Public services form a vital part of modern society. As our societies grew more complex and people gathered in ever larger groups, the need for public services has grown. While there might have been little need for public administration in a small village, modern metropolises and countries need many public administrators to manage the many services that keep society running smoothly.

In previous articles, we’ve covered the advantages of studying public managementpublic management and governancepublic sector roles in South Africa and the question of what is public management.

In this article, we will look at various public service examples to show the many ways that you could use a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management to improve the quality of life of those living within your community.

Article Outline

GOVERNMENT & PUBLIC SERVICES

Governments provide many different services, although the exact range of services differs between countries. Here in South Africa, the government categorises the services offered as services for residentsservices for organisations and services for foreign nationals. Government services impact our lives from before we are born till after we die.

The government doesn’t have a monopoly on public services and many non-governmental public services organisations provide public services. There is also a third category where public partnerships are formed with private organisations, which are known as public-private partnerships in South Africa.

WHAT ARE PUBLIC SERVICES?

Public services are services that are provided to a community. Public services examples include healthcare, refuse collection and law enforcement. The majority of public services are operated and provided for by governments, however, some public services are also provided by non-profit organisations.

In some cases, commercial companies enter into public partnerships to form what are known as public-private partnerships in South Africa.

To appreciate the breadth and scope of public services, you can look at the South African government’s published list of 176 public service organisations, which does not include non-governmental organisations. Read on for more about the different public services that influence our day-to-day lives or look at our previous article’s public sector examples.

Role and function of a government

At a national level, governments have a huge number of roles and functions. Here in South Africa, we have three different capital cities to reflect the three fundamental areas into which the government is divided. These three divisions are legislative (Cape Town), executive (Pretoria) and judicial (Bloemfontein).

The legislative branch includes Parliament and is responsible for setting up the laws that govern the country. The judicial branch is made up of the country’s courts, which have the task of making rulings and interpreting the laws. Lastly is the executive branch, which includes the Cabinet and the president’s office.

Falling under this larger umbrella, the government is further broken down into provincial and municipal levels. The government is then further broken down into different departments dealing with all the many aspects of people’s lives that make up modern society, such as healthcare, law enforcement and education. In South Africa, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is responsible for public infrastructure and works with other departments and public service organisations to help them fulfil their mandates.

Role and function of public organisations

Public service organisations are entities that are established to provide public services. Unlike the private sector, which is driven by profit, the public sector is purpose-driven and does not exist to make a profit.

Usually, they are established by a country’s government to fulfil specific functions on behalf of the state. However, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and non-profit organisations (NPOs) operate separately from the government but also fall under the public sector.

Public service organisations are typically funded by public funds, such as taxes or donations, and their primary purpose is to serve the interests of the public and advance the welfare of society.

HEALTHCARE IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

Healthcare is a public service with many government and non-government organisations. Just recently, the UN World Health Organisation (WHO) announced an end to the Covid-19 global public health emergency. The WHO is an example of a huge public organisation that operates independently of any single state or national government.

At a national level, we have many other public organisations that are responsible for providing healthcare and maintaining good health among South Africans.

Public healthcare organisations

The South African government website provides an extensive list of the many larger public organisations operating in the field of health. The list is too long to repeat here, but a quick summary should give an idea of how many different public healthcare organisations operate within the country.

The page lists 17 organisations under the category of health societies and associations, 11 health councils, 11 listed foundations, federations and institutes and 17 health faculties (including Wits’ Faculty of Health Sciences). Under the general category of “others”, it lists a further 19 public health organisations, ranging widely from Alcoholics Anonymous and Childline to the National Health Laboratory Services and Wits’ own Centre for Health Policy (CHP).

If you add to this all the provincial health departments, their networks of hospitals and clinics as well as the many international and community level NGOs and NPOS, there is a huge number of public healthcare organisations operating in South Africa.

Healthcare funding

The funding for government-operated healthcare organisations comes from tax revenue. In the latest national Budget, the allocation to healthcare expenditure was R259.2 billion, which amounts to 11.6% of the country’s annual budget.

Outside of government healthcare institutions, there are also private healthcare facilities and networks funded by private medical aid operators and other NPO organisations funded through donations and grants.

One large source of funds for healthcare and other NPOs is the National Lottery Commission, which provides funding for non-profit entities “working for the public good”. According to its 2022 financial report, the commission dispersed R1.2 billion in grants in the 2022 financial year.

Healthcare workforce

Providing healthcare services requires a large workforce of people with a variety of specialised skills.

