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Government at a Glance 2017

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Government at a Glance 2017 provides the latest available data on public administrations in OECD countries. Where possible, it also reports data for Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, and South Africa. This edition contains new indicators on public sector emploympent, institutions, budgeting practices and procedures, regulatory governance, risk management and communication, open government data and public sector innovation. This edition also includes for the first time a number of scorecards comparing the level of access, responsiveness and quality of services in three key areas: health care, education and justice.

Each indicator in the publication is presented in a user-friendly format, consisting of graphs and/or charts illustrating variations across countries and over time, brief descriptive analyses highlighting the major findings conveyed by the data, and a methodological section on the definition of the indicator and any limitations in data comparability. A database containing qualitative and quantitative indicators on government is available on line. It is updated twice a year as new data are released.

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Political influence in senior staffing

A professional and politically impartial civil service ensures a high level of competence, integrity and continuity in developing policy advice and implementation that serves the public interest. Exerting political influence in senior staffing decisions can stem from a government’s desire to ensure responsiveness from the civil service by staffing the management with people who share their political views. However, without appropriate levels of transparency and accountability (e.g. open confirmation and vetting by elected officials), high levels of political influence can also result in the spread of patronage and favouritism that may undermine the professionalisation of the civil service. Political influence can also result in higher levels of turnover at senior management levels, which contributes to a lack of management stability and continuity required to oversee long-term improvement and reforms. Furthermore, political influence in civil service staffing decisions may result in a preference for political agents rather than public managers with the skills and competencies necessary to be effective leaders. This can ultimately result in a loss of trust in public institutions if citizens perceive public managers to be appointed based on political affiliation rather than leadership and policy competence.

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