Leadership and accountability

Published: February 26th, 2008

By: Serena CassidyAs the leadership race in the U.S. continues, leadership and accountability remain at the centre of candidates' heated debates. Here in Canada, various reports have been released regarding the impact of the Federal Accountability Act (FAA) on bureaucratic processes.On the one hand, the Gomery Inquiry illustrated the need for greater controls on government spending and program delivery. On the other hand, increased accountability measures have resulted in a culture of 'risk avoidance' in the public sector.This week, The Prime Minister's Advisory Committee on the Public Service released its second report. The report contains 10 recommendations which include a focus on governance, accountability, and performance management for public servants.According to the committee co-chair, Paul M. Tellier, “Canada needs a high performance Public Service with encouragement to innovate, licence to be creative, and human resources policies and structures that foster the highest levels of performance and accountability.”Traditionally, innovation, creativity and performance management were associated with the private, not public sector. However, today's public service is unique in that there are several generations of employees working together, each with both similarities and differences in perspective and work expectations.The result is that the current public service is a dynamic environment where Generation Xers and Nexters expect to have opportunities for professional development, career enhancement and personal growth.It has been my experience that government is now experiencing a cultural shift, one in which diversity, leadership and accountability are being discussed at every level of the organization. At the same time, work life balance expectations and job commitment and satisfaction continue to be important considerations for future employment within the public service, at both the federal/provincial (territorial) levels.

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