Issues, Strategies and Challenges
INTRODUCTION As we noted in the general introduction, the relationship between public services and productivity can be considered at two diﬀerent levels. The ﬁrst is productivity in the public sector itself and the second is the inﬂuence that public services exert, particularly through the various public policies, on the other sectors of the economy. The importance of this second level in the case of the Department of the Economy and Finance is obvious. However, it is equally relevant in the case of the Department of Health Care or the Department of Education which, by improving individuals’ health and knowledge, have a positive inﬂuence on the national economy. Although the focus here is on the ﬁrst level, that is the question of productivity (and performance) within the public sector, it is clearly diﬃcult to dissociate this question from that of productivity (and performance) inﬂuenced by the public sector. This chapter is divided into three parts. In the ﬁrst part, we brieﬂy examine some of the real and assumed speciﬁcities of public services and their consequences for productivity levers and strategies. The second part is concerned with general strategies and policies for improving productivity in government services. The emphasis here is on general levers and recommendations; at this stage, actual applications to a particular government department are disregarded. The third part is given over to an examination of the way in which these ‘general policies’ are applied to particular departments as a whole (organizational level)...
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