What is the importance of the political neutrality and anonymity of the Civil Service?
The above question is what I will be providing an answer for in this WASSCE Government tutorial. But remember that you will just be fine using these same points for a similar question in any other examination in any part of the world.
So now let’s continue to identify the importance of political neutrality and anonymity in the work of the Civil Service.
The Civil Service is a key player in the political administration of the state.
What is the Civil Service?
The civil service refers to the non-political executive arm of government. It is responsible for implementing programmes and policies of the government.
Characteristics of the Civil Service
There are certain features that characterize the operations of the civil service. These are its permanence, neutrality and anonymity.
The political neutrality or impartiality of the civil servant is extremely important in the discharge of their duties.
As a result of the security of tenure of office enjoyed by civil servants, they may find themselves, during the course of their careers, serving different governments with different policies or ideologies.
Political neutrality of the Civil Service
This situation calls for neutrality.
To be politically neutral means to avoid openly identifying oneself as a key supporter of a particular party or party in government.
Anonymity of the Civil Service
On the other hand, the principle of anonymity means that if policies implemented in the ministry are successful, it is the political executive or the minister, rather than the civil servant, who takes the credit and it is the same when they fail.
To put it simply, civil servants are not meant to be seen nor be heard. They are mostly extremely efficient, media-shy technocrats who work very hard but silently in the background.
A typical civil servant is never like the loud politician you will see and hear all the time on political platforms or national TV.
Importance of political neutrality and anonymity
- These two principles enable civil servants to keep their job in the event of a change in government.
- Political neutrality and anonymity are necessary also because they make it possible for the civil servants to continue to enjoy the trust and confidence of successive governments.
- It becomes relatively easy for a new administration to benefit from the services of expert and experienced personnel. This wouldn’t have been possible if civil servants were partisan administrators who must leave office following the exit of their party from government.
- Political neutrality and anonymity make civil servants objective and reliable partners with the party in government in the national development effort.
- These two principles allow the civil service to play its role as a loyal institution of the state thereby contributing to national peace and stability.
- Finally, the principle of anonymity promotes accountability on the part of the government. The rationale behind this principle is that if the civil servant is not allowed to enjoy anonymity, the minister would always take the praise for successful policies but would attribute failure of any policy to the civil servants. Also, the civil servants might refuse to carry out certain directives of the minister if they feel that such directives might fail