CHANGES IN STATE ADMINISTRATION : Civil
Service Ethics for UPSC Exams
CHANGES IN STATE ADMINISTRATION
The actions of State civil servants are regulated and guided by numerous
provisions, guidelines and principles. The higher the office of a person, the
more discretion and exemplary conduct is required in his tasks. On the whole,
during the last few years, the aim as a rule has been to increase the authority
and responsibility of the operating units in order to improve the flexibility
and efficiency of administration. The differences between the public and the
private sectors have diminished and cross-section cooperation projects are more
common than before. It is important that the impartiality, independence and
objectivity of State administration can still be trusted. As authority
increases, also the importance of civil service ethics is emphasised to a
The public administration of Finland has experienced considerable reforms in the
1990s in ways which may also influence civil service ethics. Since 1989, i.a.
guidance systems, organisations and personnel policy have been targets of the
reform of State administration.
New guidance measures have been adopted in the State budget by changing over to
framework guidance. In addition, State agencies have gradually changed over to
management by performance and result budgeting. Currently all agencies are
granted one appropriation in the State budget for operating costs and the agency
itself may decide on its use for different production factors.
Market orientation has increased considerably in the 1990s. The most significant
implementation method has been to turn public operations suitable for open
competition into business enterprises and companies. As a result of these
measures, the number of personnel in State agencies financed by appropriations
from the State budget has decreased from approximately 212,000 in 1989 to
approximately 125,000 in 1999, i.e., by 41 %. Market orientation has also been
increased in State administrative agencies by making services subject to a fee
as well as by implementing net budgeting for the operations subject to a fee.
procedures for public procurements are now governed by an Act aiming at
competition and at ensuring the objective and non-discriminatory treatment of
those participating in the tender procedure.
In the development of administration, also the decentralisation of authority and
the reform of structures have been central issues for a long time. The number of
norms and authorisations has been reduced and legislative drafting has been
As a result of the reform of State personnel policy, the agencies have the
authority to recruit their own personnel and to decide on their pay within the
limits of the collective civil-servant agreements. As a result of the reforms,
authority concerning resources and personnel policy has mainly been transferred
to the agencies. This has meant a significant transfer of power and
responsibility to the management of the agency, and the tasks of the directors
of the agencies have approached those of corporate executives.
Due to the above-mentioned reforms, the actions of civil servants are much less
guided by provisions, regulations and guidelines than previously. Today guidance
is implemented by setting a certain framework for the operations and, by
providing the necessary financial prerequisites and performance goals. In
addition, the guidance of State business enterprises is looser than that of
budget-financed agencies and it is based on performance and service-level
guidance. The guidance of State companies is mainly limited to owner guidance.
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