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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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The Delegation of Human Resource Management in the Public Service of Central Governments

This chapter focuses on staffing issues in a small, but crucial, component of the public sector. For those staff groups for which data are available, “government” refers to a subset of general government that is concerned with public administration (primarily tasks of regulation and policy making that exclude for example teachers and doctors), defence and compulsory social security. In responding to questions on the survey of Strategic Human Resources Management in Government, governments have used their own definition of the core public service, and in some cases this is larger than “government” as defined here. However, “government” as defined here is always covered by the responses. 

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