Pub. date: 2011 | Online Pub. Date: October 04, 2011 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412994163 | Print ISBN: 9781412959636 | Online ISBN: 9781412994163| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Within democratic systems, public organizations carry out a large number of functions, ranging from provision of education, health, and national security and regulation of financial markets to ensuring equal treatment for all. These bodies perform these functions because delegation is imperative: Elected politicians lack the time, expertise, and resources both to enact and implement laws and to delegate these tasks to public organizations. To perform their tasks, these bodies need a certain level of autonomy from democratic oversight. The laws they implement often contain goals, such as “national security” and “social welfare,” that need further specification before they can be attained. Also, several different approaches and policy instruments to complex social problems may exist, and the choice of approach or policy instrument requires experience and knowledge of these social problems. Public organizations are staffed by civil servants with such experience and knowledge, but they need some level of autonomy to ...