Starting from Scratch in Recruitment and Training: Solomon Islands, 2004-2009
Focus: Civil Service
Topics: Evaluation and Performance, Promotion, Pay Reform, Civil Service Recruitment, Performance Management System
Type: Case Studies
Author: David Hausman
Keywords: training, technical assistance, recruitment, promotion, patronage, downsizing, civil service
This case study describes efforts to rebuild the Solomon Islands Public Service beginning in 2004. When the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI) intervened at the request of the Solomon Islands Parliament and ended the country's civil conflict in 2003, the Solomon Islands public service suffered from a critical shortage of trained personnel, insufficient pay tied to a complex and unequal housing-benefit policy, and slow and ineffective processes for centralized recruitment, promotion, and performance appraisal. A small group of officials in the Solomon Islands government and RAMSI decided to tackle these problems with (1) targeted training efforts in offices with good leadership but virtually no staff, (2) a dedicated program to reform the public service housing benefit, and (3) a Public Service Improvement Program to overhaul human-resources procedures. Training efforts were particularly successful in the Office of the Auditor General and the Parliament Secretariat, agencies in which capable Solomon Islander leaders requested and directed RAMSI on-the-job training. The Housing Management Project had quick initial success locating and counting government houses but stalled in efforts to evict squatters and change policies that provided privileged public servants with expensive housing. The Public Service Improvement Program, finally, was delayed for two years by a failed RAMSI procurement process, and, at the time of this study, in late 2009, had completed only initial assessment work.