The significant public service reforms that we have undertaken since 2011 continue to deliver improved services and value for money across a range of areas. Two notable examples are the establishment of a centralised Office of Government Procurement with responsibility (together with the key sectors of Health, Defence, Education and Local Government) for sourcing goods and services on behalf of the Public Service, and the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, established to lead the implementation of the Public Service ICT Strategy, in cooperation with departments and agencies across the Public Service.
Let me assure the Deputy that the reform agenda continues to be an integral part of this Government’s economic strategy to improve outcomes for the public on a value-for-money basis and we are now developing further ambitious proposals for the reform agenda in 2020 and beyond.
The current framework for public service reform and innovation, Our Public Service 2020 (OPS 2020), builds on earlier reforms while expanding their scope to focus on delivering better services for our customers and building innovative and responsive public sector organisations that are resilient and agile.
Our Public Service 2020 has a particular focus on evaluation and on the importance of building a reform evaluation culture and in developing indicators to support an outcomes focus. With this goal in mind, a Reform Evaluation Unit has been established within my Department to focus on monitoring and evaluating the outcomes of reform as well as create greater links between expenditure and reform.
Looking beyond 2020, the Civil Service of the future will necessarily be different in terms of its skills mix, use of technology and geographical footprint, and so we are now seeking to develop a longer-term vision and strategy to succeed the current Civil Service Renewal Plan, which has already allowed us to make significant progress.
The areas that we are pursuing for the next stage of Civil Service Renewal that will particularly support prudent expenditure and value for money in the both the Civil and Public Services include:
- Building our capability in policy analysis and investing in analytic and data analytic capability for the future;
- Creating a culture of innovation across the Civil Service;
- Setting out our ambition for digital transformation;
- Building our data infrastructure; and
- Moving to the next generation of shared services.
As Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, I must ensure that our fiscal and public expenditure policy is sustainable and that Public Sector policy continues to facilitate good economic performance in the future. There are a number of budgetary reforms introduced in recent years to guide my decisions on overall fiscal policy in this regard, including fiscal rules, expenditure ceilings and spending reviews.
The actions in Our Public Service 2020 and the proposals now in development for future reform will help ensure that the focus of the public service continues, both in 2020 and beyond, to be on delivery of quality public services thereby supporting and enhancing our country's overall economic performance.