N. 3/2000

POLITICAL FRAMEWORKS AND BUREAUCRACIES: THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE POLITICAL EXECUTIVE AND THE GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS

by Rosalba Chiarini

The article seeks to investigate the relationship between the political executive and the government departments. It presents four sections. Following the introduction, the first section identifies two dimensions of the analysis: a) the competence and capabilities of the political executive in the steering, guidance and control of the civil service; b) the managerial autonomy of the public administration in order to carry out the policies. The author examines the first dimension using four indicators: the competence to organise the executive branches, the role of political executive to define the public employment rules, the powers of the political executive to appoint and dismiss the high civil servants, the role of the political executive in the budget policy. The indicators of the second dimension are: the regulation competence, the management of recruitment and career, the management of the budget granted to the civil service. In the second section, there is a comparison of the institutional and organisational features of four cases: Italy, United Kingdom, Germany, France. The empirical evidence shows interesting differences about the management capability of the political executives and the resources and the resources granted to the public bureaucracies. The third part describes the process of administrative reform that occurred in Italy in the 90s, trying to emphasise the direction of that process. There are new rules that increase organisation powers of either the political executive and the high civil servants, but the outcome of this process is still uncertin. The last section presents remarks about the relationship among the political framework, the political executive and the public administration.