On 29 March 2018, Praxis held a conference to present the results of the project Contributing to Public Administration Reform in Kraljevo, within the framework of the Western Balkans Enabling Project for Civil Society Monitoring of Public Administration Reform (WeBER), financed by the European Union and co-financed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The conference was attended by representatives of local administrative bodies, civil society organisations and the media.
Marija Dražović from Praxis presented the project activities implemented in the period 1 June 2017 – 31 March 2018 and aimed at achieving the transparency of data on public administration reform at the local level, improving the service role of local administrative bodies and public awareness about it, improving the mechanisms of cooperation of the local self-government with citizens and civil society organisations and contributing to better embed the principles of public administration in local decisions and manner of providing services.
Based on the conducted research of the transparency of local self-government and the efficiency of local administrative bodies in Kraljevo, as well as monitoring of the application of the Law on General Administrative Procedure, Praxis has established that there is a significant space for improving the work of local administrative bodies in all areas, as presented in the report Contributing to Public Administration Reform in Kraljevo. Despite the efforts made in recent years in the field of public administration reform, both at the national and local level, there is no visible progress in some areas. The most serious gaps have been identified in the area of transparency of the work of administrative bodies, in particular regarding public participation in decision- and policy-making processes, since the participation of citizens and civil society organisations in such processes is almost non-existent. Consequently, there is no proactive approach in terms of improving the conditions and creating a conducive environment for the development of civil society at the local level.
The conference reiterated the role of civil society organisations and the media in raising awareness and knowledge of citizens about the progress of reforms and their significance for the European integration process through responsible and informed monitoring and reporting. On the other hand, the role of the local media in Kraljevo, as drivers of public debate, is not sufficiently developed in the area of public administration reform, due to both financial instability and insufficiently encouraging environment for the research of specific topics.
In the end, Praxis invited representatives of local self-government to invest additional efforts to ensure the respect for the principle of good governance. It was also stressed that the civil sector at the local level was a very important resource that should be used for achieving progress in the process of reform.