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.

 

The Practice of Human Resource Management

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:
This report provides an overview on human resource management (HRM or frequently abbreviated to HR). The term first emerged in the 1980s in the United States. Against a backdrop of increased pressure on firms because of globalisation and technological developments, academics from a number of disciplines began to consider people and how they are employed and managed in organisations from a new perspective. A convergence of this thinking evolved into what became known as human resource management.

Drawing on the theoretical underpinnings of HRM in strategic management and organisation behaviour, the goals of HRM have been identified as to (Armstrong and Taylor, 2015):

  • Support the organisation in achieving its objectives by developing and implementing HR strategies that are integrated with business strategy
  • Contribute to the development of a high-performance culture
  • Ensure that the organisation has the talented, skilled and engaged people it needs
  • Create a positive employment relationship between management and employees and a climate of mutual trust
  • Encourage the application of an ethical approach to people management.

From the 1990s, the term strategic HR became popular rather than simply HR. This is done to emphasise the objective of aligning HR policies and practices with the interests of the organisation more generally. However, according to some commentators this has resulted in an imbalance across the many roles HR is expected to perform with a greater emphasis on ‘being strategic and a ‘business partner’ at the expense of being a ‘people partner’ that actively engages with and listens to the needs and concerns of managers and employees in general.

A perennial challenge for HR is the importance of showing that the application of good HR practices contributes to better organisation performance. The motivation has been to prove that HR rather than being a cost to the organisation ‘adds value’. Most of the research in this area is based on the premise that good HR practices enhance the motivation and commitment of staff which in turn impacts positively on productivity and performance.

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Public Sector Trends 2016

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.

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Fit for Purpose? Progress Report on Public Service Reform

When the Institute published the research paper Fit for Purpose? two years ago, we sought to contribute to the next phase of public service reform by identifying some of the key challenges for Irish public administration and some of the priority areas where change is necessary.

In this paper we re-visit the challenges set out in Fit for Purpose? and assess progress two years down the road. At a time of unrelenting media attention, there is a need now more than ever for sound evidence to show what is actually changing in the public service. This paper seeks to identify where real progress is being made, and to highlight where further progress or new initiatives are needed.

The Institute of Public Administration was founded to promote the study and improve the standard of public administration. These are goals we take seriously. Our intention is that this paper, and others in our State of the Public Service research series, provides sound evidence as the basis for an informed debate on the future direction of the public service in Ireland.

 

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Fit for Purpose? Challenges for Irish Public Administration and Priorities for Public Service Reform

The depth of the current economic and fiscal crisis has raised concerns about the Irish political and administrative system, and prompted calls for fundamental reform of our structures of public governance. Both the state and its financial system are reliant on international support. This crisis requires a coherent response from our public administration. There is recognition that this change cannot simply be a repeat or extension of the public service reform programmes of the past. It will need to be more radical than this. Over the coming years, the numbers employed in the public service will continue to fall and expenditure will need to be restrained, targeted and prioritised. The Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 (the Croke Park Agreement) sets out a framework for change. But there is a need to look beyond the agreement to consider more fundamentally the future role of public administration in the context of the new economic and social dispensation in Ireland. Our public services need to adapt to this new environment if they are to continue to be fit for purpose.

In this paper we set out the main challenges facing public administration and where we see reform as vital. We note what changes have taken place to date, including experience with previous reform efforts, and outline what should happen next. Where appropriate, we draw on national and international practice to provide exemplars of change.

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Public Sector Trends 2010

This report examines trends in public sector development over the last decade. The debate on Ireland’s public sector and public administration, and its role in Irish society, is one that generates much passion. But there is often a dearth of evidence brought to bear on the debate. On the one side are those who feel we have a ‘bloated’ public sector and who emphasise the need to cut back and ‘rein in’ public services. On the other side are those who extol the virtues of the services provided to the public and the benefits that many people receive from public services on a day-to-day basis.

Here we try to bring some evidence to bear on the important debate on the future shape 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.

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National Non-Commercial State Agencies in Ireland

In this first report in the series, we examine changes in the landscape of national non-commercial agencies in Ireland. The role, performance, and corporate governance of agencies have been major topics for discussion and debate in recent times, as has the number of agencies involved in public service provision. This study brings much needed evidence from national and international practice to inform this debate, and makes recommendations on how these issues can be addressed for the future.

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Review of National Non-Commercial State Agencies in Ireland: 2010-2015

The Irish public service comprises a complex and multi-faceted system employing many thousands of people who are responsible for delivering countless services to citizens and communities on a daily basis throughout the country. Ensuring that our public service operates consistently to the highest standard is an ongoing challenge and also the subject of much debate. Over the course of its history the Institute of Public Administration has sought to contribute to, and inform, debate on the performance of our public service.

In this report, we examine changes in the landscape of national non-commercial agencies in Ireland. The role, performance, and corporate governance of agencies have been major topics for discussion and debate in recent times, as has the number of agencies involved in public service provision. The Institute has been to the forefront in providing evidence to inform this debate, being the first to map the state agency landscape in 2005, and again in 2010. This study provides the latest update, and brings much needed evidence from national and international practice.

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, including its organisational form, systems, people and processes. 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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Public Sector Trends 2015

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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The State of Policy Evaluation in Ireland

This report is timed to coincide with the holding of the conference of the European Evaluation Society in Dublin in October 2014. This bringing together of those involved in evaluation across Europe and wider afield provides an opportunity to reflect on the state of evaluation practice in Ireland at this time.

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.

We welcome any comments or feedback you might have on the report.

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Public Sector Trends 2013

This report examines trends in public sector development and is the fourth 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.

Download

pdf file (3206 kb)


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