A well-functioning civil service helps to foster good policymaking, effective service delivery, accountability and responsibility in utilizing public resources which are the characteristics of good governance.
"Good Governance" is being used as an all-inclusive framework not only for administrative and civil service reform, but as a link between Civil Service Reform and an all-embracing framework for making policy decisions effective within viable systems of accountability and citizen participation.
Administrative reform focuses on rationalizing structures of government. Governance reform tends to refer to the improvement of legal and policy frameworks to create proper decision making environment; participatory systems for elements of civil society to become actively involved in policy and programme formulation and their implementation; and an effective and transparent system and process for control and accountability in government activities. Civil Services reform cannot be seen in isolation and it has to be undertaken along with administrative reforms for effective results.
Although comprehensive reform that involves governance, the civil service, and civil society is ideal, it requires sustained commitment from political and administrative leaders. It is also too complex to implement all at once.
Few countries have undertaken comprehensive reforms and there are mixed results. The challenge lies in finding linkages among the governance, civil service and civil society components, determining which require priority attention.
Civil Services Reforms aim at strengthening administrative capacity to perform core government functions. These reforms raise the quality of services to the citizens that are essential to the promotion of sustainable economic and social development.
CSR can contribute to macroeconomic stabilization by restoring budgetary stability, strengthening revenue collection, managing aid effectively, and improving development performance through proper implementation of investment frameworks and the management of public expenditure plans and programmes.
The reform can contribute to the design and implementation of an equitable programme of social development. Enhancing the capacity of civil servants and improving their morale are critical to all these functions.