Civil Service Reform in Latin America and the Caribbean: by Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Gary James Reid, Waleed Haider Malik

By Shahid Amjad Chaudhry, Gary James Reid, Waleed Haider Malik

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Extra resources for Civil Service Reform in Latin America and the Caribbean: Proceedings of a Conference (World Bank Technical Paper) (No 259)

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The Ministry of Finance adheres quite tightly to its outer limits on budget requests. An agency whose budgetary needs for a program or programs would drive its budget beyond the MOF cap must therefore identify other activities that it is willing to cut back within the MOF limits. The budgetary process thus compels each agency to continuously reassess its missions, organization, and personnel use at least once a year. The tight budgetary constraints go a long way toward overcoming any tendency among agencies to expand their activities and budgets without reassessingthe value of past or ongoing activities.

Rather than undermining efficiency and morale, administrative reform has enhanced them. Two characteristics of Japanese administrative reform deserve particular attention. First, the annual Japanese budgetary process builds in an ongoing, inconspicuous process of reform by agencies and ministries. Second, 26 there has been a series of more visible, periodic efforts to examine and reorganize the civil service, efforts that fit more traditional definitions of administrative reform. Annual constraints on agencyspending The annual budget limits set by the Japanese Ministry of Finance (MOF) provide one of the most important controls on Japan's administrative and civil service costs.

In addition, the Japanese civil service is widely recognized for the efficiency with which it performs its functions. It is frequently seen as among the most powerful and effective organizations in Japani and as a major contributor to the nation's internal cohesion and its longterm economic growth, although there is some disagreement over its specific contributions. Perhaps most intriguing about the Japanese civil service, however, particularly in the light of its high quality, is its relatively small size,zits generally low cost of operation, and its frequent administrative reforms, including downsizing.

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