In order to execute its national strategy for economic development, Agenda for Change, the Government of Sierra Leone (GoSL) needed to reorganize the Office of the President, which was to be the center of decision-making. With the support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), GoSL, called on ACET for help.
The objective was to comprehensively assess the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, sustainability, and coordination of key functional areas of the Office of the President and to make recommendations for strengthening overall decision-making and execution.
Execution of Agenda for Change was being obstructed primarily by ambiguous roles, unclear reporting structures and lack of collaboration within teams. In addition, functions and work styles had not adjusted to the needs and management style of the current president.
We based our assessment on four elements: a clearly articulated vision, a competent team with clear roles and reporting chains, an enabling environment for operational efficiency, and performance monitoring and evaluation.
The ACET team carried out an extensive data collection process, which included in-depth interviews with the President; Vice President; staff of key ministries, departments and agencies; the public sector reform unit and the donor community.
Drawing on the analysis of the diagnostic and benchmarking of successful examples from other parts of Africa and Asia, ACET recommended a range of structural and operational reforms, including:
- Creating of a Chief of Staff with a ministerial ranking to ensure that central decisions are informed, consultative and collaborative—with the cabinet, other key members of government and external partners—and that those decisions are implemented
- Maintaining the position of Secretary to the President, with a clear delineation of functions focused on administration and management of the Office
- Mainstreaming most projects from the Presidency into their respective sectoral ministries, and, where impractical, creating structures for close collaboration
- Restructuring the Strategy and Policy Unit to report directly to the Chief of Staff
- Setting up a Strategic Council of Advisors comprising respected independent experts with diverse experience to meet periodically and give input on the President‘s strategic vision and direction
- Developing deliberate measures and incentives to ensure collaboration and collective responsibility among team members within the Office of the President
- Strengthening and expanding the performance monitoring and evaluation system
- GoSL has formally adopted our recommendations and begun implementation. The government has hired a Chief of Staff in 2010 to oversee implementation.