NEW APPROACHES TO PUBLIC SERVICE REFORM
Prepared by Brian O'Neal
Political and Social Affairs Division
OF ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM ATTEMPTS
AT THE CANADIAN FEDERAL LEVEL SINCE 1962
A. The Royal Commission on Government Organization
B. The Royal Commission on Financial Management
GOVERNMENT REFORM IN A CONTEMPORARY SETTING
A. Reorienting the Public Sector: Public
B. Delivering Government Services Differently
The United Kingdom: The Next Steps Initiative
New Zealand: State Owned Enterprises (SOEs)
Canada: Special Operating Agencies (SOAs)
PUBLIC SERVICE EMPLOYMENT, 1989-1993
NEW APPROACHES TO PUBLIC SERVICE REFORM
In Canada, as in other countries,
politicians, public servants, academics, members of the private sector,
and other citizens, are engaged in a serious examination of the function
of government in society and how that function can best be performed.
While similar efforts have been made in the past, various circumstances
have converged to lend greater urgency to the current exercise. Debt and
deficits (both public and private), changing public and private sector
expectations, an altered international trading environment, new technologies,
growing doubts about the capacity of state institutions to fulfil their
mandates, and a multitude of other factors are more than ever pushing
the redefinition of government out of the realm of theory and into that
One of the principal challenges
arising from this complex process is an acutely perceived need to make
governments more effective and more efficient. Simply put, there is a
universal desire to see governments, in the words of a recent U.S. study,
work better and cost less.(1) This has produced attempts to reduce the
size of public bureaucracies, eliminate government programs, change the
management processes within the administrative arm of government, or to
find alternative mechanisms (other than large bureaucracies) to provide
services to citizens.
This paper provides an introduction
to the last two elements from a Canadian perspective. This country has
witnessed attempts to change the structure and management processes of
its federal public service since the 19th century. Several themes that
emerged from reform efforts following the Second World War remain with
us today. Thus, the paper begins by briefly discussing two of the most
important of these post-war exercises, the Glassco Commission and the
Lambert Commission, which dealt with similar issues and advanced a number
of important proposals. Some proposals were adopted, others were not,
but many of the problems discussed by these commissions still exist today.
The opening section of the
paper provides background for a discussion of government reform in a contemporary
context and discusses a current attempt to alter the administrative environment
of the federal government (Public Service 2000) that picks up a number
of the earlier themes. A feature of recent reform efforts is the search
for new ways to provide services to citizens outside the traditional bureaucratic
structures of the public sector. Privatization of state services has been
a common and well-known response. Another solution, less familiar to Canadians,
involves the use of quasi-public, quasi-private entities known as Special
Operating Agencies (SOAs). In Canada, the creation of SOAs has been cautious
in scope, belying the significance of this element of government reform.
Because SOAs embody both the characteristics and the drawbacks of current
government reform, the paper gives them particular attention and describes
their use in other countries.
It is apparent that government
reform in this country, especially as it involves the structure and management
processes of the public service, is not a new phenomenon. Indeed, many
of the objectives of reform remain unattained, despite considerable effort.
By way of conclusion, the paper will discuss why Canada's continual reform
efforts have been so difficult and speculate about whether recent innovations
will succeed where others have not.
This paper provides only
an introductory look at a vast, complex, and vital issue whose parameters
are changing rapidly as new ideas come to the fore and new participants
join the exercise.
HIGHLIGHTS OF ADMINISTRATIVE REFORM ATTEMPTS
AT THE CANADIAN FEDERAL LEVEL SINCE 1962
Constitutional change is
not the only major reform that has engaged the time and energies of those
in public life during the post-war period in Canada. While the debates
on the Constitution have occupied centre stage, a quieter, but equally
intense and vital discussion has been taking place behind the scenes.
This discussion has as its focus the design and implementation of reforms
in the management of the federal public service. In terms of durability,
this quieter, less public, exercise is the equal of its loftier counterpart,
and like it, shows no signs of vanishing.(2)
Thus, while terms such as "reinventing," "rethinking,"
and "renewing" government have recently become a staple of public
administration discourse, in fact they describe a process that has been
taking place in Canada for quite some time.
Over the past 30 years,
the focus of government reform in Canada has been an ongoing search for
improved efficiencies and reduced costs in the administration of public
affairs at the federal level. This endeavour, in all its variety of forms
and complexity, envisages an administrative apparatus of government (i.e.,
the Public Service) that is accountable for its actions while remaining
flexible and innovative enough to meet the challenges thrown up by a pluralistic
society subject to rapid change. Were the public service exactly the same
as a private sector organization, this challenge, though considerable,
would be less daunting. Too many reform attempts have erred in assuming
that simple analogies could be drawn between the public and private sectors.
But the administrative component of government operates in an infinitely
more complex and nuanced environment that creates conflicting demands
and makes reform difficult to achieve.
The search for administrative
reform has taken the shape of royal commissions, task force studies and
investigations internal to the public service itself. It has produced
a number of changes to the structure of the public service and to its
procedures. Nevertheless, the universal conclusion of those who have studied
the issue is that it has not achieved its fundamental goals as
evidenced by the continuing presence of reform efforts in contemporary
Needless to say, as a consequence
of 30 years of study and effort, the landscape has become littered
with the remains of reform projects realized, half-realized, or abandoned.(3) To describe them all would require a more
wide-ranging discussion than is possible within the context of this paper
and besides, the task has been accomplished elsewhere.(4)
Thus, what follows is a summary of the salient features of the major administrative
reform attempts that have taken place in the post-war period.
A. The Royal Commission on Government Organization
The first large-scale attempt
to effect reforms to the federal administrative apparatus in the post-war
period was initiated by the Diefenbaker government in September 1960,
a little over midway through its second term in office.(5)
This effort took the form of the Royal Commission on Government Organization,
chaired by J. Grant Glassco, a chartered accountant and company executive
from Toronto. The Glassco Commission's study, conclusions and recommendations
represent a landmark in Canadian public administration and constitute
the philosophical foundations for most subsequent reform efforts.(6)
The government's decision
to launch the Royal Commission (hereafter referred to as the Glassco Commission)
came in response to a variety of concerns. Principal among them was the
Cabinet's worries that it was losing control over the growth of the bureaucratic
apparatus and government spending. This concern was accompanied by a desire
to impose a more rational form of organization along the lines
found in the private sector on an administrative structure that
had expanded in an ad hoc fashion during the war and afterwards.
