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How is Political Neutrality Defined? Essay

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Updated: Dec 17th, 2018

The relations between public administrators, public servants and the representatives of the government and political system in Canada should be neutral according to the doctrine of political neutrality. From this point, it is necessary to distinguish between the aspects of politics and the process of realizing the definite policies with the help of public servants and public administrators.

It is also important to pay attention to the general role of the concept of political neutrality in regulating the relationship of politics and policies provided by public administrators with references to the idea of political non-partisanship.

Thus, the concept of political neutrality can be defined as the principle or doctrine according to which political administrators should not follow the vision of this or that political actor or take a side of different political parties and representatives. From this perspective, political administrators should be politically impartial, and their activities should not be influenced by the definite political force.

Political neutrality can be discussed as the traditional doctrine which is used in the Canadian public administration. Following the doctrine of political neutrality, public administrators should control their activities from the point of their political impartiality, and they should reject the possibilities to perform their professional duties according to the interests of this or that political force.

Thus, the professionalism of public administrators is closely associated with the notion of non-partisanship (Inwood, 2012). That is why, political neutrality is one of the main concepts to discuss the normative relationship between politics and public administration.

It is necessary to determine the principles according to which the doctrine of political neutrality should be realized by public administrators and public servants. Thus, public administrators are responsible for the realization of the politicians’ decisions in relation to the definite policy without taking a side of this or that political force.

Public administrators should not be involved in different partisan political activities. Moreover, taking the position of the public administrator, the person should not express his or her own attitude to the definite political force or party or comment on the specifics of the government’s policies provided.

The principle of anonymity should be followed in relation to realizing definite policies or taking decisions associated with the political issues and their results for the public administration. Furthermore, the party in power cannot be discussed as the influential force to determine the opinion of public administrators according to executing policies (Overeem, 2005, p. 313).

The mentioned principles can be discussed as preventive in relation to the public servants and public administrators and their activities while executing policies and decisions. Following the principles of the doctrine of political neutrality, public administrators are able to prevent the violation of political neutrality in order to perform successfully. Nevertheless, it is important to note that public administrators cannot be fully indifferent in relation to politics because of their interest in their occupation.

Moreover, public administrators are directly controlled by the representatives of different political forces. However, public administrators and public servants should not express publicly their political visions, and they should be politically neutral while performing their professional duties (Overeem, 2005, p. 314). That is why, the personal factor is often significant when public administrators violate the norms and break the principle of political neutrality.

The concept of political neutrality is often discussed in its connection with the notions of political impartiality and political indifference expressed by public administrators while realizing definite policies.

However, some researchers are inclined to state that the concept of political indifference should be referred rather to the personal position than to the professional activity of the public administrator, and the term ‘political neutrality’ can be discussed as more appropriate in this case (Overeem, 2005, p. 314). In its turn, the idea of political impartiality reflects the main aspects of political neutrality.

Thus, political neutrality is the important concept used in relation to public administrators to determine and characterize their activities to balance the relationship between politics and realizing policies. There are many issues associated with the concept of political neutrality, and one of them is the complexity of relations in which public administrators can be involved while realizing definite policies.

The problem is in the fact the activities of public administrators can be not neutral in relation to the political issues in spite of the fact that the necessity of political neutrality is stated as the specific doctrine to regulate the public administrators’ activity. This question is rather controversial because public administrators are involved in the political process and should express their political neutrality in contrast to performing their active political partisanship.

References

Inwood, G. (2012). Understanding Canadian public administration. Toronto: Pearson.

Overeem, P. (2005). The value of the dichotomy: Politics, administration, and the political neutrality of administrators. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 27(2), 311-329.

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