Professor Ezra Suruma
Mr. John Mary Agaba
The Government of Uganda has established a Delivery Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office to drive delivery of services to the people of Uganda. Cabinet adopted the NDP II recommendation to set up the Delivery Unit and the Ministry of Public Service has formalised its structure within the Office of the Prime Minister. The Delivery Unit is now part of Public Service designated as, the PRIME MINISTER’S DELIVERY UNIT (PMDU)
A culture of speed and rigour in Uganda’s Public Service Delivery.
To facilitate faster and better implementation of National Priorities.
To support Better Services Today (BeST). The Unit will pursue a culture of delivery which embodies the following values:
The overall purpose of the Delivery Unit is to facilitate faster implementation of select national priorities and enable the delivery of big and fast results through a methodical approach to planning for implementation and execution. The goal of the Government through the Delivery Unit is to achieve optimal visibility of results and ultimately nurture a performance culture with an emphasis on speed and rigor within the Public Sector. The methodology aims at transforming the way the Government works by using catalytic initiatives at critical points in the service delivery chain.
DELIVERY UNIT ACTIONS:
- Establish and implement a rigorous system for routine tracking and reporting progress on the agreed key priorities of the government. The unit will ensure that implementation problems and bottlenecks are identified and promptly tackled.
- Provide a robust mechanism for coordinating implementation efforts across government, ensuring that ministries have robust plans to deliver on their key priorities and enable better inter-ministerial coordination while ensuring clear delineation of responsibilities and accountability throughout the implementation stages.
- Play the distinctive role of generating pressure for results through progress chasing and tracking using simple and direct mechanisms that monitor the sectors regularly using data. The unit will review progress and influence the activities of government entities and their performance, hence developing a culture of effective service delivery across government.
- Establish relationships with other stakeholders that facilitate delivery including the business sector, civil society, and development partners to facilitate continual improvement in service delivery.
The following factors are key among the drivers for the establishment of the Delivery Unit:
- Important objectives and priorities of government are not being monitored with the level of regularity needed (daily, weekly and monthly). The current Monitoring and Evaluation Units play the important role of evaluating using quarterly and half yearly reviews. The Delivery Unit will now employ real time progress tracking to ensure that problems are identified in time and promptly tackled.
- There is an imperative to make more rapid progress on a few selected national strategic priorities such as the core projects and development outcomes in the National Development Plan.
- The establishment of the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit in Uganda is motivated by the demonstrated success of delivery Units in various parts of the World. Uganda has therefore opted to benchmark with the UK’s Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit (PMDU) that was established in 2001 to help strengthen and monitor progress on the Government’s delivery of public service priorities through a sustained focus on the performance of key services and public sector management.
The Prime Minister intends to achieve the following goals through the delivery unit:
- Optimal visibility of results on the national priorities
- Nurture a performance culture of speed and rigor within the public service
- Introduce catalytic initiatives to quickly unblock obstacles to service delivery
- To achieve improved productivity in government by accelerating quality and timely execution of core NDP II infrastructure flagship projects to ensure early/on schedule completion, and within budget.
- To achieve improved service delivery in the identified top priorities of government that is: quality of primary health care, quality in education, improved household incomes and employment generation.
KEY DELIVERY PRINCIPLES (5Ps)
Focus on a limited number of explicit government priorities identified and approved by the President to be prioritized by the leader of government business.
- Planning for Implementation
Add value to ministries in terms of detailed delivery planning, identifying personnel and budgets and rigorous focus on the implementation timelines and offering continuous support to ensure performance.
Use a supportive, consultative, service oriented and catalytic approach, in supporting the sectors to remove obstacles, help resolve coordination problems, and deliver faster and better, with no intention to replace the existing bureaucracy and government structures. The Unit will therefore build strong and collaborative relationships with the sectors and other government agencies through the Prime Minister.
Maintain a consistent non yielding vigorous pursuit and pressure for results based on the identified key priorities through the use of real time data and evidence, collaborative problem-solving, application of best practice, capacity building for delivery and attributing responsibility and credit to the sectors.
Provide a rigorous system for routine tracking and reporting progress on the agreed key priorities of government through the use of real time data and thereby keep the Prime Minister constantly updated on the work of the priority sectors.
LEADERSHIP AND STAFFING
The Delivery Unit is under the direct political oversight of the Prime Minister, the leader of government business in Parliament and is located in the Executive Office of the Prime Minister. The President appoints both the head and deputy head of the unit.
The Delivery Unit by design is lean but highly skilled and specialized. There are thematic team leaders in charge of each key priority sector, supported by specialists and other consultants. The Office of the Prime Minister recruit the staff on contractual basis according to the Public Service guidelines.
The staff are results focused and will receive continuous training to sharpen the unit’s capacity to deliver results. Staff are currently receiving continuous training through consultations with Delivery Associates in the United Kingdom and Ministerial Leadership in Health of Harvard, USA.
DESIRED RESULTS AND SUCCESS INDICATORS
- Provide the Prime Minister and through him the President regular/routine reporting of outcomes on the sector set targets on the identified key priorities and core infrastructure projects, with real time data and evidence.
- Provide prompt collaborative problem-solving mechanisms across the sectors, which will ensure continuous building of strong and collaborative relationships across government for unblocking the obstacles and enhanced productivity.
- Establish a robust mechanism for service delivery in the Prime Minister’s Office on the key government priorities with concrete action plans indicating measurable outcomes, with funding requirements provided and incorporated in the Government Budget.
- Achieve improved sector planning processes with greater coordination and prioritisation across government, well-articulated performance management frameworks, budget allocation, implementation outputs, monitoring and delivery of specified targets in the top priorities.
- Supported the transition from paper based report to biometric system for health worker attendance reporting for 8 district hospitals, 29 Health Centre IVs, 189 HC IIIs in the 22 PMDU focus Districts in Eastern Uganda resulting into improved health workers’ attendance to duty from 51% in 2016 to 93% in 2018;
- Supported establishment of policy framework for tools to ensure tracking of teacher presence within 20 PMDU focus districts resulting into reduction of teacher absenteeism from 15% in 2015 to 4% in 2018;
- Developed the cotton and textile apparel roadmap;
- Completed the acceleration lab concept paper for the Infrastructure, Jobs and Income thematic areas;
- Introduced the service delivery partnerships forums across the sectors working as inter-ministerial task teams and across the districts known as the Regional Stakeholder forums with the objective of easing communication and unblocking constraints to effective service delivery;
- Compiled delivery status reports on the Coffee roadmap.