Posted by / Tuesday 29 November 2016 / No comments

The main features of the Civil Service

Government, Monument, Courtyard

Definition of Civil Service
The Civil service is the entity that is charged with the responsibility of carrying out government policies, providing services to the public and keeping the machinery of government running.

Has a hierarchical structure
One of the features of the Civil Service is its hierarchical organization. There is a Minister responsible for a ministry, under whom there is a Chief Director whose position is non-political and referred to as the Director-General. Other positions follow in an order of rank to the lowest in the service, each reporting to the next senior officer until it reaches the top.

Administrative wing of the Executive
Another feature of the Civil Service is that it serves as the administrative arm of the executive.  It provides services to the general public. Such services include the registration of land documents, acquisition of passports and driving license, etc.

It is permanent
The Civil service is permanent. It does not change with the change in government. They serve every government that comes into power, regardless of the party colouration. Their top hierarchy is not supposed to be removed when another government comes into office though this happens in some cases, especially in Africa. 

It is anonymous
Another feature is that the Civil service is anonymous. Its operatives do not come into the limelight. It operates in the dark, so to speak. It is only the political head of the ministry whom is known. The Civil Servant cannot be blamed for the failure of a programme and cannot receive commendation for the success of any of them. The political head receives the praise and the blame.

The Civil Service is neutral in its work. It does not interfere in the political arena. It serves whichever political party is in power and help it to achieve whatever policies they want to introduce. A Civil Servant is obliged to hide his political affiliation and pursue his work as a professional.

1. a. Define the term Civil Service. [3 marks]
    b. Highlight five features of the Civil Service. [12 marks]

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