Quiz 1007.09 – Advising Elected Officials

… an Atlas quiz for Toronto PPG1007 Strategic Implementation

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Note: All 12 quizzes for Toronto PPG1007 Strategic Implementation are available at Concept Comprehension Quizzes for PPG1007 Strategic Implementation.

CCQ1007.09.01. Among statements a-d pertaining to speaking truth to power choose one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Speaking truth to power is a term used to capture the role of public servants in a Westminster system of government to advise the political executive without fear or favour.

b. Speaking truth to power is a concept with little direct relevance to public servants who are not involved in the process of preparing advice for Ministers.

c. Speaking truth to power is an obligation to tell people not what they want to hear, but rather what they need to hear.

d. Speaking truth to power includes recognizing when the argument is over and not to keep on fighting after the issue has been decided.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ1007.09.02. Among statements a-d pertaining to political executive vs. civil service choose one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. The political executive directs the government of the day.

b. The civil service, like the Crown itself, enjoys continuity through transitions of government.

c. The political executive and the civil service may be seen as at once interdependent and independent entities within government.

d. In a well-functioning Westminster democracy the role distinctions between the political executive and the civil service are relatively clear cut and tensions rarely arise..

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ1007.09.03. Among statements a-d pertaining to the constitutional convention of a politically neutral civil service choose one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. The constitutional convention of a politically neutral civil service holds that public servants are appointed and promoted on the basis of merit rather than of party affiliation or contributions.

b. The constitutional convention of a politically neutral civil service holds that public servants do not engage in partisan political activities and do not express publicly their personal views on government policies or administration.

c. The constitutional convention of a politically neutral civil service holds that public servants provide forthright and objective advice to their political masters in private and in confidence; in return, political executives protect the anonymity of public servants by publicly accepting responsibility for departmental decisions.

d. The constitutional convention of a politically neutral civil service holds that public servants execute policy decisions loyally, irrespective of the philosophy and programs of the party in power and regardless of their personal opinions; as a result, public servants enjoy security of tenure during good behaviour and satisfactory performance.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ1007.09.04. Among statements a-d pertaining to the term accounting officer choose one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Accounting officer is a designation for the senior public servant in a department that has long been used in the United Kingdom and was adopted in 2006 by the Government of Canada as part of the Federal Accountability Act.

b. Accounting officers have a legal obligation to appear before committees of the Senate and House of Commons and answer questions on the management responsibilities set out in section 16.4 of the FAA.

c. This legal obligation operates within the framework of ministerial responsibility and accountability to Parliament.

d. Ministers, and they alone, are accountable to Parliament for all actions of the executive including management..

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ1007.09.05. Among statements a-d pertaining to political aide choose one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Political aides, also called political staffers, are employees who are hired and fired by the minister, or the prime minister, whose salaries and benefits are paid from government revenues, but who are not part of the regular public service and are permitted to be explicitly political.

b. Political aides are able to draft speeches, press releases and other documents that conform to the overall political direction of the government.

c. Political aides provide advice to the minister about pending policy matters or cabinet or parliamentary business that must be managed in accordance with the government’s political environment.

d. Most functions performed by political aides could, from a constitutional and legal perspective, be assigned to non-partisan public servants but it would be more costly to do so.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ1007.09.06. Among statements a-d pertaining to ministerial responsibility choose one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. The principle of ministerial responsibility holds that if civil servants carry out the minister’s orders, or act in accordance with the minister’s policy, it is for the minister and not for the civil servants to take any blame.

b. Ministerial responsibility means that a minister must resign if a serious and avoidable error occurs within the government portfolio which the minister heads.

c. Traditionally, ministerial responsibility has been viewed as the most important and most contentious of Westminster government conventions. But it is rarely defined, and this lack of a shared understanding of its requirements permits confusing, creative, and misleading interpretations of its meaning.

d. The constitutional convention of a politically neutral civil service is part of what is sometimes referred to in the public administration literature as the iron triangle of conventions consisting of political neutrality, ministerial responsibility, and public service anonymity.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ1007.09.07. Among statements a-d pertaining to public service anonymity choose one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Public service anonymity is the convention that ministers answer to Parliament and to the public for government actions without naming the public servants who provided advice or who carried out the administrative action.

b. The constitutional convention of public service anonymity has been strengthened by the clear rules set out in legislation on the duties of the accounting officer.

c. The anonymity of the civil service is linked to two concepts: permanence and neutrality. Civil servants, many of whom remain in their jobs whilst serving numerous governments, are thus likely to have to give advice to governments of different political parties, who may have different attitudes to policy. The advice they give needs to be given to ministers both freely and also without fear of adverse public or political reactions and without fear of future career damage.

d. The anonymity of the civil service is linked to the concept of ministerial responsibility, whereby the convention is for the minister to accept responsibility for their actions and decisions and those of their departments.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ1007.09.08. Among statements a-d pertaining to access to information (freedom of information) policies choose one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Access to information (or freedom of information) policies specify the obligations of government entities to respond to request for information.

b. Properly designed freedom of information legislation will not significantly affect the way that analysis and advice is generated and shared within public institutions.

c. The Canadian legislation provides a right of access to information in records under the control of a government institution in accordance with the principles that government information should be available to the public, that necessary exceptions to the right of access should be limited and specific and that decisions on the disclosure of government information should be reviewed independently of government.

d. In Canada the average administrative cost of responding to an access to information request is over $1,000.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ1007.09.09. Among statements a-d pertaining to political neutrality of public servants choose one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. Political neutrality is a constitutional convention which provides that public servants should avoid activities likely to impair, or seem to impair, their political impartiality or the political impartiality of the public service.

b. The constitutional convention of a politically neutral civil service is part of what is sometimes referred to in the public administration literature as the ‘iron triangle’ of conventions consisting of political neutrality, ministerial responsibility, and public service anonymity.

c. The convention of political neutrality does not apply to public service unions and it is widely accepted that if a public service union actively supports a political party it does not impede the ability of individual union members to perform their jobs in a politically neutral manner.

d. The fact that political neutrality of public servants is not part of the written constitution does not detract from their centrality to Canada’s constitutional system.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

CCQ1007.09.10. Among statements a-d pertaining to the UK Civil Service Skills and Knowledge Framework choose one that is invalid or choose e if all are reasonably valid.

a. UK civil service policy professionals are expected to be able to consider and balance evidence, politics, and delivery at whatever stage the policy is at.

b. UK civil service policy professionals are expected to be able to understand and manage the political context by monitoring the political context and giving timely, honest, objective and impartial advice and recommendations to respond to the changing context in which Ministers operate.

c. UK civil service policy professionals are expected to be able to respond to the change in relationship with ministers at different stages of policy development; balancing the political view with other considerations.

d. UK civil service policy professionals are expected to be able to support ministers’ engagement with parliament and enable public accountability in their area.

e. All of a-d are reasonably valid.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 2 November 2017.

Image: The ‘Yes Minister’ guides for civil servants, The Telegraph, 26 February 2011, at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/8349709/The-Yes-Minister-guides-for-civil-servants.html, accessed 18 August 2016.