we are 3psmars
3psmars

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About us

Policy, Planning and Public Sector Management

Our name, 3psmars, highlights these three keywords, Policy, Planning and Public Sector Management. We decided to spell out these keywords in our name to emphasize the importance of separating functions and the need to involve all the cadres of responsibility in our campaign.

We did this bearing in mind the age-long debate on leadership versus management. It is often said that people interchangeably use the words leadership and management whereas the two differ in identity and roles as far as running of organizations, governments and affairs are concerned. While some leaders might make good managers and some managers might be good leaders, the two concepts are different.

According to e-how.com, the leader’s authority most often comes from the leader himself. He has worked to broaden his influence until it feels only natural to follow him. Leaders generally seek to inspire their followers to work independently, motivating them to do the best job possible. Leaders are also generally focused on constant improvement or growth and have an eye on the big picture at all times. Key concepts to a leader are: influence, inspiration, motivation, growth and vision. The manager, however, has generally put in years of work to achieve her position; this is where her authority originates. Key concepts to a manager are: position, procedure, adherence and analysis[1] A good leader is a constant visionary, while a manager is apt in getting the best hands together to transform visions into actionable programmes and execute them to produce the desired results.

In the public sector, where focus is in the business of governance, management leadership, under normal circumstances, the political class, those who do not have to earn their position by the number of years they have spent, but are politicians who inspire followership and are kept in the helms of affairs, are naturally looked-upon for their global visions most oftentimes derived from political ideologies. They get public servants who had earned trust on their positions to figure out how this visions are channeled through planning, programming, executing, monitoring and reporting to produce results that will benefit the electorates. Managers, those we could refer to as career public servants, international civil servants, workers of NGOs and the civil society organizations are supposed to transform vision into policies and programmes, while overseeing their execution by sourcing for resources, both human and material.

At 3psmars, we ensure that this distinction is made. The constant pressure on governments around the world for greater transparency and accountability by taxpayers for the use of public resources has made clarification of roles, in the quest for better results inescapable. Public concern in the face of escalating national account deficits, a declining confidence in political leadership and the need for a more transparent and accountable governance have all been important factors contributing to the emergence of RBM in the public sector. Distinguishing success from failure to make sure that success is supported and failure does not continue to take resources away in waste is a major component of what the principles of managing for development results tends to address. The distinction is made more possible when roles are clearly defined and responsibilities distributed and shared. RBM facilitates actions in this respect.

3psmars will therefore continue to focus on the distinctive approach in its measures towards educating and promoting actions towards managing for development results.

  • leadership
  • monitoring and evaluation
  • accountability and partnerships
  • planning and budgeting
  • statistical capacity.

Africa

While the focus of our campaign is on developing countries in general, Sub-Saharan Africa remains our primary regional target.

This focus is affected by the development situation in the continent. As at present, one year into 2015, the target year for the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Education for All Objectives, Africa remains the leading continent with less likelihood of achieving these goals. This deficiency concerns all the pillars of development and this has made the discourse on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, to concentrate on consolidating on the achievements made in the strive towards the MDGs in Africa, while incorporating other pillars, as a results of many consultations that has gone on, including the Rio + 20 Summit, held in Brazil in 2013 and the work of the UN and other Advisory Groups presently labouring on the subject.

In the same vein, it is a clear case that poverty reduction, equitable social development, health services, environmental management, water supply, infrastructure development, etc rests mostly on the success and failure of governance and management in the public sector. Achieving these has always been on the agenda of nations worldwide and a lot of resources have been committed to improving response of Africas public institutions to perform better in that respect. We should therefore ask the question, why, despite so much focus on Africa, it has remained difficult for public institutions in the continent to score high and consistently in their primary assignments? One of the answers we get is absence of a full grasp on what results of actions should consistently be. Process takes priority on output and lack of transparency due to the complex nature of administration and public good deliveries could leave institutions and managers grappling with papers and lose sight of the implications of actions on the common man.

At the approach of 2015 and the high expectations of a new international Sustainable Development Policy, which has been envisaged as a combination of the results of all UN environmental and sustainable development policies, including the MDGs, 3psmars, will act as one of the catalyst in promoting progressive and accelerated move towards Africas future in the Post-2015 development agenda, and will be especially guarded by the Common African Position (CAP) document on the Post-2015 Development Agenda, which laid down the necessary pillars for the future of sustainable development in Africa.

Doing this means recognizing the international dimension and origin of managing for results as an approach to achieving development effectiveness, evidence in donor funded and international partnered programmes and the special need that has existed in Africa and still persist to date. 3psmars activities will use the international dimension as an important source of knowledge for national actions to build effective institutions towards achieving sustainable development in Africa. We specifically take an example from Priority Africa as practiced in the Un system and our actions are informed by what has been laid down as essential in building capacity in Africa as follows:

  • leadership
  • monitoring and evaluation
  • accountability and partnerships
  • planning and budgeting
  • statistical capacity.

