Lean Government – Part 1 – The way we go

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Lean Government:

  • Reduce administration
  • Cut costs
  • Increase efficiency of work force
  • Increase effectiveness of use of assets and finance
  • Introduce general standards to ease workflow

’Lean Government’ - Part 1
Reducing government apparatus, cutting costs and increasing efficiency

  • In Part 1 of two short articles we want to introduce you to 'Lean Government', explain what it is and how it can be useful in general.
  • In Part 2 we will map out how we want to bring this into effect in Somaliland, what consequences are to expect and most importantly how it will bring measurable benefit to the people of Somaliland.

’Lean government’ means: Administrative works are reduced to a minimum in costs and to a maximum in efficiency.

Unfortunately, most governments do not follow this maxim.

To build a lean government a steady ’cost-and-effect comparison’ has to be made - a fact that has to be considered even more when government income is low. Although most of governmental institutions are established with a good idea, often they are executed poorly. Therefore, it might be advisable to check if

  1. the institution has a reason to exist at all or if it is overlapping in duties with others who could perform those tasks as well or even better.
  2. the duties can be performed by a private company as well at a lower price.

If those duties are of no sovereign responsibility (like justice, police, military), in many cases private companies are more cost effective and are therefore a viable alternative. The striking difference between governmental and private institutions is that the latter is profit-oriented, which makes the business owners more dedicated to performance and cost effectiveness than the manager who is paid by tax money - because his salary does not depend on his performance.

Based on this, it is to investigate which tasks and duties the government and its institutions currently perform on their own and could possibly be outsourced to private companies to cut the governmental costs.

Overall this reduces the government apparatus, thus shortens ways for decisions, makes the government more agile and in the end saves money that can be spent better otherwise.

To get into a position to tender certain governmental tasks, projects and duties, offers of participating companies have to be comparable. To make them comparable, standards have to be formulated. In addition to making tenders comparable, standards have the advantage to ease work in general and thus are generally a good idea if one wants to improve processes. The business world offers a variety of examples on how to improve processes, like e.g. ISO standards for quality management.

In the end the general workflow and efficiency will improve, since new staffs will know where to find which information, inter-institutional work will ease as all people work with the same standards etc.  which eventually will lead to shortened processing times, increase in productivity and more satisfied citizens.

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