The decision to use a Royal Commission to address these concerns was inspired,
in part, by the work of the United States Hoover Commission, which had
reported on the management of government in that country in 1949 and 1955.(7)
For those familiar with
current attempts to reform Canada's public service, the Glassco Commission's
terms of reference might have been written yesterday rather than over
30 years ago. The government asked the commissioners
to inquire into and
report upon the organization and methods of the departments and agencies
of the Government of Canada and to recommend ... changes ... [which]
would best promote efficiency, economy and improved service in
the dispatch of public business...(8)
The terms of reference then
directed the Royal Commission to seek out ways of eliminating overlap
and duplication of services, achieving efficiency and economy through
decentralization, "through reallocation or regrouping of units of
the public service" and through improving budgeting procedures. In
interpreting their mandate, the commissioners were guided by the principle
the machinery of administration
must be made most responsive to the wants and needs of the Canadian
people. At the same time, the public servants of Canada must have
the widest possible opportunities for developing their varied capabilities
and for serving the Canadian public with their collective experience
and mature judgement.(9)
The Glassco Commission released
its report in July 1962. The Commissioners concluded that the Public Service
had not proven sufficiently adaptable to new challenges emerging from
the post-war environment. At fault were the myriad of controls and regulations
emanating from the central agencies, which were inhibiting managers from
doing their jobs innovatively and effectively. Furthermore, the Commissioners
worried that the central agencies of government, such as the Treasury
Board Secretariat and the Privy Council Office, had deprived ministers
and departments of much of their authority and had thus eroded the personal
accountability of ministers and their officials.
The Glassco Commission's
remedy for these problems can be summarized by the phrase for which the
Commission is best remembered: "let the managers manage." The
Commissioners proposed that central agency controls over the day-to-day
administration of departments be dismantled. In place of these controls,
departmental managers would be given enhanced discretion to manage, but
within a general framework of guidance and accountability established
by a new management centre (essentially a revamped Treasury Board). In
the absence of rigid controls, performance evaluation would be used as
the principal means of ensuring accountability on the part of newly empowered
managers. These changes, it was hoped, would produce greater efficiencies
in program design and delivery, restore accountability, and, not incidentally,
generate savings for taxpayers.
Despite the fact that several
of Glassco's recommendations were implemented by government (most notably
those regarding preparation of the annual Estimates, which was changed
in order to disclose precise program spending within departments), the
central goals of the Glassco reforms were not achieved. This was so, in
large part, because the Commissioners had neglected to indicate precisely
the means by which managers could be held accountable to government and
through government to Parliament, while being left free to manage.(10)
As a consequence, central agency controls over administrative and personnel
management (rather than the guidelines envisioned by Glassco) remained
largely in place. Indeed, one scholar has determined that in the aftermath
of Glassco, central control agencies actually gained strength and the
division of labour between them became even murkier than before.(11)
B. The Royal Commission on Financial Management
Less than 20 years
after the Glassco Commission had reported, the problems it had been intended
to resolve not only remained but had gathered in intensity. Government
growth continued unabated, costs were rising, and accountability was even
more uncertain than before. Thus, in 1976 another Royal Commission was
created, this time by the Trudeau government. This was partly in response
to the Auditor General's warning, in his Report for the fiscal year 1975-76,
that "Parliament and indeed the government has lost
or is close to loosing, effective control of the public purse"(12)
Evidence that the hopes expressed in the Glassco Commission report had
not materialized can be found in the Royal Commission on Financial Management
and Accountability's terms of reference which stated (among other things)
the current state of
financial administration in the Government of Canada is not now adequate
to ensure full and certain control over and accountability for public
funds required for the expanded responsibilities and programmes;
and that it was
essential that the government
have the capacity to ensure in the Public Service that authority and
accountability together ensure the most efficient use of resources,
and that all opportunities to make savings, avoid waste and increase
productivity are vigorously pursued.(13)
The commission was given
two goals: to find ways to ensure that financial management and control
was practised at all levels of the public service and to establish the
effective administrative accountability of deputy ministers to government,
and where appropriate, to Parliament.(14)
The Lambert Commission (named
after its chairman, Allan Lambert, an executive of the Toronto Dominion
Bank) in March 1979 released conclusions that were not substantially different
from those of its predecessor. The commissioners determined that a breakdown
had occurred in the accountability regime in government; in effect there
was none. The Commissioners wrote that they had
reached the deeply held
conviction that the serious malaise pervading the management of government
stems fundamentally from the grave weakening, and in some cases an
almost total breakdown, in the chain of accountability, first within
government and second in the accountability of government to Parliament
and ultimately to the Canadian people.(15)
In short, the Lambert Commission
concluded that the management of government had become fragmented, with
the result that there was no coordination in planning, haphazard budgeting,
and an absence of accountability, especially on the part of central agencies.
The remedies proposed by
the Lambert Commission differed substantially, however, from those of
the previous Royal Commission. Where Glassco had argued for a looser regime
of central controls, Lambert recommended that they be strengthened. A
key to addressing both the loss of financial control and the breakdown
in accountability, according to the Commission, lay in the creation of
a fiscal plan for government. Such a plan covering five-year periods
would allocate the government's resources according to its priorities
but within the limits set by available revenues.
The Commission recommended
that such a fiscal plan be jointly prepared by the Financial Secretariat
of the Board of Management (i.e., Treasury Board), the Privy Council Office
and the Department of Finance, which would assume the lead role. The exercise
would consist of dividing up total expenditures according to the broad
functions of government. Once established, the expenditure limits assigned
each function would be then further broken down into spending ceilings
for departments and agencies. The completed fiscal plan would be submitted
to Cabinet, and if approved, presented to Parliament well before presentation
of the Estimates and the budget.
As envisioned by the Commission,
the fiscal plan would serve as a key instrument in restoring the chain
of accountability. In terms of the relationship between government and
Parliament, accountability would be strengthened by the inclusion, in
the fiscal plan, of a statement of the government's priorities and how
they were to be funded. In addition, there would be an indication as to
whether or not objectives set forth in the previous financial plan had
been met and whether or not a balance had been struck between revenues
In terms of the accountability
relationship between the public service and government, the Lambert Commission
reasoned that the imposition of expenditure limits would provide deputy
ministers with a strong incentive to manage resources effectively and
responsibly. In addition, it was proposed that deputy ministers establish
performance goals for their departments. Assessment of progress in the
achievement of these performance goals would be made the responsibility
of Treasury Board (renamed the Board of Management), in effect establishing
a second accountability relationship for deputy ministers in addition
to that between them and ministers.
However, the Lambert Commission
went one step further: it recommended that deputy ministers be made accountable
to the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee as well as to their
ministers and the Board of Management. Critics argued that this proposal,
if implemented, would seriously disrupt the principle of ministerial responsibility.
