Principles of Public Administration

Short introduction to the “Principles of Public Administration"

The Principles of Public Administration outline six key reform areas for developing an integrated and well-functioning public administration for the EU enlargement countries in their process of joining. These principles are continuation of effort of the European Commission to progressively define the concept of “good administration”. Firstly, with the definition in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and following with the concept of “European Administrative Space” that used to attach universal principles of public administration to the administrative systems and practices in the EU. Since November 2014, the Principles of Public Administration represent the latest development, and are developed by the OECD/SIGMA (link) in close cooperation with the European Commission.

The Principles of Public Administration for the six core reform areas are accompanied by the analytical and monitoring framework for monitoring and reviewing progress of the countries in enlargement process, using detailed methodology. Ultimately, application of these Principles should indicate the capacity of administration to implement EU requirement, i.e. apply the EU acquis

Visit PAR Resource Centre section for the full text of the SIGMA Principles of Public Administration, methodology, and progress reports for all Western Balkan countries.

PAR Monitor and the Principles

Having in mind the amount of attention given to the public administration reform (PAR) by the European Commission in the enlargement process, and strict conditions the EU sets before the Western Balkan countries in their ongoing reforms using the Principles, WeBER is using the general framework set out by the Principles to advocate for local demand and support to public administration reform processes in these countries, beyond the EU conditionality. The involvement of civil society and media organisations in PAR monitoring and influencing the dialogue in these countries is, hence, the ultimate aim of WeBER as these organisations are key external stakeholders in holding the administrations accountable, and are capable of increasing and maintaining local demand for better public services and handling of administration. More precisely, WeBER seeks to increase the relevance, participation and capacity of civil society organisations and media in the WB to advocate for and influence the design and implementation of PAR.

In pursuing its goal, WeBER strongly leans on the Principles of Public Administration for creating this pressure, but through the development of own, distinct methodology embodied in PAR Monitor. Main focus of the PAR Monitor methodology is on the involvement of civil society and its role of an “external scrutiniser” of administration. Ultimately, PAR Monitor will create evidence base for the informed dialogue on PAR, and it will produce regional and national monitoring reports.

Key Areas and the Principles

PRINCIPLE 1: The government has developed and enacted an effective public administration reform agenda which addresses key challenges.

PRINCIPLE 2: Public administration reform is purposefully implemented; reform outcome targets are set and regularly monitored.

PRINCIPLE 3: The financial sustainability of public administration reform is ensured.

PRINCIPLE 4: Public administration reform has robust and functioning management co-ordination structures at both the political and administrative levels to steer the reform design and implementation process.

PRINCIPLE 1: Centre-of-government institutions fulfil all functions critical to a well organised, consistent and competent policy-making system.

PRINCIPLE 2: Clear horizontal procedures for governing the national European integration process are established and enforced under the co-ordination of the responsible body.

PRINCIPLE 3: Harmonised medium-term policy planning is in place, with clear whole-of-government objectives, and is aligned with the financial circumstances of the government; sector policies meet the government objectives and are consistent with the medium-term budgetary framework.

PRINCIPLE 4: A harmonised medium-term planning system is in place for all processes relevant to European integration and is integrated into domestic policy planning.

PRINCIPLE 5: Regular monitoring of the government’s performance enables public scrutiny and and supports the government in achieving its objectives.

PRINCIPLE 6: Government decisions are prepared in a transparent manner and based on the administration’s professional judgement; legal conformity of the decisions is ensured.

PRINCIPLE 7: The parliament scrutinises government policy making. 

PRINCIPLE 8: The organisational structure, procedures and staff allocation of the ministries ensure that developed policies and legislation are implementable and meet government objectives.

PRINCIPLE 9: The European integration procedures and institutional set-up form an integral part of the policy-development process and ensure systematic and timely transposition of the acquis.

PRINCIPLE 10:The policy-making and legal-drafting process is evidence-based, and impact assessment is consistently used across ministries.

PRINCIPLE 11: Policies and legislation are designed in an inclusive manner that enables the active participation of society and allows for co-ordination of different perspectives within the government. 

PRINCIPLE 12: Legislation is consistent in structure, style and language; legal drafting requirements are applied consistently across ministries; legislation is made publicly available.

