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Monitoring the implementation of the public administration reform and resource distribution
Monitoring the implementation of the public administration reform and resource distribution
On 18th of July, 2018, Transparency International-Moldova and the Institute for Urban Development launched the report „Monitoring the implementation of the public administration reform and resource distribution” developed within the project "Strengthening the State of Law and Democracy: the Contribution of Civil Society" supported financially by the Embassy of the Netherlands in Bucharest through the Responsibility Fund Program.
The scope of this study is to monitor the implementation of the Action Plan for 2016-2018 for the implementation of the Public Administration Reform Strategy for 2016-2020 (AP of the PAR Strategy), to follow up on the progress, identify difficulties in the implementation of this reform and to work out recommendations for improvement.
The study monitored the planned reform of the public administration for the period June 2017 - May 2018, evaluating the level of achievement of the result indicators.
Monitoring the implementation of the AP of the PAR Strategy during the reference period reveals the following general findings:
Public administration reform is a priority assumed by the Government as a prerequisite for reforming other sectors. The reform is based on the PAR Strategy developed with support and international expertise. Although the Public Administration Reform Strategy is broadly a good document, the Action Plan of the PAR Strategy does not always correspond to the problems identified by it. A number of result indicators are confusing, unclear and do not meet general and specific objectives. The Action Plan was developed in a hurry without sufficient consultation of the associative and academic environment.
The PAR Strategy provides for a monitoring of its implementation at government level and includes procedures, terms, responsibilities and forms of half-yearly and annual reporting. However, over two years after the Strategy was approved, the authorities did not publish any official report on the results of its implementation.
Implementation of planned actions is made with delays and deviations from the Action Plan. For the period June 2017 - May 2018 in the AP of the PAR Strategy, 20 actions were planned with 47 result indicators. Out of these indicators almost half are still under way, 1/3 - they have not been achieved and only a little over 1/5 of them have been achieved within the deadline and beyond the set deadline.
During the monitoring process there were multiple cases when the authorities avoided responding to formal requests for public information, provided evasive answers, or provided similar answers to several different indicators. This rather speaks of a possible lack of awareness on the implementation status of these actions, an insufficient co-operation between authorities and their partners, or an eventual loss of institutional memory as a result of the reorganisation of public authority. In some situations, the partner authorities noted that they were not at all contacted or involved by the responsible institution in any joint action.
Ministerial reorganisations made in the first stage of implementing the reform have not yet delivered the expected effect and have no expected impact on the other planned strategy actions. Thus, in the reorganisation and merging of ministries, some areas with counterbalance competencies (eg agriculture and the environment, medicine and social protection) have come to be managed by a single ministry, which generated conflicting functions/attributions. The mechanism for assessing needs and costs that would argue for the creation and reorganisation of public authorities and institutions has not been developed. The methodology of self-evaluation of public authorities and institutions has not been developed. In the context of the reorganisations, a number of new entities have been created, the activity of which is invisible to the general public (eg the Reform Implementation Centre, the Prime Minister's Control Corps).
Actions to improve the strategic planning and policy-making system aligned with the budget process and connected to the SIGMA principles of public administration are stagnating. The methodological documents on the decision-making process, the drafting, approval, monitoring and evaluation of public policy documents have not been elaborated. Even if some strategic documents of the new ministerial structures have either been elaborated or are in the process of elaboration, the process is carried out based on old methodological approaches. The State Chancellery has started the procedure for improving the system of planning, monitoring and recording of policies, but the process has not yet finished.
The quality of some normative acts elaborated for the implementation of the PAR Strategy is poor, particularly those related to the delimitation of public property, desirable.
Although in the context of reform it is extremely important to ensure access to information and compliance with the rigors of decisional transparency, the existing situation shows deviations from these requirements. The monitoring results reveal that some of the draft legal acts, policy documents, methodologies were not subject to public consultations and debates. The web sites of the central public authorities have not been sufficiently up-to-date; they often do not publish mandatory information such as: planned and executed budgets; public procurement results; anti-corruption activities; the results of the controls carried out in the authorities. The vacancies are contained in the abrogated normative acts.
