In general it is the function of the civil service to carry out the day to day activities of the government. However, the primary role of civil servant is to advice the executives and to execute it lawful command. The task of the civil servant administrators is to assist in the formulation and execution of policy as directed by the minister or commissioner.
Specifically the civil service is responsible for:
- Formulation of policies
- Advising the political class
- Implementation of policies
- Storage of government information
- Collection and keeping of government funds
- Ensuring continuity of government
- Render routine service
FORMULATION OF POLICIES
The top administrative and professional class of the civil service formulates policies which are submitted for the consideration of the political class (ministers/commissioners and legislators).
Civil servants because of their knowledge and wealth of experience originate policies and present them to the ministers who take final decisions.
ADVISING THE POLITICAL CLASS
The top civil servants e.g. (permanent secretaries, head of civil service) possess professional and technical expertise and experience in government business.
As such they are well placed to advise their political masters on complex issues of government.
IMPLEMENTATION OF PUBLIC POLICIES
The modern government makes policies on economic, social, cultural, technological and political matters.
These policies are mere pieces of paper if they are not implemented. It is the duty of the civil service to implement these policies faithfully and loyally.
It is the implementation of these policies that result in service to the people such as good roads, water supply, electricity, establishment of industries, schools, hospitals etc.
STORAGE OF GOVERNMENT INFORMATION
All government businesses are recorded in writing. Civil servants gather government information, collate them and keep them properly for future use in public decision-making.
These information’s are kept in files, documents, records and government publication. These information materials are utilized in the process of policy formulation or implementation.
COLLECTION AND KEEPING OF GOVERNMENT FUNDS
It is the functions of the civil service to control government funds. This where the ministry of finance comes in, expenditure of public finance/funds must first be cleared with the ministry.
It is illegal for any branch of the government to spend public funds without first clearing with the ministry of finance.
Additionally, it is the duty of the legislature to decide on the amount of taxation to be paid by the people and imposes it on them.
When the tax is determined, it becomes the responsibility of civil servant to use appropriate machinery to collect taxes and other government revenue.
The civil servants also keep the funds in safe custody, keep accurate account of incomes and expenditure of government and equally audit government account regularly.
ENSURING CONTINUITY OF GOVERNMENT
The civil servants ensure continuity of government because of its permanency in nature. There is no time when all civil servants will be swept away and a body of new civil servant employed.
Because of their expertise knowledge, they help new government to consolidate when there is a change in government.
RENDER ROUTINE SERVICES
It is the duty of the civil service to manage the machinery of the government and to carry out the day to day duties that public administration demands.
- Characteristics of Civil Service
- Sources of revenue for local government
- Characteristics of Military Government
- Features of Lyttleton Constitution of 1954
- Civil Service Reforms in Nigeria
- Organization of the Nigeria Civil Service
- CONTROL OF CIVIL SERVICE OF NIGERIA
- Organization of the Public Service in Nigeria
- Code of Conduct of Public Officers