Pacific Islands Centre for Public Administration

Solomon Islands

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The Constitution sets the overarching framework for public financial management, holders of public office and the leadership code.

The RAMSI intervention of 2003 led to a significant public sector support programme including civilian and technical advisors located within the Solomon Islands Government systems with a focus on restoration of the machinery of government to improve accountability and service delivery and promote economic growth.

Some significant changes implemented include the placement of senior officers on performance contracts with measureable performance indicators, requirement of government departments to include verifiable performance targets as part of their budget submissions and to report on the accomplishment of these targets. Public service employment processes and laws have been rationalised and streamlined with a view to ensuring transparency, merit-based selection, and equal opportunity. The Institute of Public Administration and Management (IPAM) has been re-established to provide training for public servants across government. At the same time, structures and systems in key line ministries have been reviewed and re-engineered to eliminate waste and improve efficiency.

Defining local government structures and boundaries has been an ongoing process since before independence. The country inherited the administrative districts of the previous British protectorate in 1978 before being reorganised into seven provinces in 1981 and Honiara being declared a separately-governed Capital Territory in 1983. A further change was made in 1995 when Choiseul was split off from Western province, and Rennell and Bellona was split from Central province resulting in the current local government structure of nine provinces and the Honiara City Council. The legal framework for local government has also undergone a series of transformation resulting in the Provincial Government Act 1997. Rural development is a recurring domestic political issue and debate on a new Constitution to introduce a federal system with three tiers of government (federal, state and community formalising traditional systems of government is ongoing.
Although there is not a consensus on moving to a federal model of government, it is widely understood that the existing provincial administrations have little or no means to deliver the small number of services which have been devolved to them. Provincial budgets are generally expended on payroll and there is limited capacity to deliver services.

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