It is difficult to find reliable and recent figures on the number of people employed in healthcare in South Africa, but according to this 2020 article by Africa Check, the country had just short of 604,000 healthcare workers. It further broke this down to show that nearly 244,000 of these work in the public sector, while 360,000 work in the private sector.

Skilled healthcare workers are in especially strong demand across much of the rest of Africa. This recent report from the WHO shows the dire skills shortage across Africa.

Healthcare policy and regulation

Healthcare policy and regulation are overseen and directed by the National Department of Health in South Africa. While much of the operational aspect of healthcare delivery is carried out by provincial health departments, it is the national department that formulates the policy that provincial departments must follow.

The Department of Health is also assisted by other regulatory bodies. The South African Health Products Regulatory Authority (SAHPRA) and the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) are two examples that have specific roles in regulating and overseeing aspects of healthcare related to medicines, medical devices and healthcare professionals’ licensing and ethical standards.

Disparities in healthcare access

While we have been focusing on public healthcare for this article, it is important to also mention the role that the private sector plays in South Africa’s healthcare.

As noted by StatsSA, only about a quarter of South Africans have access to private healthcare

This figure has however increased in recent years. In the Stats SA general household survey of 2015, the percentage of South Africans with medical aid coverage was only 17%. In this more recent article from 2021, the figure is put at 27%.

Despite this progress, this still means that the majority of South Africans need to rely on public health facilities, which are generally underfunded.

Although progress has been slow, the government aims to address this inequality through the planned introduction of a national health insurance fund that will be used to provide better health care to all the country’s citizens.

EDUCATION IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

The responsibility for education in the public sector in South Africa is shared between the national and provincial governments as well as two departments. The Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET) are primarily responsible for education in the country.

The Department of Basic Education is responsible for administrating, regulating and providing basic education, from early childhood development to grade 12.

The Department of Higher Education and Training is in turn responsible for post-secondary education in the country. It oversees public universities like Wits as well as technical and vocational education and training colleges and other tertiary institutions.

Funding for public education

Much of the funding for public education comes from the national and provincial governments, but this is also supplemented by other sources.

By South African law, no learner should be denied a school education due to a lack of money for fees, but in practice, schools do rely on charging fees to supplement their income from the government.

These fees are determined within government guidelines and vary depending on the school’s resources and location. There are also fee exemption policies to support learners from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Within higher education tuition, fees are quite standard and can be high. This is where other government-supported funding such as the National Student Financial Aid Scheme is intended to overcome the challenge of unequal access to tertiary education.

Curriculum and standards

The Department of Basic Education is responsible for setting the curriculum and standards for public schooling from the Early Childhood Development phase up to grade 12.
At the tertiary education level, this is overseen by the Department of Higher Education and Training in collaboration with the learning institutions, the Council of Higher Education and the South African Qualifications Authority.

Unlike schools which follow a standard curriculum, universities have the freedom to develop their curriculums and courses. To ensure standards are met, these programmes or courses must then be approved by SAQA and the CHE before they can be offered to students.

Teacher recruitment and retention

Teacher recruitment and retention in South Africa’s public education system face several challenges. One major challenge is the unequal distribution of teachers, with shortages often experienced in rural and disadvantaged areas.

Limited resources, inadequate infrastructure and challenging working conditions in these areas can deter teachers from accepting positions or renewing their contracts in such locations. As the author of this research paper noted, the government’s efforts to attract newly qualified teachers to rural areas have had limited success.

This is not, however, a problem that is unique to South Africa. Low salaries coupled with administrative burdens and large class sizes can make the teaching profession less attractive, especially when compared to other sectors.

Another research paper notes that recruitment and retention of quality teachers is one of the largest challenges in meeting the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. It notes that several countries have introduced various initiatives and reforms towards attracting and recruiting competent teachers but that “external influences and a shortage of qualified teachers are the major challenges”.

Public education organisations

Several public education organisations play important roles in the administration, delivery and support of public education in South Africa. These organisations work with the government to ensure the effective functioning of the education system.

Here are some critical public education organisations in South Africa that work with the national, provincial and district offices of both the Department of Basic Education (DBE) and the Department of Higher Education and Training (DHET).

The South African Council for Educators (SACE) is a professional council responsible for the registration, regulation, and professional development of teachers in South Africa.

The South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) is responsible for overseeing the implementation of the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) in South Africa.

