effective service delivery

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Conventionally, political leaders usually determine the policies in any nation. Such leaders outline the political, economic and social directions for the country. It is important for these policies have to be properly articulated and implemented for meaningful results. The civil service is the main instrument through which government implements and administers public policies and programmes. This function usually derives from the constitution and the laws of the land (Olagboye, 2005: 4). However, the way and manner civil service in a particular state is managed determines its performance. Thus, civil service has prominent roles to play in service delivery. The development achieved in many countries of the world has been due to the ability of their civil service to effectively translate the policies of their political leaders into concrete services.

In the light of this, the objective of the paper is to examine the nexus between civil service administration and effective service delivery. There are three basic presumptions in the paper. One is that the existence of a Civil Service administration is desirable. Second is that the existence of the civil service should serve the purpose of service delivery and thirdly that effective service delivery is a precursor of development. The paper is discussed under the following sub-sections.

Theoretical Background and Conceptual Framework

This work is premised on the theories of bureaucracy particularly in the pioneering ideas of Max Weber who was described by Stillman (1980:39-43, Agagu, 1999) to have not only pioneered ideas related to bureaucracy, but ranged across a whole spectrum of historical, political, economic and social thoughts.

The term bureaucracy defies a precise meaning but has been used differently based on approach by individuals describing it.

Some have approached it from an organizations basic structural characteristics while some views it from behavioural features and further still, a third approach had been in terms of attainment of purpose.

The classical theory of bureaucracy has witnessed three metamorphoses. The Marxists theory situated bureaucracy within the overall context of Karl Marxs theory of class conflict and the inevitable crisis within capitalism and the eventual evolution of communism. Marx described bureaucracy as an instrument by which the state (being the dominant class) perpetuates its domination over other classes.

Marx Webers theory of bureaucracy was partly a reaction to the Marxian theory of dominion which he subjected to a wider context of authority as a form of control. He differentiated between power and authority. He described power as any relationship where one member imposes his will on others despite resistance while authority is a relationship in which obedience to commands is secured on a consideration of legitimacy. Weber posited that legitimacy as a basis for authority naturally provided different forms of authority structures and corresponding forms of organization (Thompson, 1986:8)

Based on this, Weber identified three types of authority or dominion including the traditional which was identified with primitive societies. Here legitimization of power is located in belief in eternal past and in the rationalization of the traditional way of accomplishing things. The second is charismatic authority where the consideration of the authority of the leader is based on the peoples love and belief in his outstanding qualities.

The third is the legal rational authority which Weber identified with the foundation of modern civilization. Here, obedience goes to the legally established impersonal set of rules rather than to a personal ruler. Power is vested in the office as against its occupier (Stillman, op cit).

Bureaucracy is seen as the administrative apparatus that corresponds to this type of authority. In bureaucracy, the relationships between the bureaucrat and the ruler, the ruled as well as with his colleagues are governed by impersonality.

Other features include hierarchy of office, schedule of duties, mode of recruitment, specified rights and entitlements, methods of recruitment and promotion.

The third theoretical stage is the Bureaucratic oligarchy school led by Robert Michels which provided a critical examination of the problem of internal democracy with reference to internal politics of large scale organizations.

Bureaucracy is conceived as an administrative or social system that relies on a set of rules and procedures, separation of functions and a hierarchical structure in implementing controls over an organization, government or social system (www.investopedia.com visited 2013/4/27). It is based on the rational legal authority theory, that is, an authority which employees recognize as legitimate.

As opposed to adhocracy, it is represented by standardized procedures (rule-following) that guides the execution of most or all processes within the body; formal division of power, hierarchy, and relationships, intended to anticipate needs and improve efficiency.

Bureaucracy as a term is often used perjoratively against the backdrops of the lethargy, laziness and slowness for which the modern bureaucracy in developing countries thrive. Hence, the ascription of the term red-tapism.

However, the usage in this work is in its traditional sense of goal attainment that incorporates and weaves together a conglomeration of experts and other individuals in a network of public service delivery.

Bureaucracy is the collective organizational structure, procedures, protocols and set of regulations in place to manage activity, usually in large organizations particularly government.

Law policy and regulation normally originate from a leadership, which creates the bureaucracy to put them into practice. A bureaucracy is thus responsible to the leadership that creates it.

It has the following characteristics:

high division of labour and specialization, - well defined hierarchy of


follows the principle of rationality, objectivity and consistency,

formal and impersonal relations among the members of the organization.

interpersonal relations are based on positions and not on personalities

there are well defined rules and regulations which must be strictly adhered to.

there are well defined methods for all types of work.

Selection and promotion are based on technical qualifications.

Conceptual Clarification

This section with provide conceptual clarification on three core concepts necessary for proper understanding of this paper. These are the civil service, and effective public service delivery.

The Civil Service: The Civil Service according to Olaopa (200:31) is one of the great political inventions of the nineteenth century England. The first generation of civil servants was called Court Servants or Court Clerks. The civil service as a term has no precise definition and thus it is mis-used and also misunderstood.

In terms of origin, it was borrowed in the mid-eighteenth century (1785) from the British Administration in India to describe a system that emphasizes selection on the basis of merit (Wey, 1971:2). The term Service connotes a profession; a group of civil servants having common recruitment conditions and prospects, as well as a career in a span of time under the government.

The absence of a standard definition of the Civil Service as a term is underscored by the observation of Peter Keller and Lord Norman Crowder Hunt (1980:9) that :

There is a special sense in which the

Civil Service reflects the British Constitution.

Neither is clearly defined in writing; both evolve

and change with mood and circumstances.

However, E.C.S. Wade and G.G. Philips (1968:221) observed with regard to the British Civil Service that a rough definition of the Civil Service would include all non-political offices and employment held under the crown with the exception of the Armed Forces

In Nigeria, the Nigerian Interpretation Act 1964 (which is the interpreter of the Nigerian Constitution and other Statute books) remain silent on the general meaning and scope of the term civil service. The civil service Handbook produced by the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation however describes the civil service as:

A body or organ which enjoys continuity of existence.

Its members unlike the members of the National

Assembly are not limited to short term of office

Elected members come and go but Civil Servants

remain in office

This also, at best, is descriptive. However, the Civil Service has become a world-wide acclaimed institution for policy implementation and service delivery. It has become crucial player in the quest for development and growth. It is also known as Government bureaucracy.

The Civil Service had been used interchangeably with the public service as if both are the same.

Section 169 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) has the subtitle The Public Service of the Federation and states thereunder that There shall be a Civil Service for the Federation

Bade Gboyega (2004:3) stated that the Public Service means service in any Government capacity as a member of staff within National an