Public governance

Online public consultation on the draft Recommendation on Public Service Leadership and Capability


The public consultation is now closed

The draft Recommendation on Public Service Leadership and Capability presents 14 principles of a fit-for-purpose public service under three main pillars:


  • A values-driven public service where commonly understood values guide a results-oriented and citizens-centred culture of leadership and policy and services design;

  • A trusted and capable public service with the ability to identify the skills and competencies it needs, and which aligns its employment systems to bring those skills and competencies in, develop them, motivate and provides the necessary resources for their use;

  • A responsive and adaptive public service with the empowerment, resources and agility needed to effectively and efficiently address fast changing, ongoing and emerging challenges.


The draft Recommendation was circulated publicly for consultation until 14 September 2018.  It is still a work in progress at the OECD and the content may be subject to modifications, including in order to take account of comments received through the public consultation. Responses will be analysed and the OECD may publish them, but only in an aggregated and anonymous manner. Information on the respondents (i.e. country of residence, profession, etc.) will be collected by the OECD for statistical purposes only. For a French version of the draft Recommendation click here.

Governments, recruitment managers, human resource officials, international organisations, academics and individuals are encouraged to participate in this consultation and help shape the future of employment and leadership in the public sector.


What are OECD Recommendations and how are they used?

Recommendations are adopted by the OECD’s governing body, the Council, and result from the substantive work carried out in the Organisation’s committees and their subsidiary bodies. Recommendations generally contain high-level policy directions based on agreed good practices and aspirational goals, and serve to highlight the importance of specific work areas in the context of broader international policy-making. They are not legally binding, but practice accords them great moral force as representing the political will of Members and non-Members having adhered to them (Adherents), on whom there is an expectation to work towards implementing them. For more information, please consult the online Compendium of OECD Legal Instruments.

This particular draft Recommendation was developed by the OECD's Working Party on Public Employment and Management, a sub-committee of the Public Governance Committee (PGC). To date, there are no OECD Recommendations related directly to the work of the PEM.

If approved by the Council, the Recommendation will form the basis for OECD reviews, for the development of performance indicators, as well as for the design of a publicly available Toolkit that Adherents would use to help them implement the Recommendation. The PGC will also report on progress to the Council periodically.

What does the Draft Recommendation mean by "Public Service"?

The terms "Public Service" and "Public Servants" are used throughout the draft Recommendation (as opposed to, for example, "civil service" or “public sector”).

This is because in some countries, civil servants are a specific legally defined category of public employee, and this category varies from country to country. The term "Public Servant" was chosen as a more inclusive alternative, as the tenets of the draft Recommendation are intended for employees of central governments, regardless of their official legal status. In this regard, "Public Servants" may be life-long civil servants, public employees on indeterminate or temporary labour contracts.

The "Public Service", as defined in the draft Recommendation, covers a limited set of institutions related to the executive branch of the central government. In some countries, it may extend to subnational levels as well, depending on the legal arrangements for public employment in each country.

The draft Recommendation is not meant to cover employees of the broader public sector who are usually covered under alternative employment frameworks, such as doctors, teachers, police, the military, the judiciary, or elected officials.

"Leadership" refers to administrative and institutional leadership. The draft Recommendation is not intended to apply to the leadership of elected officials.

Process for development and approval of the Recommendation

The Draft that you are commenting on today has taken over a year to prepare! Delegates of the Working Party on Public Employment and Management were heavily involved, through workshops, official meetings in providing inputs and written comments. Delegates of the Public Governance Committee provided additional comments. The OECD is strongly encouraging that countries also hold consultation processes of their own to gather further inputs.

Input collected during the public consultation will be taken into account in the further development of the Recommendation. Ultimately, the Recommendation will require the approval of the Public Governance Committee after which it would be presented to the OECD Council for adoption.





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