Current Public Administration Magazine (April - 2017) - Community Control over Administration

Sample Material of Current Public Administration Magazine

Accountability and Control

Community Control over Administration


The head of the state is usually elected by the people directly or indirectly. The president of Nigeria and USA are elected directly by the people. But the prime minister in a parliamentary system is the leader of the party returned in majority by the people. The ministers are the members of the legislative and are elected by the people. The top administrative officials are responsible to the elected representatives of the people. In other words, these officials become indirectly responsible to the people and come under their control.

In some countries, like Nigeria, USA and Switzerland, there is the system of electing the administrative officials as well. This system ensures direct popular control over administration but it introduces political consideration into administration and encourages favoritism  and patronage. It may also lead to inefficiency and corruption.

Moreover, the people are generally ignorant and hence incapable of assessing the qualification and personal achievements of administrators. It is also impossible in some countries to elect all the officials. Hence, from the point of view of administrative efficiency, integrity and impartiality, election of officials by the people is undesirable and can hardly be advocated.


The system of recall is the logical corollary of the election of officials. Under the system, the electorate can call for the dismissal of an official before the expiry of his/her term. The system of recall makes the official  continuously subject to popular whims and understanding and thus neglectful of the correct practices of his/her profession. However, the system of recall is very rarely resorted to if Prof. Charles Worth opinion is to be relied on. His position is that “the recall though not reduce the influence of bosses, corporations, or other special interests, it is just as useful and as available to bad elements as to good. More so, it has been determined that it has no warning effect upon an official who is about to  make a mistake or to prepare a crime”.

Pressure Group

Pressure group is an American terminology for a section of the public organised and active in pursuit of some special interests which its members join to promote. Usually a pressure group is a vested group. It is a group of industrialist and traders with organised commercial interests. These pressure groups bring pressure to bear upon both the legislature through lobbying and upon the administration through liaison officers. It is difficult to exactly assess the extent of influence exerted by pressure groups upon administration, as no factual study has so far been made.

However, in USA, they are quite active. The opinion is that “the process of government has become a group process in which organised  minorities have become so closely identified with the formal governmental structure itself as to constitute a real center of political power”. According to F.P. Herring, “the future of many civil servants, particular the ablest and most enterprising is not in the federal service but in the private employment of the groups in which their official duties bring them into contact”. Accordingly, Herbert B. Bans refers to main legitimate contacts of private interests with the administration as follows:

i. To put across its own point of view to the polity formulating authorities, the legislature and the administrative agencies

ii. To keep themselves apprised of the development of government lest it violates new regulations, provisions, requirements, taxes.

iii. To keep themselves vigilant against a bureaucratic tendency for more regulations resulting in more control and leading to government operation and ownership

iv. To attempt to use the government as an ally in its competition  with another industry.

v. To keep abreast of the changes in the government and comply  with even multiplying requirement that the government tends to make of the government.

vi. Make a whipping boy of a business organisation or business in general.

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