Administrative reform

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As administrative reform is called the CONSTRUCTION or procedural and organizational restructuring of the public administration .

Theoretical approaches for the administrative reform are provided by Niklas Luhmann's system theory in addition to the transfer of private-sector product management to administrative activities .

The administrative sciences deal scientifically with the reform of public administrations and develop practical proposals for changing them.

Historical development

In the GDR , with the administrative reform of 1952 , the 15 districts that existed until 1990 were formed from 5 provinces or countries and the “democratic (Soviet) sector” of Berlin.

In the Federal Republic in the 1960s and 1970s approaches dominated local government reform and functional reforms such as devolution between the administrative levels federal , states and municipalities . At the same time, attempts were made to align the administration more closely with rational planning, but this failed in view of the economic crisis in the mid-1970s. In this context, the government and administrative reform project group was set up in 1968 .

Since the 1980s, the new municipal financial management and the public reform administration , also known as the new control model in Germany , have been established in local government . Another question concerns the transparency of public administration and the participation of citizens in administrative decisions, for example in urban and infrastructure planning ( citizens' commune ). It is also about the fight against corruption , for example by extending the information rights of citizens in freedom of information laws , in the USA by the Freedom of Information Act .

Since the turn of the millennium, more or less drastic changes have been made in the organization of the German state administrations , in particular according to the principle of one-room distribution . Comprehensive reform packages that contain both functional and structural reform elements are being implemented. In terms of scope and effects, these reforms surpass all previous administrative reforms of the post-war period in some federal states, particularly in Baden-Württemberg, Lower Saxony or other things. The success of these projects is controversial both in terms of the resulting quality of the administrative service and in terms of the savings that can be achieved.


The main aim of the administrative reform is to increase the effectiveness and economy of the administration. Budget consolidation is the main driving force . In the 21st century, there are also the requirements for a dynamic civil society and changes in the relationship between state, economy and society.


A distinction can be made between internal reforms, functional reforms , structural reforms and territorial reforms.

Internal reforms aim to change internal processes and human resources, with functional reforms tasks are shifted between the different administrative levels such as ministries, central authorities and municipalities, structural reforms intervene in the external structure of the administration, territorial reforms change the layout of the territorial areas of responsibility (municipal, District and administrative district cuttings).

One of the core problems of the internal reform is public service law and a specific incentive system for employees with above-average performance ( incentives ).

Criticism of internal reform

There is no economic competition for state acts of sovereignty with legally regulated jurisdiction . Unlike private-sector goods and services, they do not have a market price. In contrast to the price for a bread roll, which arises from supply and demand, a "price" for the issue of a driver's license, for example, is much more difficult to determine.

In order to evaluate public service processes and thus to obtain the key values ​​for a reform, one uses the service catalogs. If possible, all services provided by an administration are recorded and evaluated in a service catalog.

The actual status of the administration can then be compared with a target status based on this catalog. In an analysis process, an attempt is then made to achieve the target key figures through changes in the administration process.

Since public administration is bound by the principles of primacy and reservation of the law , it cannot only be measured by the quantity of its results, but must also take quality into account. One example of this is the consideration of contradictions . If the number of contradictions increases, there may be an error in the administrative procedure in that decisions are brought about quickly, but without sufficiently examining the facts and meeting the legal requirements for a decision. If one were only to make the number of administrative acts issued as a parameter, the administration would not be served if at the same time their quality did not meet the legal requirements. One speaks here of a conflict of goals , in which a factual goal (speed) has to be reconciled with a formal goal (compliance with the law).

Useful examples

Practical results of an administrative reform are, for example, the establishment of "town houses" based on the model of private service centers , in which authorities with different subject areas of responsibility are brought together and a life issue such as a social emergency can be dealt with in a citizen-oriented and needs-oriented manner, for example social, youth and Housing Office including debt counseling and addiction counseling are united under one roof.

In 1990 they returned to the division of the East German states into districts.

The state of Lower Saxony abolished its district governments on January 1, 2005 .

See also


  • Jörg Bogumil , Lars Holtkamp , Leo Kißler, Sabine Kuhlmann, Christoph Reichard, Karsten Schneider, Hellmut Wollmann : Perspectives on municipal administrative modernization . Practical consequences from the new control model . Edition Sigma, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-8360-7230-4 .
  • Jörg Bogumil, Stephan Grohs, Sabine Kuhlmann, Anna K. Ohm: Ten Years of the New Control Model. A balance sheet of municipal administrative modernization . Edition Sigma, Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-89404-779-5 .
  • Jörg Bogumil, Falk Ebinger: Administrative policy in the federal states - From the stepchild to the darling of politics . In: Achim Hildebrandt, Frieder Wolf (ed.): The politics of the federal states. Policy fields and institutional politics . Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-531-15418-3 , pp. 275-288 .
  • Martin Brüggemeier / Klaus Lenk (eds.): Reduction of bureaucracy in administrative enforcement. Better Regulation between Go-Government and No-Government, Berlin: edition sigma 2011, ISBN 978-3-89404-842-6
  • Jürgen Nagel: The implementation of administrative management reforms and the contribution of external organizational consulting. The case study of the new management and control system in Berlin . Publishing house Dr. Kovac, Hamburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-8300-4501-4 .
  • Patrick von Maravic / Birger P. Priddat (eds.): Public - Private: Administration as interface management. Contributions to the reorganization of State 1, Marburg: Metropolis 2008
  • Stefan Jung : The form of the reform. A system and form theoretical reconstruction of the administrative reform as a contribution to the theory of the reform. Marburg: Metropolis 2008
  • Sabine Mecking : Citizens will and regional reform. Democracy development and reorganization of state and society in North Rhine-Westphalia 1965–2000 . Munich: Oldenbourg 2012, ISBN 978-3-486-70314-6 .
  • Sabine Mecking / Janbernd Oebbecke (eds.): Between efficiency and legitimacy. Municipal territorial and functional reforms in the Federal Republic of Germany from a historical and current perspective . Paderborn u. a .: Ferdinand Schöningh 2009, ISBN 978-3-506-76852-0 .
  • Christian Jock (Ed.) On behalf of the Subcommittee on General Administrative Organization of Working Group VI of the Conference of Interior Ministers: Activities in the field of state and administrative modernization in the federal states and at the federal level 2008–2010 , Speyer 2011, ISBN 978-3-941738-05-8 .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Falk Ebinger, Jörg Bogumil: Limits of Subsidiarity - Administrative Reform and Localization in the States . In: Angelika Vetter, Hubert Heinelt (Ed.): Local Political Research Today . Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-531-15803-7 , pp. 165–196 (series: “Stadtforschung aktuell”).
  2. Civic Engagement: On the Way to a Sustainable Civil Society Report of the Study Commission "Future of Civic Engagement". BT printed matter 14/8900 of June 3, 2002
  3. cf. Concept of the Social Citizens' Houses of the City of Munich Status: May 2014
  4. Jörg Bogumil, Falk Ebinger: Lower Saxony: The abolition of the district governments in Lower Saxony - and what Baden-Württemberg can learn from it RP REPORT 4/2012, p. 22 ff.