In this top group, coordination between government departments, ministries and administrative layers is high, with strong top-level capacity to evaluate proposals.
Government or prime ministerial offices are particularly strong in the USA, Finland, the UK, Australia, Canada and Chile. In the USA, coordination between the president, Congress and departments proved strong while negotiating complex health care, stimulus and financial reform bills.
Prime ministers’ offices are comparatively small in New Zealand and Denmark, the latter of which relies heavily both on individual ministerial responsibility and cabinet consensus. Cabinet committees play a particularly important role in reviewing policy proposals and building consensus in Finland and New Zealand.
The USA saw very strong gains relative to the SGI 2009 with respect to the policy-coordinating roles of the cabinet and senior civil servants.
In this group, coordination between the core executive and the wider administration is generally strong, although individual weaknesses stand out in the policy process.
Government or prime minister’s offices are powerful across the group, with considerable expertise available to evaluate proposals in France, Norway, Iceland and Mexico. The ability of Turkey’s government office to evaluate sectoral bills is somewhat weak.
Cabinet committees play a comparatively smaller role in Ireland, Iceland and Turkey, with little use of formal committees in Norway.
Coordination between ministry civil servants is hampered by hierarchy and departmentalism in Hungary, while Mexico has no general career civil servants. French civil servants often focus on defending line ministry prerogatives rather than interdepartmental coordination.
In this group, coordination is often hampered by independent ministries or departments. Central government offices are often weak.
Strong traditions of independence or hierarchy undermine interdepartmental policy coordination in South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Portugal, Italy, and Germany. Conflict between ministers and top civil servants has introduced administrative tension in the Netherlands, leading to the increasing use of outside advisors.
South Korea’s president’s office is strong, but staffing has been cut. Japan’s government has sought to decrease the influence of the civil service bureaucracy, shifting power to elected politicians.
Party leaders rather than cabinets or ministry officials have a strong decision-making role in Germany and Belgium. With substantial gains in the government office’s sectoral expertise and power, Poland is this criterion’s top gainer relative to the SGI 2009.
In this lower group, weak government offices or serious problems with coordinating policy between ministries and departments weakens the decision-making process.
Government offices in the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Greece lack sufficient sectoral expertise to guide government policy. The Austrian chancellor is relatively weak, with policy-making power resting primarily in his or her role as party head, while Slovakia’s policy-making takes place in a coalition council with little formal government office involvement.
Coordination between departments is weak or complicated by departmentalist cultures across the group. Greece’s new government has begun an effort to address problems of coordination.