Uruguay traditionally has had a sizable civil service organization. Civil service regulations determined conditions for admission to the service as a career. In accordance with these regulations for service in the national government, departmental governments adopted regulations for their own civil service personnel. Permanent career status was achieved after a fairly short probationary period.
The Sanguinetti government reestablished the National Office of the Civil Service (Oficina Nacional del Servicio Civil--ONSC), which the military regime had abolished, as the technical advisory organ specializing in administrative reform matters. The ONSC publicized its ideas on change and reform by sponsoring academic, public, and international seminars and roundtables.
The ONSC's duties included controlling the entrance of personnel into the public administration and streamlining public institutions. Under Sanguinetti, the ONSC also implemented course requirements for civil service managers and, with the assistance of France's National School of Public Administration (Ecole Nationale d'Administration Publique), created a "training course for high executives of the central administration." During the first twenty years since its creation in 1969, the ONSC trained or provided technical assistance to some 4,000 public employees, more than one-third of them between 1986 and 1988.
Following ONSC guidelines, the Sanguinetti government restructured the civil service and reassigned 1,787 workers. At the end of 1988, the state employed a total of 271,124 workers (approximately 20 percent of the labor force), who included 1,281 members of the legislative branch, 106,455 members of the executive branch, 5,132 members of the judicial branch, 117,423 members of the autonomous entities, and 40,833 members of the departmental governments.
Over twenty autonomous entities administered certain national industrial and commercial services. These agencies were divided into two general classifications: the first was concerned with education, welfare, and culture; the second, with industry and commerce.
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