Civil Service Reform (CSR) refers to interventions that affect the organisation, performance and working conditions of employees paid from central, provincial or state government budgets. Since an initial phase of institution building and training programmes following decolonisation, CSR has gone through 3 major stages. The first began in the 1980s, following the structural adjustment programmes supported by the IMF and the World Bank, and focused on 'cutting down to size'. The second stage began in the 1990s and presented a broader range of reforms aimed at 'building up', for example, performance assessment, monitoring, transparency, benchmarking, decentralisation, regulation and sound financial management. The third (and current) phase is more concerned with the political context in which reform is attempted.
This topic guide outlines the issues currently facing reform efforts and introduces the key technical aspects of CSR. It was originally prepared by Tom Hewitt. Comments, questions or documents for consideration should be sent to email@example.com.
The following document summaries were added in January 2012: