Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Executive Control Over Administration

Executive Control is an internal control over the civil servants provided within the machinery of the executive Government. This type of control works automatically and spontaneously with the movement of Government machinery. It is a sort of self-regulating device which controls the movement of machinery of which it is a part. Administrative structure is hierarchical in nature. One level controls the other and none is outside the chain of command. The fear or reprimand, demolition, dismissal, losing favour of the superiors etc., are all there to keep the machinery moving. There are positive factors like promotion, recognition of services., which provides the incentive for the civil servants to play their part in the movement of Government machinery.



The executive control is exercised in many ways. Most of them are formal controls sanctioned by the laws of the country but some of them may also be informal depending upon the good sense of the public servants. Some of these controls are mentioned below:

  1. Political control

  2. Budgetary Control

  3. Personal Management Control

  4. Direct control by inspection, etc.

  5. O & M

  6. Administrative Ethics

  7. Leadership

We describe below in brief some of the essential devise of the various systems of controls mentioned above.



Ministry responsibility is the cardinal principle of parliamentary democracy. The political control over public servants is exercised by the political executive which derives its authority from Parliament. In Presidential form of Government this authority is derived by the Chief Executive by virtue of his direct election by the people.

In Parliamentary form of Cabinet is collectively responsible for giving policy directions to the public servants who are supposed to carry them out in latter and spirit. The political executive has to provide necessary policy direction to the administration and has also to exercise control over its activities. This control is exercised through various devices like getting information, analyzing the progress report, etc.



The budget provides the necessary finance to carry out various functions of the Government. The activities of the Government servants may, therefore, be controlled by controlling the extent of finances made available to them through the budget. If the budgetary system is effective, no official can escape its control. The budgetary control is exercised at the Apex by the Finance Ministry but through a system of hierarchy of financial powers, this control permeates throughout the Government organization. The other parts of this control are the expenditure reports sent by the operating units, the internal audit conducted by the Department and the Central audit conducted by the C&AG. The financial performance of the public servant can thus be watched and controlled by the budgetary processes of preparation and execution of the budget.

The Degree and Type of Control

The budgetary control like any other system of control is liable to abuse by being applied to an excessive degree. Appleby says that India has a faulty system of budgetary control. Expenditure control is exercised to an oppressive degree. It converts the budgetary system to a fault inquisition. He also felt that the faulty project preparation and execution is supposed to be covered by excessive financial control. The expenditure projections in the budget are not based on the proper project preparations. The cost escalations are also not taken into account. The expenditure, therefore, cannot be kept according to the budget provisions. The situation is then sought to be remedied through a direct control over expenditure. The result is that the project is not completed in time as the necessary expenditure was not originally estimated and, therefore, not officially sanctioned in time. The delays increase cost. All this points to be the danger of a tight financial control ultimately leading to a loose financial control. Appleby's prescription was that realistic projects be prepared based on the proper financial and administrative implications. Adequate provisions should be made in the budget to meet the minimum expenditure required for the execution of the project. Administrative machinery should be provided with the necessary guidance and technical expertise so that the projects can be completed on time. Only in such situations the financial control can be an effective instrument of internal control over public administration.



The basic feature of the administrative organization in Government is its hierarchic structure. Each level of the administration controls the subordinate level and is controlled by a superior level. The entire chain of command s ultimately controlled by the people through their elected representatives who provide the membership of the Cabinet.

In this hierarchical structure the Chief Executive has a centralized personnel office. This Office controls the methods of recruitment, salaries, promotions, conditions of service, etc. It brings uniformity in personnel matters throughout the administrative organization of the Government. This has many advantages in preparation of projects, preparation of estimates, etc.

Positive Controls

The system of giving rewards like salary rise, promotion, etc., is a very powerful instrument of control in the hands of the executive. The administrative personnel in the organization are able to observe as to what is rewarded by the organization. They tend to model their behavior accordingly.

Negative Controls

Negatively speaking a parallel incentive system for inducing the desired behavior is provided by the punishment system of the organization. The public servants can observe the behavior which brings reprimand, censure, removal or dismissal from service. These examples persuade the public servants in avoiding undesirable behavior and improving their performance on desirable lines.




There are some methods in the executive government which provide for a direct supervision and control over the activities of the public servants. One such method is the system of tours senior public servants to observe the field work done by the subordinates. The senior officers visit the field areas interact with the public servants working in that areas as well as the beneficiaries of their programmes and come to the conclusion about efficiency or inefficiency of the performance of their programmes. This gives them first-hand knowledge of any gap that exists between the policies enunciated by the Government and its implementation at the field level. This type of control is meant to enable the senior officers to correct such discrepancies right on the spot and give first hand guidance to the subordinates. Of course, they can also serve the purpose of informing the senior officers about need for change in the public policies in the light of the actual working in the field.

Another method of direct control is detailed inspection of the subordinate offices. This is fact, is part of the above method in which the senior officers come on tour in the field areas and inspect the work of the subordinates. The only difference is about the intensity of the observations. Occasional visits and tours give the senior officers a fleeting idea of the way the programs are being implemented. A detailed and formal inspection on the other hand gives him a full idea about the way the government policies are being carried out. It shows how the subordinate officers have understood the implications of the government programmes have set about planning and executing them. Whether they have given suitable guidelines to their subordinates and whether they have exercised control by calling reports from them are some of the important questions which can be observed during the inspection.

