Author Name Variants
Fields of Specialization
Public administration reform; public financial management; governance
Externally Hosted Work
Last updated January 31, 2023
Nick Manning retired as Head of the World Bank’s Governance and Public Sector Management Practice in December 2013. He led the development and implementation of the Bank’s updated approach to Public Sector Management. Nick was previously the World Bank Manager for Public Sector and Governance for Latin America and the Caribbean. He has also served as Head of the Public Sector Management and Performance Division at the OECD and as the World Bank Lead Public Sector Management Specialist for South Asia. Nick has held advisory positions on public management for the Commonwealth Secretariat and for UNDP in Lebanon. Nick began his public sector career in local government in the U.K. and, before moving to international advisory work, was Head of Strategic Planning for an inner London Borough. He is a Visiting Professor at the Herbert Simon Institute for Public Policy, Administration and Management; adviser to the Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management; member of the editorial board of the Public Management Review; honorary Senior Research Fellow in the Institute for Development Policy and Management at the University of Manchester; and a member of the advisory group for University of London Queen Mary Master's program in Public Administration.
Publication Search Results
Now showing 1 - 10 of 13
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2004) Carnahan, Michael ; Manning, Nick ; Bontjer, Richard ; Guimbert, Stéphane ; Carnahan, Michael ; Manning, Nick ; Bontjer, Richard ; Guimbert, StéphaneThe paper cover two broad themes in the recent reform of fiscal and economic management in Afghanistan. The first part, The Journey So Far, sets out the impressive policy and institutional reforms that the Interim and Transitional Administrations have made since the Bonn conference in November 2001. It provides some details of the challenges faced by the Ministry of Finance, and very particularly the complexities of managing intensive donor interest and significant volumes of development assistance, while balancing the need for responsiveness to donor priorities with a concern to build institutional strengths of the public sector. The section notes the complexity of the vested interests that had built up within the administration during the Soviet and Taliban periods, and the need to revive, while simultaneously reforming, the fiscal management processes. The second part, Current Priorities, explores the fiscal and economic management tasks that the Ministry of Finance is now confronted with. The section opens with a review of the strategic options for structuring the Ministry of Finance, and the additional challenges and opportunities presented by the new constitution. The revised budget law is perhaps the most significant and far-reaching of the institutional reforms planned. The significance of the municipalities as a potential platform for enhanced service delivery to an increasingly urbanized population is also noted.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2004) Manning, Nick ; Parison, NeilThis paper has four objectives: 1. To offer an analysis of public administration reform experiences in a set of countries chosen to illustrate the range and depth of recent administrative change. 2. To pick out from this analysis those variables that seem particularly relevant to the current condition in the Russian Federation. 3. To suggest a way of organizing thinking about a very complex and contested field. 4. To provide some pointers toward a reform strategy for policymakers in this area in the Russian Federation. Identifying the key country comparators and the relevant variables and offering a way of thinking about their significance are particularly important for the Russian Federation authorities as they prepare for implementation of the Program for the Reform of the Civil Service System in the Russian Federation. As reforms intensify, there will be a flood of serious, experienced international advisers and management experts, but there will also be those with "snake oil" to sell. Reformers need some lenses through which they can critically examine reform proposals and evaluate advice from experts. The paper draws its conclusions from an analysis of 14 countries selected by representatives of the Russian Federation government: Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, the Republic of Korea, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The World Bank was asked to look at a number of countries that faced similar challenges to those facing Russia in this area, while also looking at some countries that faced different problems but achieved interesting results.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-05) Gokcekus, Omer ; Manning, Nick ; Mukherjee, Ranjana ; Nallari, RajThe report presents the findings of a survey of public officials in Guyana, whose views were sought in a wide range of civil service issues - from personnel management, to rewards, and disciplinary actions, and, from budget environment to corruption. Answers were used to test some prior assertions about the public sector in the country, and, it is the respondents' belief that public sector jobs are attractive, though public employees are not fully prepared for their jobs through education, and training, nor is recruitment always based on merit. However, officials find policies consistent, but implement policies even if in disagreement with policy directions. Furthermore, decision-making is characterized by poor communication, and low employee participation. Nonetheless, officials surveyed showed insight about which reforms might enhance organizational performance, and, based on data analysis, quantification of how public officials assess the organizations' institutional environment, and performance was possible. Survey data demonstrated how widely varied the institutional environments of such organizations are, and, provided evidence that performance does depend upon institutional environment. The report prioritizes interventions according to the potential payoffs in different performance areas, suggesting performance monitoring is likely to be associated with significant positive change in performance.
