Jordan Fiscal Reform Project II: The Public Sector Development Strategy

 Full Report - PDF File  النسخة العربية

Executive Summary

·   While within range for a country of its size, the government of Jordan's workforce is still considered large with 208,000 public sector employees (excluding the military) and government spending reaching 37% of GDP

·   The bureaucracy is negatively affected by the duplication of efforts as the mandates for different government units are not clearly defined

·   The report identifies and provides recommendations to seven areas most in need of reform in the public sector

Key Findings


·   The structure of the government has become cumbersome and unwieldy, with 145 government institutions with 17 different typologies, leading to overlap in mandates and inefficiency

·   The Prime Ministry is especially active, with 42 reporting entities and irregular reporting arrangements in which departments within ministries report to the Prime Ministry instead of the specific minister. Reporting and oversight on the different government units have recently been improved by conducting evaluation in committees as opposed to individual reviews

·   There are 208,000 public sector employees excluding the military, which is 3% of the population and 13% of the total workforce. Another 5,000 workers are daily paid ‘casual’ workers. This is within the normal range based on standards for semi-developed countries. The civil service has grown 18.7%, leading to government expenditure in 2009 of JD 5.9 billion, 37% of GDP

·   Staffing in the public sector is suboptimal, with an imbalance in back office staff (administration and support staff). Specifically, the front office that adds value to the organization has 40% of employees, while the back office has 51%

National Planning, Budgeting, and Financial Management

·   There has been a large number of plans to date which have not pursued similar ends and have not ensured that efforts align with national priorities, thus diverting attention away from executing the plans

·   Current efforts to introduce discipline into the medium term fiscal plan and result-oriented budgeting will increase the efficiency of budget allocation

·   The Ministry of Finance is not using appropriate project management methodology for financial management. Current accounting policy is also outdated, as it uses cash accounting as opposed to accrual accounting. There are no meaningful fixed asset registers or control of the security and utilization of assets

 Management, Monitoring and Evaluating (M&E), and Accountability

·   There is currently no rigorous systematic process within the government for managing human resources, assets, and finance to ensure action plans are being executed efficiently

·   M&E is not a proactive management tool, as it is conducted after the completion of a project. Many M&E systems are in place with 2,300 related projects throughout the government, giving rise to excessive and “duplicitous” reporting

·   Each government unit is subject to four accountability instruments:

o   The annual audit conducted by the Audit Bureau, primarily financial

o   The unit’s annual report of its operations, which is not mandatory, does not compare current results with previous reports, and is not independently reviewed

o   KACE (King Abdullah Centre for Excellence) assessment, considered a credible incentive system that measures institutional and individual performance

o   The Ombudsman’s office with a small staff of 50 to investigate complaints made by the public

Human Resource Management and Development

·   In managing the civil service, the four responsible units - the Ministry of Public Sector Development, the Civil Service Bureau, the Civil Service Council, and the Public Sector Development Ministerial Committee - have overlapping mandates

·   There is no formal HR planning methodology to determine recruitment for different government units, resulting in ineffective hiring and staffing. The selection process for civil servants is also inefficient, as the system does not hire based on desired qualifications but on general skills and the candidate’s position in a waiting list

·   The current job grading structure is outdated and does not reflect the relative demands of the position, as it only considers the academic qualification and length of service. Additionally, promotions are not always granted on competence but rather on time served, and higher positions have sometimes been created to accommodate an employee who needs to be promoted 

·   Pay in the civil service is lower than the private sector, and it is also uneven, with higher salaries paid to contract staff and autonomous agencies. Autonomous agencies are able to offer higher salaries and benefits, which leads to inconsistency in the public sector

·   Training of civil servants is inadequate, as 20% of approximately 80,000 civil servants received training in 2009 because the government only allocated JD 1 million for annual training of the entire civil service

Service Delivery to Citizens, including Public Private Partnerships (PPPs)

·   The Service Delivery Improvement Unit (SDI) in the MOSPD has developed a series of methodologies that lay the foundation for cooperation with government units. The SDI can only provide its services to units when they are requested, and its recommendations are not binding thus requests for SDI support has been limited. To address the low utilization of the SDI, its role could be revised to set policy and standards, provide best practices, and monitor major projects on service delivery

·   The e-Government program has also been created to increase service delivery to citizen-customers, though it also has no binding authority

·   Each government unit providing services to the public is required to produce a ‘service card’, which provides information on services provided and how to access them. As a result of these cards, catalogued government services have increased from 800 to over 3,000

