This publication provides comparative examples of civil service reform for use by countries transitioning from unitary to federal or decentralized systems, as a reference or training tool. The three countries examined in this publication are – South Africa, India and the United Kingdom.
An important element to the successful transition to a federal system is how well the key institutions transform themselves to execute the mandate set forth in the constitution. Comparative studies have demonstrated that the civil service – a pivotal institution in any political system – can be impervious to external influences from society and adopt a top-down approach in its functioning. It can also be prone to becoming process and not result oriented. Additionally, most countries transitioning to federal and decentralized systems of governance undergo some degree of state restructuring and owing to the establishment of new political units at the sub-federal level, civil servants face challenges in establishing efficient horizontal and vertical systems of governance and administration.
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