Home > Uncategorized > What does public service renewal mean to you?

What does public service renewal mean to you?

I was recently asked on a survey “what does public service renewal mean to you?”. The Canada School of Public Service, Privy Council Office and other government institutions generally define it as:

…an ongoing process of pursuing and achieving excellence in all that the public service does, now and in the future. It is about having a workforce that can adapt to complex and changing environments and that continues to excel in delivering policies, programs and services to the people of Canada.

The first part of that definition is fluff. “Excellence” is a buzzword that most public servants are tired of hearing. The second part of that definition, which references the ability to adapt, is closer to my understanding of PS Renewal.

To me, renewal is about adaptation. Adaptation to new technologies, new realities and new occupations. There are trends occurring in society, such as a move towards more open communication, diversity of cultural practices, the desire of individuals to play a role in the policy process and the speed at which decisions are expected. Today, the process at arriving at a decision carries more merit and worth than the decision itself. Therefore, it is increasingly important for government to collaborate, with the public it serves and with each other. Government has for too long been characterized by its hierarchical nature and siloed approach. These features of modern government remain inconsistent with the changing reality that the public service finds itself operating within.

Efforts to adapt the public service to these cultural, demographic, social and economic trends are what I consider Public Service Renewal.

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