BY MEL CAPPE
HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR CANADA
"ONE VISION OF OUR FUTURE: HOW THE BOUNDARIES ARE DEFINED IN CANADA"
PUBLIC SERVICE REFORM ... AGAIN!
Secretary of State vs. Minister
Public Service vs. Civil Service
Deputy Minister vs. Permanent Secretary
Three Issues, Two Dangers and One Warning.
Policy and Public Service
Personal views and Canadian experience: What's good
for Canada is good for Canada. You decide what's good for Westminster.
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
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
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
Process dominates and thwarts purpose
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
Mulroney Chiefs of Staff and expanded offices of Ministers
Roy to Burney
authorities not clear
Sectry and Chief of Staff and PM
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.
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
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.