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Home Policy Articles: Public Administration: Bureaucracy


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A Management Accountability Framework for the Federal Public Service popular

This brief report is a summary of a roundtable hosted by the Public Policy Forum in May 2003 held to seek the advice of participants on the draft of the Management Accountability Framework developed by the Treasury Board Secretariat at the time.

Accountability and Risk Management in the Federal System popular

This report describes the discussions of a Public Policy Forum workshop held in April 2005. Leaders from the federal government, academia, the voluntary sector, and the private sector attended the workshop to explore the future of accountability in public service management as a result of changes announced in the federal budget and by the Treasury Board Secretariat.

From Cynicism to Organizational Disillusion: New Public Management as Confusion Factor popular

Christian Rouillard’s paper was presented as part of the IRPP’s research program on Governance. Rouillard was asked to examine the notion of cynicism (both outside and within the civil service), and to respond to the following three questions: 1) How do you define cynicism? 2) In what forms does it manifest itself? 3) What are its causes? In this paper, Rouillard distinguishes cynicism from organizational disillusion. He maintains that disillusion is a cultural and organizational phenomenon, one that is significantly more profound and difficult to address than cynicism.

A Jew defends the cross

Dennis Prager, a Los Angeles-based radio host, raised the issue on his radio program at the time of the vote regarding whether or not the cross should be removed. He argued that it should not because the county was founded by Catholics.

A Proposed Strategy for Ensuring the Public Service of Canada has the Executive Cadre it Needs to Meet its Strategic Objectives

This brief report, prepared by Larson and Zussman on behalf of the Public Policy Forum, discusses executive development in the public service. The Public Policy Forum was asked by the Treasury Board Secretariat to diagnose issues and challenges facing executive development in the public service, and to propose a conceptual model for building overall executive talent capacity.

Archetypes of the Network Age: Articulating the New Public Service Reality

This publication is a report based on a forum hosted by Citizenship and Immigration Canada in October 2003. This forum was held to discuss international security concerns, border initiatives and the increasing incidence of identity theft and identity fraud.

Canada in Transition: Advice to the Next Prime Minister

This report, prepared by the Public Policy Forum (PPF) immediately before the change in leadership of the federal government in late 2003, examines a number of key issues pertaining to the future of Canada; the thinking was synthesized in this paper for the benefit of the incoming Prime Minister, Paul Martin. The Public Policy Forum surveyed members of the PPF itself, as well as senior level executives across the country, in order to gather the findings included in this report.

Canada’s Social Contract: Evidence from Public Opinion

This article by Matthew Mendelsohn provides “a detailed synthesis of the last ten years of Canadian public opinion data on what Canadians think about the social contract”, specifically how Canadians are “reconciling pressures for competitiveness, innovation, efficiency, and globalization, with the traditional view of a sharing and caring Canadian identity.” Mendelsohn finds that Canadians are overwhelmingly internationalist, open to immigration and integration, and manifest a strong sentiment of social solidarity and of belonging to the Canadian state. They have, however, moved away from the traditional left by becoming more open to trade liberalization and being committed to the maintenance of a balanced budget.

Facing the Science Challenge: Recruiting the Next Generation of Public Service Research Scientists

Averill, Lopes and Dale argue that scientific excellence is essential to the business of government and to the well-being of Canadians. On a daily basis, government officials rely on scientific research to make decisions that will affect Canadians’ health and safety, and to ensure the economic competitiveness of businesses operating in Canada. However, the authors reveal that the Government of Canada’s cohort of research scientists is one of the oldest.

Framing the Canadian Social Contract: Integrating Social, Economic and Political Values Since 1940

This report by Greg Clarke and David Laycock lays out an “analytical framework for understanding key dimensions of post-war thinking about the implicit Canadian social contract.” The social contract entails for the authors, among other things, the rights and responsibilities of citizenship and Canada’s sense of responsibility towards the rest of the world. The authors subsequently outline the three major social contract models in Canadian public discourse as well as the trade-offs each entails.

From Skepticism to Cynicism: Paradoxes of Administrative Reform

Isabelle Fortier’s paper was presented as part of the IRPP’s research program on Governance. Fortier was asked to examine the notion of cynicism (both outside and within the civil service) and to respond to the following three questions: 1) How do you define cynicism? 2) In what forms does it manifest itself? 3) What are its causes? Fortier argues that cynicism among civil servants, like that in the general public, is caused by ambivalence and paradoxes in the discourse of reform.

Government Failure in Canada, 1997-2004: A Survey of Reports from the Auditor General

In this report, Clemens, Mullins, Veldhuis, and Glover argue that more public debate is required to address government limitations and failures. They argue that the reports of the Auditor General of Canada provide concrete evidence of the existence of government failure in Canada.

