Public administration reforms (PAR) in the Western Balkans (WB) are at present thoroughly and regularly assessed against the Principles of Public Administration, developed jointly by the European Commission and SIGMA/OECD. These principles provide a roadmap for horizontal functioning of the administrative systems their importance is seen through the EU accession process. Their implementation is crucial for successfully completing the accession negotiations in the domain of good governance.
In order for an administration to function on the basis of principles of good governance, its sectoral institutions need to equally embed those principles in their functioning across all segments of operation – development of policies, management of human resources, provision of information to the public, service delivery and public finance management. In a way, Principles of public administration need to be “mainstreamed” into the functioning of each institution of the administration. In this context, “sectoral mainstreaming” means – the effective implementation of these principles by all civil servants and all institutions.
The design of methodological framework was guided by the idea that not all the Principles, or their specific aspects, can or should be monitored from the start, especially considering that this work is a pilot exercise. For this reason, methodological tools for monitoring PAR mainstreaming have been developed as “checklists”, meaning that for each PAR area the WeBER team defined a limited number of requirements that correspond to specific SIGMA Principles. The focus was placed on those principles where relevance for civil society and wider public interest is the highest, such as principles relating to openness and transparency of policymaking, provision of information to the public by the institutions, transparency of recruitment procedures for the civil service jobs, etc.
There are six checklists in total, which follow five PAR areas defined by the SIGMA Principles. The first area of the Principles, Strategic framework for public administration reform (SFPAR), was excluded in the development of the monitoring methodology for PAR mainstreaming, as it does not directly translate to sectoral approach and focuses on the design and implementation of the horizontal PAR policies (such as PAR strategic documents, or strategies, programmes and plans for improving policymaking and regulatory process, provision of public services etc.). Since Public Finance Management is the largest PAR area, two checklists have been produced to cover budgetary policy and public procurement practices independently. It should be highlighted that checklists’ templates are public and open documents, and that they may go through further amendments and finetuning based on the lessons learned from the pilot exercise.
Final checklists are defined as follows:
- Checklist 1 – Policy Development and Coordination
- Checklist 2 – Public Service and Human Resource Management
- Checklist 3 – Accountability
- Checklist 4 – Service Delivery
- Checklist 5 – Public Finance Management (Budget management)
- Checklist 6 – Public Finance Management (Public Procurement).
In this pilot phase, PAR mainstreaming initiative resulted in 18 regional case studies/sectoral analyses, i.e., three case studies per WB country. Cases studies were mainly produced by the assessors from the CSOs involved in the WeBER Platform. In addition to performing the research and analysis needed to complete the checklists, the assessors were asked to provide assessment reports using a predefined report template. Each assessor performed monitoring and analysis for the checklist their organisation selected as its first or second preference.
Upon the finalisation of the assessors’ work, the regional report was compiled based on all case studies, drawing on key lessons learnt from this pilot exercise.
PAR Principles Mainstreaming in Sectoral Policies – Western Balkan Overview Reporting ENG