SRC held a technical consultation forum on public sector labour productivity measurement on 1st August 2016. The consultative forum was organized to gain a broader understanding of productivity measurement in the public sector. The forum, which attracted participants from Ministry of East African Community (EAC), Labour and Social Protection; Productivity Centre of Kenya; KIPPRA; universities; and World Bank, was driven by the need to tap ideas and suggestions from stakeholders on productivity measurement in the public sector.  

In her welcoming remarks, Mrs. Anne Gitau, SRC Commission Secretary, observed that the Commission was keen on productivity and performance in the public service. She noted that the importance of measuring productivity in the public service was particularly important in providing a favourable environment for the private sector growth, and in ensuring accountability for tax payers’ money.

Various issues were discussed including concepts, approaches, processes and frameworks on public sector labour productivity measurement and recognition; methods for public sector labour productivity measurement; and lessons that can be drawn from selected countries such as Malaysia.

Emerging Issues

During the discussions, some of the observations included:

  • The public service is characterized by poor service delivery;
  • The relationship between input and output measurement in the public service is a challenge;
  • There is a poor linkage between strategy and execution in government due to wrong prioritization;
  • Parameters in the public service are varied, hence there is need for stratification of the various sectors in the service;
  • Delivery of public services should mainly focus on quality more than quantity;
  • The budget process is a key instrument which can be used to gauge productivity in various sectors of the economy;
  • A road map can be developed to guide on what to measure and the level of measurement;
  • It is necessary to form clear accountability chains to minimize overlapping responsibilities;
  • Citizen feedback on quality of services provided by government may assist in raising government’s service standards over time; and
  • There is need for caution because measurement of productivity may compromise provision of quality services by Government, if parameters used in measuring productivity are not accurately captured; among others.

Conclusion

Participants observed that since productivity is a sub-set of performance; productivity can be redefined and linked with performance. Other factors affecting performance include ability of the public sector to attract and retain employees, improvement management systems to increase performance, and provision of relevant training to staff.

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