Furthermore, the proposal was seen as fundamentally unworkable because
it was based on the (artificial according to some) premise that policy
and administration can be kept separate. As Douglas Hartle pointed out
[t]o pretend that there
is a clear line between managerial and advisory responsibilities of
deputy heads, so that they and not the minister would be accountable
to parliamentary committees with respect to the former function is
... hopelessly unreal."(16)
For those more familiar
with the workings of government, the Lambert Commission's proposals were
hopelessly naive, if well-meaning. The Commissioners had failed to take
into account the nature of the decision-making processes in government
and the inherently political environment in which it takes place. As James
Mallory argued, the Commission's major weakness lay in the fact that it
sensitive to the fact that government is essentially a political operation.
Politicians in power must constantly be aware that rational management
is never enough. Political demands have to be satisfied, decisions
have to be timed more to the electoral cycle that to the business
These factors made adoption
of the commission's proposals highly unlikely. The end result was that
the proposals they put forward had little, if any, impact at all on the
structure, program delivery, or management practices in government.(18)
GOVERNMENT REFORM IN A CONTEMPORARY SETTING
There is no question that
government reorganization has now become an international phenomenon on
a vast and growing scale. "Knowledge sharing" spread by improved
information technologies and interpersonal contacts between public sector
administrators has led to a certain degree of uniformity among the government
responses to a set of common problems. This section attempts first, to
survey briefly the background against which this global phenomenon is
taking place. It then looks at the most recent effort in Canada to reform
the administrative arm of government and at attempts, in Canada and elsewhere,
to change the way in which certain services are provided by the state.
These cases demonstrate that the trend is toward the development of an
administrative apparatus of government that mirrors the outlook and practices
of the private sector. While these changes have produced some clear benefits,
they have also produced problems, problems that will be highlighted in
the cases that follow.
Although they bear some
similarities to previous efforts especially in terms of some objectives
current attempts to "reinvent" government are different
in a number of fundamental ways from their predecessors. Reform efforts
at present underway have been conditioned by major changes in the operating
environments of governments everywhere. Foremost among these changes is
the declining availability of resources to fulfil government mandates.
In contrast to the past, governments now operate under conditions of revenue
scarcity and massive deficits. Thus, fundamental change in the way governments
conduct their affairs has become an imperative.
While cutting back the services
provided by government might seem like the logical response to declines
in revenues (and indeed this solution still has many advocates), governments
are facing pressures to do more rather than less. Changes in trading patterns
and production technologies have left governments with added responsibilities
for helping citizens to adjust to the altered circumstances. At the same
time, the private sector is looking to governments for assistance in meeting
These, as well as other
factors, have produced a growing awareness that a simple reduction in
the scope and size of government may create more problems than it solves.(19)
The collapse of global trade barriers has intensified economic competition
among nations. Among other things, this has led both the private and public
sector to view the administrative apparatus of government in a different
light. Entire economies are restructuring, a process in which government,
as a significant contributor to the GNP of most countries, is inextricably
involved. As a consequence, the structural reforms in the public sector
of many nations are based in part on a new recognition that the public
sector is "a vital agent of structural reform as well as being itself
an object for reform."(20)
An efficient public service is now also seen as a key element enabling
nations to compete with one another in an increasingly contentious international
trading environment. As the President of the Public Service Commission,
One factor of a nation's
competitiveness is its public service. When one country competes against
another, their respective public services are also competing. An effective
public service is thus one of the pillars of a strong GNP.(21)
Therefore, while the reforms
of the early to mid-1980s appeared to spring from a view that government
in all its manifestations was little more than a necessary evil, government
is now seen as a positive and indeed necessary force in
society. Elements of the private sector have come to perceive government
as a useful partner and have begun to explore ways to make it more efficient
Nevertheless, this recognition
comes against a background of other factors that preclude a return to
a reliance on massive bureaucracies for the delivery of public services.
Primary among these factors are the considerable financial constraints
mentioned above. Citizens have also become sceptical about the ability
of government bureaucracies to deliver services efficiently and inexpensively.(23)
Collectively, these factors have helped produce a search for alternative
ways in which governments can continue to satisfy expectations without
incurring the associated costs.
As a result, governments
have begun to seek partnership arrangements with the private sector to
assist them in the delivery of services and adopt private sector solutions
for restructuring their own administrative apparatus. Governments are
identifying which of their operations are analogous to private sector
services and then changing their orientation accordingly. This has meant,
in general, that governments are trying to separate their planning or
policy functions from program delivery functions. The former continue
much as before to design services (a policy function), while the latter
are given greater freedom and incentives to deliver them
(an administrative function).(24)
As governments and the private
sector establish partnership arrangements and as governments restructure
their operations, the traditional divisions between the public and private
sectors have become fluid and in some respects are breaking down. One
result has been the gradual importation into the public service of a private
sector ethos that employs concepts such as "entrepreneurship,"
"competition," and service to "clients." Another has
been for certain segments of government administrative machinery to take
on the attributes of private sector entities. These changes have brought
with them a mixture of benefits and problems, some of which will be discussed
below. They also have some very significant implications for governance
in democratic societies such as our own, implications that are dealt with
in another Research Branch paper.(25)
Thus, while aspects of current
reform touch on some familiar themes, these efforts to "reinvent"
government have a far broader scope than past reform efforts. They are
aimed at redefining the role of the state in the economy and the relationship
between the public and private sectors. Essentially, this widespread restructuring
constitutes nothing less than
a radical shift from
a public service whose purpose was to promote public welfare to an
enterprise culture based on efficiency and economy.(26)
Although each of these efforts
at public sector reorganization cites better service to citizens (or "clients"),
the central impulse behind them has been the need for governments to cut
costs. Of the British Next Steps program, it was observed that the new
management initiatives "are important only as far as they contribute
to public expenditure control"; this can be seen as the real test
of the ultimate success of any of these initiatives.(27)
A. Reorienting the Public Sector: Public
Two analysts who studied
Canada's federal public service in the late 1980s determined that, while
a new management philosophy focused on results, performance, and outcome
was emerging, success would require a change in the attitudes and behaviour
of the public service.(28) Another observer, who conducted a survey
of public servants at about the same time, concluded that serious morale
problems in the public service had been hindering the efficient delivery
of services to the Canadian people.(29) The most recent effort
to bring about administrative change aims to institutionalize the new
management philosophy and to restore morale within the public service
by importing private-sector values. Thus, while similar to previous attempts,
it is different in that it aims at changing the "culture" of
the public service by instilling a new entrepreneurial spirit in its employees.
In December 1989, the then
Prime Minister, Brian Mulroney, announced an initiative entitled Public
Service 2000 (PS2000), whose broad goal was the renewal of the federal
public service. Against a background of financial restraint and rising
levels of demand, the government was seeking ways of fulfilling its varied
mandate through new efficiency measures and better management.
