Persistence is fundamental to bureaucratic reform. This requires a permanent capacity, though not necessarily a single agency, to provide analysis and operational support for reforms. If that capacity exists, governments will be better placed to seize the occasional opportunity to make fundamental reforms because the preparatory and technical work will have been done. The experience of developing countries indicates that public service commissions, central personnel agencies, and the like are inappropriate overseers of administrative reform, being too limited in scope and preoccupied with detail. Institutes of public administration tend to be too remote from power, though they can help to diagnose the kind of reform that is needed. In several smaller developing countries, technical offices concerned with organization and methods or management services have been useful instruments of reform, but are rarely able to deal with the larger structural and performance issues.
In many developing countries it makes sense to base reforms on two broad principles: first, reducing the management intensity of development, rather than adding new managerial burdens to an already overextended bureaucracy; second, instituting reforms that make the bureaucracy more responsive, both to political authority and to the public at large.