Public sector efficiency: How to spend less and do more?

26 August 2013, Last updated at, 13:37 EEST
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Would you like public institutions to spend less and do more? There is pressure from the general public to reduce spending and improve the quality of services. Challenges are particularly tough in the judicial and healthcare sectors, because demand for their services is growing considerably faster than the current limited resources can satisfy.

There is only one possible solution for such problems, namely to significantly increase the efficiency of operations, i.e. to deliver better value from current resources. How this can be done will be discussed by representatives from some of the most efficient organisations across the globe at the International Public Sector Efficiency Conference in Vilnius on 24-25 October this year. It is crucial for today’s Europe to concentrate on creating favourable conditions for economic growth, new jobs, and increased competitiveness; and public sector efficiency is one of the critical factors in seeking welfare in Europe.

Challenges in the judicial sector

Every court faces a dilemma:  the number of cases is growing every year, which results in greater workloads for judges. This negatively affects the quality of rulings. To improve this, courts seem to have to do the opposite, i.e. reduce the workload of judges.

The solution is hard to find due to the very strict procedural rules in courts and the lack of administrative flexibility. Moreover, judges act autonomously: no one can tell them what to process and when - they are the judiciary, not managers. And finally, some 50 per cent of case resources (when considering a case as a project) act against it, i.e. serve as obstacles for closing it.

If there are delays, the growing piles of cases in the future will be accompanied by increased distrust and dissatisfaction with the judicial sector among the general public. The conference presenters will talk about how the world's most forward-looking courts have managed to achieve what is now relevant to EU Member States, namely to cut the length of cases, resolve more cases, improve the quality of rulings, and increase trust among the general public.

Challenges in the healthcare system

Scientific discoveries that cause breakthroughs in medicinal practice cause continuously growing costs of treatment. It is today possible to cure ever-greater numbers of patients, yet this is very expensive. The demand for medicinal assistance is constantly growing, and state budget funding is unable to catch up. As a result, healthcare institutions are pressured to reduce the expenses for treatment and operations.

The healthcare system (institution) comprises a variety of complicated activities, the good functioning of which depends on the successful synchronisation of different specialists and resources, and on mechanisms for dealing with unexpected events that may potentially disrupt the functioning of the entire system.

Most healthcare institutions face a fundamental dilemma. On the one hand, doctors are expected to provide all possible assistance to patients, i.e. provide treatment without taking cost into account. On the other hand, doctors have to provide assistance to all patients without exception, and, with limited financial resources available, are forced to make decisions that may affect lives.

Due to the increased capabilities of medicine and more effective diagnostic methods, healthcare institutions are visited by an ever-increasing number of patients. This results in longer queues, increased waiting times and lengths of treatment, and more patients returning for repeated treatment, with the general public expecting that medical services will continue to improve.

Leading British hospitals have managed to resolve these problems by using contemporary management methods such as LEAN, TOC, and SIX SIGMA. This has helped to increase the number of successfully treated patients, reduce the length of treatment, and increase the revenue of hospitals. And all this has been achieved without additional investment in personnel and without increasing the workload of doctors.

The conference will present management solutions that have brought incredible results in hospitals in the UK, the Netherlands, the US, Israel and other countries.

Challenges in providing public services

If governments want to create welfare for all, the public sector must first of all provide what people demand from it, namely tangible results. However, the taxes collected in most countries are insufficient to finance the growing needs of the public. Governments face pressure to increase their capabilities and deliver better value, i.e. spend less and do more.

It is usually asked that public services be provided faster, have better quality and shorter queues, and better value be derived from smaller funding. 

The conference will present case stories of public institutions that have achieved tangible results and world-renowned success. These institutions have managed to reduce queues in hospitals, increased the speed of case-processing in courts and issuing permits, reduced the number of operations that do not deliver value, saved millions of taxpayers' money, etc.

The second day of the conference will include workshops held by practitioners who led projects aimed at improving public institutions across the globe, and which have achieved tangible results.

Distinguished presenters

The presenters include Kristen Cox and Greg Gardner, heads of one of the most effective public institutions in the US; Pieter E. Buwalda and Gijs Andrea, heads of the most efficient hospital in the Netherlands; and Shimeon Pass, one of the people who implemented the world's most successful judicial reform in Israel. Presentations will also be given by Ken Miller, who is one of the bestselling authors writing about the US public sector, and Alex Klarman, a project management specialist who helped Wroclaw prevent a fiasco due to the considerably delayed preparations for the 2012 European Football Championships. Dr Alan Barnard, one of the leading TOC experts in the world, will be coming from South Africa.

Presentations will also be given by representatives from the Lithuanian public sector who implemented some of the most successful operational improvement projects in our country in recent years. 

The event is organised by TOCICO, a US-based non-governmental organisation that unites specialists in contemporary management methods from across the globe. Since 2003, TOCICO has organised over 20 international conferences in the US, India, Japan, South Korea, and Europe.

Lithuania's first Public Sector Efficiency conference, which was organised in Vilnius last September, had over 700 participants.

For more information about the event, visit http://pse.lt

 

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