The DAP, through the Center of Excellence – Public Sector Productivity, held this year’s first batch of the Development of Public Sector Productivity Specialists Foundation Course (DPSPS FC) from 16 to 20 May 2022. The five-day course was designed to equip staff and officers of public sector organizations’ management divisions with competencies in measurement, analysis, planning, and troubleshooting to increase their respective organizations’ productivity. 

Twenty participants from the Department of the Interior and Local Government – National Capital Region (DILG-NCR), Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – Regional Offices 1 and 5, Maritime Industry Authority (MARINA), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PHIC) Regional Office – CAR, and  Department of Education (DepEd) – Ignacio Villamor Senior High School completed this training program. 

During the course, the participants listened to lectures and applied their learnings by measuring their organization’s productivity and diagnosing existing problems, and developing productivity improvement projects. A week after the training,  the participants are expected to submit their respective Productivity Improvement Plan.

Improving public sector productivity

In her welcome remarks, Imelda Caluen, Managing Director of the DAP-Center for Governance, acknowledged how the present interlocking challenges put pressure on the Philippine public sector to continuously perform internal and external tasks more efficiently and effectively. To meet the changing demands of stakeholders and the public with limited resources, governments and organizations around the world are pushed to shift to more productive means of doing their job.

Ms. Imelda Caluen delivered the welcome remarks.

Mr. Peter Dan B. Baon, Program Manager of the COE-PSP, served as the speaker for the first session, entitled Understanding Public Sector Productivity Concepts and Principles. He talked about productivity as a technical, social, and management concept and its importance in the context of the public sector.

Mr. Peter Dan Baon talked about the role of the public sector in improving productivity.

The session entitled, “Measuring Productivity in the Public Sector,” tackled the Productivity Measurement Framework and the key considerations and challenges in measuring Public Sector Productivity. The resource persons, Ms. Rose Ann Camille Caliso, Mr. Philip Ryan Junginger, and Ms. Jenifer Camilon expounded on how PSP measurement allows leaders and policymakers to assess productivity trends within the public sector, improve accountability over the use of resources, determine where to allocate resources where they are used most effectively, and provide feedback on policy initiatives. For their session activity, the participating agencies were tasked to compute their productivity using the productivity measurement tool provided to them.

Session 3 resource persons, Philip Junginger, Camille Caliso, and Jenifer Camilon discussed PSP measurement.

The third session, entitled Diagnosing and Analyzing Productivity, was facilitated by Ms. Elena Cruz, Former Vice-President of the Development Academy of the Philippines and Managing Director of the DAP Center for Knowledge Management. Ms. Cruz discussed how to diagnose productivity problems in the public sector using the PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) Cycle and the Lean Management principles and concepts based on the Toyota Production System (TPS).

Ms. Cruz shared about diagnosing and analyzing productivity problems.

The session, entitled Identifying Productivity Improvement, discussed how to identify and plan productivity improvements that will address productivity problems identified in the previous session. Ms. Niña Estudillo, international resource person in productivity and quality courses of Tokyo-based Asian Productivity Organization (APO) introduced tools and techniques for productivity improvement, zeroing in on Quality Circle and Business Process Re-Engineering (BPR).

Ms. Estudillo facilitated problem-solving activities during breakout sessions.

For the final session, presenters from different public sector organizations shared their PSP best practices and experiences. Kenjave Mark Parlero, Designated Head of HR Academy Human Resource Management and Development Office at the City Government of General Santos, together with his colleagues, Jose Amagan Jr. and Teodoro Barcelona Jr., shared their experience in planning and implementing the project entitled “High-Personal Effectiveness Through Resources Allocation (HI-PERA). Dr. Juliet J. Balderas, Management Service Department Head of Office of Strategy Management at the Philippine Heart Center presented about Sustaining Business Excellence through Unit Scoreboards as Execution Mechanism for Increased Individual Performance and Breakthrough Results. Lastly, Dr. Teresita A. Tabaog, Assistant Regional Director at the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) – Region 2 shared about DOST’s Performance Excellence Team and Initiatives during the Pandemic.

To formally close the program, DAP President and CEO Atty. Engelbert C. Caronan, Jr. left a timely reminder to all the participants. He noted, “in an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world, you being considered the future public sector productivity specialists are expected to strengthen your organization, while also contributing to the sectoral and the national productivity improvement. This is a reminder for all of us to do much good; bear in mind that policy decisions that are data-driven alongside citizen needs make a government future-ready.”

The Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), as the Center of Excellence on Public Sector Productivity designated by the Asian Productivity Organization (APO), held a multi-country training program to develop public sector specialists from 6 to 10 December 2021. With the Philippines as the hosting country, 43 representatives from APO member countries learned concepts, issues, challenges, tools, frameworks, and strategies related to public sector productivity (PSP) improvement.

Throughout the course, the participants listened to various presentations from Dr. Brian Marson, Dr. Shin Kim, Ms. Maria Rosario A. Ablan, and Mr. Arnel Abanto on PSP measurement, performance management, leadership, change management, citizen-centered services, and organizational productivity. There were also group discussions on case studies and exercises on the tools provided to practice what they learned throughout the program.

The course is the first step towards certification as public sector productivity specialists. After their training, the participants are tasked with developing action plans to raise the productivity of their respective agencies using the tools and skills they have gained.

Building the foundation for understanding PSP

Dr. Kim of the Korea Institute of Public Administration discussed first the role of the public sector and global trends in improving productivity. He explained that the role of the public sector in economic development is crucial, and thus a careful strategy is required to promote the social and economic well-being of the people through efficient and effective public sector management. He also discussed the evolution of public administration and provided different case examples to support transforming government. 

Dr. Marson of the Institute for Citizen-Centered Service discussed the importance of leadership in achieving key results focused on the 3Ps: purpose, people, and performance. He also showed how the organizing principle around which public service delivery is designed and planned can be conceptualized through identifying and addressing the citizens’ needs. Dr. Marson recommended that responsive government services can be implemented through listening to citizens, meeting their needs, and providing efficient, honest, and integrated service delivery.  “To improve citizen satisfaction scores, we need to actively listen to the people we serve,” he told the trainees.

Regulatory reform is also crucial in improving productivity. Dr. Kim defined regulatory reform as changes that enhance the performance, cost-effectiveness, or legal quality of regulations. He explained that while the public perception around regulatory reform focuses on deregulation, it should also include reregulation, smart regulation, and regulatory management. Comprehensive reform is thus recommended over a piecemeal approach, provided that governments must first identify objectives and weigh its options before any reform is implemented.

Dr. Kim then discussed result-oriented performance management, particularly as it is used in South Korea to improve organizational, sectoral and national productivity. He also showed how e-government can improve the efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of governments while bringing forth new concepts of citizenship, both in terms of needs and responsibilities, by engaging, enabling and empowering citizens. Governments can use the UN’s E-Government Survey to assess their performance and develop policies and strategies.

Improving organizational productivity was then classified by Ms. Ablan into four approaches: doing more with less,  doing more with the same, doing much more with more, doing the same with less, and doing less with much less. Government units that face productivity issues can diagnose and solve them through the Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle,  but for productivity improvement projects to be successful and long-standing, they have to manage political, technical, and behavioral conditions. Ms. Ablan also recommended striving for continuous improvement and innovation to ensure continued productivity.

Operationalizing productivity improvement

To open the session on the development of productivity improvement plans, Dr. Marson discussed models, frameworks, and thematic approaches that are the focus of the management excellence agenda in APO member countries. He also discussed steps to improve overall organizational performance using the CAF (Common Assessment Framework) Model, which uses self-assessment to generate and prioritize possible improvement plans, and the APO Business Excellence Model. 

Mr. Abanto followed with a presentation on measuring public sector productivity, discussing key considerations in estimating public sector productivity such as the level of analysis, the availability and quality of data, the information needs of the user of productivity information, and the productivity measurement framework being used. He also explained how to calculate public sector productivity indexes to prepare participants for a breakout session that would allow them to try their hands at productivity measurement. 

On the last day of the training, local presenters from the Philippines shared their best practices and experiences to illustrate the concepts and approaches at work. Mr. Joel Mendoza, of the City Government of Ormoc, Leyte shared the city’s improvement and intervention for better service through the in-house development of systems for business and franchising permits that enable small enterprises to easily process their permits. Ms. Marizza Grande, of the Philippine Statistics Authority, also shared the agency’s improvement with the Decentralized Copy Annotation Process (DeCAP) project, which provides seamless processing of documents at regional centers.