Publication(Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-05) Mukherjee, Ranjana ; Gokcekus, Omer ; Manning, Nick ; Landell-Mills, PierreThis report summarizes the responses of Bangladeshi Class I (highest level) public sector officials to a survey seeking opinions on a number of civil service issues, from personnel management practices to rewards and disciplinary actions, and from employees' sources of income to the budget environment and procurement processes. Survey results show instances in Bangladesh's civil service where professional conduct is perceived to be sacrificed at the expense of personal and political concerns. Surveyed officials express a concern over patronage appointments in the recruitment of Class III and IV staff and unfavorable postings and transfers at the higher level. Corruption, insufficient budgetary allocation, and unpredictable budgets are identified as key impediments to achieving organizational objectives. The report utilizes the survey data to test prior assertions against the survey data. Data is analyzed to establish that institutions do matter for accountability; to explore an empirical association between elements of institutional environment and accountability; and to generate potential accountability payoffs for certain reform interventions. The analyzes show that reduced interference by politicians from outside and within the organizations, less micro-management by very senior civil servants and merit-based recruitment to Class I jobs will be most effective in reducing the perception of pervasive corruption.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-12) Blum, Jurgen ; Manning, Nick ; Srivastava, VivekThis note sets out key ideas from recent discussions inside and outside the Bank on how donors can support governments more effectively in delivering results in Public Sector Management (PSM) reforms. This note also reflects the discussions that have led to the Bank's new PSM approach for 2011 to 2020; identifies challenges to reforming public sector institutions; and summarizes how current thinking on PSM reform strategies has shifted toward pragmatic problem solving, seeking to improve results by identifying sustainable improvements for the public sector results chain.
Public Officials and Their Institutional Environment : An Analytical Model for Assessing the Impact of Institutional Change on Public Sector Performance(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000-08) Manning, Nick ; Mukherjee, Ranjana ; Gokcekus, OmerTo perform well, public officials must be confident enough about the future, to be able to see a relationship between their efforts, and an eventual outcome. Their expectations are shaped by their institutional environment. If the rules are not credible, or are unlikely to be enforced, of if they expect policies to be contradicted, or resources to flow unpredictably, results will be uncertain, so there is little point in working purposefully. The authors present an analytical framework, used to design a series of surveys of public officials' views of their institutional environment, and to analyze the information generated in fifteen countries. They describe how survey results help map public sector's strengths, and weaknesses, and offer an approach to identifying potential payoffs from reforms. The framework emphasizes how heterogeneous incentives, and institutional arrangements are within he public sector. It emphasizes how important it is for policymakers to base decisions on information (not generalizations) that suggests what is most likely to work, and where. In building on the premise that public officials' actions - and hence their organization's performance - depend on the institutional environment in which they find themselves, this framework avoids simplistic anti-government positions, bur doesn't defend poor performance. Some public officials perform poorly, and engage in rent seeking, but some selfless, and determined public officials, work hard under extremely difficult conditions. This framework offers an approach for understanding both bad performance, and good, and for presenting the results to policymakers in a format that leads to more informed choices, about public sector reform. Types of reforms discussed include strengthening the credibility of rules for evaluation, for record management, for training, and for recruitment; ensuring that staff support government policy; preventing political interference, or micro-management; assuring staff that they will be treated fairly; and, making government policies consistent.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-11) Manning, Nick ; Shepherd, GeoffreyThere has always been a diversity of organizational forms within the public sector. However, in some countries organizational diversification has increased significantly through the distribution of government responsibilities to so-called "arm's-length bodies." This notion reflects their common characteristic of being at arm's length from the control of politicians, outside the hierarchical control of traditional vertically-integrated line ministries and departments. There is some uncertainty concerning the scale of this movement of staff and budgets towards such agencies. Some commentators maintain that arms-length agencies have always been found within governments and that some highly publicized examples of "agencification" have skewed the debate (Wettenhall 2005). Others argue that the creation of distinct entities with independent financial management regimes held responsible for discrete areas of service delivery is a distinct and growing phenomenon.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-02) Manning, NickAt its heart, a performance orientation in the public sector is a predisposition to make promises and an ability to deliver them. Some of the key ideas behind this are: 1) responsiveness - reducing the time lag between changed political priorities and corresponding public policy actions; 2) measurement - the quantification of outputs (and occasionally outcomes); 3) managerialism - the relaxation of the enforced consistency in procedures to move towards flexibility with accountability in order to improve efficiency. It is often seen purely as an import from the private sector, but in fact there have always been areas of managerialism within the public sector. Using these ideas, this note describes some of the key technical foundations necessary for moving towards a performance orientation and outlines a pragmatic approach for improving performance, highlighting the part played by changing performance arrangements for senior management.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-12) Dorotinsky, Bill ; Manning, Nick ; Rinne, JeffreyNearly every personnel and pay system has some slack in it, either fiscal excess or staff positions (vacant or otherwise) that are not essential. The key is to look for targeted measures that produce savings and reduce the wage bill, without adversely affecting service delivery.
Publication(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-07) Manning, Nick ; Mukherjee, RanjanaThe note assesses how the volume, distribution, structure, and objectives of Bank lending for civil service reform have changed in recent years. Bank operations in civil service reform usually refers to interventions that affect the organization, performance, and working conditions of employees paid by government budgets, but excludes reforms that affect police, the armed forces, public health care workers, public school teachers, and employees of state enterprises. Assessments of such reform are relevant in that they can also help countries improve governance, thus fostering good policy making, effective service delivery, and accountable resource use. Findings based on an Operations Evaluation Department's review of such lending, indicates a growing number of standalone civil service reform projects between 1980 and 1997. However, between fiscal 1999 and 2001, only 4 of 62 civil service reform interventions were standalone, being the rest components of major lending operations. The note further reviews the distribution of new lending, and its structure, categorizing civil service reform objectives under three broad headings: correcting fiscal imbalances, adjusting civil servant's pay, and grading structures to improve accountability, and service delivery. Issues for further consideration are raised: what are the optimal combinations - investment lending vs. programmatic adjustment - of such financing, and under what circumstances? and, in identifying the structure of the overall, changing portfolio, what would the impact be?