WORKING TOWARDS A RESULTS AND ACCOUNTABILITY CULTURE IN THE PUBLIC SECTORFeb 2, 2018
As Malawi strives towards attaining commitments made in the Sustainable Development Goals and its development aspirations in the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy III, having a strong and responsive public sector is key to ensure an enabling environment for development in the country.
As one way of enhancing this delivery of the public sector, the Malawi Government with support from the United Nations Development Programme and the European Union has been implementing Performance Contracts, in which responsible Ministries, Departments and Agencies are assessed on their performance based on their specific targets set at the beginning of each financial year.
Since its commencement in 2015, the process of Performance Contracting has been met with several challenges as highlighted in the Public-Sector Performance Evaluation Report for Financial Year 2016/2017. One of the key challenges included the lack of understanding of the process of the Performance Contracting Management System which affected the quality of the contracts. However, it was announced that the process is now steadily gaining momentum as Ministries, Departments and Agencies show keen interest in improving their performance. The Ministry of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare for example was recognized as one of the ministries that greatly improved in the 2016-2017 assessment evaluations.
The performance evaluations are based on rigorous criteria and is conducted by a team of Performance Enforcement Department staff and independent evaluators. Spot checks in districts and at Ministries, Departments and Agencies are conducted through an exercise called “groundtruthing”. This is aimed at verifying whether what was being reported by Ministries, Departments and Agencies in their Progress Reports corresponded to the actual progress of projects on the ground.
To recognize the Ministries, Departments and Agencies that demonstrated good performance in the year 2016/2017, Malawi Government, through the Office of the President and Cabinet held an official ceremony of announcing performance evaluation results on the 21st December 2017 in Lilongwe.
Held under the theme “Embracing a Results and Accountability Culture in the Public Sector,” the public event was presided over by Honorable Goodall Gondwe, Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, as the Guest of Honor.
In his remarks, the Minister urged all officers in the public sector to be more accountable, not only to themselves but also to the citizenry that they serve:“The success of our country is dependent on what the civil services determines itself to be. There are some very good civil servants and we have a lot of these in the Malawi Civil Service,” said Honorable Gondwe.
Speaking at the event, the European Union Ambassador, Marchel Gerrmann, said that the announcement of the results of the performance evaluations is an indication that the Government of Malawi is on the right track to ensure transparency and accountability in the delivery of public services.
“For individual Ministries Departments and Agencies, the evaluation process should become a source of innovation and learning. This will allow them to develop innovative and transformative solutions for enhancing public service performance and implementation of public sector reform programs,” he said.
In the overall evaluation rankings, The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism scored the highest points, followed by the National Audit Office and the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, in second and third place, respectively.
The 2016/2017 evaluations were categorized in 6 thematic areas and these were; Finance & Stewardship; Service Delivery; Non-Financial; Operations; Dynamic/Qualitative; Corruption Eradication.
The performance evaluations are supported under the Strengthening Institutional Capacity for Development Effectiveness and Accountability Programme (DEAP), with funding from the financing Cooperation Agreement between United Nations Development Programme and the European Union.