Strengthening of Public Institutions
Title: Programme for strengthening of public institutions in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Lead executing agency: Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office (PARCO)
Overall term: 2010 to 2019
The complex administrative structure in Bosnia and Herzegovina stems from the Dayton Peace Agreement of 1995. It includes a very large number of public institutions, with more than 70 at state level alone. All of these institutions vie for scarce financial resources in the weak economic conditions that prevail today. Reforms to the public administration in Bosnia and Herzegovina are therefore urgently needed before any further national economic and social development can take place, or if progress is to be made in the EU integration process.
Due to the heterogeneous political system, implementation of the Public Administration Reform Strategy as adopted in 2006 was very slow and came to a formal end in 2014. The responsible institutions have since been working on a follow-up strategy, but public administration reform still remains at an early stage, and is hampered by highly politicised interests and inefficient service delivery. Public institutions do not adequately apply principles of transparency and accountability in public administration, or achieve effective and efficient public service delivery.
Selected public institutions apply principles of public administration for transparent, accountable, effective and efficient public service delivery.
GIZ is implementing the programme jointly with the Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office (PARCO). Activities also entail direct cooperation with the Civil Service Agency, the Directorate for European Integration (DEI), the Public Procurement Review Body and the Public Procurement Agency.
The programme operates in three intervention areas: 1) policy development and coordination, 2) improvement of accountability and 3) improvement of the quality of public service delivery. It provides bilateral process and advisory services and technical advice in selected reform areas, aimed at strengthening the capacities of the partner institutions to coordinate and implement reform measures. Through ongoing cooperation with selected public institutions in inter-institutional thematic working groups and other platforms, the programme is able to further develop successfully piloted initiatives. This enables partner institutions to disseminate the successes and products developed to other interested public institutions, therefore ensuring their sustainability and up scaling.
Focusing on PARCO and DEI as the main institutions for public administration reform and European integration, the programme provided technical expertise to the vertical and horizontal coordination in order to improve the overall quality and effectiveness of the coordination processes. It organised roundtables, workshops, conferences, training and publications to enhance the capacities of the partner institutions. As a result, DEI and PARCO have improved their efficiency and functionality, specifically in terms of providing support to other institutions involved in the processes of public administration reform and European integration.
The partner institutions (PARCO, DEI, the Statistics Agency BHAS, and the Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance) have developed a Policy of Proactive Transparency in Public Administration. The programme provided technical advice to the development process, in close collaboration with civil society organisations such as Transparency International BiH, the Centre for Social Research Analitika, and the Centre for Investigative Journalism. Following implementation of the policy, a 2016 survey showed that the institutions fulfilled 77 per cent of the 38 defined standards of proactive disclosure of information, which placed them in the top four of the 70 public bodies at state level.
In the field of human resource management, with technical support from the programme, the Civil Service Agency (CSA) has developed a Rulebook on Competency-Based Job Interviews in the Civil Service. As the first publication of its kind, this has improved recruitment practices and increased the transparency of the processes involved.
In the area of public procurement and e-governance, the capacities and qualifications of the civil servants responsible for public procurement procedures have improved. Also with programme support, a website has been developed which provides an easily accessible, transparent and user-friendly e-procurement system. This is an important tool for improving the efficiency, accessibility and transparency of public procurement. The Procurement Review Body has introduced a document management system, which is helping it to become a more effective, efficient and transparent body and supports it in making its decisions available to the public.
Several partner institutions have introduced quality management systems to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their services and ensure a citizen-centred approach to service delivery. Following capacity development measures provided by the programme, PARCO has become the resource centre for the Common Assessment Framework (CAF), a quality management model for the public sector. It has since promoted the countrywide introduction of CAF in public administration. At the same time, PARCO, CSA and the Institute for Standardisation of BiH (BAS) have developed a Quality Management Action Plan 2016-18, as well as a handbook on conducting client satisfaction surveys.