There are also various quality assurance bodies in South Africa responsible for monitoring and evaluating the quality of education and training. These bodies, such as the Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC) and the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO), ensure that education and training providers meet the required standards and that qualifications are of high quality and relevance.

Disparities in education access

Disparities in education access are a significant challenge in South Africa. While much progress has been made since the end of apartheid, rural areas, townships and informal settlements often suffer from inadequate school facilities, overcrowded classrooms and a shortage of qualified teachers.

The government and the two education departments are actively working to overcome these disparities. These efforts include targeted interventions, equitable funding allocations and policies aimed at improving access and educational outcomes.

One of the motivations behind the growth of online learning platforms such as Wits Online is to make quality education accessible to more people by reducing or removing the financial and geographic barriers of traditional contact classes.

SOCIAL SERVICES IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

Social services form a large part of both government and non-governmental public services. As a qualified public administrator, you would be able to benefit your community by becoming involved in any of the following fields that fall under the broader umbrella of social services in the public sector.

Welfare programmes

South Africa allocates a large portion of its annual budget towards social welfare.

Earlier this year it was reported that nearly half of the county’s population were receiving welfare grants. Ordinarily, there are 18 million recipients of welfare grants in the country – mostly old age and child support grants. At the time of the report, there were also another 11 million recipients of the R350-a-month emergency grant due to COVID-19 and the resulting lockdowns. This took the total number of recipients to 29 million out of the country’s population of 60 million.

Aside from welfare grants, which are direct payments to citizens, the government also spends money on other welfare programmes. For a full list of the social grants and services offered by the government to South African residents, please go here.

The non-profit sector also plays a large role in providing social welfare to the public. Many of these are small community-based charities while other larger NPOs such as Gift of the Givers play an important role in supplementing government efforts to provide welfare and emergency relief.

Affordable housing in the public sector

The Department of Human Settlements (DHS) is mandated “to establish and facilitate a sustainable national housing development process in collaboration with provinces and municipalities”. The department is responsible for setting national policy on housing development, setting targets and overseeing the performance of provinces and municipalities.

The DHS provides funding and oversees 11 national programmes and subsidies related to various aspects of housing and human settlements, but its stated focus over the medium term will be on “creating integrated and transformed human settlements, upgrading informal settlements, and providing affordable housing”.

Child welfare services

Here in South Africa, child welfare services are overseen by the Department of Social Development. It is mandated to ensure that all children in the country receive “basic nutrition, shelter, healthcare services and social services” as set out by the Constitution.

The department’s duties as regards child welfare services are also outlined in the Child Protection Act of 1983, along with several amendments over subsequent years. Under this act, the department is responsible for setting up children’s courts and the appointment of commissioners to ensure the welfare of vulnerable children.

The act also deals with issues of adoption, the setting up of secure care facilities and the prevention of the commercial sexual exploitation of children. According to the department’s mandate page, it is currently working with the South African Law Commission on new comprehensive children’s legislation.

Mental health services

Mental health is a topic that is spoken about far more openly in recent years, especially after we collectively dealt with the worries and isolation that were associated with the Covid lockdowns. Unfortunately, however, much of the funding to support mental health programmes was diverted to deal with the Covid crisis.

A recent paper by researchers from Wits revealed that mental health problems are highly prevalent in South Africa, but that few people seek assistance. While the paper did acknowledge other societal factors such as perceived taboos, it noted that there is insufficient support and infrastructure for mental health care in the country.

Social services policy and regulation

The Department of Social Development is mandated to ensure that those unable to support themselves and their dependents have access to appropriate social assistance. The department is assisted by several other agencies and organisations in providing social services to the public, but it is responsible for overseeing policy and regulation.

Much of the administration of South Africa’s social services is carried out by the South African Social Security Agency, which was set up in 2004. It is mandated by law to provide the “effective management, administration and payment of social assistance and service” in the country.

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION AS A CRITICAL COMPONENT OF INFRASTRUCTURE

Public transport is critical to a well-functioning city or town. Historically, the bulk of South Africa’s commuters relied on private bus and taxi operators but there have been many efforts to formalise these services and subject them to regulatory oversight.

The National Department of Transport is primarily responsible for the provision and regulation of public transport across the country, however, most of its activities are carried out by provincial and municipal departments.

Public transit systems and management

For a good example of a public transit system, we need only look at the Rea Vaya Bus Rapid Transit system which has a station on Wits’ doorstep.

This transit system is a good example of a public-private partnership in South Africa and is managed and owned by several different stakeholders. As shown by this article from the City of Joburg, the Rea Vaya system is operated in a split between bus operator Putco and private taxi associations operating in Johannesburg.

Public transportation funding

Funding for public transport is provided by the National Department of Transport as well as provincial and municipal departments.

Using Rea Vaya as an example, the government supplied grants and funding for the bulk of the infrastructure that was required. It then relies on private-public partnerships and several joint venture companies to operate the various routes along the system. In the Rea Vaya example, different routes have been allocated to different stakeholder companies, usually made up of joint ventures among the private companies that previously operated along those same routes.

Funding is also provided through loans, which are repaid using revenue from fares received for the service. These fares also go towards the maintenance and operational costs for the various routes.

Accessible transportation

Accessible transportation in public transportation is important in South Africa as it is needed to ensure inclusivity and allow people equal access to opportunities and freedom of movement, including the elderly and those with disabilities and mobility challenges.

For public transport to be accessible, it should follow universal design principles. Examples of these principles include wheelchair ramps, low-floor buses, audible announcements and visual displays.

Public transportation policy and regulation

Public transportation policies and regulations directly affect how residents and visitors experience and interact with a city’s infrastructure. These policies aim to create a transportation network that is efficient, affordable, accessible and sustainable.

Regulations may address issues such as fares, routes, frequency of service and vehicle safety standards. South Africa’s Department of Transport is responsible for setting national policy and regulations and it oversees 12 more public entities that deal with specific transport types and their related infrastructure. Examples of these entities include the Airports Company South Africa, the Road Traffic Management Corporation and the Ports Regulator of South Africa.

To get a better idea of the full scope of transportation policy and regulation dealt with in South Africa, you can look at this 2021 white paper on transport policy. Should you study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management, you’ll gain the expertise to evaluate these policies critically and propose improvements.

Public transportation quality and safety

Ensuring the quality and safety of public transportation services is not only important for commuters but also for public health and economic growth. Addressing safety issues is one of the largest challenges faced by the Department of Transport, as South Africa has an estimated road accident death rate of 25 deaths per 100 000 people

Quality measures encompass reliable and efficient service, cleanliness, accessibility for all users and adherence to schedules. Safety protocols include vehicle maintenance, driver training and behaviour, passenger security, emergency preparedness and compliance with traffic regulations.

LAW ENFORCEMENT AS A CRITICAL FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT

Law enforcement is a critical function of any government, even in countries with little in the way of public services and welfare. In South Africa, law enforcement agencies play a critical role in maintaining public order, tackling crime and ensuring public safety.

As a public management student, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the South African law enforcement landscape, including the South African Police Service (SAPS), metro police departments and other related bodies.

Police training and recruitment

Effective police training and recruitment are crucial in South Africa to ensure a competent and dedicated law enforcement workforce. This is not unique to South Africa, but it is of particular importance due to the high levels of crime in the country.

Recruits to the SAPS undergo a two-year Basic Police Development Learning Programme, that is split between theory at the academy and on-the-job training. After completing the two-year training programme, they become full-time members of the SAPS.

Community policing – relationships between police officers and the communities

Community policing entails building relationships between the police and the communities that they serve. this is especially important in South Africa where there is a historical distrust of police officers as the enforcers of apartheid before 1994.

Initiatives such as community policing forums are aimed at fostering engagement between the police and the public. It has been shown that police are far better enabled to enforce the law when aided and supported by the communities they serve.

Technology and law enforcement

The integration of technology in law enforcement is reshaping the fight against crime in South Africa. Advanced technologies such as data analytics, surveillance systems, biometrics and predictive policing tools enable law enforcement agencies to identify crime patterns, allocate resources effectively and respond more swiftly to incidents.

These advances also have legal and ethical implications and policymakers need to carefully navigate the conflicting needs of protecting privacy and improving public safety.

Criminal justice reform

The goal of criminal justice reform is to ensure that the justice system is fair and effective. Criminal justice reform also places a focus on rehabilitative justice rather than merely punishing criminals.

Those who work or study in this field look at issues such as sentencing reform and alternatives to imprisonment. They also aim to root out any systemic biases inherent in the system that prevent true equality before the law.

As part of its criminal justice reform, South Africa’s government emphasises restorative justice. This approach seeks to heal the harm that has been done to the victims of a crime, with the aim of “holding offenders accountable for the harm they have caused and building peace in communities”.