In launching this initiative,
the Prime Minister referred to a central theme of previous reform attempts
by indicating that a leading goal was to vest public service managers
with as much authority as possible; central agency administrative controls
would be reduced and Deputy Ministers given greater freedom to manage
their departments accompanied by "clearer accountability" for
results. For the first time, the government signalled its recognition
that the public service is composed of a variety of organizational forms,
a feature it sought to promote rather than discourage.(30)
PS2000 differed considerably
from past reviews of the federal public service, in that it was largely
conducted by the public service itself. Led by Clerk of the Privy Council,
assisted by the Chairman of the Public Service Commission and the Secretary
of the Treasury Board, the review was accomplished by ten task forces
made up of approximately 120 Deputy and Assistant Deputy Ministers and
other senior officials.(31)
The task forces completed their work in 1990 and the government released
a White Paper based on their findings and recommendations in December
of that year.
Entitled Public Service
2000: The Renewal of the Public Service of Canada, the White Paper's
contents reflected the objectives established by the Prime Minister in
1989. The White Paper sounded many familiar themes, occasionally dressed
up in contemporary language: reduction of red tape, empowerment of staff,
devolution of authority, decentralization, and the elimination of unnecessary
regulations that hinder effective management. It differed from earlier
attempts in that it was the first administrative review to designate the
quality of service to the public as a goal of public management. In order
to achieve this goal, the government determined that a change in the culture
of the Public Service was required. The old or existing culture had placed
an emphasis on
and conformity and control to produce "error-free" government
[and] ... has circumvented the initiative of public servants, sacrificed
timeliness and placed insufficient emphasis on results and cost effectiveness.(32)
Thus, beyond structural
adjustments, what was needed was a fundamental change of attitude on the
part of public servants themselves, one that would see them adopt an entrepreneurial
approach to their work. The government, in the words of the White Paper,
determined that there must be
a new outlook on the
part of Public Servants, one centred on leadership, communication,
consultation and client feedback within the context of deregulation
and flexibility in the use of resources to get the job done.(33)
The government concluded
as well that, while other reform attempts had also tried to devolve greater
authority to public servants, they had suffered from the absence of "effective
accountability for the use of the authorities with which people have been
entrusted."(34) In essence, the White Paper proposed to
implement effective accountability through the establishment of results
and performance standards for managers, ideas which the government admitted
were not "radical departures."(35) However, in its proposals
for a cultural change in the Public Service, the government was in effect
proposing a new accountability relationship between public servants and
the public or clientele they serve.
A number of ways have been
used to implement measures proposed by PS2000. One is legislative. The
Public Service Reform Act, 1991, which came into effect by stages
between April and September 1993, streamlines the management of resources
within the public service with the aim of giving managers flexibility
in the staffing process similar to that enjoyed in the private sector.
Amendments to existing Acts would, among other things, give deputy ministers
the authority to fill vacant posts quickly without reference to the normal
Another means of achieving the goals of PS2000 has been the creation of
Special Operating Agencies (see below).(37) These, together with other
steps emerging from PS2000, are intended to bring about a "cultural"
change that will see public servants adopt values similar to those in
the private sector.
B. Delivering Government Services Differently
Apart from trying to encourage
public servants to adopt a new approach, governments have also been altering
the very structures that provide services to citizens. One method has
been to privatize government agencies involved in service delivery. Another,
perhaps more significant, method has been to create units that function
relatively autonomously within government departments and whose existence
depends on being financially self-sustaining. Known as special operating
agencies (SOAs), these units first appeared in the United Kingdom; New
Zealand also has such agencies. Experience in these countries makes it
possible to identify a number of the potential benefits and drawbacks
that SOAs may encounter in the Canadian context. In each country, it should
be noted, the move to set up SOAs reflected a desire to instil an entrepreneurial
spirit in the public service concerned and has redefined the boundaries
that separate the private and public sectors.
1. The United Kingdom:
The Next Steps Initiative
As in Canada, the post-war
period in Britain was marked by efforts to reform the public service.
By the 1970s, however, it was widely recognized that these efforts had
largely failed to eliminate inefficiencies and weak financial controls.
Thus, when Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, an effort
was launched to change the management practices of the civil service.
This initiative was led by the Prime Minister's Efficiency Unit, created
in 1979 to identify and eliminate inefficiency in the public service.
The unit's broader mandate was to change the culture of the civil service
by making good management a valued and well-rewarded activity. An evaluation
conducted by the unit in the late 1980s revealed, however, that little
progress had been made. The unit issued a report (Improving Management
in Government: The Next Steps), which stated that the public service
was too large and diverse to be centrally managed, that overworked ministers
paid too little attention to management issues, that public service managers
were hindered by hierarchical regulation, and that little emphasis was
being placed on achieving results. As a solution, the report proposed
separating the public service's policy-making functions from its service
delivery functions, which employed 95% of Britain's public servants. Areas
of operational activity within each department would be identified; where
appropriate, executive agencies would be created and given the responsibility
for these functions. The new executive agencies would be headed by a chief
executive who would be free to manage within policy and resource guidelines
established by the departments. The position of chief executive would
be filled on the basis of a competitive process open to private sector
as well as public sector applicants.
In 1988, the report's principal
recommendations were accepted by the Thatcher government. A small group
within Cabinet Office took responsibility for encouraging departments
to begin the process of identifying which of their operational activities
were suitable for agency status.
At first, progress was slow;
by the summer of 1989, only eight agencies had been set up. As of April
1993, however, there were 89 agencies and a further 19 candidates for
agency status had been identified. Approximately 260,000 British public
servants, 66% of the total, currently work in executive agencies; the
goal for the end of 1993 was for 75% to do so.(39)
Advocates claim that the
restructuring has been fully compatible with the demands of parliamentary
government. Chief executives of agencies are accountable to ministers,
who in turn are accountable to Parliament. The relationship between each
agency and the department is clearly spelled out in framework documents
negotiated between the agency, its parent department, Treasury and the
Next Steps Unit. These documents (which are analogous to contracts, although
they do not have legal status) are reviewed every three years and contain
the policy and resource guidelines within which the agencies function
and the objectives against which their performance can be measured. It
is important to note that ministers clearly maintain an upper hand in
their relationship with agencies. The targets, for example, can be changed
to suit the minister's wishes and agency executives have no choice but
to meet them. Apart from the framework documents, agencies must also establish
a five-year corporate plan setting out their strategy for long-term development
and an annual business plan detailing how they intend to meet their performance
Other innovations implemented
since the advent of Next Steps include:
performance pay, which
links part of a public servant's salary to his or her annual performance;
the Citizen's Charter
initiative, under which public entities, including agencies, must
provide statements of the service standards that the public can expect;
market testing, which
requires government organizations to determine whether their services
could be delivered better by the private sector.
