The Working Group on Civil Service and Integrity, chaired by Morocco and co-chaired by Spain and Turkey, intends to support Arab countries in establishing an efficient civil service inspired by strong ethical values. The objective of the Working Group meeting was to narrow down the programme of work and to define concrete activities and practical orientations to be implemented during the second phase of the GfD Initiative (2008-10). Particularly, it sought to:
The meeting took place at the École National d’Administration (ENA) of the Moroccan Ministry of Public Sector Modernisation. OECD countries were represented by participants from Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Spain and Turkey. The Arab countries that attended the meeting included: Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, The Palestinian National Authority, and Tunisia. International organisations such as the Organisation of the Islamic Conference, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the World Bank also took part in the meeting.
The Working Group (WG) meeting, organised around four sessions, was officially opened by Mr. Mohammed Abbou, the Moroccan Minister delegate to the Prime Minister in charge of Public Sector Modernisation, and chair of the WG. In the opening session, chair and co-chairs underlined the relevance of the GfD initiative and of the WG in particular to enhance reform processes in Arab countries to modernise the civil service underpinned by strong ethical values and expressed the support of their countries to the GfD initiative and their commitment to reinforce the activities of the WG. The OECD Secretariat explained that this was an operational meeting intended to: a) find out ways to improve and make the most of capacity-building activities; b) intensify joint-learning studies at national level; c) exploring mechanisms for measuring progress; and, d) promoting capacity centres.
Session one focused on reporting the main achievements and ongoing activities of the Working Group. Arab participants were asked to update the working group on the main challenges of their country and on the policy responses their country is implementing in the areas of HRM and integrity. Arab delegates were also invited to suggest the main thematic priorities for capacity building events that in the context of the GfD their country would be interested in attending and/or willing to host. The main thematic priorities may be summarised as follows:
Session two was dedicated to analyse strategies for reinforcing joint learning activities and indentify countries interested in making use of this tool to assure a successful implementation of reforms. In this session, Morocco shared its recent experience in a joint-learning study on integrity in public procurement stressing the value and lessons learnt of this activity. Belgium presented its experience in the recent peer review in HRM as a reviewed country conducted by the OECD. The Netherlands complemented the session by sharing its experience as a reviewer country in the Belgian HRM peer review arguing that these are mechanisms for sharing experiences and mutual learning.
The discussion in session three focused on three key issues: i) the information and data that Arab countries are already collecting regarding HRM and Integrity; ii) the needs of Arab nations in terms of collecting data and information for better policy-making in HRM and Integrity; and, iii) how the GfD Initiative could contribute to improve data collection. World Bank (WB) presented its experience in developing indicators on governance in the MENA region , stressing the importance and usefulness of developing benchmarks for comparison and measuring progress. The OECD Secretariat stressed that developing indicators for measuring public governance constitutes a tool for reinforcing government capacities, obtaining support for reform initiatives, and enriching regional dialogue. Delegates discussed the possibilities to measure and report progress suggesting the creation of a task force for each of the focus themes. The task force would be composed by a reduced number of interested countries that will share data and develop common strategies to improve systems of information. The WB expressed its interest in cooperating with the OECD Secretariat in this direction.
The fourth and final session of the meeting aimed at synthesising the future activities of the WG based on the results of the discussions. Morocco informed of the objectives of the Regional Centre for Public Policy Evaluation that will be created in the framework of the GfD Initiative. The OECD Secretariat outlined the main thematic areas of interest for participating countries that will be integrated in the terms of reference to be presented and eventually endorsed by the next Steering Committee.
|Suggested Topics for Technical Seminars|
|Anti-corruption strategies, codes of conduct, integrity and transparency, managing conflict of interest|
|Performance-related pay schemes and public servants remunerations|
|Training of civil servants at national and local levels of government|
|Recruitment of public servants|
|Manpower planning and workforce restructuration|
|Elaboration of indicators of impact and results|
|Management of change|
|Quality in public service delivery|
|Suggested Joint Learning Studies|
|Integrity in public procurement|
|Early retirement policies|
|Elaboration of HRM statistics|
As a result of the meeting, the following points may be highlighted: