UK Civil Service rated fourth in the world for effectiveness

The UK’s Civil Service has been rated the fourth most effective in the world in the Institute for Government’s (IfG’s)first international index of the sector worldwide.

Collaborating with the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, the think tank drew together a wealth of existing data in order to create a concise assessment of how the central governments of 31 countries performed against each other.

The International Civil Service Effectiveness (InCISE) Index placed Whitehall behind Canada, New Zealand and Australia when it came to the overall effectiveness of its Civil Service.

The report assessed effectiveness based on what the service delivered and how its functions were delivered.

Each of the countries were scored on a number of criteria, including overall effectiveness, as well as specific measures like tax administration, inclusiveness, capabilities, openness, integrity, HR management, crisis/risk management, regulation, fiscal and financial management, digital service, social security administration, policy making.

Julian McCrae, deputy director of the IfG, said: “This Index can help governments around the world, including in the UK, successfully negotiate the immense challenges they face by allowing Civil Service leaders to identify other countries from whom they can learn.

“Our aim is to encourage collaboration in vital areas such as the adaption of digital technology, and to provide a transparent account to the public of how countries are doing.”

Interestingly, when the scoring was adjusted by country GDP, Estonia, Mexico and Korea sat at the top of the table.

The top 10 most effective Civil Services in the world were:

  1. Canada
  2. New Zealand
  3. Australia
  4. United Kingdom
  5. Finland
  6. Sweden
  7. Estonia
  8. Norway
  9. Korea (Republic of)
  10. United States of America

The inaugural InCiSE Index is a pilot project, and the founding institutions have committed to support the development of the Index for four more years.

Professor Ngaire Woods, Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government, added that the InCiSE Index will help both governments and citizens identify how well their Civil Service is functioning, “and how it can learn to improve from the best performers”.

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