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PERL-ARC Development Watch: Edition 12, November 2018
Ogun State Government commits to reforming its public service through the New Public Service Transformation Office (PSTO)
“There is a need to keep the state moving, there is need to keep abreast of best practices and we need a mechanism where we will be able to identify areas in need of reforms, initiate such reforms and then manage such reform developments.” Those were the words of the Head of Service of Ogun State, Mr Abayomi Sobande, in an interview on the mandates and objectives of the Public Service Transformation Office (PSTO).

This edition of the Development Watch presents steps in setting up the agency including the achievements of PSTO, lessons learned, the role of PERL and next steps.
Ogun State is a major industrial and commercial hub in Nigeria, owing to its proximity to Lagos State. It has one of the largest concentrations of industries in the country and serves as the major corridor for transportation of goods, services and people between the nation’s commercial centre Lagos, the rest of the country, as well as the West African markets.  

With a population of over 7 million people and abundant natural and mineral resources such as forest, land, water bodies, limestone, phosphate, granite stone, gypsum, bauxite, bitumen, feldspar, clay, glass sand, kaolin, quartz, tar sand, gemstones and crude oil, Ogun State Government sought to reposition its Public Service to better manage the State’s resources. The state is also keen to achieve its development agenda and efficiently deliver improved services to its citizens.

Against this backdrop, the Executive Governor of the State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, inaugurated a three-man Civil Service Reform Committee (comprising of the Head of Service, the Commissioner for Health and the Commissioner for Budget and Planning) to conceptualise and midwife a state reform coordination agency. This agency would be saddled with the responsibility of managing reforms, supporting effective and efficient service delivery and ensuring adherence to set standards; further, it would support development through innovations.
Watch OGTV News Broadcast on PSTO's inauguration
With support from the DFID-funded Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) and the DAWN Commission, the Public-Service Transformation Office (PSTO) of Ogun State was approved by the State Executive Council and set up on the 26th of March 2018 by Executive Order. The office,  which is now functional and fully equipped to drive reforms has commenced discharging its duties by supporting the Bureau of Lands and Survey to review its processes for Land titling and assisting the Health Management Board to put in place a Performance Management Framework for its secondary-level health facilities. 

Mr Jola Oyeneye, Director General, Ogun State Public Service Transformation Office 
The Office and its Mandate
The PSTO has the mandate to manage reform initiatives in the public service of Ogun State. According to the DG, the office was set up to help other agencies achieve their mandates by assessing the way they work and supporting them to function better. “Some agencies don’t have service charters; they don’t have what they have promised the people that they would do and if this is their situation, our mandate is to help the agencies to come up with their service charters to say this is what we do, and we do it with you and for you.”

The office, situated in the Government Secretariat, is led by a Director General and currently has a staff strength of 13. However, the recruitment process has not been completed, as only two of the four directorate positions have been filled - the Public Service Reforms and Innovations department and Service Improvement and Process Reengineering department.

Mr Abayomi Sobande, Head of Service, Ogun State
The role of PSTO
"The PSTO will ensure that the public service continues to review processes, mandates, service delivery, efficiency issues for different areas in need of reform as well as support initiation of identified improvements. That is why we have the PSTO, to make sure that service continues to move.”
On Sustainability
“The leadership of the government are fully behind the office. The Governor himself chairs the Steering Committee of the PSTO, which comprises of Commissioners, Permanent Secretaries and members of the Executive Council. The decision to set up the agency was an ExCo decision and advocacy to the State House of Assembly who now buy-in was also conducted. No administration will be against a programme that is for service delivery, as only performance would guarantee a stay in the office in a democratic era.”

Dr Babatunde Ipaye, Commissioner for Health, Ogun State 
Impact on the Ministry of Health
"As a Ministry, we were considering ways of institutionalizing ongoing reforms. We defined some areas to appraise, in effort to shorten our business processes and ensure that we serve people better, smarter and in a more qualitative way." In the process, the Ministry explored several prospects to respond to the identified gaps including engaging external consultants and private sector firms to lead the development of business processes. There were also challenges in agreeing an approach to request for Executive approval due to constraints and bureaucracy of civil service administration. "We got to a point where we were stuck between what we know should happen and what the environment accepts as the norm."

According to the Commissioner, the option of working with PSTO was well timed and mutually beneficial because resources were limited; PSTO came with the necessary technical know-how and at limited cost to the Ministry.  "For us, it became a quick victory, as we did not have to do the lobbying and the advocacy at the Governor’s level." It is expected that the support from the office will lead to good health care, which the people of Ogun State can be happy with and proud of.
Regional Learning and the Role of PERL
PERL South West team presenting draft Corporate Plan to three-man Civil Service Reform Committee
DFID and PERL representatives at the Ogun State ExCo meeting
DAWN Commission, in collaboration with PERL, held the South West Governance Innovation Conference in February 2017. The Conference availed constituent states the opportunity to share good practices on governance reforms that have been successfully implemented in the various states.

The three-day conference provided a platform for cross fertilisation of ideas with presentations made by state and non-state actors. This led to commitments by states to replicate or adapt innovative reforms that had been successfully implemented in other locations and showcased at the conference. Specifically, Ogun State expressed interest in setting up an agency for coordinating public service reforms, similar to what was in existence in Lagos State. Based on this commitment, Ogun sought to learn from the experience of Lagos in setting up their reform coordination agency. 

Upon request from the State Governor, PERL provided technical support to develop an institutional framework for the office (including the mandate, structure, functions and staffing), Job Descriptions for senior positions and the person-specification for the position of the Director General. In addition, PERL also supported PSTO to review the land titling process of the Bureau of Lands, and put in place a Performance Management Framework for Public Hospitals in the state.
How PSTO works
The PSTO engages to identify and resolve bottlenecks hindering service delivery or performance of government agencies. It obtains information from the concerned MDA by conducting an assessment of key processes or reform areas to determine inefficiencies in its systems. Jointly with the MDA, solutions are proposed and a step-by-step implementation strategy agreed with consideration given to the views and complaints of service receivers. An appraisal of any agency by the PSTO, is to some extent based on the perception of the public as the office adopts an engagement approach that is inclusive of relevant stakeholders. Further, agencies are encouraged to imbibe these principles nevertheless, given the space to lead their respective reform processes.
Achievements of PSTO
Lessons learned by PSTO
Next Steps
PSTO will continue to engage government agencies, to map their mandates and processes, identify service delivery failures, proffer solutions as well as facilitate reforms that would improve service delivery to the citizens of Ogun State. PSTO is also supporting the revamp of the state's training facility to enhance skills of staff to adapt to a dynamic civil service and address new challenges.
About PERL
The Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL) is a five-year governance programme, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). The programme focuses support on governments, citizens, and evidence-based advocacy. PERL provides assistance to governments in the core areas of policy development and implementation. 
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The opinions expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the Department for International Development.
Copyright © 2018 Partnership to Engage, Reform and Learn (PERL), All rights reserved.

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