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The Prospect of Civil Service Reform (2006)

This research was conducted with the Georgian Institute of Public Affairs in order to offer advice to UK Governments Department for International Development to assess whether the political will exists to undertake significant centrally coordinated Civil Service Reforms. It looked at the history and current operation of the Public Service Council and the Public Service Bureau, legislative reforms to the Public Service Code and the operation of human resource departments within all of the major government ministries.

The paper concluded that no political will for centrally planned Civil Service Reform exists. In spite of considerable international support for reform, institutions that are well placed to make reform happen, a possible new legal framework and sporadic support for reform across all branches of the Government, reform in the Civil Service as a whole continues to be a distant prospect.

This desire does not exist because it would restrict the power of the ministers; restricting their right to hire and fire; restricting how much they pay and how they structure their ministries. In a Georgian political and cultural environment, where centralization of power and authority around charismatic leaders is the default position, such a restriction is unlikely to evolve, but needs to result from a political decision on the part of a senior member of the Government. Not only is this political will absent, the only people in the executive well placed to affect this change are actually opposed to it. The institutions mandated to produce the change have been closed down, funds that were intended to start the reform.

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