SIGMA Papers

SIGMA (Support for Improvement in Governance and Management) is a joint initiative of the OECD and the EU, principally financed by the EU. SIGMA Papers is a series of specialised reports that are focused on particular issues in governance and management, such as expenditure control, administrative oversight, interministerial co-ordination, public procurement and public service management.

Available in French (see link below) and other languages.

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Top Management Service in Central Government

Introducing a System for the Higher Civil Service in Central and Eastern European Countries

Professional administrative leadership is regarded as crucial in all OECD countries for the quality and efficiency of the administration at large as well as for its corporate culture. This issue has been dealt with differently in different countries. Some countries, such as Germany, France or the United Kingdom have established long ago a set of traditions for the career of the entire higher civil service, with specific rules for appointments to top positions. Others have more recently created special career services for these positions, such as the Senior Executive Service in 1978 in the United States. It is common practice in most countries that individuals holding the very top positions are appointed centrally by the highest level of Government. They are managed more centrally than the totality of government agents and civil servants and sometimes according to regulations which are partly different from general civil service regulations. The notion of top managers as an elite of the civil service, or as a club to which membership is desirable or attractive, is used to some extent in western countries. By making a special effort as to the selection and management of top public managers, governments secure objectives of stabilisation, professionalism, attraction of the highest level of personnel as well as quality and cohesiveness in the decision-making.

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