Public Sector Reform Unit

Office of the President, 8 Wesley Street, Freetown

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UNDP partners with people at all levels of society to help build nations that can withstand crisis, and drive and sustain the kind of growth that improves the quality of life for everyone. On the ground in 177 countries and territories, we offer global perspective and local insight to help empower lives and build resilient nations. UNDP Sierra Leone is committed to assisting the Government of Sierra Leone to improve the lives of its citizens, especially the poorest and most vulnerable, and to ensure a future that offers equality, dignity and opportunity for all.

UNDP has had a presence in Sierra Leone since 1965, working in partnership with the Government of Sierra Leone, development partners, UN agencies, civil society and local communities, contributing to good governance, peace and prosperity. A valued, trusted and reliable development partner of and adviser to the Government of Sierra Leone, UNDP’s work focuses on transformative initiatives that support the consolidation of peace and help facilitate the transition to long-term development within the framework of the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the country’s development agenda. As Sierra Leone constructs its own development solutions, UNDP offers complementary ideas for strategic development projects and capacity building in support of continued efforts to eradicate pockets of extreme poverty, expand employment opportunities, increase gender equality, reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS, promote and protect human rights and improve environmental management, amongst others.

Government commitment to Public Sector Reform has been promising, and a combination of measures bringing together diaspora experts, training and recruiting mid-level technical experts and implementing performance management and performance contracting systems have been introduced. In addition, improved local governance and local economic development practices has led to increased revenues at the Local Council level, and the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Development has enhanced its functioning through the establishment of the National Association of Local Councils.

Support to Public Sector Reform

What is the programme about?

A key challenge plaguing Sierra Leone and adversely affecting its economic and social development is the weak capacity of its public service. Human capital has been in decline, with acute shortages of required expertise within Ministries, Departments and Agencies in the Government of Sierra Leone. As a result, the public service suffers from a dearth of strategic leadership, management competences, institutional systems and the skilled personnel required to respond to emerging challenges in an increasingly complex world and adequately support the Government’s development programmes.

The Public Sector Reform Programme, launched in 2009, seeks to strengthen the efficiency, effectiveness and accountability in public service in order to deliver quality service to the people, especially the poor and vulnerable. The overall objective of the Programme is to establish a leaner, performance-oriented, well-motivated, modern and efficient civil service that supports national development by delivering high quality services to its clients in a timely, transparent and cost-effective manner. More specifically, the Programme aims to:

  • Enhance coordination and management of key civil service reform structures, especially the Human Resources Management Office and the Public Service Commission.
  • Facilitate dialogue on pay reform, ensuring that public sector pay and incentives systems are aligned and harmonised with the mandates and functions of Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
  • Facilitate the design and roll-out of new systems and tools to enhance service delivery amongst Ministries, Departments and Agencies.
  • Promote capacity building of civil servants at all levels through the design and implementation of targeted training programmes.

In order to achieve these objectives, UNDP’s strategy emphasizes coordination and collaboration, integrating itself within the broader multi-donor funded Public Sector Programme, led and coordinated by the Government’s Public Sector Reform Unit with key partner agencies being the Human Resources Management Office, the Public Service Commission and the Strategy and Policy Unit in the Office of the President. Under this Programme, UNDP, the World Bank and the EU are the lead agencies whose respective programmes span the full spectrum of the public service, including performance management, pay reform and harmonization, recruitment and selection, training and staff development, civil service rightsizing and staff rationalization, and institutional capacity support.

Accomplishments so far

Through UNDP’s support to Public Sector Reform, the Government has made significant strides in in ensuring the development of a more accountable and transparent public service and delivery of quality services to the population. The following are key recent achievements:

  • Over 300 civil servants were hired in 2011 following the design and roll-out of new competitive and transparent recruitment practices for the public service.
  • Annual Performance Contracts defining individual annual targets against which performance will be evaluated were adopted by all 22 government ministers and 69 senior civil servants in 2011, enhancing the way in which government agencies plan, monitor, evaluate and report on their activities.
  • To further improve performance management, a Civil Service Code of Conduct developed and launched. The signing of performance contracts by senior state officials, coupled with the implementation of the Code of Conduct, has increased the effectiveness and accountability of the civil service.
  • A South-South Cooperation partnership has been cultivated in recent years between Sierra Leone and Kenya, facilitating knowledge networking, information exchange and peer-to-peer learning in the public service focused on enabling better performance management implementation and improved public servant undersanding of Results-Based Management work processes.
  • In 2012, the Institute of Continuing Education and Consultancy Services designed and delivered tailored courses to 88 middle and junior-level civil servants with support from UNDP, providing them with basic office management and computer skills to enhance their abilities to carry out their public service mandates effectively.
  • Through UNDP support in 2012, the Sierra Leone Human Resources Management Office designed and held two 2-week induction sessions for approximately 200 newly recruited civil servants, 30% of which were women, to introduce them to civil service culture and policies and procedures.