Bureaucratic reform has been declared a priority during the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. It is not an easy job indeed, as it concerns both structural and cultural changes.
Since the Cabinet reshuffle in October last year, the administrative reforms minister has formulated a strategy to accelerate bureaucratic reform phase 1 until 2014, refining what has been stipulated in the Grand Design of Bureaucratic Reform 2025 as well as the Roadmap 2010-2014.
Indonesian bureaucracy is facing at least five major problems. The first is the oversized organizational structure of ministries and agencies as well as local governments, which not only causes severe inefficiency, but also the overlapping and ineffectiveness in service, governance and development.
The excessive amount of human resources, increasing routine expenditure for apparatus and difficulties in achieving strategic targets are a result of the oversize.
In the era of decentralization, such organizational structure is no longer rational and contradicts the necessity to run government services properly. Regional governments, however, maintain an oversized bureaucracy in order to adopt political interests and gain cash from the central government, which requires the presence of certain organizational structures.
The second problem is the competence of the apparatus. Indonesian bureaucracy is suffering from overstaffing and understaffing. It has a significant number of apparatuses, yet when a specific competence is needed; it is hard to find someone within the structure who meets the requirement. Generally, Indonesian civil servants do not possess specific competence but a very general competence, which makes them known as general administrators.
The syndrome is contributing somewhat to creating a gap between Java and other regions, both in terms of quantity and quality. The other problem concerning the apparatus is the poor integrity and mentality of most of the civil servants. This phenomenon is more a systemic disease, which creates corrupt mentality and poor integrity.
The third problem is the mismatch between various sub-systems of state administration, which includes the planning system, budgeting system, good and service procurement system, delivery of public service systems and performance accountability report systems. These incompatibilities make it hard to measure the outcome and impact of all series of government, development and public service process.
Occasionally, what has been planned does not correlate with the budget; nor is it derived into sub-activities directed toward the achievement of outcomes. Indonesia’s bureaucratic performance is still very much oriented toward output, instead of outcome, let alone impact. In many cases, sub-activities are made only to create a pretext for business trips and additional
The fourth problem is the poor quality of most public services. Apart from the absence of clear operational standards, the public service in Indonesia is characterized by levies and an ignorance of the constitutional rights of the citizens. The mechanism for public complaints is only available at a formal level, but without follow-up action.
The fifth problem is the overlapping laws both vertically and horizontally, which complicate coordination and cooperation among government agencies at the central and local levels.
Bureaucratic reform acceleration strategies must therefore be directed toward addressing and solving the five fundamental problems. At the macro level, the government needs to improve various national regulation frameworks both in forms of legislation and government regulation. Bureaucratic reform should take shape in the development of integrated systems from various kinds of existing sub-systems, and theutilization of information and communication technology.
At the micro level, bureaucratic reform must be conducted by each ministry, agency and local government in eight different ways. Since its inception in 2006 at the Finance Ministry, bureaucratic reform is bound by the performance allowance policy. However, this policy has many weaknesses, such as a poor awareness among officials of the importance of real bureaucratic reform which is still perceived as merely document requirements to earn
Therefore, bureaucratic reform at the micro level (ministry and agency) will be refined by applying a performance system that is based on individual performance (pay for individual performance).
Ministries and agencies are also encouraged to use the Electronic Goods Procurement Service (LPSE) to enhance financial efficiency that later can be used to pay performance allowance.
The ongoing bureaucratic reforms aim for the creation of an efficient and effective government, competent and competitive state apparatus, an open, informative and communicative technology-based government, and a participative government.
There have been nine bureaucratic reform acceleration programs set up to be implemented until 2014. The bureaucratic reform acceleration program is directed to minimize various basic bureaucratic problems.
The first is the organizational restructuring of ministries, agencies and local governments, aimed at reducing the overlap among the structures. Organizational restructuring will also be implemented through the reduction of echelon three and four structures in a gradual and selective manner.
The second is the restructuring of the number and distribution of employees through the recalculation of workloads and the need for a civil apparatus at each government agency. New formation will depend on the reassessment of workload and employee career planning.
The third is an open system of selection and promotion using technology and assessment centers. The fourth is the enhancement of the apparatus’ professionalism through the setting of competency standards, competency tests, competency-based training, performance measurements and the strengthening of functional position. This system will be incorporated in an integrated competency-based human resource management program.
The fifth is the strengthening of e-government through the creation of a government resource management system that integrates planning, budgeting and performance reporting systems.
The sixth is the improvement of the quality of services by developing public service standards, public satisfaction index, as well as public complaints and follow-up systems at the national level.
The seventh is the improvement of state apparatus accountability and integrity systems through the integrity zone, namely extending the wealth report, code of ethics enforcement, conflict of interest handling, whistle blower system, post-employment policy, and the tracking of questionable account transactions.
The eighth is the improvement to payroll systems, welfare systems and retirement systems for state apparatus.
The ninth is the enhancement of government efficiency by re-regulating matters concerning the use of infrastructure, such as the office position and facilities.
The realization of this basic acceleration strategy will push bureaucratic reforms beyond rhetoric so as to build public trust in the government and the state.
The writer is Deputy Administrative Reforms Minister