Two scholars familiar with
the Next Steps initiative argue that it demonstrates the possibility of
change in large public institutions, provided that certain preconditions
are met.(40) The change must be managed by a "dedicated
band of change agents" and have political support from the highest
levels.(41) Above all, structural change
in government must be implemented in an incremental fashion that is sensitive
to existing structures and procedures.(42)
Next Steps may be deemed
successful in terms of its implementation and in changing the public service
culture as intended; Wilson and Wright found that agency staff felt more
focused on the primary purpose and business of their organizations, identified
more with them and believed that there was greater freedom to manage human
and financial resources. It would, however, be unwise to ignore several
difficulties the program has encountered. For example, it is by no means
certain that the goals of improved service delivery have been achieved.(43) It also remains unclear whether or not
all agencies are able to function as free of departmental control as planned.
Apart from the inherent unwillingness of departments to relinquish control
over certain areas, the system of ministerial responsibility still
in force makes the autonomy envisioned by Next Steps problematic.(44)
Nor has the accountability relationship between agencies and Parliament
been fully resolved. Jenkins and Gray raise some important questions in
this regard. They ask to what degree an agency's operational freedom can
be compatible with public sector accountability and point out that
the fundamental issue
at stake ... is that between accountability and managerial freedom.
One view is that detailed scrutiny can only inhibit innovation. The
response is that scrutiny is essential to the enhancement of good
and responsible government.(45)
They also suggest that the
initiative may produce some (unintended) consequences for the role of
ministers, who, in some cases, will find themselves presiding over ministries
whose functions have largely devolved to agencies. Jenkins and Gray also
ask whether policy can really be separated from delivery, and point out
that, even if it can, this massive structural change is no guarantee of
good governance: "the good delivery of bad policy is hardly the measure
of a healthy state."(46)
In conclusion, although
Next Steps has achieved some remarkable progress in restructuring the
British public service, it has yet to be determined whether or not its
fundamental goals have been realized.
2. New Zealand: State Owned Enterprises
New Zealand's State Owned
Enterprises (SOEs) existed before they were transformed into entities
resembling the special operating agencies of other countries.(47)
Initially, they served as instruments for implementing public policy,
for regulation, and for fulfilling social policy objectives. This combination
of mandates came into question in the 1980s, however, especially in light
of the waste and inefficiencies produced by the SOEs. The government's
response was the introduction, in 1986, of the State Owned Enterprises
Act, which "corporatized" the SOEs and gave them clearly
The State Owned Enterprises
Act implemented many of the objectives of special operating agencies
in other countries. While ministers continue to be responsible for policy,
the SOEs are responsible for delivery functions. Like private sector enterprises,
SOEs must now produce annual and semi-annual reports and must submit an
annual Statement of Corporate Intent to ministers which can be used to
assess their performance. According to legislation, these documents must
contain details of the activities in which a SOE intends to engage and
There have been several
major consequences of legislated change in the structure and operation
of the SOEs; staff levels have been reduced and those employees who remain
work on the basis of employment contracts, like workers in the private
sector. At the same time, the general output of SOEs has increased.
This restructuring, however,
has not been achieved painlessly. Large numbers of public employees have
lost their jobs, at considerable cost to the state in the form of compensation
packages and continuing unemployment relief. As well, the basic implementation
costs for the transformation were quite high.
As in the case of Britain's
Next Steps agencies, there are doubts as to whether the SOEs are capable
of fulfilling the objectives set. In particular, their ability to operate
in a private sector environment has been called into question on the grounds
that it is impossible for SOEs to function on a strictly commercial basis.
Lojkine argues that this is so because SOEs receive public funding and
as a consequence are subjected to a higher degree of accountability than
is usually found in the private sector. As a result, this produces
the need for performance
monitoring by ... politicians ... on behalf of ... the community
[which] opens up all sorts of possibilities for political interference
with supposedly commercial enter-prises.(48)
As an example, Lojkine points
to the fact that ministers can make changes to the Statements of Corporate
Intent (SCIs). Furthermore, the requirement to operate within guidelines
established by legislation and the SCIs subject SOEs to more stringent
controls than exist for private sector enterprises. A final constraint
involves the fact that the Crown is the only "shareholder" in
the SOEs; as Lojkine suggests, the Crown "...is not a very useful
shareholder it has no commercial experience or ability, and no
spare capital!"(49) In conclusion, Lojkine makes a point that
others have made in reference to Canada's special operating agencies (see
below) and Britain's Next Step agencies: they are not necessarily ends
in themselves but half-way houses perched somewhere between being state
enterprises and private enterprises. Lojkine suggests that their problems
will drive them either in one direction or the other, with privatization
being the most likely result. In either case, she writes, "...it
would be best to recognize this now, and to control the process, rather
than be pushed into it."(50)
3. Canada: Special Operating
Canada has also been developing
special operating agencies, but on a smaller and more cautious scale than
the United Kingdom and New Zealand.(51)
Beginning in 1989, certain
government programs and agencies were selected for possible SOA status,
primarily on the basis that they involved service delivery and had a potential
to become self-financing.(52) Since December 1989, when
the government first announced plans to proceed with the SOA initiative,
more than a dozen of these entities have been established.(53)
As elsewhere, Canadian SOAs
are expected to realize the goals of improved service delivery, improved
accountability, and cost savings to government. As such, they are expected
to be responsive to client needs, and function in a business-like manner.
Canadian SOAs operate on the basis of a framework agreement that serves
as the principal means of ensuring accountability. These documents are
developed by the SOA and its parent department and include a statement
of the SOA's mission, standards of performance, and a description of its
relationship with its department. All framework agreements must be approved
by Treasury Board and are considered public documents. As is the case
with Next Steps agencies, employees of SOAs remain public servants and
SOAs remain part of their departmental organization. The SOAs are headed
by a Chief Operating Officer accountable to a Chief Executive Officer
who is the Deputy Minister of the parent department.
The Passport Office serves
as an example of the an SOA currently in operation.(54)
Its activities are funded not by government but by the fees
it collects from its clients. Although it is run like a privately owned
enterprise, public service guidelines on hiring, salaries and personnel
practices still apply to its employees. Given that a primary goal in establishing
an SOA is better service to clients, the Passport Office may be considered
successful. Dependence on fees to fund operations has resulted in a new
focus on the needs of clients; offices now are open longer hours and employees
have taken steps to facilitate the process of applying for a passport.
New branches have been opened in the past year, their location based on
market demand rather than political considerations.
In Canada, SOAs are being
viewed as means of finally reconciling the demands of accountability with
managerial flexibility, as " a way to shed the old paradigm of public
sector management."(55) The Treasury Board Secretariat maintains
that the accountability relationship remains unaltered under the SOA model;
if anything, accountability is "...strengthened and clarified..."
because of the existence of the framework documents and business plans.(56)
Though this may be so, it is questionable whether the other goal of enhanced
authority for employees and managers can be accomplished at the same time.
