Civil service experts exchange best practices at Astana Civil Service Hub conference in Dubai

ASTANA – The public sector must keep up with private sector innovation, concluded speakers at the Feb. 10-12 Astana Civil Service Hub (ACSH) conference on Civil Service in the Post-Soviet Countries: Challenges, Prospects and Benchmarking during the seventh World Government Summit (WGS) in Dubai.

“The private sector strives to provide the best services to customers to attract them, while the government and public sector tend to think that customers will always need them,” said United Arab Emirates (UAE) Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future and WGS Chairman Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi at the gathering of government officials and international experts from more than 15 countries. “It’s time for governments to reinvent their business model.”

Discussion among former Korean Minister of Personnel Management Pan Suk Kim and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Public Sector Reform Division Head Edwin Lau centred on international benchmarking in public administration. ACSH Steering Committee Chairman Alikhan Baimenov noted society’s digitisation and technological advancement place greater demands on governance around the world.

“Citizens are more informed than ever before and have the opportunity to compare and assess solutions applied in other countries,” he said. “All this inevitably raises citizens’ expectations and changes the very character of government-citizen relations.”

Astana International Financial Centre Governor Kairat Kelimbetov agreed that “public service needs to be open, international and adaptive to best practices” to meet citizens’ needs.

Best practices in civil service reforms were presented by Kazakh Agency for Civil Service Affairs and Anti-Corruption Chairman Alik Shpekbayev, Georgian Civil Service Bureau Head Yekaterina Kardava, Ukrainian National Agency for Civil Service Head Konstantin Vashenko and North Macedonian Ministry of Information Society and Administration Secretary Jahi Jahija. Baimenov observed that each country followed its own path and, given that no silver bullet exists for enhancing governance, exchanging experiences is crucial for forming best approaches to civil service.

Moving forward, ACSH will organise international events and research activities on government innovations with WGS, and the UAE government will share best practices on applying innovation to the public sector with ACSH’s 40 participating countries, said Al Gergawi. OECD Public Governance Director Marcos Bonturi also sees a role for ACSH in forming a multilateral civil service discussion platform, which will launch by the year’s end.

ACSH, a 2013 initiative of the Kazakh government and the United Nations Development Programme, is a platform for the continuous exchange of knowledge and experience in civil service development. It aims to support governments in fostering partnerships and capacity building.