A small group of 5 Associates, including, the then Governor –in-waiting, Rauf Aregbesola, at one of their regular nocturnal sessions somewhere in the South West in 2006,incubated BOSS, which was later to be delivered on September 2011, after the Commissioners and Heads of Ministries had settled down to their new official postings. BOSS, has an overarching responsibility to supervise, monitor, evaluate and report the performance of all the Commissioners, Special Advisers, Heads of MDA’s. Upon recruitment of a sharp and articulate crew of staffers, settled down into hard work by designing a framework for public value assurance.
Indeed Government is huge. The parameters for determining good governance include embracing democratic principles, developing apparatus of implementation, and finally ensuring that all the components stay on course to guarantee public service delivery which can only be measured by its impact on the off-takers i.e the Citizens.
Osun’s People Friendly Government mantra, proceeds on the premise that the welfare of the citizen is the primary function of government. And so, Ogbeni Aregbesola decided that, even if it meant running a “government unusual”, promoting and enhancing the welfare of the citizen must be sacrosanct in all activities of government through its VISION, the PASSION with which it is pursued AND unrelenting ACTION.
The Vision having been established, the Governor is following it with uncommon Passion and that in turn must drive the Action of the Implementers at every level of execution.
The policy thrust of the Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola Administration is embedded in his six Point Integral Action Plan conceived in year 2006, when it became imminent that he would run for public office as Governor of Osun.
The PACT is an interesting and unique document in that not only does it introduce radical innovation into the delivery of good governance within an egalitarian society, it also creates crisp framework for practical approaches. Since the ultimate end of Governance is the delivery of the good life to all, it is inevitable that there will be overlaps in the flow of activities designed to achieve that common end. Hence the terminology; ‘Intergral’ The modern model of Public Service Policy administration is moving away from government by silos. Thus walls are being broken through Cabinet level ad-hoc committees evolving sharp, innovative and pragmatic solutions which are then shared with the particular implementing MDA.
A lot of work went into the selection of the cabinet team for this Administration, and we can proudly display an array of professionals and experts in diverse areas. The intention of the Leadership as embedded in the vision statement “The Pact” is as noble as they come. However, as the saying goes; The road to Hell is paved with good intention!!
We felt a need for policy implementers and heads of MDA’s not only to comply with every Policy component and objective, but also to act the script as precisely as could possibly be achieved. This cannot be taken for granted by any Leader who wishes to leave a legacy of developmental transformation at the end of his tenure.
There was therefore, a need for an independent organ with a direct reportorial line to Mr Governor himself which will ensure that compliance in response to the imperative of assuring excellent public service delivery. Hence the incubation and birth of BOSS, The Bureau of Social Services.
BOSS represents another ‘first’ of the Aregbesola Administration which hopefully, will be replicated by other progressive governments.
BOSS incorporates Community participation as a new innovation not only in project monitoring, but also attaining a near-perfect measure of the Social impact of Government’s activities. Through the dedicated phone line which rings simultaneously on 8 tables at the BOSS office, persons calling to report any anomaly on any on-going public infrastructure project are given immediate attention and the complaint is redressed within the shortest possible time. Also, through a network of OYes Volunteers, (3 per Local Government and Area office) 93 in all BOSS is deploying resource that is trained and equipped with survey questionnaires, to capture social impact for our Documentation and Archiving Unit, from which the Evaluation Unit can apply its performance measurement templates and evaluation parameters. We are on the verge of software acquisition which would ensure push-button access to the status of the Projects, programs and policy execution for the Governor and relevant stake holders.
As a result of sharing our experience and processes, we have not failed to catch the attention of some potential partners. After watching one of our presentations the World Bank came to BOSS office on a two-day appraisal mission and at the end of the exercise approved BOSS as the State Operations Co-coordinating Unit for the Youth Empowerment Social Support Operation (YESSO).
The World Bank Sector Leader, Human Development and his team were satisfied as to BOSS’s suitability (not being an implementing agency, but watchdog) to be the one-stop Office for;
1. Driving the Beneficiary Targeting Mechanism
2. Custody of Beneficiary Register
for all Social Safety net programs in the State.
Now, this calls for even harder work. Fortunately, they have pledged to build and enhance our internal technical capacity to handle this task. To this end, a YESSO desk has been opened at BOSS.
Through the use of objective performance indicators, BOSS sets targets and baselines. We routinely collect data on these indicating and compare actual results with targets. In the evaluation method, we analyze whether the intended results were or were not achieved through examination of the implementation process.
To measure results is to be able to determine success or failure. Lack of Capacity to recognize failure would mean a diminished capacity to correct it.
However, if you are able to demonstrate positive results, then you are most likely to win public support.
Governance after all, is about the welfare of the generality of the public.
We are acquiring appropriate world class software to complement and aid our process flow which has been designed as a hybrid, borrowing from the Public Sector Evaluation templates of some western, oriental and African democracies, to evolve our own unique P.M forms.
Our Team of dedicated Staff will continue to work selflessly to improve on our in home processes and ensure. Cutting edge delivery of our mandate.
BOSS has a culture of integrity and profound sense of mission and our Team will not be tempted by anybody. It is not a witch- hunting engine. Our delight is not to get as many people, agencies and organizations into trouble. Rather, to put everyone on their toes, and maximize the comfort of the governed.
We will feel the ultimate rush of fulfillment only when we are able to attain zero percent usage of our “thumbs down” stickers.
Femi Ifaturoti FCIArb