Public Service Country Profile

2310-2098 (online)
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This series provides insight, in a country-by-country format, into the managerial and structural changes underway in the public service. The series was launched in 1995 when the principles of New Public Management were in the early stages of adoption, and was updated and revised in 2003 to reflect the changes that the various civil services had undergone in scope, organisation and approach since then. This series is an accessible and valuable source of reference for bureaucrats, diplomats, political and academic audiences seeking to benchmark best practice in public sector reform across Commonwealth member countries.

A Profile of the Public Service of the UK

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Commonwealth Secretariat
01 Jan 1995
9781848595200 (PDF)

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Commonwealth member governments have been taking part in a unique mapping exercise, identifying the actual changes which have been made in some key areas of public service management. The Public Country Profile Series sets out the results of the mapping exercise, country by country, to provide an unprecedented insight into the real managerial and structural changes under way in the public service.

In providing some firm ground on which those public servants, both elected and appointed, who are faced with the challenge of public service reform can stand while assessing the options available, the Public Country Profile Series marks a milestone in the debate concerning the management of the public service.
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  • Foreword

    Since 1975, the Commonwealth Secretariat, through its Management and Training Services Division, (formerly the Management Development Programme) has been providing extensive assistance to Commonwealth governments confronting the challenge of securing administrative and managerial improvements in the public sector. The Division's analyses of major trends and opportunities for public sector reform are complemented by its tailored consultancy and training packages designed in response to national and regional needs.

  • Introduction

    This introduction describes the process of change that is taking place in the U.K. Civil Service, discusses the impact of the changes on the quality of the service received by the public and draws some conclusions about the conditions that appear to have been critical to the achievement of change.

  • Making the Most of Staff

    This entry covers all types of discrimination - by gender, race, disability, and community background.

  • Making Government More Efficient

    The United Kingdom's Efficiency Unit, reporting to the Prime Minister's Adviser on Efficiency and Effectiveness, was created in 1979. The role of the Unit is to advise on how to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of central government and to help government departments to improve the value for money of the resource which they use. It does this through an Efficiency Scrutiny programme.

  • Improving the Quality of Services

    Public Reporting is taken to be synonymous with open government - the extent to which governments report to the public at large details of policy, performance and information held.

  • Improving Partnerships with Organisations/Agencies Outside Central Government

    There have been suggestions that the provision of policy advice in the U.K. should be put on the same customer/contractor basis that now applies to service delivery through Next Steps Agencies. The Treasury and Civil Service Committee of the House of Commons recently examined this topic and heard suggestions from some quarters that senior officials should be employed on fixed-term contracts, with a clear remit related to producing answers on policy issues.

  • Making Management More Effective

    The 1988 White Paper entitled “Improving Management in Government: The Next Steps” recommended that all departments should undertake a review of training and development.

  • Improving the Management of Finance

    Internal audit is responsible for the systematic and independent review and appraisal of accounting, financial and other management systems. In the U.K. there is no statutory obligation for government departments to maintain an internal audit service but failure to do so may lead to criticism by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The permanent head of a government department is personally accountable to Parliament, through the PAC, for resources for which he or she is the Accounting Officer.

  • Improving Policy-Making

    Policy analysis, evaluation and appraisal are closely inter-linked. Policy evaluation is the process of examining a policy while it is in operation or after it has come to an end. It follows naturally from the policy appraisal which is the term normally used for an analysis done before a policy is launched.

  • Ordering HMSO Publications and Further Publications from the Management and Training Services Division
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