Can Public Sector Reform (PSR) occur and matter?
No need to be a seasoned development practitioner to see public sector performance at it’s lowest equilibrium in some developing countries. The trifecta of incentives, structure and culture keep things mediocre on a good day.
So here is where I tell you something magical about how PSR can be achieved. Unfortunately, I’m not sure there is any magic. But I can say the following:
A. An island in a sea of corruption is unsustainable. I prefer tipping points over fortresses.
B. No sponsor for the reforms means you can stop right there. No really, just sit down and have a drink, or two.
C. No use of bottom up participatory approaches mean you are relying on charisma, brute force and/or bribery. Stop now and back away slowly… ugly things will rear their head later on and no one likes being persona non-grata.
D. PSR just for PSR’s sake is meaningless. Reforms must increase performance not ‘isomorphic mimicry‘ Basically, PSR must be relevant for the final user or performance at the last mile. PSR needs to matter.