Governor-in-Council Appointments: Best Practices and Recommendations for Reform

Nancy Averill, Nicole Murphy and Susan Snider begin their article with some background information about Governor-in-Council (GIC) appointments. Much of the federal government’s work is delegated to some 170 agencies, boards, and commissions responsible for a wide range of activities.

Leadership in the Public Service: Leaders, the Leadership Environment, and Canada's Public Service in the 21st Century

In this report André Côté assesses the values and competencies required of leaders, particularly as they relate to the public service’s senior executive cadre, most importantly, the role of the Deputy Minister.

Measuring the Performance of Government Training Programs

This article by William P. Warburton and Rebecca N. Warburton contends that the Government of Canada requires better observational studies pertaining to its training programs. The authors suggest there is little information available in Canada regarding the efficacy of such training programs; by means of comparison, the authors consider several American studies which have found similar initiatives, in the US, to be largely ineffective. The authors infer that much of the Canadian federal government’s training budget is, essentially, “a waste of money,” but they qualify this statement by suggesting that “it need not be.”

Occasional Papers on Parliamentary Government: Building Better Relations

In Building Better Relations, Peter C. Dobell and Martin Ulrich of The Parliamentary Centre examine the nature of the relationship between Members of Parliament and senior level public service officials. The authors draw upon a report completed by the Public Policy Forum – Community Building: Comprehensive Reporting and the Parliamentary Committee/Department Relationship – in order to propose improvements to a relationship that is currently, according to the authors’ consultations with MPs and bureaucrats, far from positive.

Reflecting the Face of Canada: Diversity and Embracing Change in the Federal Public Service

The report, prepared by Cloutier and Mayer, serves as the culmination of a meeting held in April 2003, and hosted by the Public Policy Forum; the meeting involved members of the External Advisory Group (EAG) on Embracing Change and a small group of Deputy Ministers, and aimed to foster an honest and open exchange on key issues related to diversity in the federal public service.

Review of the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency Governance Regime

This report, prepared by Brown and Barclay, summarizes the review undertaken by the Public Policy Forum at the request of the CCRA. The purpose of the review was to describe progress in implementing the CCRA’s governance regime and to assess that progress in the light of the expectations of stakeholders and the experiences of comparable organizations.

Saskatchewan Prosperity: Taking the Next Step

This article by Jason Clemens, Joel Emes and Nadeem Esmail examines the challenges faced by Saskatchewan, offering both short- and long-term policy recommendations. Their main short-term recommendations are to privatize government business enterprises (GBEs, which are akin to Crown Corporations), use the proceeds from these privatizations to reduce the debt, and then to use the accumulated savings to finance the lowering of business taxes. Among their longer-term recommendations: shrinking the size of Saskatchewan’s government, and the continuing privatization of government business enterprises.

Smart Recruitment: Recruiting Community College and Institute Graduates into the Public Service

The Public Policy Forum partnered with the Association of Community Colleges of Canada to conduct an online survey of community college students in Canada. The survey assessed students interest in working for the federal public service.

SOAs: Transforming Service Delivery

This report serves as a “report card” for SOAs through 2001-02. The Manitoba Treasury Board Secretariat produced this study; the Secretariat contends that the SOA has achieved world-class outcomes in delivering services for Manitobans.

Ten Steps to a Governance Checkup for Boards of Crown Corporations and Government Agencies

According to Robert Plamondon and David Zussman, authors of this Public Policy Forum publication, accountability is fundamental to any well-run organization. Plamondon and Zussman assert, furthermore, that with the well-publicized crashes of Enron and WorldCom the demand for accountability amongst shareholders and the public is increasing. It is with this increasing demand in mind that they put forth Ten Steps to a Governance Checkup, offering a plan for Crown Corporations and government agencies to assess the governance framework and accountability of their boards of directors.

The Canadian Member State Consortium for the International Institute of Administrative Sciences: A Strategic Direction for the Future

This discussion paper, by David Brown and Tracey Bender of the Public Policy Forum, is in response to a 1999 federal government working group study on Canadian participation in the International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IIAS). The discussion paper begins by exploring the context for Canadian participation in the IIAS. As Brown and Bender assert, the IIAS provides the Canadian public service with an important international learning opportunity, as well as a window on aspects of globalization that apply to the public sector.

The Forum on the Implementation of the Accord Between the Voluntary Sector and the Government of Canada

The purpose of the Voluntary Sector Initiative (VSI) is to strengthen the relationship between the Canadian government and Canada’s voluntary sector, while also providing a tool to bolster volunteerism in Canada. To meet this objective, the federal government retained the Public Policy Forum to organize discussions on the VSI in hopes of reaching agreement on key issues.