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Common Problems


To provide a practical point of entry to discussions of reform options and institutional priorities, this section sets out eight common problems associated with administrative structures and public employment arrangements.

Aggregate employment and wage bill concerns provides guidance on defining and measuring government employment, and in ascertaining whether or not employment and pay conditions need to be reformed. Ineffective monetary incentives focuses on the individual incentives facing public sector employees.

The page on patronagespecifies the risks of pervasive patronage and offers some assistance in reviewing where the line between political and regular posts should be drawn. Information is vital for accountability, but even when citizens' right to information is enshrined in the Constitution, a review of access to information finds that in practice this right is heavily circumscribed by national laws on the press, internal security, and the civil service. In considering perceived corruption and low public respect, the site offers some assistance to assess whether low confidence and widespread cynicism about the performance of government is undermining democratic institutions and reducing the attractiveness of the public service as a career.

Poor responsiveness to changing prioritiesstarts from the classic symptoms of poor policy (e.g., mothballed public works projects, inordinate service delays, and court-overturned legislation) to set out some approaches for reviewing policymaking arrangements. It offers some insights into how those policymaking institutions can be strengthened.

There are diverse, competing, and frequently conflicting claims about the advantages of creating semi-autonomous entities within the public sector. The risk is that a debate over form will precede a debate over function. Difficulties with autonomous agencies sets out some of the concerns that have been noted following "agency creation" programs.

The challenges of staffing in countries with limited human resources and the perennial problem of improving operational efficiency and service delivery complete the problems identified in this section.