Law enforcement policy and regulation

Law enforcement policies and regulations play an essential role in guiding the conduct of a country’s police officers, particularly on issues such as the use of force and maintaining of public order. Law enforcement policy and regulation need to carefully balance the individual rights of citizens against the rights that police officers have when carrying out their duties and ensuring the prosecution of offenders.

South Africa’s Constitution places responsibility for determining national policing policy with the Minister of Police.

WASTE MANAGEMENT IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR

Waste management is not something we think about until it goes wrong and causes a big stink. Good waste management, however, entails more than just collecting refuse and ensuring that the toilets flush. Waste management in the public sector also includes strategies, practices and policies aimed at reducing waste generation, promoting recycling and ensuring environmentally sound waste disposal.

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment is responsible for overseeing waste management across the country, however many of the services are carried out by municipalities while provincial governments play a role in overseeing facilities and policies. The meeting report from a Parliamentary Monitoring Group on the status of waste management in South Africa in 2022 gives detailed breakdowns of how these responsibilities are shared as well as the progress made in various municipalities across the country.

Waste collection and transportation

Waste collection and transportation are of great importance in ensuring public health, environmental sustainability and social justice. South Africa faces additional challenges due to the country’s socio-economic diversity. When it is managed well, waste collection helps to create sustainable cities, ensures equal access to services and opens up opportunities to convert waste into resources.

The public sector coordinates waste collection services, establishes collection schedules and ensures the proper functioning of waste collection vehicles, equipment and facilities. Transportation logistics include route planning and optimisation to reduce environmental impacts and public health risks associated with improper waste disposal.

Recycling and composting

Recycling and composting are important aspects of waste management and promote sustainability. While municipalities establish collection points and operate recycling facilities, recycling in South Africa also plays a large role in providing an income stream for waste pickers and other commercial recycling initiatives.

Composting entails the conversion of organic waste into nutrient-rich compost for agricultural or landscaping purposes. Both recycling and composting reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills, conserve resources and mitigate environmental pollution.

Landfills and incinerators

Landfills and incinerators are needed for the proper disposal of non-recyclable and non-compostable waste, but they do unfortunately have negative environmental implications. Public sector managers are responsible for planning and regulating the operation of landfills and incinerators, ensuring compliance with environmental regulations to reduce the associated environmental impacts.

South Africa has implemented a waste management strategy to reduce the harmful effects of the country’s waste facilities but it is hoped that future public administrators can improve on these strategies to further reduce these negative impacts.

Hazardous waste management

Hazardous waste management is crucial given the potential risks to human health and the environment. Hazardous waste management focuses on the safe handling, storage, transportation, treatment and disposal of hazardous materials.

The public sector establishes regulations and guidelines for the identification, labelling, and appropriate management of hazardous waste. It promotes awareness and enforces compliance with hazardous waste management practices to protect public health, prevent environmental contamination and minimise risks to workers and communities.

Waste management policy and regulation

Waste management policy and regulation provide the framework for waste management practices in the public sector. These policies outline waste reduction goals, recycling targets, waste management infrastructure standards, and regulations for waste disposal facilities. They ensure adherence to environmental protection requirements, promote sustainable waste management practices and guide public sector entities in fulfilling their waste management responsibilities.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AS A KEY FUNCTION OF GOVERNMENT

Environmental protection is a key function of government aimed at preserving natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and mitigating environmental risks. Public sector organisations formulate policies, regulations and initiatives to address environmental challenges, promote sustainable practices and foster environmental stewardship.
By ensuring compliance with environmental standards, conducting environmental impact assessments, and supporting conservation efforts, the government plays a crucial role in safeguarding ecosystems and promoting a sustainable future.

Environmental policy and regulation

The Constitution sets out the right to an environment that is not harmful to health or well-being. The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment has set out numerous policies and regulations to ensure the safeguarding of the country’s natural environment.

Climate change and sustainability

Climate change and sustainability are pressing issues for South Africa and the world at large. The public sector develops strategies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to climate change impacts and promote sustainable practices. This includes energy efficiency initiatives, renewable energy promotion, carbon reduction targets and climate resilience planning.

Environmental education and awareness

Environmental education and awareness programmes play a vital role in promoting a culture of environmental responsibility. The public sector invests in educational initiatives, campaigns and community outreach to increase awareness about environmental issues, conservation practices and sustainable behaviours.

It is up to public service administrators working in this field to ensure that the public is aware of the importance of maintaining our natural environment, This is achieved through education programmes that target schools, communities and the general public to improve environmental awareness and foster behaviour that preserves our environment.

