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The State of the Public Service

image of The State of the Public Service

Over the past 20 years, the management of the public service has changed tremendously in most OECD countries. First, governments have tried to reduce the size of their public employment to decrease the costs of producing government services, either directly or indirectly by contracting out the production of services to the private sector under the assumption that it would be more efficient. Second, in many cases, governments have tried to apply general good management principles to the management of public employees. As a consequence, many areas of public employment have lost their uniqueness and have become quite similar to the general employment system in the different countries. This book takes stock of the main changes in the management of public services across OECD countries. It also examines how countries manage to find a balance between, on the one hand, attention to fundamental values such as fairness, equity, justice and social cohesion to maintain political confidence in the government system as a whole and, on the other hand, a focus on efficiency, productivity and effectiveness.

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Employment Numbers and Compensation Costs

Changes over the Past Ten Years

This chapter draws on data gathered in the 2006 OECD survey entitled Comparison of Employment in the Public Domain (CEPD). The CEPD survey aimed at providing data on government employment that are comparable across countries and consistent with the classification of the General Government sector of the Systems of national Accounts, and at putting employment data in the perspectives of the wider production costs of goods and services in the public domain (that include goods and services funded by General Government and produced either by General Government or private entities). The full description of the methodology and of the data is available in a publication issued in 2008 as part of the series of OECD Working Papers on Public Governance: “Employment in Government in the Perspective of the Production Costs of Goods and Services in the Public Domain”.

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