·   The potential of PPPs to help accelerate the development of Jordan is currently constrained mainly due to concerns about the lack of PPP supporting legislation and the need to transform and review the institutional mandate, role and modus operandi of the Executive Privatization Commission

Information Technology

·   At the time of writing, 50% of government units were connected to Secure Government Networks, with the remaining to be completed by 2011.The largest government ICT projects, the Government Financial Management Information System, the Human Resources Management Information System, and e-Procurement, had been started

·   Challenges that ICT government programs are facing include:

o   The e-Government staff has been cut by 60% limiting its ability to operate

o   There is a weak legal framework for e-Government services and some services were previously offered without legal coverage

o   Investment in ICT infrastructure throughout the country has been irregular

o   The desire to roll out services quickly has sacrificed quality in some cases

Governance and Legislation

·   The largest cause of delays in public sector reform is believed to be the frequent changes of ministers, which hinders the buildup of strong momentum on reform efforts

·   The Cabinet has also been inundated with a large volume of business and pressure, and ministers are often too involved in detailed strategy and operations of the government instead of focusing primarily on policy and legislation

·   There is a large body of different types of legislation in Jordan. The types of laws that require the most reform include the Civil Service law, the Service Delivery Law, and the Public Sector Development and Government Performance Law

·   There is no “handbook” for government officials, which sets out complete information about the government, leading to incomplete awareness about the resources of the government and responsibilities of different government units

Recommended Actions and Initiatives


·   Review mandates for government entities, identify overlaps, and revise mandates to better rationalize the public sector

·   Review the number of agency typologies and develop criteria that have to be met before a new agency can be formed

·   Identify services that are suitable for commercialization through public-private partnerships

·   Review staff levels required to fulfill the revised mandates, and review the front office vs. back office imbalance

National Planning, Budgeting, and Financial Management

·   Resolve overlapping mandates, and institutionalize the preparation of sector investment plans

·   Institute results-oriented budgeting, tax and customs reforms, an improved financial management system, and complete the conversion to accrual based accounting

Management, Monitoring and Evaluating (M&E), and Accountability

·   Unify and rationalize the national M&E system

·   Commission, design, and implement an Integrated Work Management System which can review recurring activities, planned activities, and performance scoring

·   Review and examine the mandates of the three accountability institutions – the Audit Bureau, the Ombudsman, and the Anti-Corruption Commission – to ensure alignment

·   Pass a Performance and Accountability Law which will require all government units to measure their performance in a comprehensive way and to publish their results

Human Resource Management and Development

·   Review staffing standards and conduct job evaluations across the entire civil service to write comprehensive job descriptions for all job types

·   Develop an improved salary structure for basic pay, and implement a rationalized grading structure

·   Improve civil service training by instituting a management development program that contains online learning

·   Specify the regulatory functions of each of the four institutional review bodies

·   Conduct situational awareness of the new HR computerization system and institute recommendations on what can be done to improve the system

·   Develop a single comprehensive HR policy

·   Create one bylaw to cover all Autonomous Agencies

Service Delivery to Citizens, including Public Private Partnerships (PPPs)

·   Commission a study on the situational analysis of PPPs, and develop legislation and build capacity based on the findings of the study

·   Assess the quality of service cards and quantify the number of services still to be identified to the public

·   ‘Roll out’ the proposed SDI interventions including institutional development units, client service charters, customer service desks, and customer complaint handling, with the help of consulting firms

·   Implement service delivery improvement projects in government units, including e-Government

Information Technology

·   Integrate all Government Composite Systems into one single Government Integrated Resource Management System

·   Supply all back office support services form a Shared Service Bureau to reduce the bloated back offices in each government unit

·   Strengthen the National Information Technology Center and recruit a government-wide Chief Information Officer to fulfill its widening role

·   Ensure that appropriate legislation is in place to enable and protect e-Government transactions

·   Create and maintain within the MOPSD a database of information relating to all government units

Governance and Legislation

·   Produce a handbook that contains comprehensive information about the government

·   Invest in video conferencing technology to enable improved communication within the government


Report Name



Jordan Fiscal Reform Project II: The Public Sector Development Strategy

July 2010

Not Available


Supporting Donor




Lead Ministry

Public Sector Reform and Development

Ministry of Public Sector Development (MOPSD)

Key Topics

Accounting Policy – Audit Bureau –Bureaucratic overlap – Civil Service management –Civil Service Reform –e-Government – Grading Structure –Human Resource Management – ICT infrastructure –King Abdullah Centre for Excellence – Mandate overlap – Monitoring and Evaluation – National Budgeting –Ombudsman – Public Private Partnership – Public Sector Employment – Reforms –Service Delivery Improvement Unit


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