government performance management system is therefore a critical requirement for a nation’s growth and development.” Says a Background note circulated with the invitation for the PAN-COMMONWEALTH MEETING OF HEADS.

“The meeting of Heads of Public Service/Cabinet Secretaries is inspired by our understanding of the important social and economic developmental gains to be made by improving government effectiveness. Enhanced delivery of public services and effective implementation of public policies, programmes and projects affects the welfare of all citizens,” Prof. Prajapati Trivedi said.

“Our collective concern in the Commonwealth is that the benefits offered by governments should primarily benefit the most vulnerable and marginalised communities. Attention therefore needs to be paid to both equity and efficiency since both go hand in hand. The guiding principle should be to do the right things and also to do things right. This means operating and delivering in ways that are responsive and accountable, as well as more efficient and effective. The focus therefore needs to be on ensuring that public systems are streamlined and managed to work better, faster and cheaper in order to deliver what is promised and what is needed,” he further said.

“International experience suggests that 80% of the performance of any organisation is determined by the quality of its systems. Hence, the proposed meeting will share practical tools and techniques currently used by Commonwealth Governments for improving systems of performance management in government. Specifically, this meeting will focus on widely accepted principles for developing a results-based government performance management system. Very often we find that adequate availability of resources and plans do not automatically translate into good service delivery,” Prof. Trivedi said.  

“Invariably, with a little reflection, poor service delivery is very often a function of poor performance management in the public service. It would be safe to assert that almost all problems that we see with government inefficiency can be traced to poor performance management. That is, most problems that we observe are symptoms of a more fundamental underlying problem of poor performance management in government, also known as ineffective governance,” Prof. Trivedi elaborated.

“The Commonwealth governments are very much aware of this challenge. That is why so many officers around the Commonwealth have performance management attached to their titles and roles. A few years back, jobs and titles related to government performance management did not exist. It was in the early 80s that a Commonwealth country, New Zealand, became a pioneer in reinventing the government. They abandoned the titles of Permanent Secretary and called them Chief Executive Officers of ministries and put them on Performance Agreements. That is the time when governments around the world took a quantum jump from process management to performance management. This was considered so dramatic that a new branch of public administration called New Public Management (NPM) was born,” Prof. Trivedi pointed out.

He further said,” Today, that debate is over and New Public Management has become mainstream. As stated earlier, leaders have realised that government performance is a major determinant of a country’s competitive and comparative advantage. The race among nations will be won by countries that have effective and efficient governments and not necessarily by those endowed with abundant resources. However, even if we were to agree that poor performance of government is the root cause of most of our contemporary challenges, where do we begin? Senior civil servants know better than anyone that governments are complex, multi-layered organisations and, not surprisingly, government effectiveness and efficiency have many dimensions. Prima facie, therefore, the task of improving government performance looks daunting, if not impossible.”

Expected participants in this meeting include Cabinet Secretaries/Heads of the Public Civil Service and/or senior officials responsible for the public service from across all regions of the Commonwealth.

The principal objectives of the meeting are:

·         To review and discuss the international experience in general and Commonwealth experience in particular with regard to design and implementation of effective government performance management systems with a view to share best practices and lessons learned.

To take stock of emerging global consensus on the Generally Accepted Performance Principles (GAPP) for the design and implementation of government performance management systems, which contribute to more effective government.

To enhance participants’ knowledge in (a) performance improvement and management techniques, based on theory and international experience, and (b) cutting-edge tools and techniques.

To strengthen the Commonwealth Community of Practice in Government Performance Management in order to ensure that we sustain and institutionalise cross-learning, exchange of ideas and experiences in performance management.

First day of the meeting on June 6, 2022, Prof Luis Franceschi, Senior Director, Governance and Peace Directorate (GPD) Commonwealth Secretariat will give welcome remarks and the Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Secretary-General of the Commonwealth will deliver opening address in the meeting.

Dr. Roger Koranteng, Adviser & Head, Public Sector Governance Unit (PSGU) will talk about meeting objectives, expectations, and will also present a review of the programmes. The Commonwealth Secretariat is preparing the background documents on the different agenda items for advance circulation to delegates. For each session, there will be a short presentation followed by discussions. The meeting will be as interactive as possible with participants/delegates encouraged to freely engage in frank and candid discussions.

Prof. Prajapati Trivedi, Commonwealth Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for SDG Implementation and Prof Marc Holzer, Distinguished Professor, Suffolk University and Founding Director, National Centre for Public Performance (NCPP) will talk on the topic of “Frontiers of Government Performance Management: Towards Generally Accepted Performance Principles (GAPP)”

Prof. Margaret Kobia, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Public Service, Youth and Gender Affairs Government of Kenya will present the “Case Study of Kenya’s Award-Winning Performance Management System.”

Mr Khandker Anwarul Islam, Cabinet Secretary, Government of Bangladesh will present a “Case Study of Bangladesh’s Annual Performance Agreements (APA) – The Government Performance Management System” and Hon Shantal Munro-Knight MP Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Government of Barbados will present “Case Study of Commitment for Results (CFR) –The Government Performance Management System in Barbados.”

Similarly, Nigeria’s Performance Management System will be presented by Dr Folashade Mejabi Yemi-Esan, Head of the Civil Service of the Federation Government of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Dr. George Simataa, Secretary to Cabinet Secretariat, Office of the Prime Minister Government of the Republic of Namibia will present “Government Performance Management System of Namibia.”

The meeting will close with agreement on an Outcome Statement that will capture the key agreements and practical recommendations to be disseminated across the Commonwealth. Prof Luis Franceschi, Senior Director, Governance and Peace Directorate Commonwealth Secretariat will finalise the Outcome Statement. Agreed recommendations will also be shared with other relevant stakeholders for possible partnership and collaboration, including the private sector.

Rt. Hon Patricia Scotland QC, Commonwealth Secretary-General will give her Closing Remarks and Mr. Noah Toray, Secretary General & Head of Civil Service Office of the President, Republic of The Gambia will deliver Vote of Thanks.

Photo Courtesy –Representational File Photos taken from Twitter handle and Facebook Page of Patricia Scotland QC

Patricia Scotland QC with Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Amor 


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(Onkareshwar Pandey is Founder, Editor in Chief & CEO, Indian Observer Post and former Senior Group Editor- Rashtriya Sahara (Hindi & Urdu) and also former Editor, (News), ANI. Email - SMS- 9910150119)





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