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CHAPTER 8 THE ADMINISTRATION OF GOVERNMENT
Development • Characteristics of Bureaucracy • Functions of Modern Government Bureaucracies • Controlling Bureaucracies • Canada’s Public Service
BUREAUCRACY • A formal organization characterized by the rational operation of a hierarchical authority structure and explicit procedural rules • Bureaucrats tend to arise whenever the activities of a group of people have to be co-ordinated in terms of explicit impersonal goals. • The rationality of the bureaucratic form gives it a superior efficiency to other methods of administration. • Known as the “rule of officialdom”
DEVELOPMENT OF GOV’T BUREAUCRACY IN CANADA • In late 19th C, public service of the day was largely unprofessional by current standards made up of people whose only expertise amounted to reading, writing, some bookkeeping.
Until early 20th C, administrators were selected and obtained tenure for partisan reasons and patronage. • During 1920s civil service was upgraded from a clerical force to a highly qualified group of professional policy advisers. • From 1930 on, a tradition of a non-partisan civil service was firmly established (under PM Bennett).
Today approximately 12% of the labour force works for government administration. (all levels) • Approximately 500,000 work for the federal government. (p. 182, p. 187)
CHARACTERISTICS OF BUREAUCRACIES • Tasks are distributed among the various positions as official duties. (high degree of specialization) • Positions/offices organized into a hierarchy (pyramid) • Formal established system of rules andregulationsgovern officials and their actions
Officials are expected to assume an impersonal orientation in client contact and with other officials.
FUNCTIONS OF MODERN GOVERNMENT BUREAUCRACIES • Implementation of Policy Primaryfunction is the execution and enforcement of the laws and regulations passed by the executive and legislative branches of gov’t, and ruled bythe courts.
Formulation of Policy • Initiate policy proposals based on changing needs of their departments and people served. Not only does bureaucracy introduce policy; they modify, abandon, and/or monitor policy
Regulation • Numerous regulations flow from all government departments. Every aspect of private, corporate, and government behaviour is regulated: airlines, customs & immigration, radio, sport, etc. (CRTC, PUB, NEB, CTC). SAFETY regulations
Servicing • Many administrative agencies are created to provide government services. Environment Canada is a service agency (weather forecasting); Dept. of Agriculture conducts research on pest control, experimentation, etc.; Employment and Immigration runs job finding services; Health & Welfare Canada funds and co-ordinates Canada’s Medicare.
Licensing • As an administrative function, licensing is a means of control and source of funds; enables gov’ts to set standards and qualifications on activities having public consequences. Licenses requirements eg.: driving a car, hunting, fishing, practicing medicine, law, teaching, selling real estate, etc.
Gathering Information • All bureaucracies gather and store information from the outside world. Intake of information results in an output of policy or action by the political system. Eg.: Health & Welfare Canada collects info on diseases ; Dept. of Justice gathers info on crime and subversion. Census Canada gathers info about population in order to help gov’t make policy choices that fit needs of the people.
CONTROLLING BUREAUCRACY • Presidents, PMs, Ministers, formally control the bureaucracy through their powers of appointment and removal. • They also have the power of the purse from which bureaucracies are funded and programs planned. • Executives can tame a bureaucracy by threatening to reduce spending and cutting back the size of bureaucracy.
Bureaucracies fall into line and go along with goals of the elected government of the day’s allocation of financial resources among gov’t departments and agencies. • Assemblies and courts also exercise significant external controls. Public inquiries, auditor’s report, questions of MPs/MLAs, etc., all have an effect on bureaucratic performance. • Legislatures can compel bureaucracy to change administrative policy by creating a new law, or revoking a department’s or agency’s powers.
Auditor General/Provincial Auditor see (p. 188-189, 192). They are known as the gov’t watchdog. • Courts have final authority to interpret the law and to rule on proper administration and enforcement of laws in society—any private citizen or corporation can seek legal remedy to the courts. • There is now a legal capacity to blame ministers (after 2 cabinet ministers were found guilty of contempt of court because of the behaviour of their officials in an immigration case); the courts have greatly enhanced the direct control and accountability of bureaucrats in their official functions.
Office of ombuds advocates, investigates, and publicly criticizes on behalf of citizens who complain about unfair bureaucratic treatment. (All provinces except PEI have an ombuds. The federal gov’t does not.) • Pressure groups (Ch. 11) attempt to reform bureaucracy. CFIB has prompted many other organizations to use public opinion as a way to reform tax collection methods of Revenue Canada Taxation. (In US, Ralph Nader) • Mass Media is another avenue for taming an unresponsive bureaucracy.
AUDITOR GENERAL • Provides a critical appraisal of the effectiveness of both public spending and accounting practices. • Is directly responsible to Parliament. In the provinces, the provincial auditor is directly responsible to the Legislature; in the city, the city auditor is directly responsible to City Council—no auditor is accountable to the executive.
FREEDOM OF INFORMATION and PROTECTION OF PRIVACY ACT • Right to examine records which were previously kept secret by gov’t institutions. • If access is refused, appeal to the Information Commissioner, then if necessary to the Courts. (p. 189, 192)
CANADA’S PUBLIC SERVICE • Mostly recruited by Public Service Commission –or Civil Service Commission, who conduct interviews; merit is the determining factor. • Not appointed or removed from their positions for political reasons
Are directly responsible, through a chain of command, to their administrative chain • Political favouritism sometimes plays a part in the choice of job assignments and speed or delay in promotion, even though the public service in theory rules out politics. • In 1988, Federal Court of Appeal struck down the law that restricted the political rights of federal public servants, on the grounds that it infringed on their freedom of expression and association.
Federal Civil Service has 26 departments (June 1998); Provincial Civil Service has 17 departments (1998); the key political actor is the Cabinet Minister, next in line is the deputy minister who is appointed by the PM/Premier and does not enjoy permanent tenure. Those at subordinate levels are almost exclusively civil servants who stay on over the years in contrast to those above them who come and go with each changing gov’t or Cabinet shuffle.
CROWN CORPORATIONS • An important aspect of public administration in Canada • Are public enterprises in which the gov’t has the controlling interest, and which provide goods and services to the public on an administrative or commercial basis • Come about when private enterprise and investment are not ready or willing to take the risk to promote economic growth
Eg.: Canada Post, Bank of Canada, CWB, Man. Hydro & Centra Gas, Autopac, RRC, Wpg. Hydro, GWWW, etc. • Private sector corporate behaviour is profit-motivated; gov’t owned corporations consider factors such as the unemployment rate, welfare, market failures, and national standards when operating in a community.
CROWN CORPORATIONS • Are government owned
Mixed Enterprises • Ownership is shared by the government with private enterprise. • Eg. Canada Development Corporation, Telesat Canada.
Joint Enterprises • Are public companies such as Nfld. & Labrador Dev. Corp., North Portage Dev. Corp., in which ownership is shared between gov’ts—usually a provincial and federal gov’t
All share common criteria: • Majority ownership is held by a gov’t. • There is arms-length management strategy independent from government. • Corporate goods and services are directed at the private sector, not the gov’t. • Prices for goods and services provided by crown corporations must be fair and competitive.
Canadian society may be ruled by the politicians, but it is governed by the bureaucrats. • Bureaucracy makes many interpretive decisions each day—they have an enormous amount of supplementary law making power after bills become laws.
THE END • Read Chapter 8