The paper 'Efficiency and Cost-Effectiveness in the Public Service' is a great example of a finance and accounting assignment. Ordinarily, scrutiny of the public service by ensuring public accountability, conducting audits, and using performance-based indicators to evaluate performance are all expected to enhance the performance. Even then, there are many cases where such initiatives are not implemented properly and therefore only end up undermining the “ ethic” of the public service and professionalism. This paper argues that while public accountability, audits and performance-based indicators are vital for monitoring and enhancing public service performance, poor implementation makes them not only difficult to apply but also ineffective.
Based on this analysis, this paper argues that while these tools are necessary for maximizing efficiency and cost-effectiveness in the public service, more needs to be done to ensure that the tools reflect the actual performance of the public service. The terms public accountability audits, and performance-based indicators are widely used in the public service domain because they determine the “ ethic” of the public service and professionalism. It is important to make an attempt to define them so that any further analysis is premised on an understanding of what each term entails. Public accountability: According to Olowu (1993, cited by Odhiambo-Mbai, 2003), public accountability is the obligation that those who hold any public trust should be held accountable for the use of such trust by citizens or their agents.
This means that public officials should be accountable for their actions while in office, and this requires them to adhere to certain norms and values (Odhiambo-Mbai, 2003). Audits: An audit refers to the independent, objective appraisal of the fairness of an organization’ s representations on performance or the evaluation of management’ s systems and practices against a given set of criteria, reported to a principal body or others with similar roles (The Institute of Internal Auditors, 2006).
The role of auditing is to ensure that officers in the public service can account to the public for their use and stewardship of resources and reassure the public that the resources have been used effectively to accomplish the public’ s intended objectives. Performance-based indicators: Performance-based indicators are used to measure aspects of public service performance such as the effectiveness of the internal work process to deliver services, the productivity of human resources to offer delivery services to those who require them, and client satisfaction towards the services received (Zakaria et al. , 2011).
It may also be worthwhile to use such indicators to measure the financial aspect or cost implications of the services being delivered by the public sector. Professionalism: Professionalism is defined as the overall value that encompasses all other values that guide the public sector (Ssonko, 2010). Article 21 of the Charter for the Public Service in Africa notes that professionalism manifests itself in the behavior of a public service employee at work and in the employee’ s constant attempt to improve, strengthen or update his or her knowledge, improve the skills that are required for performing his or her tasks and augmenting his or her output (Ssonko, 2010).
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