Dubai – 26 August, 2012: In its first Middle East Local Government and Cities Survey, PwC reveals that local governments are facing challenges in executing plans, attributing the difficulties to non-supportive organisational culture (15%), the lack of funding (25%) and poor project management (25%). The survey, titled “Turning Vision into Reality”, draws important implications for city leaders and local governments that are committed to implementing an overall strategy and vision and achieving goals.
“Local governments must be driven by a clearly articulated strategy, and empowered with necessary tools to effectively implement them and manage the execution processes”, said Rami Nazer, Middle East Government and Public Sector Leader, PwC. “A committed leadership, supportive organizational culture and availability of finance are the three key enablers for successful strategy implementation. However, in the absence of a committed leadership that communicates and engages its employees around the strategy, no amount of finance will enable strategy implementation.”
Middle Eastern respondents agree that engaging stakeholders in the early stages of strategy development ensures issues, challenges and opportunities that exist on the ground are captured. According to the survey, smaller organizations in the Middle East have proved to adopt a participatory approach to the development of their strategies by either consulting or directly involving their stakeholders. In contrast, larger organizations tend to develop their strategies internally and communicate them to key stakeholders after completion.
Respondents agree that communications, change management and budgetary planning are essential components to effective strategy articulation and development, and should be taken into consideration from the early stages of planning.
Barriers and facilitators to strategy implementation
Challenges in project management and strategy implementation can be attributed to a number of factors such as limited capacity within organizations to manage projects or the absence of the necessary tools and systems to monitor and follow up on implementation.
90% of the respondents highlighted the role of a solid leadership in ensuring the implementation of the strategy – making it by far the most detrimental factor identified by the survey. This highlights the implications of leadership development programmes in the region and emphasizes the importance of leadership alignment and internal communications.
Although organizations across the Middle East are proceeding with strategy implementation, a significant proportion of the survey respondents indicated that they do not have a structured mechanism for the prioritization of their strategic initiatives. A third of the respondents agree that the lack of project management modules is another barrier to strategy implementation. The majority of respondents did not have clear systems to monitor and manage the performance of their organizations. This may explain why over 30% of the survey respondents could not assess whether or not their strategy has been effectively implemented.
Strategy review is critical to learning and development within public sector organizations as it is the impetus driving improvements in the quality of services provided. It also serves as a check to the system that ensures that strategy implementation is on course and that strategic objectives are being realized.
The survey found that smaller entities review their strategies more regularly than large organizations that face greater challenges in maintaining service quality and performance review, and have a greater need for strategy review. Larger organizations usually cater to a multitude of stakeholders and in many cases, serve more than one constituency with conflicting interests. The complexity of their operations and the information flows within them requires sophisticated communication and coordination across multiple streams.
Public and private sector partnerships
All of the survey respondents identified partnership with the private sector as being either “very important” or “important”. However despite the consensus as to the importance of partnerships, 80% of survey respondents have not implemented public-private partnerships, with 15% of them planning to develop partnership agreements with the private sector in the near future. This demonstrates that challenges in the development of adequate frameworks, policies, and expertise continue to limit the development of adequate partnerships in local governments.
Notes to editors:
1. About PricewaterhouseCoopers
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2. About the survey:
The first local government and cities Middle East survey compliments PwC’s recent global report “ Making it Happen : A Roadmap for Cities and Local Public Services to Achieve Outcomes.” It interviewed over 12 local government agencies spread across the Middle East, including Manama, Baghdad, Erbil, Beirut, Doha, Jeddah, Riyadh, Makkah, Al Madina, Dammam, Abu Dhabi and Ramallah.