Posted by / Tuesday 29 November 2016 / No comments

How the Civil Service is controlled

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.

Control by the Legislature
One of the means by which the Civil Service is controlled is through the Legislature.  The Minister responsible for the ministry could be hauled before the legislature to answer questions concerning anything that might have happened in the ministry and he is obliged to answer.

Control by the Executive
Another control measure is the role of the Minister responsible for the particular ministry. The Civil Service works with the directive of the minister and to act outside that directive is to incur the wrath of the minister thereof. The minister handles issues of appointment, promotion, transfer and dismissal. The minster does this through the Public Service Commission.

Control by the Judiciary
The judicial system of a country has control over the activities of the Civil Service. This is the case when a minister or any of his assigns act in contravention or in excess of the powers granted him under the constitution. The matter can be taken to court and if it is proven to be so, the courts can declare the action null and void.

Control by Pressure groups
Another form of control of the Civil Service is the activities of pressure groups. As a group, their main aim is to influence policies in favour of their members. If the Civil Service takes any action that is detrimental to the welfare of their members, they can use all the means available to them to get the Civil Service to rescind their decision.

Public Opinion
Public outcry is another way of controlling the Civil Service. No institution likes to be in the public domain for the wrong reasons. If the Civil Service implements a policy that generates a public outcry, they may seek authorization to alter the policy or stop its implementation all together.

Financial control
The books of the Civil Service have to be audited periodically to ensure that the monies allotted to them are being used judiciously. Their accounts are audited by the Auditor-General’s Department to ensure their books are clean. The Controller and Accountant-General’s Department also ensures that only those who work are paid.

1. In which six ways can the activities of the Civil Service be controlled? [12 marks]

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