An important distinction between Canadian SOAs and their U.K. counterparts
is that in Canada, Deputy Ministers occupy the position of CEO for SOAs;
in Britain, this task is the responsibility of the agency head. One analyst
suggests that this arrangement in Canada enhances the possibility that
"...central control functions in a department may usurp the operations
of agencies rather than nurture their success."(57) There is also the distinct possibility
that such devolution of authority into the ranks of the public service
may deprive ministers of some of their capacity to "steer" their
departments.(58) Thus, the claim that the SOA initiative
"should allow individual managers and employees greater opportunity
to exercise initiative and enterprise"(59)
may prove overly optimistic. One wonders whether or not this initiative
may eventually encounter the same frustrations as the reforms proposed
by the Glassco Commission.
The Canadian experiment
with special operating agencies must be seen as only one component of
a larger initiative to promote changes to the structure of this country's
public service. It fits within the context of the PS2000 initiative in
that it is intended to encourage the development of an "entrepreneurial"
spirit among public servants. Whether or not SOAs will become the leading
model for future structural change in the public service remains to be
seen. The previous government announced that it was committed to extending
the use of SOAs to "as many organizations as possible."(60)
The present government has announced its intention to conduct reform founded
on an understanding of what the broad role of the federal government ought
to be; it may wish to examine the place of SOAs within the larger administrative
framework of government.
In Canada by the late 1980s,
there had been considerable growth in the administrative machinery of
the federal government as well as in the staffing levels at the central
agencies. Yet A.W. Johnson reports that the "essentials of the management
regime in place seem not to have changed."(61) The reformed management
practices and structures repeatedly advocated had not materialized in
any meaningful way. In 1991, the Auditor General spoke of his impressions
as a newcomer to Ottawa. "There are," he told Parliament,
rules in government, an emphasis on procedures, a complex budgeting
process, and so on ... successive governments, concerned about probity
and prudence, economy and efficiency, have placed pervasive, systemic
reliance on central controls.(62)
Why, after 30 years
of effort to change the administrative environment of the public service,
had so little been accomplished? In 1988, Douglas Hartle, former deputy
secretary of the Treasury Board (1969-1973) reached conclusions similar
to Johnson's, explaining that
the endless tension
between consistency and central control on the one hand and flexibility
and "let the managers manage" on the other will always remain.
It is a dynamic process, forever in search of its equilibrium. Changes
are always taking place in the process, but all of this fine-tuning
still fails to achieve that elusive perfect balance. The truth is
that even if an objective ideal existed, it is doubtful that anyone
would recognize it as such; nor would it remain constant, as it would
continue to reflect the external environmental forces shaping the
In effect, there is a constant
tension between the constraints imposed by accountability on one hand
and the need for creative, flexible management on the other. As long as
government is accountable to Parliament (and this is a principal cornerstone
of Canada's system of government), the emphasis on central controls is
likely to remain, despite occasional attempts to tilt the balance in favour
of enhanced managerial freedom. Two scholars describe this phenomenon
as a struggle between centralization and decentralization in federal administration
and point out that a shift in favour of either extreme is unlikely to
be conclusive. They write that:
In the federal administrative
system, as in all complex organizations, the pull toward centralization
is inherent; decentralization, on the other hand, requires conscious
and continuing efforts to tilt the organization in ways that contain,
even resist, the natural tendency to rein in power at the centre.(64)
It is therefore not surprising
that attempts at administrative reform in the public service that involve
devolution power from the centre have never been a one-shot affair. The
authors of a recent White Paper on public service reform observe that
reform over the past 30 years has swung like a pendulum between tighter
central control and greater autonomy for departments.(65)
Do the proposals in the
PS2000 initiative and the move to establish special operating agencies
hold forth the promise of escaping the pendulum's swing? Without denying
the contextual factors that make changes to the way in which government
operates more compelling than ever, are recent proposals more likely to
succeed than their predecessors? While this question remains a matter
of speculation, a number of observations are possible. The first is that
the Next Steps program shows that change of this sort is possible.
Political support from the
upper levels of government, a precondition for success, has already been
forthcoming from the present government.(66)
Public servants, however, are less enthusiastic; at least one major public
sector union has called for a one-year moratorium on the current reorganization
of the public service.(67) Even with strong political and public
service support, it is likely to take many years before change
especially of a cultural nature is realized.(68)
In his most recent report
to Parliament, Auditor General Denis Desautels expressed several concerns
for the future of PS2000, and reported problems in its implementation.
Rank-and-file public servants, who were not included in the preliminary
stages, view the exercise with misgiving while some deputy ministers have
not handled the proposed changes effectively or with enthusiasm. Thus,
although progress has been made in many areas, it has been uneven and
the initiative's future is uncertain.
In order to revitalize PS2000
and ensure that its goals are met, the Auditor General recommends a number
of steps, including periodic assessments to ascertain whether "specific
reform objectives are being met, to identify problems and lessons learned,
and to point to new directions..." for further reforms.(69)
These evaluations, he suggests, should be placed before Parliament and
given to a parliamentary committee for consideration.(70)
Is reform of the sort envisioned
capable of achieving the set goals? The British and New Zealand experiences
suggest that caution in this respect is warranted. While these reforms
may achieve benefits, they may fall well short of the claims made by their
proponents. They may also bring unanticipated problems. What sort of impact
will they have, for example, on a government's ability to direct its administrative
apparatus? Will these reforms, rather than providing Canadians with enhanced
opportunity to help public services meet public needs, in fact achieve
the opposite, as some critics have warned?(71)
Much thought will have to be devoted to the kind of government Canadians
want, the societal mandates they want it to fulfil, and the most desirable
means of achieving these goals.
Armstrong, Jim. "Special
Operating Agencies: Evolution or Revolution?" Optimum, Vol. 22-2,
1991-92, p. 5-12.
Aucoin, Peter and Herman
Bakvis. The Centralization-Decentralization Conundrum: Organization
and Management in the Canadian Government. Institute for Research
on Public Policy, Halifax, 1988.
Canada. Public Service
2000: The Renewal of the Public Service of Canada. Ottawa, 1990.
Canada. Royal Commission
on Financial Management and Accountability. (Lambert.) Final Report,
Canada. Royal Commission
on Government Organization. (Glassco.) Report. Vol. I. Ottawa,
Canada. Treasury Board
Secretariat. Becoming a Special Operating Agency, Ottawa, July
Doern, G. Bruce. "Efficiency-Democracy
Bargains in the Reinvention of Federal Government Organization."
In Susan D. Phillips, ed., How Ottawa Spends 1993-1994: A More Democratic
Canada? Carleton University Press, Ottawa, 1993, p. 203-229.
Hartle, Douglas G. "The
Report of the Royal Commission on Financial Management and Accountability
(The Lambert Report): A Review. Canadian Public Policy, No. 3,
Summer 1979, p. 366-382.
