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World Bank welcomes Commonwealth feedback on public sector reform

22 November 2011
Senior Leaders Forum was an important opportunity to hear different perspectives — Vivek Srivastava

A leading expert at the World Bank has welcomed ideas for reform raised by senior Commonwealth officials at a public sector forum hosted by the Commonwealth Secretariat in London from 14 to 18 November 2011.

Vivek Srivastava, a senior public sector specialist at the Bank was speaking after a week-long ‘Senior Leaders Forum’ where he presented the World Bank’s experience in public service management and its new approach to public sector reform.

He told Commonwealth News: “Over the past three years we have been doing our own internal reforms within the Bank. You hear different perspectives and it’s very important to get this information, which we will feed back into our thinking.

“From our perspective, this is a very good forum for getting feedback, particularly the opportunity to engage with senior practitioners in government."

The forum was organised by the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) and the World Bank.

The feedback included requests from Barbados for more World Bank consultations with technical staff in their government, while the Kenyan Minister of State for Public Service, Dalmas Otieno, asked for increased consultations with national leadership.

Mr Srivastava said reform of the public sector is important in developing countries because the services it provides can be responsible for up to 30 to 50 per cent of a country’s gross domestic product. He added that the public sector is a key player in creating an enabling environment for the private sector and for growth. “It’s clearly very important, in particular for lower-income developing countries, to deliver services and to eliminate poverty.”

Forum participants included senior officials from the office of the cabinet and the president or prime minister’s office from around the Commonwealth.

The forum was held alongside a ‘Women Leaders for Development meeting, where women leaders working in the public sector mapped out steps to improve gender equality in the public sector, and discussed strategies for becoming more influential and transformational in their roles.

Other events during the week included the launch of the ‘Commonwealth Governance Yearbook 2011/12’, which is a comprehensive guide to public sector reform in the Commonwealth.