Development Management

Development Management resembles, on one hand, the whole process of public service, while on the other, and as far as research on the subject is concerned, it has a resemblance to MfDR. This is why 3psmars has taken it as a thematic subject relevant to its activities.

We found a most remarkable background work and definition of development management in an article written by Derick and Jennifer Brinherhoff (2005). The research paper titled International development management: definitions, debates and dilemmas dug deeper into the potentialities of development management, it’s multitasking, and pro-efficiency and value based wherewithal. It stressed on the fact that development management is a sub-discipline of public administration which evolved from the traditional process of development administration, modified to meet the accelerated need to be more responsive by applying customised approaches to varying challenges, situation and development conditions and at all levels increase efficiency by reducing emphasis on process, administrative procedure and overgeneralization of problems. They also saw the emergence of development management as alternative to curbing the lapses created by valuing process over results as peculiar to traditional development administration outlook. The paper also emphasised that development management represent a system adopted by international development agencies and NGOs in developing countries in an attempt to ensure concrete impacts of programmes.

The paper clarified that development management is applicable at four levels, which signifies that it could:

  • Serve as a means of identifying institutional agenda setting;
  • Be a management process;
  • Be a toolkit; and
  • Serve as value

The melting point where the four dimensions are articulated, or not, makes the difference between when a holistic and effective approach to development is being applied or not. Public service reforms are usually backed with specific objectives depending on the vision of the visionary or those who are entrusted in carrying out the reforms.

Most of the reforms and laid down apparatus of public service,emphasized more of either process, institutional agenda setting, toolkit or process for carrying forward of development programmes whereas development management will only be at play if all the four processes are considered at the same time without emphasis on one at the expense of the other — and where result is emphasised rather than output. Integrated practice and a systematic or radical introduction of the components as an inherent structural and institutional standing is a sine qua non for effective development administration and this is what is lacking in the African approaches to public sector management.

Local initiatives and practices must therefore draw inspiration from this exported system by NGO’s and donor institutions in Africa as a way of moving forward, especially at this crucial time where Africa’s development renewal is a priority. The popular slogan think globally and act locally[1]’ within the context of globalization and sustainable development has, in this sense, remained more than being relevant in todays international development environment, and we know that the emergence of the United Nations system and the development of network for development progressions have made local actions in the reinforcement of development a matter of global concern.

Since Africa is presently at the centre of international development efforts, a system that works is more of a necessity than experiment for the region; both in the communal global strive under the auspices of the United Nations system, the collectives efforts of other international, regional (states and non-states) development institutions and the African states themselves. One must ask the question in the race to achieve results; to what extent could we say that the new found development management attitude proposed in the work in question has influenced progress on Africas battle for sustainable development?

This question forms our basis for including the phenomenon as one of the fundamental themes for this web portal.

Managing For Development Results (MFDR)

Managing for Development Results (MfDR) is a management strategy that focuses on using performance information to improve decision making and involving using practical tools for strategic planning, risk management, progress monitoring, and outcome evaluation.

MfDR relies on the principles of Results Based Management and strives to adapt actions and focus to specific programmes, project and regional specificities. The MfDR Core Principles form the foundation of managing for results. These principles are applicable at all levels and within a variety of interventions (national, sector, program, project and organization). They influence the use of specific strategies and tools at various phases of national development programming. The 2nd International Round Table on Managing for Development Results, in Marrakech (2004) identified these principles as follows:

  • Relying on and supporting partner countries own priorities, objectives, and results. This implies alignment with the national strategy (a sound poverty reduction strategy or equivalent, with national linkage to the Millennium Development Goals as applicable) and use of reliable national systems and procedures (including the governments budget, reporting cycle, and monitoring timetable).
  • Coordinating with other development agencies under partner country leadership to promote joint action whenever possible (including through delegated cooperation that is, one donor acting on behalf of another).
  • Strengthening partner countries own institutions, systems, and capabilities to plan and implement projects and programs, report on results, and evaluating their development processes and outcomes, avoiding parallel donor-driven mechanisms. By these principles MfDR is poised to help developing countries focus on results so they can make better policy decisions and design better strategies. It should be noted that managing for development effectiveness differs from managing for aids effectiveness because the former emphasizes building core national capacities, outside of donor intervention, to achieve impactful development results for its citizens.

3psmars focuses on these national specificities on managing for development effectiveness, where ownership is the watchword, while drawing inspiration from the international and donor dimensions.

Results-Based Managment (RBM)

The major overarching objective of 3psmars is to inform, educate and share knowledge on the theory and application of Results-Based Management (RBM).