Jenkins, Bill and Andrew
Grey. "Reshaping the Management of Government: The Next Steps Initiative
in the United Kingdom." In F. Leslie Seidle, ed., Rethinking
Government: Reform or Reinvention? Institute for Research on Public
Policy, Montreal, Quebec, 1993, p. 73-103.
Johnson, A.W. Reflections
on Administrative Reform in the Government of Canada 1962-1991.
Office of the Auditor General, Ottawa, 1992.
Lojkine, Susan M. "State-Owned
Enterprises The New Zealand Experience." Optimum,
Vol. 22-2, 1991-92, p. 31-39.
Mallory, James R. "The
Lambert Report: Central Control and Responsibilities." Canadian
Public Administration, No. 22, Winter 1979, p. 516-529.
Mascarenhas, R.C. "Building
an Enterprise Culture in the Public Sector: Reform of the Public Sector
in Australia, Britain, and New Zealand." Public Administration
Review, Vol. 53, No. 4, July/August 1993, p. 319-328.
Savoie, Donald. The
Politics of Public Spending in Canada. University of Toronto Press,
Wilson, Doreen and David
Wright. "Next Steps: Inside Perspectives on Civil Service Reform
in the United Kingdom." Optimum, Vol. 23-4, 1993, p. 44-52.
Public Service Employment,
Government Business Enterprise (3)
Government Business Enterprise
Government Business Enterprise
(1) Data from
1993 for all levels of government are for the second quarter only. All
other data are yearly averages.
(2) Statistics Canada
defines the government component of public sector employment as including
employment in departments, agencies, boards, commissions, municipalities
and funds established and controlled by governments, public educational
institutions, cultural facilities, hospitals and social agencies, and
bodies administering universal pension plans.
(3) Statistics Canada
defines government business enterprises as "organizations engaged
in commercial operations. Such enterprises are similar in motivation
to private business enterprises and are either in competition with private
enterprises or they monopolize markets that would otherwise be serviced
by the private sector."
Source: Statistics Canada,
Public Sector Employment and Remuneration, 1992, 1993; Statistics
Canada, The Daily, 8 December 1993.
(1) From Red Tape to Results: Creating a
Government that Works Better and Costs Less, National Performance
Review, Washington, 1993.
Indeed, V. Seymour Wilson has called the ongoing government reform effort
"a Sisyphean exercise..." (V. Seymour Wilson, "What Legacy?
The Nielsen Task Force Program Review," in Katherine A. Graham, ed.,
How Ottawa Spends 1988/89: The Conservatives Heading into the Stretch,
Carleton University Press, Ottawa, 1988, p. 41).
According to A.W. Johnson, there has been, on average, one new major push
for reform every three to five years. A.W. Johnson, Reflections on
Administrative Reform in the Government of Canada 1962-1991, Office
of the Auditor General, Ottawa, 1992, p. 7.
A.W. Johnson's book (ibid.) provides a thorough overview of administrative
change in the federal government.
Diefenbaker's first term had been brief, lasting less than a year.
C. Lloyd Brown-John, "If You're So Damned Smart, Why Don't You Run
Government Like a Business," in Katherine A. Graham, ed., How
Ottawa Spends 1990-91: Tracking the Second Agenda, Carleton University
Press, Ottawa, 1990, p. 220.
Douglas G. Hartle, "The Report of the Royal Commission on Financial
Management and Accountability (The Lambert Report): A Review," Canadian
Public Policy, No. 3, Summer 1979, p. 367-368.
Canada, Royal Commission on Government Organization, Report, Vol. I,
Ottawa, 1962, p. 8 (hereafter Glassco Commission) (emphasis added).
Ibid., p. 25.
(10) James R. Mallory, "The Lambert Report:
Central Control and Responsibilities," Canadian Public Administration,
No. 22, Winter 1979, p. 517.
(12) Canada, Office of the Auditor General,
Report, fiscal year 1975-76, Ottawa, 1976, p. 9.
(13) Canada, Royal Commission on Financial
Management and Accountability, Final Report, Ottawa, 1979, p. v-vi
(14) Donald Savoie, The Politics of Public
Spending in Canada, University of Toronto Press, Toronto, 1990, p. 128-129.
(15) Lambert (1979), p. 21.
(16) Hartle (1979), p. 382.
(17) Mallory (1979), p. 527. Mallory's
assessment is echoed by Hartle (1979), p. 381.
(18) Savoie (1990), p. 145.
(19) G. Bruce Doern, "Efficiency-Democracy
Bargains in the Reinvention of Federal Government Organization,"
in Susan D. Phillips, ed., How Ottawa Spends 1993-1994: A More Democratic
Canada?, Carleton University Press, Ottawa, 1993, p. 204. Doern
writes that one of the driving forces behind current efforts to reform
government is a concern that 10 years of deregulation and privatization
have deprived government of some of its essential capacities.
(20) Derry Ormond, "Improving Government
Performance," OECD Observer, No. 184, October/November
1993, p. 4.
(21) Robert J. Giroux, "Downsizing the
Federal Public Service," Canadian Speeches: Issues of the Day,
September 1993, p. 48.
(22) See Charlotte Gray, "Civil Strife,"
in Saturday Night Magazine, 106, No. 1, January/February 1991.
Gray discusses the creation of the Public Policy Forum by Sheldon Ehrenworth,
a former public servant interested in having the private sector promote
change in Canada's public service. Gray writes that Ehrenworth "persuaded
a widening circle of business people that the fight shouldn't be for less
government (...) but for better government, because better government
policies and more efficient government operations could help Canadian
companies elbow their way into global markets" (p. 17, emphasis
(23) This is a very important change in context
from that of previous reorganizations and may create a climate that facilitates
the effort to find alternatives to public bureaucracies as a means of
providing services to citizens.
(24) Whether or not this is a distinction in
theory rather than in fact can be made has long been a subject of contention
and continues to be disputed within the context of current government
(25) Gerald Schmitz, Government Reform and
Reorganization: Retrospect and Prospect, BP-376E,
(26) R.C. Mascarenhas, "Building an Enterprise
Culture in the Public Sector: Reform of the Public Sector in Australia,
Britain, and New Zealand," Public Administration Review, Vol. 53,
No. 4, July/August 1993, p. 319.
(27) Bill Jenkins and Andrew Grey, "Reshaping
the Management of Government: The Next Steps Initiative in the United
Kingdom," in F. Leslie Seidle, ed., Rethinking Government: Reform
or Reinvention?, Institute for Research on Public Policy, Montreal,
Quebec, 1993, p. 75.