PRINCIPLE 1: The scope of public service is adequate, clearly defined and applied in practice.

PRINCIPLE 2: The policy and legal frameworks for a professional and coherent public service are established and applied in practice; the institutional set-up enables consistent and effective human resource management practices across the public service.

PRINCIPLE 3: The recruitment of public servants is based on merit and equal treatment in all its phases; the criteria for demotion and termination of public servants are explicit.

PRINCIPLE 4: Direct or indirect political influence on senior managerial positions in the public service is prevented.

PRINCIPLE 5: The remuneration system of public servants is based on the job classifications; it is fair and transparent. 

PRINCIPLE 6:The professional development of public servants is ensured; this includes regular training, fair performance appraisal, and mobility and promotion based on objective and transparent criteria and merit. 

PRINCIPLE 7:  Measures for promoting integrity, preventing corruption and ensuring discipline in the public service are in place. 

PRINCIPLE 1: The overall organisation of central government is rational, follows adequate policies and regulations and provides for appropriate internal, political, judicial, social and independent accountability.

PRINCIPLE 2: The right to access public information is enacted in legislation and consistently applied in practice.

PRINCIPLE 3: Functioning mechanisms are in place to protect both the rights of the individual to good administration and the public interest.

PRINCIPLE 4: Fair treatment in administrative disputes is guaranteed by internal administrative appeals and judicial reviews.

PRINCIPLE 5: The public authorities assume liability in cases of wrongdoing and guarantee redress and/or adequate compensation.

PRINCIPLE 1: Policy for citizen-oriented state administration is in place and applied.

PRINCIPLE 2: Good administration is a key policy objective underpinning the delivery of public service, enacted in legislation and applied consistently in practice.

PRINCIPLE 3: Mechanisms for ensuring the quality of public services are in place.

PRINCIPLE 4: The accessibility of public services is ensured.

PRINCIPLE 1: The government publishes a medium-term budgetary framework on a general government basis that is founded on credible forecasts and covers a minimum period of the three years; all budget organisations operate within it.

PRINCIPLE 2: The budget is formulated in line with the national legal framework, with comprehensive spending appropriations that are consistent with the medium-term budgetary framework and are observed.

PRINCIPLE 3: The ministry of finance (or authorised central treasury authority) centrally controls disbursement of funds from the treasury single account and ensures cash liquidity.

PRINCIPLE 4: There is a clear debt management strategy in place and implemented so that the country’s overall debt target is respected and debt servicing costs are kept under control.

PRINCIPLE 5: Transparent budget reporting and scrutiny are ensured.

PRINCIPLE 6: The operational framework for internal control defines responsibilities and powers, and its application by the budget organisations is consistent with the legislation governing public financial management and the public administration in general.

PRINCIPLE 7: Each public organisation implements internal control in line with the overall internal control policy.

PRINCIPLE 8: The operational framework for internal audit reflects international standards, and its application by the budget organisations is consistent with the legislation governing public administration and public financial management in general.

PRINCIPLE 9: Each public organisation implements internal audit in line with the overall internal audit policy documents, as appropriate for the organisation.

PRINCIPLE 10: Public procurement regulations (including public-private partnerships and concessions) are aligned with the European Union acquis, include additional areas not covered by the acquis, are harmonised with corresponding regulations in other fields, and are duly enforced.

PRINCIPLE 11: There is central institutional and administrative capacity to develop, implement and monitor procurement policy effectively and efficiently.

PRINCIPLE 12: The remedies system is aligned with the European Union acquis standards of independence, probity and transparency and provides for rapid and competent handling of complaints and sanctions.

PRINCIPLE 13: Public procurement operations comply with basic principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination, proportionality and transparency, while ensuring the most efficient use of public funds and making the best use of modern procurement techniques and methods.

PRINCIPLE 14: Contracting authorities and entities have the appropriate capacities and practical guidelines and tools to ensure professional management of the full procurement cycle.

PRINCIPLE 15: The independence, mandate and organisation of the supreme audit institution are established and protected by the constitutional and legal frameworks and respected in practice.

PRINCIPLE 16: The supreme audit institution applies standards in a neutral and objective manner to ensure high-quality audits that positively impact on the functioning of the public sector.