Civil Service Systems in Comparative Perspective series
Edited by John Halligan
Chapter 1: Anglo-American civil service systems: an overview
John Halligan The Anglo-American civil services cover two of the classic models of government administration and several smaller systems with reputations for innovative public management that have been influential internationally. The countries involved are identified with a specific administrative tradition and a distinctive reform agenda of the last 20 years, providing the rationale for a separate volume in the series Civil Service Systems in Comparative Perspective. This volume examines five countries that have similar civil services and whose development pathways have been interlinked across three centuries. The primary purpose is to analyse key elements of each system in order to facilitate comparison. A country’s civil service can be expected to reflect and illustrate an administrative tradition, but it can also be exposed to fundamental challenges that affect central features of the service. An important facet of this study, therefore, is how these civil services have responded in an era of reform. The second focus is on the reform pattern associated with these countries, which has been highly distinctive compared with those in other OECD countries. The Anglo-American countries under discussion have invested heavily in reform during the last three decades – and longer if earlier initiatives are counted. The reform dimension has been accorded prominence because it has become a dominant feature of civil services internationally in the last 25 years, especially in the countries featured here. Indeed, several of them are regarded as the most active reformers in the OECD and as the chief purveyors of a distinctive reform paradigm,...