This priority tackles government efficiency at the governorate level in undertaking its service delivery role to citizens and leading the development process through a participatory and transparent approach subject to monitoring and control. The local government includes the Governorate, Governorate Council, local councils and various government departments that operate within Erbil territory.
To enable the government of service delivery and undertake its role in efficient management of the development process in the Governorate, current situation of some aspects was assessed:
The Governorate and Citizens:
The open-door policy adopted by the governorate in receiving citizens’ requests and complaints reflects a high transparency and expresses the spirit of local administration. On the other hand, it exposes the Governorate and its council to a great pressure in terms of the number of visitors it receives on daily bases, which affects the flow of administrative work in an organized institutional manner. Members of the local community still deal with the Government and elected local councils with tribal perception. They consider the Governorate and its council a tribal bureau that is open at any time for requests and complaints. Such perception causes a great pressure due to the need to prompt responses in most cases because of the pressing, unscheduled demands of citizens. The open-door policy pursued by the governorate reflects a high transparency and expresses the spirit of local government administration. However, management of interaction inputs between the Government and citizens need to be developed and improved to ensure that institutionalization of work and operations is not affected.
Institutionalization and sharing knowledge among public institutions:
Since Erbil is the Region capital, where the different ministries and directorates are based, rapid access to information and requirements of higher coordination is available. There is a need for further development of the level of exchanging and institutionalizing information so they are no longer dependent on specific individuals whose absence stumbles work or access to accurate information. Knowledge institutionalization and knowledge sharing with relevant authorities are two different issues. The first requires an approved institutional system that ensures knowledge institutionalization within institutions, regardless of who is the owner of such knowledge, and thus ensuring knowledge sustainability and accumulation within Government institution. The second, which is exchanging and sharing knowledge with the relevant authorities, requires a study of coordination mechanisms at the level of institutions, departments and sections in the governorate. It also requires studying the level of knowledge to be shared at each administrative level, identifying the mechanisms to achieve such goal, promote them with common institutional policies that ensure the exchange of knowledge and the efficiency sharing them in real time. One of the important challenges to strategic planning at the governorate level is issues related to institutionalizing and sharing knowledge. Information exists only with certain individuals in an institution, thus success of involving institutions in assessing the current status in addition to determining priorities and future vision in the various strategic dimensions simply depends on inviting the right person who has the information and their accumulation. In brief, information sharing, clarity of vision and the coordination within any single directorate reflects clear vulnerability. Hence, quality of information and knowledge that the Governorate can obtain from any directorate depends largely on the person who was contacted at that directorate and the extent of his knowledge about what is needed and not on the availability of information at the directorate contacted.
Organizational Structures and Operations Management:
In institutional management, the current situation reflects the presence of a large area in need for development and improvement with respect to institutionalizing Government work. Governorates rely on the law, the decisions, and regulations issued by the Region Government to determine their functions. Although the law is the main pillar to identify responsibilities and functions, yet the law alone is not enough to achieve the strategic management. There should be organizational structures, internal systems, operations’ schemes, job descriptions, and functional guides for the different departments within global advanced bases and standards. As well, there is a need to assess the organizational structures in terms of whether they include functions according to the strategic management standards, good governance and the availability of strategic management requirements of detailed job descriptions, internal systems and operations’ scheme for departments, showing the course of action and related procedures.
Erbil suffers an imbalance in the distribution of staff between different departments and directorates. While the staff at some units suffers workload, staff at other units may be enjoying relaxation in terms of workload and requirements and even working hours. On the other hand, there is variation in the distribution of competencies and matching the available competencies with job requirements in various administrative units. The inflation of government staff in the public sector is not only confined to Erbil through but it is a general phenomenon in both Iraq and Kurdistan as a natural result of the public sector’s accommodating citizens’ needs of jobs at some point after fall of the previous regime. Addressing and correcting such phenomenon according to a clear methodology and specific indicators needs a long period of time that may extend to dozens of years.
On the other hand, the current situation reflects the disparity in the level of professionalism among government staff based on the quality of the previous experiences, the level of control and the extent of linking performance standards in an integrated manner with career promotion in the absence of an encouraging system of incentives’ and disciplinary system as well. Professionalism requires building new cultural system in the community based on respecting working hours and time in general. It also requires years of time as well as sequential stages of institutional development that must be in line with the institutional reform towards results-oriented professional management.
The most important changes that will have a positive impact on absorbing such career inflation and restoring balance to government departments include provision of alternative and attractive jobs/incomes for citizens; whether through legislative amendments. Such amendments should raise the degree of job security in the private sector or promote and develop foreign investments that rely on human capital. Other approaches may include supporting entrepreneurs and income-generating projects for citizens through long-term and sustainable programs that enhance the survival, development and continuous support of enterprises. It may include as well the development of pension and social security laws to ease the burden of the public sector and other related interventions that must go in line with the media effort to change the prevailing culture to go to the private sector as a secured option.