Results-Based Management (RBM) is a management strategy that aims to achieve important changes in the way organizations operate, with improving performance in form of results as the central orientation. RBM focuses on performance and on achievement from outputs to outcomes and impacts and provides the management framework and tools for strategic planning, risk management, performance monitoring and evaluation. It’s primary purpose is to improve efficiency and effectiveness through organizational learning, and secondly to fulfill accountability obligations through performance reporting. Key to its success is the involvement of stakeholders throughout the management lifecycle in defining realistic expected results, assessing risk, monitoring progress, reporting on performance and integrating lessons learned into management.

From 1960s to 1970s, the private sector had used RBM to enhance management by objectives. It was adopted in the process of public sector reform in OECD countries between 1980s and 1990s in response to budget deficits, lack of public confidence in government and demands for greater transparency and accountability[1]. RBM’s focus on performance issues and on achieving results, emphasis on participation and teamwork and budget processes and financial systems embedded on value for money has made it a reliable management tool, especially when transparency and strict demand for delivery are necessary. It has therefore remained a critical factor for organizational effectiveness and can also be a useful tool for effective support to capacity development. The gradual introduction of results-based management techniques in the 1990s helped many public sector and development agency managers take a more systematic approach to all aspects of project and program management. Many institutions and agencies in both developed and developing countries now use a variety of practical techniques to manage for results, including results-based strategic planning, logic models or results frameworks, results-based budgeting, risk management, and results-based Monitoring and Evaluation.

RBM has its sub-component, the assembly of which any organization adopting the RBM as a strategy must put in consideration to achieve the desired impacts. They are:

  • Results-Based Planning;
  • Results-Based Budgeting;
  • Results-Based Financing; and
  • Results-Based monitoring and evaluation.

All of these components place impacts as priorities and while the quality of process is emphasized, success is measured in real time and conforms with the level of impacts of development action on the population for which programmes are planned and executed.

For RBM to achieve its aims, the project management cycle is monitored in such a way that performance will inform continuity or change in approach until the desired results are achieved. This is why all the components of RBM make results as its focus. For example, while a budget-based management will focus on efficient spending by all means, Results-based budgeting will focus on what impacts the budget will make and programmes are planned based on impacts and budgets are planned to achieve this impact. This is against cutting on vital activities to safe cost while impacts of action might be impeded in the process.

The same principles apply to Results-Based Planning, as well as Monitoring and Evaluation. Focus is so much on real impacts and not on process. In developing countries, especially Africa, RBM application is still at a developing state.

RBM is triggered, especially when there is need for capacity building, sector-wide approach, reform and decentralization and its major key elements are to:

  • Clarify the Purpose and Mandate of the Organization
  • Specify Results and Performance Expectations of Clients
  • Link the Budgetary Process to Output Delivery
  • Strengthen Performance Reporting
  • Foster Meritocracy in Managing Human Resources

3psmars will promote the RBM principles, specifically, as it applies to International Organizations, National, States and Community (local) public institutions.

MDGs, sustainable development policy and the post 2015 development agenda

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is the product of the Summit of Heads of Governments held at the United Nations Headquarters in December 2000.

There are eight goals in general – eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality and women empowerment, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases, ensuring environmental sustainability and developing a global partnership for development. These goals stand for what one can call the major development challenges as they still persist to date in many developing countries.

From the reactions which followed the pronouncement of the MDGs, It could affirmatively be said that the millennium summit reveals the level of commitment of world leaders to poverty eradication in year 2000. Its nature and the issues it addressed also made it another catalyst for reinforcing the agreements of the UN Submiton the Environment and Development (the Earth Summit), held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, where the Agenda 21, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biodiversity were adopted.

Policy analysis and administrative science

The business of transforming vision into action and development results takes a lot of technical and intellectual know, within which policy analysis and administrative science take a large part. Political discourse allows further investigation into the structures and operations of institutions and their interpretation of social reality in a dynamic and flexible environment. Policy Analysis is also a means to determining which of various alternative policies will most achieve a given set of goals in light of the relations between the policies and the goals. In the pursuit of development goals, it is constantly essential to investigate the governmental discourses and practices, to understand the depth of the relations between policies and goals. This is the base for correct programming that leads to success or failure of development programmes.

Administrative science, on its part is the mastery of governance and public administration. It combines the knowledge of human, financial, and other resources necessary for the smooth running of governance and government apparatus for the purpose of achieving results through delivery of social, welfare, economic, infrastructural and environmental services to the populace.

Application of the results-based approach in the public sector demands sound attributes of both administrative science and policy analysis. It is therefore expected that the duo represent a theme that will feature in all our programmes of activities and projections.