Focusing the attention of public authorities only on reforming the central administration structures has led to arrears in the area of decentralization actions and the consolidation of local autonomy. One of the most sensitive and long-awaited actions - administrative-territorial reform, remains a topic that generates speculation and controversial exchange of views. Although it was planned for completion by the end of 2017, it is still unclear what is planned and how the administrative-territorial reform will be carried out. The working group on the subject of reform activates non-transparently. Public consultations with key actors are conducted without a clear concept and without conclusive predictions and approaches. The Study and the Roadmap on Administrative –Territorial Reform are not known to the public. All this amplifies the lack of consensus on the implementation of administrative-territorial reform.
The actions to develop the normative and methodological framework for the delimitation of competencies, the modernization of the public services, the increase of their efficiency, the increase of the accessibility and the implementation of the quality and cost standards, the elaboration of the tariff calculation methodologies are still in the process of extensive examination within the different CPA structures.
The process of strengthening institutional and professional capacities at the level of CPA and LPA that could ensure the effective implementation of the reform and the provision of public services is achieved with syncope. Although it has been planned to develop several training programs for civil servants from the CPA and LPA and to conduct training courses, these have been accomplished only partially. There is insufficient communication between the State Chancellery and the Academy of Public Administration in carrying out actions to strengthen professional capacities.
Over the past two years, the phenomenon of political migration in the Moldovan public administration has reached unprecedented proportions. Expansion of this phenomenon would be explained by corruption or "buying political support", as well as by amplifying the practices of threatening and intimidating local elected representatives. Hundreds of mayors and members of local councils have left their parties, many of them claiming they have been harassed by justice or lacking resources. This phenomenon destroys the "check and balance" mechanism from the side of society and erodes the possibilities of the population to punish local elected officials who have not justified the expectations.
Despite improvements generated by the implementation of a new system of inter-budgetary relations, the allocation of financial resources from the state budget and existing government funds is still used as a means of agreeing "political loyalty" and stimulating "political migration" of local elected representatives. Even more alarming are the media signals that the results of collecting signatures in the list of donations in favour of the ruling party (PDM) serve as a base for the distribution of funds. Thus, by falsifying the lists of political party donors, the means of important projects for localities are put in place.
In addition to the technical recommendations set out for each of the monitored actions (see the annex|), the following general recommendations were formulated in the study:
• Updating the Action Plan content of the PAR Strategy, reviewing planned actions and outcome indicators to adjust them to the problems identified in the Strategy;
• Synchronising the planned actions in the PAR Strategy and National Decentralization Strategy, especially on such components as decentralization of patrimony, skills, services;
• Organising broad consultations on Action Plan adjustments to the PAR Strategy with CPA and LPA representatives, associative and academic environment to correlate the issues identified in the Strategy with planned actions, progress indicators and specific objectives;
• Ensuring genuine process of public consultations and debates on draft normative acts (laws, government decisions) implementing the implementation of reform actions;
• Ensuring transparency over the implementation of the PAR Strategy, in particular the publication of semestrial and annual reports on its implementation;
• Ensuring transparency of the work of public authorities, especially newly created entities under the reform (Centre for the Implementation of Reforms, Prime Minister's Control Body, etc.), updating the public authorities’ web pages;
• Finalising the conceptual documents (studies, reforming models, etc.) and starting as soon as possible wide consultations on the subject of the administrative-territorial reorganization of the Republic of Moldova;
• Strengthening and expanding in Action Plan of the PAR Strategy of the LPA capacities building component, particularly on public property management, sustainable development, writing application for funds, elaboration of sustainable development strategies, etc;
• Eliminating the practice of resource allocation from the state budget and government funds on political criteria. Taking by the law enforcement bodies a proper attitude towards the cases of fraudulent distribution of funds reported by the media.
The Institute for Urban Development
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