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 - 4 of 4
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    Does the Public Sector HRM System Strengthen Staff Performance?
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2012-12) Manning, Nick ; Watkins, Joanna ; Degnarain, Nishan
    An important objective of any Human Resource Management (HRM) system in Government is to motivate staff to perform well. This GET note looks at several HRM levers that Governments have at their disposal to influence staff performance. In particular, some of the most common levers in the public sector include: effective recruitment and retention of staff; strong staff engagement in the organization’s mission; well-designed incentives for staff to perform as well as ‘opportunities to perform’; tailored training and capacity building; and high quality performance dialogues with staff and effective follow up. In designing a HRM system that utilizes these levers effectively, this GET Note shows that it is more important to diagnose the root cause and understand the major issues of poor performance, before proposing reform actions. This paper proposes three important design questions for managers of HRM systems to assess whether they have a well-designed HRM system. 1) Does the HRM system provide both ‘external incentives’ and ‘opportunities to perform’? Does the HRM system provide the right balance between short and long term incentives? And are the broader, supporting aspects of the HRM system working effectively? The note concludes by highlighting that even where the HRM system is well designed, careful consideration must be given to two further aspects: a) how to implement reforms to improve the design of the HRM system, and b) how to ensure that a well-designed HRM system is operating effectively.
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    Improving Performance : Foundations of Systemic Performance
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2010-02) Manning, Nick
    At 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.
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    Options for Restraining the Wage Bill (While Preserving Essential Service Delivery)
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-12) Dorotinsky, Bill ; Manning, Nick ; Rinne, Jeffrey
    Nearly 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.
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    Using an Ombudsman to Oversee Public Officials
    (World Bank, Washington, DC, 1999-04) Manning, Nick ; Galligan, D.J.
    The note addresses the role of ombudsman offices, and what ensures its effectiveness. Good administration requires much more than acting legally, which include constitutional, and human rights abuses, mismanagement, as well as illegal practices. An ombudsman's independence from other branches of government, and administration, particularly the executive branch, is a crucial factor, following the legal provisions on its appointment, dismissal, powers, and budgetary issues. Though closely associated with parliament because courts are important autonomous regulators of official behavior, there is the potential to overlap with an ombudsman. But, to the extent that the ombudsman becomes involved in matters of legality, it is an adjunct to the courts. Conditions for an effective ombudsman are: political support; adequate resources; public perception, functional competence; and, regulatory value.