Wednesday, 8 June 2011


Elections, new Government on the making, some puzzles to be solved.

The first one, the size of the Government - the new-to-be prime-minister announced he would like to have a smaller number of Ministers, he has two paths for it:
a) concentrate Ministries, reorganizing them, this will take 4 to 6 months, perhaps more
b) keep Ministries as is, but have the same person accumulating posts across Ministries,

We do not have the time to go for option a), so it remains b), though the puzzle then is whether we have super-ministers or not ?

(Luis: I am waiting for your answer)


  1. Netherlands (16.8 Mio people, $676.9 billion (2010 est.) GDP PPP):
    1 Prime-Minister
    10 Ministers
    1 Minister without porfolio
    8 State secretaries
    Parliament: 225 seats (75 Senate, 150 House of Representatives)

    Portugal (10.8 Mio people, $247 billion (2010 est.) GDP PPP :
    1 Prime-Minister
    16 Ministers (2 holding 2 portfolios)
    37 State Secretaries
    Parliament: 230 seats

    A lot of fat to be cut. I leave one question: why do we have 3 ministers for Culture, Education and Science when these areas are intrinsically connected?

  2. No doubt we can have a smaller number of ministers, my question is about whether now they will have the time to merge services, or not merging how a minister overseeing several ministries at the same time will be operational.

    I may be wrong, but merging two ministries implies a new law defining the internal organization of the ministry? which takes time to write, publish officially and apply?

    What worries me is this trade-off for the next couple of months, in which a relatively large number of measures in the MoU have to be done.

  3. I suppose the State can be seen (even if naively) as simply a set of DG's, institutes, offices, etc, grouped under a given number of ministries. In this case, is it really that difficult, from a legal perspective, to make some (marginal?) reassignments of these departments to a different set of ministries? Wouldn't one week or two be more than enough?

    I guess the really challenging aspect would be to make these departments get along together productively - but this will probably always be a work in progress, regardless of the structure. Anyway, maybe a more streamlined structure can foster cooperation, information sharing and synergies, while cutting costs?

  4. Pedro - just moving DG's would just save a couple of wages from ministers and secretaries of state, hardly a considerable saving; more interesting is to really change the way they work - to avoid, for example, citizens moving papers from one DG to the other, and make this flow internal to civil service.

    Moreover, changing DG from one ministry to another, means changing all stationery, at the least, and plates, and ....add at will

    Deleting DG and reformatting tasks to others is the way to go, but currently, can we afford the time to do it? (I keep going back to the same question, I know)