The transformation of the public sector from a moribund to a result-oriented institution has been a subject of academic discourse. This article based on empirical study contributes to this discourse by examining the pockets of effectiveness, the push factors and the challenges to the sustenance of the pockets of productivity using the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority in Ghana as a case study. The article found that decentralization, service diversification, innovation and best practices, and contracting out were the successes attained. Effective leadership, technology, management vision, mission, and a sense of urgency among employees accounted for the excellence. However, the “political chess” during political power transitions and resistance to change were the greatest threats to the maintenance of the islands of excellence. The Ghanaian experience reinvigorates the assertion that in the midst of non-performing state institutions, there exist well-functioning ones known as pockets of effectiveness.
Key words: Pockets of effectiveness, public sector reforms, driver and vehicle licensing authority, innovation, best practices, service delivery, efficiency, effectiveness, responsiveness.
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