Performance Contracting in Public Service
Since independence, the Government of Kenya has aspired to build a responsive public service, capable of meeting Kenyans’ needs efficiently for long term gains in improving the quality of their lives.
Although these reforms have been implemented at different times and covering many aspects; one thing that ties them inextricably together is the endeavor to transform public service.
The goal has been converting infrastructures and processes of public service into an efficacious system for improved productivity and effectiveness in delivering services to the public.
According to a 2009 paper published in the International Public Management Review Journal by Sylvester Obong’o entitled, Implementation of Performance Contracting in Kenya, these structural changes in the manner which public affairs in Kenya are managed by public servants can be broadly classified into two: first and second generation.
First Generation Reforms
The first generation of reforms were basically concerned with the issues that required immediate mitigation and reshaping of state for long-term goals. In this category, we have examples such as the 1970 Public Service Structure and Remuneration Commission chaired by Duncan Ndegwa. While his report is widely known for its recommendations in salaries, it also looked at performance and management issues in the civil service.
Another example in the first generation of public service reforms is the 1993 Civil Service Reform Strategy Document. Among other things, a number of initiatives sprung from this. The most notable is the adoption of private sector governance principles in the public service management.
After a period of five years without any substantial results, with the aid of World Bank, the Government of Kenya put together the Dream Team. This team comprised of technocrats hired from private sector to key ministries. The main purpose of this team was to infuse a sense of urgency in improving public service delivery.
Second Generation Reforms
The second generation of reforms in public service which is geared towards ensuring that government delivers and its performance measured came into being after the launch of the Economic Recovery Strategy for Wealth and Employment Creation in 2004. This insight of performance measurement is what Performance Contracts for civil servants and state officers is based on.
Performance contracting in the Kenya Public Sector started with sixteen commercial public enterprises. And eventually expanded to cover: 38 Ministries and Accounting Departments; 130 Public Enterprises as well as 175 Local Authorities (municipalities, local, county, and urban councils), observes a paper by Francis Muthaura, former head of civil service.
Today, performance contracts or agreements have been extended to all the 47 counties of Kenya to ensure inclusion of communities at the grass-root level in ensuring achievement of Vision 2030 as well as the objectives of devolution as enshrined in article 174 of the Kenya constitution.
Significance of Performance Contracting in Nakuru
Under the leadership of H.E Governor Lee Kinyanjui, the County Government of Nakuru is cognizant of the importance of public service performance contracting in defining quantifiable targets for its officers over a period of time in making sure that the government delivers on its social contract with the people.
Performance of any organization depends on the output of its employees. Thus to achieve the Mission, Vision and goal of the organization, each individual employee’s performance must be quantified and accurately weighed to what extent does it contribute to the wellness of the organization.
This helps in improving accountability to the public and at the same time increases efficiency and effectiveness of the infrastructures of public service and processes.
In the case of the Nakuru County Government, it would mean that the Governor has kept his promise of addressing systemic failure that has bedeviled services delivery. This is the reason why Nakuru County Government senior officials at the cadres of Directors, Chief Officer and CECMs are to pioneer in signing the Performance Contracts.