Civil Service Reform in the Context of Structural Adjustment: A Triangular Relationship

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    In Africa, civil service reform is often related to structural adjustment programmes (SAPs) introduced to address deteriorating economic circumstances. A main concern of these programmes, administered by ministries of finance, is to reduce public expenditure. In practice, this has led to attempts to reduce the cost of the civil service, generally by reducing its size. Responsibility for civil service reform, meanwhile, lies with the Ministry of the Public Service and is directed towards developing effective public management capacity. This, it must try to do within the context of budgetary constraints and the pressure to down-size. Without careful consultation at the policy formulation stage between the two ministries, measures taken by each may come into conflict. Yet, experiences in Africa indicate that mechanisms for such consultation are often weak, leading to the formulation of inconsistent and even contradictory policies. Read Policy Management Brief 7
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