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Assessment of Needs

Background
After the 2003 Iraq war, ministries, Government Departments and the private sector in Iraq witnessed dramatic deterioration in performance. Despite the noticeable improvement in security after 2008 and funding provided in the budget; the lack in public services and its poor performance led to further unrest in the country which culminated into wide demonstrations in the provinces from citizens demanding reinstatement of basic services.
In order to investigate this phenomenon, in the past two year the Iraqi Institute for Economic Reform (IIER) has been conducting a survey, gathering information about the obstacles hindering progress and improvement to public services. By interviewing government officials, decision makers, the process, later, reached a higher level to include current and former ministers, council of ministers, members of parliament representative and then broadened to take in private sector contractors, banks and the central bank.

Findings

Analysis of the information gathered has clearly highlighted the lack of capacity in basic management, leadership, communication skills and process management, which is clearly reflected by the acute shortage in information technology and most importantly, procurements; technical and specialist knowledge. Analysing and categorisation of this information is of crucial importance to enable us work with ministries, local government and  the private sector, in order to seek a mean to reverse this trend; to identify best process solutions, to increase performance quickly, effectively and efficiently.

Challenges

The next stage is to translate these findings into the various categories of required knowledge and skill needs. We can then identify ways and means to tailor individual organisations needs and provide the appropriate resources allocation and methods to achieve it. For example, through targeted courses and training sessions, in Project Management, Communications, Leadership, Problem Solving and others, that could effectively contribute to push the wheel forward and overcome the challenges that are holding progress back.
We have carried out, some statistical calculations to further analyse these skills, and categorize it on level of importance and significance. It revealed that the most work places have missing basic skills such as Management, leadership, and problem solving which accounts up to about 43% of importance.
What this means is work performance and efficiency has not reached a level where laws and regulations or even organisation structure is becoming an obstacle. In other words even if we amend the laws and regulation and reformed organisations structure of entities, the performance and efficiency will remain below required levels to provide acceptable levels of services because of the lack of basic skills such as management and leadership skills.

IIER Solution

IIER has the knowledge and experience to conduct process analysis, skill needs using “benchmarking techniques”, to measure the gaps, define areas of weaknesses and strength, against world best practice and in according to the European standards.
 This approach was successfully implemented in Basra Governorate Council on 3 phases:
Phase I, was benchmarking the Council;
Phase II, delivered focused training program design specifically to address the results of the assessment process for the practices and performance and discussing ways for improvement.
Phase III, design a monitoring programme with the appropriate KPIs and a system for continuous improvements.

This project has created an environment within the local authority which can successfully absorb change and improvement and was accompanied by employees developing critical and unique skills. 
It is for that reason IIER is calling for more training and capacity building, targeted and more focused, based on tried and tested scientific approach. Such a programme should be at the top of any public services reform plan.




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