PASC Conf CAPPE

BY MEL CAPPE
HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR CANADA
"ONE VISION OF OUR FUTURE: HOW THE BOUNDARIES ARE DEFINED IN CANADA"
OR
PUBLIC SERVICE REFORM ... AGAIN!

Introduction

• Terminology
• Secretary of State vs. Minister
• Public Service vs. Civil Service
• Deputy Minister vs. Permanent Secretary

 • Three Issues, Two Dangers and One Warning.

• Three issues:
• Policy and Public Service
• Centralization
• Special Advisors

  • Two dangers:
• politicization
• marginalization

 • One warning:
• Personal views and Canadian experience: What's good
for Canada is good for Canada.  You decide what's good for Westminster.

Policy Development

• Policy/Delivery split
• false dichotomy
• but doing and thinking require different skills
• focus attention on the thinking side of government

• Good policy development requires
• diverse views within the public service
• Diversity of inputs improves the quality of outputs
• leavened with NGO and special interest group contributions
• political leadership and political valorisation of the public service
• and value added
     • potential contribution of special advisors
• significant implications for recruitment in the PS

• Canada:
• Incessant budget cuts of the '80s and '90s
    • 3-5% cuts two to four times per year
• impair ability to deliver vs. get out of programs
• deliver today and so cut out the ability to plan and deliver for tomorrow.
    • results in decapitating government
• Program Review in '95 .. 35% budget cut .. released thousands of public servants .. closed dozens of offices.
• stopped recruiting and public service fell into disrepute
    • Rebuilding recruitment
    • elite recruitment
• PSEA kept us pure.  Spoils system pre 1918 .. took 65 years for Northcote-Trevelyan to cross the Atlantic
    • Minister it is none of your business but ...
• having a statute helps in the defining the lines brightly
    • But, in order to preserve a professional, non-partisan public service, through a bullet proof meritocracy, we have built a sclerotic and constipated staffing process which runs the danger of leading to a mediocracy
• currently bill in House of Commons ..
        • should be three words: Hire Good People
        • 278 pages
        • Process dominates and thwarts purpose

• Centralization

• Donald Savoie's "Governing from the Centre"
    • Cabinet has become a focus group
    • The Cabinet Office and the PMO have become all powerful
    • Ministers and Permanent Secretaries have no power

    • I had "The Lever" of government in my office.  I pushed and pulled, but it was connected to nothing.

• UK much more centralized
• PMO centralized in Trudeau's time
• Mulroney's expanded with Chiefs of Staff to Ministers
• Chr©tien cut back .. in PMO and in Ministers Offices
• Responsiblization of Ministers and Deputy Ministers

• Special Advisors

• Mulroney Chiefs of Staff and expanded offices of Ministers
    • Roy to Burney
• authorities not clear
• Chr©tien transition
• triangle
    • Sectry and Chief of Staff and PM
• daily meeting
• keep each other informed
• EAs for Ministers instead of Chiefs

• Who speaks with the Minister's voice?
• Who speaks with PM's voice?

• Donald Savoie's latest book: "Breaking the Bargain".
    • relationships between Public Service, Ministers and Parliament are under threat
    • Public Servants cannot defend themselves
    • Parliament has personalized the actions of Public Servants
    • Ministerial accountability in a Westminster parliamentary democracy has been broken

• Presumptively, Cappe's Lessons:  The blindingly obvious

• Policy requires diverse sources but the analytics of the public service and the focus on the public interest improves policy quality

• Build the boundaries between political actors and public servants high and clear
    • the clearer and higher they are the closer you can approach them
    • Chr©tien to DMs and Ministers: If you are successful I'll be successful and if I am successful you'll be successful
       • PS adds value in dispassionate courageous advice
    • And Minister and his staff add value in adding political colour to decision making

    • working in joined-up fashion is good
    • working in confused accountabilities is bad
    • intimacy has its values and its problems.

• Efficiency requires Accountability which requires clear lines and authorities
    • Make Permanent Secretaries earn their salaries and make them responsible
    • Parliamentary Ministerial accountability requires clarity in lines of authority.
    • Keep Ministers accountable

• On values: enunciate high level principles and state them clearly and frequently and then responsibilize the public servants.
    • responsibilizer
    • delegation and holding to account is better than centralized control

• The professional, non-partisan and diverse public service is a precious national asset to be preserved.
    • peaceful transitions of power should not be taken for granted
    • continuity matters

• Trust and confidence is easy to lose but hard to build

• Do it deliberately: Don't expect to evolve naturally or to drift there
    • Even the Continents drift
    • If you don't know you are going you will end up somewhere else.