Manning, Nick

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Public administration reform; public financial management; governance
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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 - 7 of 7
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    International Public Administration Reform : Implications for the Russian Federation
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2004) Manning, Nick ; Parison, Neil
    This 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.
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    A Guide to Government in Afghanistan
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2004-04) Evans, Anne ; Manning, Nick ; Osmani, Yasin ; Tully, Anne ; Wilder, Andrew
    This guide has three objectives: First and foremost, it seeks to provide newcomers to the Administrative and political scene in Afghanistan with a basic guide to the structures and processes of government. Second and related, it intends to provide reformers with some understanding of how to work "with the grain" of the existing institutional arrangements. Third, this report seeks to pay tribute to the remarkable people who have kept the system running and who are now reforming it. In pursuing these objectives, this guide attempts to set out these underlying strengths of the public sector, describing the evolution of the Afghan state, the current political context, and the administrative and organizational components of the government. It sets out the legal basis and organizational responsibilities for key fiscal tasks including revenue collection, budget preparation and execution, and accounting and audit. It also describes the organizational structures in the provinces, the way in which the staffing establishment is determined, and the structure of pay and grading. In particular, it looks at the arrangements for service delivery in the education and health sectors. A companion paper, "Subnational Administration in Afghanistan : Assessment and Recommendations for Action," (report no. 29415) outlines some specific recommendations resulting from these studies.
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    Institutional Environment and Public Officials' Performance in Guyana
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-05) Gokcekus, Omer ; Manning, Nick ; Mukherjee, Ranjana ; Nallari, Raj
    The 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.
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    Bangladesh : The Experience and Perceptions of Public Officials
    (Washington, DC: World Bank, 2001-05) Mukherjee, Ranjana ; Gokcekus, Omer ; Manning, Nick ; Landell-Mills, Pierre
    This 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.
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    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, Omer
    To 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.
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    Strengthening Oversight by Legislatures
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2002-10) Manning, Nick ; Stapenhurst, Rick
    About 90 percent of the world's nearly 200 sovereign states have national legislatures or parliaments. With the spread of democracy and the rise of multiparty political systems, these bodies are playing larger roles in government. Increasingly, legislatures and their members perform four important functions of governance: o Making policies and laws. Legislatures are representative bodies for collective decisionmaking, working with the executive branch to deliberate policies and make laws. Representing citizens. Legislators give voice to individual citizens, civil society organizations, and business groups, representing the needs of local constituents in policymaking. Overseeing the executive. Legislatures oversee policy implementation by the executive branch, scrutinizing its work and holding it accountable. Recruiting future leaders. Legislatures are stepping stones and training grounds for senior positions in the executive branch. Transcending these formal functions, legislatures also provide an arena where competing political forces can debate and reach consensus on national policies and laws. This note addresses the oversight function because of its significance for government transparency and accountability, and because the Bank has initiated pilot projects to support this function.
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    Toward More Operationally Relevant Indicators of Governance
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2000-12) Knack, Stephen ; Manning, Nick
    Increasing awareness of the importance of governance has been accompanied by an increase in the number of commercial firms and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) producing broad indicators of the quality of governance and public institutions. First generation governance indicators, e.g., International Country Risk Guide, Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index, are useful to identify countries with severe corruption and other governance-related problems. However most of them have limited relevance for public sector reform. There is a need for second generation indicators which are expected to be more specific in measuring performance and pay more attention to measuring government processes and institutional arrangements - not just performance.