(28) Peter Aucoin and Herman Bakvis, The
Centralization-Decentralization Conundrum: Organization and Management
in the Canadian Government, Institute for Research on Public Policy,
(29) David Zussman, "Managing the Federal
Public Service as the Knot Tightens," in Katherine Graham, How
Ottawa Spends 1990-91: Tracking the Second Agenda, Carleton University
Press, Ottawa, 1990, p. 247-275.
(30) Office of the Prime Minister, "Public
Service 2000 ... the Policy of the Government of Canada Concerning the
Measures Necessary To Safeguard and Promote the Efficiency and Professionalism
of the Public Service in Order That It May Serve Canadians Effectively
into the 21st Century," 12 December 1989.
(31) The following task forces were established:
Administrative Policy and Common Service Agencies; Classification and
Occupational Group Structures; Compensation and Benefits; Management Category;
Resource Management and Budget Controls; Service to the Public; Staff
Relations; Staffing; Training and Development; Work Force Adaptiveness.
(32) Paul M. Tellier, former Clerk of the Privy
Council, "A New Canadian Public Service," Business Quarterly,
Spring 1991, p. 93.
(33) Canada, Public Service 2000: The Renewal
of the Public Service of Canada, Ottawa, 1990, p. 48.
(34) Ibid., p. 89.
(35) Ibid., p. 90.
(36) For a complete description of the content
and implications of the Act, see June Dewetering, "Bill C-26: The
Public Service Reform Act," LS-90E, Research Branch, Library of Parliament,
(37) It should be noted that creation of Special
Operating Agencies was already underway when PS2000 was being conducted,
but the two exercises share compatible goals.
(38) A number of the British initiatives discussed
here provided the inspiration for some of the proposals for government
reform advanced (January 1994) by the National Citizens' Coalition in
a publication entitled Blueprint for a Revolution.
(39) Agency employees retain their status as
public servants, but agencies have been given more freedom to recruit
staff. Some examples of Next Steps Agencies are: Central Office of Information;
Central Science Laboratory; Central Statistical Office; Child Support
Agency; Employment Office; Her Majesty's Prison Service; RAF Maintenance.
(40) Jenkins and Gray (1993), p. 92-93.
(41) High-level political support for public
sector structural change has been crucial in other countries attempting
similar programs: Ormond (1993), p. 4.
(42) Jenkins and Gray (1993), p. 80. These
observations are also supported by Doreen Wilson and David Wright, "Next
Steps: Inside Perspectives on Civil Service Reform in the United Kingdom,"
Optimum, Vol. 23-4, 1993, p. 46.
(43) Wilson and Wright (1993) also indicate
that a basis for evaluating the Next Steps program as a whole has yet
to be determined, p. 51.
(44) Doern (1993), p. 218.
(45) Ibid., p. 88.
(46) Ibid., p. 92.
(47) Susan M. Lojkine, "State-Owned Enterprises
The New Zealand Experience," Optimum, Vol. 22-2,
1991-92, p. 31.
(48) Ibid., p. 38.
(50) Ibid., p. 39.
(51) While Canadian SOAs bear many similarities
to their counterparts in Britain, the latter are supported by special
enabling legislation, and have considerable public visibility; this is
not the case in Canada. As the Treasury Board Secretariat acknowledges,
Canada's SOAs "represent a non-legislative approach": Canada,
Treasury Board Secretariat, Becoming a Special Operating Agency,
Ottawa, July 1991, p. 6.
(52) Included among the programs thus identified
are those that involve direct service to clients (e.g., income support
services, Canada Employment Centres, consular services abroad), science
and technology services (e.g., government laboratories that currently
serve the needs of departmental and business clients), and regulatory
and enforcement programs (e.g., customs, taxation, immigration, food inspection,
water and air quality inspection, health and safety standards).
(53) The following are examples of SOAs currently
in operation: Passport Office, Patent Office, Corcan (makes furniture
in penitentiaries), Consulting and Auditing Canada, Canada Communication
Group, Canada Grain Commission, Government Telecommunication Agency, Intellectual
Property Directorate, Racetrack Supervision, Canadian General Standards
Board, Indian Oil and Gas Canada, Transport Canada's Training Institute,
Canadian Heritage Information Network, Canadian Conservation Institute.
(54) For more on the Passport Office, please
see Alan Freeman, "Passports to Profits," Globe and Mail
(Toronto), 14 December 1993, p. B24, an article from which much
of this information was taken.
(55) Jim Armstrong, "Special Operating
Agencies: Evolution or Revolution?" Optimum, Vol. 22-2,
1991-92, p. 5.
(56) Treasury Board Secretariat (1991), p. 8-9.
(57) Armstrong (1992), p. 11.
(58) This point is raised by Mascarenhas (1993),
(59) Treasury Board Secretariat (1991), introduction.
(60) Canada, The Renewal of the Public Service...,
(61) Johnson (1992), p. 14.
(62) Canada, Report of the Auditor General
to the House of Commons, fiscal year ended March 1991, Auditor General
of Canada, Ottawa, 1991, p. 16.
(63) Douglas G. Hartle, The Expenditure
Budget Process of the Government of Canada: A Public Choice-Rent-Seeking
Perspective, Canadian Tax Foundation, 1988, p. 199.
(64) Aucoin and Bakvis (1988), p. 6.
(65) Government of Canada, Public Service
2000: The Renewal of the Public Service of Canada, Ottawa, 1990, p. 89.
(66) The Hon. Marcel Masse, "Getting Government
`Right': The Challenge of Implementation," Notes for an address to
the National Conference on Government Relations, Ottawa, 1 December
(67) Public Service Alliance of Canada, "PSAC
Urges Moratorium on Public Service Reorganization in Light of Auditor
General's Report," News Release, Ottawa, 20 January 1994.
(68) Kenneth Kernaghan, "Career Public
Service 2000: Road to Renewal or Impractical Vision?," Canadian
Public Administration, Vol. 34, No. 4, Winter 1991, p. 571.
Kernaghan estimates that changing the culture of the public service will
take at least seven to ten years.
(69) Canada, Report of the Auditor General
of Canada to the House of Commons, 1993, Minister of Supply and Services
Canada, Ottawa, 1993, p. 179. As a consequence of PS2000, the Clerk
of the Privy Council is already required to report annually on the state
of the Public Service but not on progress in implementing PS2000.
(70) The Public Policy Forum has made a similar
suggestion to the effect that a Standing Committee on the Public Service
should be created that would "...be mandated to conduct public hearings
on the state of the public service and to drive the process of continuous
improvement...": Public Policy Forum, Making Government Work,
Ottawa, June 1993, p. 22.
(71) See Michael Connolly, Penny McKeowen and
Grainne Milligan-Byrne, "Making the Public Sector More User Friendly?
A Critical Examination of the Citizen's Charter," Parliamentary
Affairs, Vol. 47, No. 1, January 1994, p. 23-37, esp.