Coordination (in public administration) liaison between different parts of one or more government organisations. Coordination may be either intra-organisational or inter-organisational. Coordination is intra-organisational when it involves linking of different parts of an organisation for achieving a common goal, whereas inter-organisational coordination means liaison between two or more organisations. Traditionally, public administration in Bangladesh has been divided into Secretariat and Field Administration. The secretariat consists of ministries and divisions headed by a minister or state minister. A ministry, in the same way, may consist of one or more divisions. Coordination in the secretariat is effected in various ways with the rules of business as a major instrument.

The rules of business provide for a mechanism of interministerial consultation on a range of issues that require approval of the cabinet or of the Prime Minister. There are also a number of cabinet committees on specified subjects through which coordination is ensured. In fact, political and administrative coordination is effected through the cabinet before whom no proposal can be placed without interministerial coordination. On development projects and issues concerning economic matters, there are the National Economic Council (NEC) and the executive committee of the national economic council (ECNEC), both headed by the Prime Minister.

Besides, schedule I of the Rules of Business sets out the allocation of functions for different ministries and divisions. This is done to avoid duplication of functions as well as to ensure coordination. In cases of conflicting views between ministries/divisions, the final decision is taken by the ministers concerned through consensus, and if not, by the cabinet.

The broad mechanism of securing interministerial coordination within each ministry and/or division is effected through the monthly Annual Development Programme review meetings generally chaired by the minister concerned. Furthermore, interagency coordination is also effected through monthly coordination meetings held in each ministry/division. This is generally chaired by the secretary.

Traditionally, the coordination in field administration has been to an extent the responsibility of the Deputy Commissioner in the district and the Upazila Nirbahi Officer in the upazila. This is done through a number of committees on specific subjects. There is also a development coordination committee in each district chaired by the deputy commissioner. However, the coordinative mechanism in the field is weak due to function-area conflict, and generalist-specialist controversy. The jurisdictional limits of some departments like the forest department and the department of roads and highways do not coincide with the limit of a district. Similar is the case with the parastatal bodies working in such areas as power and water resources. Besides, following the abolition of the elite cadre concept in the service structure, the generalist-specialist controversy has gained momentum. All these impede the process of coordination at the field level. However, as there has not been any elected council at the district level since 1972, coordination is still the responsibility of the deputy commissioner. [AMM Shawkat Ali]

Bibliography Cabinet Division, Government of Bangladesh.