Civil Service Systems in Comparative Perspective series
Edited by John Halligan
Chapter 8: Anglo-American civil service systems: comparative perspectives
John Halligan This final chapter uses the framework of the Civil Service Research Consortium as the basis for reviewing the five Anglo-American systems. The framework covers three dimensions that allow exploration of external relations with society and the political executive, internal features of the civil service, and patterns of change. An overriding question that emerges is of boundaries – as the civil service moves from being an institutionalised, bounded system based on a closed career service to an institution that operates within less distinct boundaries and is more open and subject to external influences. The first dimension, patterns of change, is discussed in terms of the historical development of civil service systems, recent reform and diffusion. Particular emphasis is given to reform because during the last two decades this has been the dominant theme of all the countries we examine and each has been recognised internationally as a reform model. The second dimension deals with the nature of the labour market, and here the focus is the civil service. The elements covered, however, are about changes that reduce internal differentiation from the external environment. Two types of external relationships provide the basis for the third dimension. The first centres on relationships with society through the extent to which the civil service is representative of the population and through public perceptions of the civil service; the second deals with relations between the civil service and the political executive and, in particular, the levels of politicisation. From the outside, the Anglo-American countries demonstrate...
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