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The Secretariat System of Bangladesh


Since the British colonial days, the Secretariat (Bangladesh’s equivalent of the Whitehall) has been the pivot around which the entire system of public administration works. It may be described as the nerve center of all governmental activities, where policies are conceived, initiated, designed, and apportioned to field agencies for implementation. The Secretariat refers to a conglomerate of all ministries and divisions under them. The principal purpose of the Secretariat is to establish among discrete self-contained hierarchical units a formal network of authority relationships,
control, command, and communication to maximize co-ordination and to achieve an integrative approach to governance. Specifically, its role is to: formulate public policy; undertake administrative planning; evaluate policy and plan implementation; frame legislation, rules, and regulations; formulate sectored plans and programs; prepare budget and control expenditure; co-ordinate policies; interpret policies; supervise personnel management of cadre personnel in Ministry/ Divisions and higher level personnel in statutory bodies and attached departments and subordinate offices; and advise and assist ministers in their administrative duties/responsibilities vis-à-vis parliament. In shaping public policies, the Secretariat collects, collates analyses, evaluates, and synthesizes data, facts, figures, and evidence. (Zafarullah: 1998)