Biodiversity conservation

South Africa is known as one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots. Due to this, the country places significant emphasis on conservation efforts. Biodiversity conservation is a complex process that necessitates a multifaceted approach.

Key elements include species protection, specifically targeting endangered or threatened species and habitat conservation, which involves safeguarding ecosystems and implementing sustainable land use practices. Ecosystem management emphasises maintaining healthy ecological processes, while efforts to conserve genetic diversity are vital for species’ long-term survival and adaptability.

The Department of Environmental Affairs is committed to evidence-based decision-making and works towards strengthening the country’s conservation policies.

STUDY PUBLIC MANAGEMENT WITH WITS ONLINE

Wits Online offers several online postgraduate programmes, including a public administration programme that can be completed over 18 months.

Accredited 100% online courses

All of the Wits Online programmes are fully online, making them convenient for people who want to improve their education and career prospects without having to compromise on their other work and personal responsibilities.

Study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management

There are many public management courses to choose from, but studying through Wits Online allows you to obtain a fully accredited postgraduate qualification from one of Africa’s most respected tertiary institutions.

To find out more about the course, please go to the Postgraduate Diploma in Public Management page.

What is the concept of new public management?

What is the concept of new public management?

New public management is one of three common approaches to the field of public administration. These three approaches to public management are classical public administration theory, new public management theory and postmodern administration theory.

New public management theory applies principles from business management in order to make public services more efficient and effective. NPM brings a focus on performance and improving public service. Part of this also entails making administrators more accountable for their decisions and actions than is normally the case within traditional bureaucracies.

What are the three elements of new public management?

What are the three elements of new public management?

There are several elements introduced by the new public management model of public administration. In their paper “New Public Management (NPM) as an Effort in Governance“, the authors identified the three main features as “the reorganisation of public administration, decentralisation of partnerships and networks, and innovation”.

These three elements together seek to improve efficiency within the public sector and to replace the rigid, top-down bureaucratic approaches that typically characterised public administration previously. We go into some more detail on these and other elements of NPM further down in the FAQ on the main ideas of new public management.

What is the importance of new public management?

What is the importance of new public management?

New public management emerged in mostly Anglo-Saxon countries in the 1980s, led primarily by the UK under Prime Minister Margarete Thatcher. These ideas were then adapted and adopted by many other countries across the world to improve service delivery within the public sector.

In the academic paper The new public management: context and practice in Africa, written by a former chief policy advisor to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the author notes that “despite their mixed results” NPM reforms in Africa have “been mostly successful”. One example the paper cited was South Africa’s creation of an independent authority for tax collection to promote accountability, the South African Revenue Service.

Although NPM has continued to evolve and is being replaced by more digital approaches in advanced economies, it remains relevant as a means to combat corruption in many developing economies.

What is the main theme of new public management?

What is the main theme of new public management?

There are several components or themes to the concept of new public management (NPM), but the main theme of NPM is the introduction of private-sector management techniques and approaches to the public sector. NPM emerged in the 1980s and 1990s at a time when businesses were becoming more customer-focused.

At the time, public administration was characterised by rigid hierarchies and bureaucratic processes that were seen as slow and inefficient in delivering services to the public.

The goal of NPM is to improve efficiency through decentralised decision-making and a focus on outcomes and service delivery. It also emphasises measuring performance and setting clear targets along with greater transparency and accountability.

What are examples of public management?

What are examples of public management?

Unless you live in an incredibly remote or isolated area, you’re likely to see examples of public management all around you.

Do you have refuse collected from your home every week? Have you ever made use of a public facility such as a library, swimming pool or park? If you’ve been unlucky, you may have dealt with other public services such as reporting a crime to the police, paying a traffic fine or using a government clinic.

All of these are examples of public services that are coordinated and managed by public administrators. They are also responsible for a lot of activity behind the scenes. Public manager duties include recruiting and managing the people involved, budgeting and developing the policies and strategies that are behind various public programmes. You can read our previous article on why study public management to read about more examples of public management and how it is carried out in South Africa specifically.

What are the main ideas of new public management?

What are the main ideas of new public management?

As mentioned above, the main theme of new public management is the introduction of private sector approaches and ideas to the public service. These are the five main ideas that NPM introduced to the public sector.

  • Emphasis on results and performance
  • Decentralisation and devolution
  • Market-oriented approach
  • Customer focus
  • Management and organisational reform