New Public Administration Reform Strategy Must be Made According to Citizen’s Needs

We called on Ministry of Public Administration to make the process of drafting the Public Administration Reform Strategy in Montenegro 2021-2025 participatory and transparent, pointed out shortcomings of the current Strategy and made recommendations for future improvement of it

On what values and principles process of preparing a new Strategy should be based?

The planning process of Strategy, which should ensure the efficiency and openness of the state administration in the next five years, must begin by analysing the current situation in the process of public administration reform. Firstly, it’s necessary to look at those areas where there is no real progress, the most problematic areas, as well as those areas whose importance has been forgotten, neglected or underestimated.

Public administration reform must be thorough, and must not be formality which intention is to meet technical requirements of the European Union and other international and foreign organisations. Work on Public Administration Reform can’t be simulated, especially in those segments of reform that lack the political will to improve.

Public Administration Reform Strategy must not be based on questions, assumptions, future analyses, and must not be overloaded with indicators of success which is false presentation of improvement and must not justify its non-content by leaving key strategic issues to other strategies.

Who should be involved in the process of drafting the Strategy?

In order to map out causes of the issues in administration reform, we believe that it is important to encourage participation of all, especially individuals and groups who propose critical questions, provide innovative answers and solutions. Constructive proposals, as well as criticism, will make a greater contribution to the reforms than the parallel networks of supporters of the Ministry of Public Administration and the Government.

Also, one of the suggestions that we sent to the Ministry of Public Administration is consultation in timely manner and involvement of a wider range of institutions, not only the Ministry of Public Administration and, to a lesser extent, General Secretariat of Government and Ministry of Finance, in order to ensure that authorities understand the obligations that Strategy will stipulate. It is necessary to enable the participation of all interested sides, primarily citizens who are users of services, then institutions both at central and local level, employees/civil servants, civil society organisations and courts. It is important to ensure the participation of representatives of the Protector of Human Rights and Freedoms, Administrative Court, Agency for Prevention of Corruption as well as the Committee on Political System, Judiciary and Administration of the Parliament of Montenegro.

Where to find existing information, and what information are missing?

It’s necessary that all analytical materials produced within the process of implementation of the Strategy 2016-2020 (at least 11 analyses) are consolidated and publicly available, in order to be used for more thorough planning of aims and activities in the new strategy. Also, it’s necessary to determine what information is missing and what needs to be done. Thus, Report on external evaluation of the implementation of Strategy is not published, and Report on the implementation of the Action Plan for the implementation of the Public Administration Reform Strategy for the first half of 2019 is not adopted, as well as report for second half of 2019.

What should we focus on, what should be improved, what we should discuss?

Of special importance in the next cycle of public administration reform is to put a focus on the area of ​​administrative services, through the segment of further development of electronic services on the one hand, and improvement of traditional counter services on the other hand. Administrative services must be additionally connected to optimisation in a broader sense, organisation of work and rationalisation of a number of employees in the state administration. Also, it is necessary to envisage a systematic extension of the principles of employment stipulated by the Law on Civil Servants and State Employees to the entire public administration.

Regarding accountability, Public Administration Reform Strategy needs to ensure compliance with the Law on Free Access to Information in the area of ​​proactive disclosure of information and encourage expansion of the scope of published information beyond the legally required minimum.

In addition, we proposed opening of discussion on improving system of establishment, management and supervision of work of state owned enterprises and public institutions, as well as a reasonable, long-term and sustainable solving of “conflicts” between state and local government in terms of services and budget.

Finally, we suggested integration of the Public Administration Reform Strategy and strategies that are currently being developed or those which development will start during the drafting of the Strategy for the period 2021-2025 (Digital Transformation Strategy of Montenegro 2021 – 2025, Strategy on the Openness of Government of Montenegro 2021-2025 (…), the continuation of the Public Financial Management Reform Programme 2016-2020, as well as the new Public Administration Optimisation Plan).

Institute Alternative Team

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