An International Perspective

I hope that these Understanding Government websites, and the accompanying book, will be found interesting and helpful by public servants around the world. Some will wish to compare their approaches to public administration to that of the UK. (I understand that the British civil service is now the only civil service in the world to remain totally unpoliticised in its upper reaches.) Others may wish to learn from the UK. Either way, I would be glad to add further material - and especially different international perspectives - to this site. Please do contact me if you have any relevant material.

An excellent starting point for those wanting to research civil services around the world, is the World Bank Public Sector Website which has numerous links to further interesting sites around the world.

Useful international comparisons, including of public sector employment and pay, may be found in the OECD's annual publication Government at a Glance

And Oxford University's Blavatnik School of Government publish an annual International Civil Service Effectiveness Index.

I have also come across two interesting books which are a good starting point if you are interested in public administration around the world. One is published by the OECD. The other is a work by two very perceptive academic writers.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has a "Public Governance and Management" team who help governments rethink their role to meet the challenges faced by globalisation, decentralisation, new technologies, and the changing needs, expectations and influence of citizens. All their work is of very high quality, but their publication "Government and the Future" (ISBN 92-64-18448-1) is particularly interesting.

Those particularly interested in the government of developing countries will wish to read "Governance, Administration and Development" by Mark Turner and David Hulme (ISBN 1-56549-070-3). They begin by making the strong point that:-

They go on to make the following points - rather better than I do in my own book:-

Finally, they caution that

Nearer to home, I very much enjoyed reading a report by the Centre for Analysis of Risk and Regulation which benchmarked the UK Department of Trade and Industry against their opposite numbers in Germany.

International Links

As well as the World Bank Public Sector Website also mentioned above, you might like to follow these other links:-

Martin Stanley

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Please do drop me an email if you spot anything that is out-of-date, or any other errors, typos or faulty links.