Research & Publications

This report examines trends in public sector development and is the seventh in our annual series. The intention is to help inform the debate on Ireland’s public sector and public administration, and its role in Irish society.

Here we try to bring some evidence to bear on the important debate on the future shape, size and direction of the public sector. Using data gathered from a number of sources, information on the size and cost of the public sector, the quality of public administration, efficiency and performance, and levels of trust and confidence is presented in a simple but rigorous manner.

 

In the State of the Public Service research series, we seek to provide evidence-informed research and commentary on key aspects of contemporary Irish public administration. The authors of these reports bring their considerable expertise and practical knowledge to the topics selected so as to provide evidence, insights and recommendations to support future development. Our aim is that these reports will not only inform, but also challenge current thinking about how the Irish public service performs. It is intended that these short research reports will be of relevance and use not only to public servants, but also to policy makers and the wider public.

 

Public Sector Trends 2014

This report examines trends in public sector development and is the sixth in our annual series. The intention is to help inform the debate on Ireland’s public sector and public administration, and its role in Irish society.

Here we try to bring some evidence to bear on the important debate on the future shape and size of the public sector. Using data gathered from a number of sources, information on the size and cost of the public sector, the quality of public administration, efficiency and performance, and levels of trust and confidence is presented in a simple but rigorous manner.

In the State of the Public Service research series, we seek to provide evidence-informed research and commentary on key aspects of contemporary Irish public administration. The authors of these reports bring their considerable expertise and practical knowledge to the topics selected so as to provide evidence, insights and recommendations to support future development. Our aim is that these reports will not only inform, but also challenge current thinking about how the Irish public service performs. It is intended that these short research reports will be of relevance and use not only to public servants, but also to policy makers and the wider public.

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pdf file (3030 kb)

Public Sector Reform in Ireland: Views and Experiences from Senior Executives

In September/October 2013 senior managers in the civil service and state agencies were asked to participate in a major international survey on public service reform. The survey is part of the largest comparative public administration research project in Europe, ´Coordinating for Cohesion in the Public Sector of the Future´ (COCOPS) (see www.cocops.eu for details). This paper sets out the results of the survey for Ireland. It explores what senior public servants think about public sector reform.

Views are compared with those of top public servants in other European countries. The results emphasise the influence of the fiscal crisis on reform in Ireland. At the same time, they show that Irish public executives have a broadly positive view of many aspects of public sector reform.

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pdf file (2137 kb)

Civil Service Accountability: Challenge and Change

This report is somewhat different in nature to other reports in the State of the Public Service research series in that it includes a response to the discussion paper Strengthening Civil Service Accountability and Performance published by the Government Reform Unit of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The intention is to add to and inform the consultation process started by the production of the discussion paper.

The report brings evidence to bear on this crucial subject of accountability from both international and national practice. It addresses questions raised in the discussion paper and suggests ways of enhancing accountability whilst being aware of the dangers of accountability overload.

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pdf file (846 kb)

Public Service Motivation

The notion that people are motivated to work in the public service as a result of a desire to serve or to have a positive impact on society is a long-standing one. This report examines how the current public service reform process, and the wider context of reform, may be impacting on the motivation of public servants. It also identifies ways in which public service managers can maintain employee motivation in a difficult environment, with consequent benefits for morale and performance.

Maintaining a motivated workforce is critical to achieving the objectives of reform. The report concludes that in circumstances where extrinsic motivations, such as pay, are being reduced, it is critical that public service managers in Ireland are aware of the importance of fostering and supporting the intrinsic motivations of employees, and are skilled at doing so. This report presents four key approaches that help organisations develop a culture grounded in public service motivation

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pdf file (405 kb)

Workforce Planning in the Irish Public Service

In this report the critically important issue of workforce planning is examined. Given the likely public sector environment for the next few years, where the number of people working in the public service is being reduced and redeployment of staff is now a key aspect of managing resources, it will be more important than ever for public service organisations to have a clear view on how to maximise the use of remaining capacity and talent. Drawing on international and national experience, this report looks at why workforce planning can be challenging to organisations, particularly in the public sector, and how they can best address these challenges to secure a more productive and motivated workforce. One of the heartening messages from the Irish case studies examined (the Courts Service and Dublin City Council) is that we have existing examples of good practice to learn from and to build upon.

The report aims to help in a practical way by providing some direction to organisations trying to plan to make the best use of their people in the medium to longer-term, and thus to secure the productive, efficient and effective public service that is demanded by citizens.

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pdf file (505 kb)


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