All these methods enable the senior officers to have an idea of the efficiency of the people working under him. In USA and UK efficiency system is considered an important part of personnel management, it also used as an important to input for determining the promotion of the public servants. Various systems have been developed by different government agencies in different countries.



This system aims at continuously assessing the working of the organization. It was suggested in U.K. by the Select Committee on national expenditure. The Committee advised that the continuous and systematic survey of the departmental structures and procedures should be conducted to find out the methods for inducing economy and efficiency in working of the Government departments. The work has to be so organized that not time of any worker or the machine was wasted. Public Administration is also influenced by this scientific approach. But it was not amenable to the time and motion techniques. Hence, the technical and organizational methods were developed for the analysis of office procedures and organizations. This is taken as a scientific approach to public management. The work started in UK and in 1942 when Treasury Department set up an O&M section. The other departments followed suit and almost every department now has an O&M section. Similar organisations have developed in other Commonwealth countries also. In USA the word O&M means organization and management. It covers large industries as well as government departments. In fact, the concept of organization and management is even wider than that of organization and methods as developed in Britain and other Commonwealth countries. It covers all the management processes like-

  • Office Procedure

  • Supervision

  • Control

  • Direction

  • Planning, etc.

And not merely the office procedure and organization.

In India this system was introduced in 1954. There was conflict between the Home and Finance about the location of O&M system. Now the system is working in the Cabinet Secretariat. All the Departments and Ministries of the Government of India have an O&M Unit.

Even in the narrower sense of organization and methods the system provides for improving the efficiency and economy of Government operations. Obviously, it acts as an instrument of control on the part of the senior management in as much as it studies the organization and brings to their knowledge instances of wasteful expenditure. It suggests methods of changing the organization structure as well as simplifying procedures so that the efficiency of operation is improved. Obviously it provides the senior officers an instrument of control over the organization.



Above-mentioned methods of control were more or less formal methods. However, it has been found that some of the informal methods can be much more effective in practice. Professional code of morality or administrative ethics is as important in public administration as it is in legal or medical professions. However, the legal and medical professions are formal and legal methods of enforcement their professional codes. Several other professions do not have such formal codes. But the members adhere to their code of conduct for the sake of pride in their profession.

In most of the countries the Government services have also developed into a professional code of loyalty and authoritarianism. Of course, it was bureaucratic code and was not very suited to the democratic system of Government.

U.K. was the first country where the government services developed a code of conduct suitable for their democractic traditions. Their code of ethics includes such qualities as:

  • Loyalty

  • Secrecy

  • Neutrality

  • Anonymity

  • Efficiency

  • Honesty and Integrity

Their civil services take pride in self-cultivation of this code of conduct. This is deeply engraved in the conscience of their civil servants. It does not require any inducement of rewards of fear of punishment to enforce this code of conduct. The members follow it for the sake of self-actualisation and not for any tangible material benefit. There may be certain written rules of conduct also in U.K., but, they are not the major instrument of enforcement of the code. It is enforced by the sense of duty and discipline in the British Civil Service. They have somehow come to cherish their traditions of high morality which are handed down from generation to generation.

In India there is a very voluminous code of conduct for civil servants. It lays down in great details of what a civil servant should do and should not do. It goes even to the extent of specifying the need for reporting to the government even bonafide transactions with the members of the family and close friends. However, these very tight controls have not uncalculated the necessary sense of duty and discipline in the civil servants. The instances of violations of these rules of conduct are many those which are not reported are more than the ones  that come to the light. The most important reason for this lack of response of the civil servants to the code of conduct is the lack of probity in political as well as heads of social organisations in the country. In fact, many social organisations and associations are set up mainly for the purpose of receiving grants from the Government of India and foreign Governments. The ostensible reasons for which these organisations have been set up may be anything, but, money is utilized by them for the private purposes of the members. In such a situations, it is difficult to accept that he civil service will be an oasis of honesty in the sprawling deserts of dishonesty.

However, the civil servants in our country are in a much privileged position. For historical reasons they are expected by the people, to provide a model of honest behavior. They have, therefore, to develop a sense of responsibility and professionalism by maintaining integrity, honesty, loyalty and efficiency in performing public service.



Administrative leadership is the most effective means of internal control. As commonly understood the leadership is the activity of influencing people to cooperate for the purpose of achieving common goals. The leadership is responsible for creating enthusiasm in the workers and maintaining a high moral in them. It is the leadership which can help the public servants in setting up high professional standards in the performance of their duties. The leadership provides the necessary co-ordination and cohesion in the administrative organization so that all the members of the organization can work unitedly to achieve the objectives of the organization.

The leadership has also a negative role in the sense of creating fear of God in the minds of delinquent public servants. They have to follow policies which make it clear that any deviations from the high standards of morality and code of conduct will be severely dealt with. No one should be left in doubt that deviant conduct on the part of the public servant shall invite punishment in proportion to the default committed. However, more important is the positive role to be played by the leadership in encouraging the public servants to improve their performance of their own. It means that the major function of the leadership is to keep the public servants in a high state of motivations so that they put in their best for the organization. This is very important task. In the ultimate analysis the job of the leadership is to establish a synthesis between the objectives of the organization and the personal goals of the individual public servants.


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