The discussion held today on the Draft Strategy on the Public Administration Reform for the next four-year period resembled a presentation of an incomplete document, which was neither attended by interested citizens nor it has offered enough material to the attendees, taking into consideration that the key segments of the Strategy have not been determined yet.
Besides the representatives who attended the meeting on behalf of Institute alternative, no other representative from the civil society took part in the discussion.
Only two suggestions regarding the Draft Strategy were presented during the discussion and both of them had an affirmative and positive connotation. We should point out that the draft has been put on public debate in the very beginning of August, in the period of vacations.
Milena Milošević from IA has pointed out that the document is still very imprecise, and lacks both indicators and the measurable aims, although, in principle, it follows the structure of the Principles of Public Administration for the countries of the region.
Marko Sošić, also from IA, has emphasised the specific shortcomings of this document when it comes to defining the priorities in management of public finances and coordination of the public policies. “The baseline indicators are missing. If we had them, we could talk about the current state of affairs and the problems we want to solve, and thus we could define what exactly are the measures from the Strategy trying to achieve”, said Sošić.
It was said that there is still considerable work to be done, such as setting up benchmarks and concrete indicators on the basis of which will be to monitor implementation and success of the new strategy. However, the Ministry of Interior announced that this next phase of work will not be followed by a new round of public hearing.
It seems that the intention was to check a to do: organise an event, announce a call regardless of the fact that the outreach was poor, that stakeholders were not motivated to show up or provide contribution. Institute Alternative consider that this is not the right approach to a true public consultation about a strategic document.
Citizens are not interested to find more about a Strategy that should streamline the efforts to reform the work of administration, that affects their daily lives: ranging from the speed with which will be able to register a company or get personal documents, to the equal treatment when applying for work in state bodies.
As a reminder, Stevo Muk, president of IA’s Managing Board, was appointed as a NGO representative in the working group for drafting the Strategy. However, he left the first meeting of the working group held in late July, after being informed about the intention to prepare the draft Strategy and start the public debate in only three days. It turned out that such haste was unjustified, additionally by today’s admission that the document under public discussion was not whole, that there are still parts missing.
We will submit our suggestions in a timely manner (deadline to submit comments on draft PAR strategy expires on October 1st), before the official end of the public debate. However, we will not give legitimacy to this approach, according to which an incomplete and early draft of an important reform document is put to a public debate, with a minimum of adherence to legal requirements. On the other hand, the remaining work that will provide substance to the general guidelines from the strategy is left to a selected few, without public insight.
Institute alternative Team