Inefficient public administration

Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Ineffective civil service
Inadequate governmental managerial instruments
Limited civil administrative capacity
Lack of trained administrative personnel
Bureaucratic inefficiency
Government inefficiency
Public sector mismanagement
In the developed market countries, where the driving force of society is the private economic sector, public administration functions are funded by a large tax base. Governmental organization tends to be disproportionate to authority and need. Ministries, departments and bureaux may proliferate and yet have no real autonomous function or power. Civil servants may often have inadequate managerial backgrounds and their administration of the public services funded by taxpayers may be wasteful and sometimes, by business standards, incompetent.

In less developed areas, the future of the entire country may lie with its public administrators, there being no industrial infrastructure. However, lack of such industrial infrastructure implies a parallel lack in educational and managerial infrastructure as well, with the result being trial-and-error management of governmental agencies and services. In many developing countries, especially those of low income, the government's administrative capacity to carry out a programme of economic reform is poorly developed. Moreover, in most developing countries the bureaucracy forms an influential interest group that may oppose economic stabilization and structural reform since this may require reducing the size of the public sector through government employee layoffs and privatization of state-controlled enterprises. The structure of local government in many developing countries is also inefficient. Often fiscal relations are opaque because of political expediency rather than lack of knowledge or skill. This makes reform much more difficult when more open and transparent systems are urgently needed.

In the UK in 1994 the Commons Public Accounts Committee identified 21 cases over the previous two years in which millions of pounds of public funds had been wasted by government agencies. In addition, the government was accused of tolerating grave shortcomings, concealment of vital information, conflicts of interest, waste and mismanagement.

An Israeli government watchdog agency claimed, in 1992, that a state company operating under the Housing Minister may have been guilty of maladministration. It cited suspicion of receipt of considerations, including political interests, many deviations from rules of public administration, sometimes with harm to standards.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 8: Decent Work and Economic GrowthGOAL 10: Reduced InequalityGOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST