Canada tops new index of civil service effectiveness

By on 11/07/2017
The International Civil Service Effectiveness Index has been jointly developed by the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government (pictured) and London think tank the IfG (Image courtesy: Cmglee).

Canada has the world’s most effective civil service, followed by New Zealand and Australia, according to a new global ranking.

The International Civil Service Effectiveness Index (InCiSE), which covers 31 countries across Europe, Asia, North America, South America and Australasia, is the first comparative assessment of how national governments’ civil services are performing around the world.

The index, which has been jointly developed by the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government and London think tank the Institute for Government (IfG), aims to help civil servants learn from each other’s experience and to boost the transparency of governments.

Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, said: “An effective civil service can play a central role in driving forward a country’s progress and prosperity. The InCiSE index will help both governments and citizens identify how well their civil service is functioning and how it can learn to improve from the best performers.”

The index is a pilot programme that was funded by the Open Society Foundations and supported by the UK Civil Service. The founding institutions have committed to support the further development of InCiSE for four years.

It assesses the effectiveness of a country’s civil service according to what it delivers and how its various functions are delivered. Countries are scored both on their overall effectiveness, and on a set of functions and attributes. These include tax administration, inclusiveness, capabilities, openness, integrity, HR management, crisis or risk management, regulation, fiscal and financial management, digital service, social security administration and policymaking.

The index, which focuses solely on national governments, does not measure the service delivery outcomes for citizens of departments such as health and education, because these also involve other parts of the public sector.

In rank order, the other countries in the top 10 are: the UK, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Norway, South Korea, and the United States. However, the index can also be adjusted by national GDP, producing notably different results. When this methodology is used, Estonia takes first place for overall effectiveness, followed by Mexico and South Korea.

IfG deputy director Julian McCrae said: “This index can help governments around the world, including in the United Kingdom, successfully negotiate the immense challenges they face by allowing civil service leaders to identify other countries from whom they can learn.

“Our aim is to encourage collaboration in vital areas, such as the adoption of digital technology, and to provide a transparent account to the public of how countries are doing.”

The Blavatnik School of Government is hosting in international conference in September to discuss the results of the pilot and the project’s future direction. An international advisory panel will also be set up to guide further development work.

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See also:

Civil servants left running Northern Ireland after power-sharing talks collapse

Canadian union logs formal grievance over troubled pay system

Norway tops happiness index while mistrust blights the US

About Liz Heron

Liz Heron is a journalist with more than 16 years’ experience on daily newspapers in the UK and Hong Kong. With a core specialism of education, she also has extensive experience of general news and has covered other public sector beats including environment, transport and planning. She worked on the South China Morning Post for seven years, serving as education editor, assistant education editor and education reporter as well as senior reporter on the Sunday Morning Post. She has contributed to a wide range of British media including The Independent, The Guardian, TES Global (formerly The Times Educational Supplement) and the BBC. She qualified as a newspaper journalist with the National Council for the Training of Journalists (NCTJ) and has a master’s degree in international relations from the University of Essex.

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