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19 05.17.

Public Service Delivery Reform towards EU Integration brings Western Balkan Ministers to Tirana

“If you are not failing every now and again, it’s a sign you’re not doing anything very innovative”, Woody Allen


The two-day conference “Public Service delivery across the Western Balkans” was held in Tirana and Durres (Albania), on 18-19 May 2017. 

This ministerial-level conference gathered together four Ministers from the Western Balkans Countries (WBC), high level participants from various countries, including 9 from EU member states, as well as countries from the region and representatives of  international organisations and institutions.

In the opening speech, Ms. Milena Harito, Minister for Innovation and Public Administration of the Republic of Albania, pointed out that the Albanian model being currently implemented “sets new standards on public service delivery, such as increased transparency, increased satisfaction on service delivery, shorter waiting time, less corruptive practices and higher efficiency.”

“We simply could not copy another example, since, at the time we were starting the public service reform, no adequate model was applicable in the WB countries. So we developed our own system and adjusted it to the needs of our citizens and businesses” Minister Milena Harito said.

The question on why to organize a conference on public service delivery was answered by Ms. Ratka Sekulovic, Director of the Regional School for Public Administration:

“The answer is quite simple. Governments’ institutions are mandated by law to provide services to citizens and businesses. Through various activities and networking events ReSPA strongly supports regional countries in order to achieve European standards and to have professional, transparent and citizen-oriented public administration,” she said.

The goal of the first day of the conference was to address all necessary preconditions for improving performance and quality of services provided to citizens and businesses, which will lead to rationalized, transparent and accountable new systems. The implementation of the Public Administration Reform remains a key priority for the accession agenda of the Western Balkans to the European Union.

Ministers Ms. Marta Arsovska Tomovska, Minister of Information Society and Administration of Macedonia, Ms. Ana Brnabic, Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government of the Republic of Serbia and Ms. Suzana Pribilovic, Minister of Public Administration of Montenegro, presented current status of service delivery reforms in their countries.

“Serbia is on a solid path of reforms. Public administration reform, as the third pillar in the process of accession to the European Union, is one of the priorities for the Government of the Republic of Serbia. The reform of public administration implies the synergy between state institutions and synthesis of public policies, which implemented together should result in a modern administration that would be a service to citizens,” said Ms. Ana Brnabic, Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government from the Republic of Serbia.

Nowadays the general public experiences are based on the high customer service standards in the private sector, such as banks or telecommunication providers. In dealing with the public administration, citizens repeatedly encounter various degrees of problems arousing from a lack of relevant information, procedures that are not transparent enough, as well as cases of corruption.

Ms. Marta Arsovska Tomovska, Minister of Information Society and Administration of Macedonia explained that Macedonia based its model on opinions of the general public “We tried to put ourselves in the shoes of the citizens and private businesses, to review exiting processes and to identify additional needs of specific target group. Once we had functioning digital infrastructure, the next challenge was how to adapt the principle of digital by design. We made the decision not to digitalize the “chaos” but to systematically organize key procedures,” said Minister Marta Arsovska Tomovska.

Ms. Suzana Pribilovic, Minister of Public Administration of Montenegro explained that the approach that Montenegro opted for was ”…to build on the experience that a consistent and coherent policy and regulatory system sets the foundation for the successful public delivery system.”

All participating Ministers highlighted the importance of interoperable platforms, which enables sharing data and information across different levels of the Government and ensures the integration of public agencies.  There was a joint agreement that a complimentary part of implementing such complex reform initiatives is to develop and inspire civil servants. Therefore, a comprehensive HR and information system helps us to manage talent and to further develop necessary skills.

On the second day of the conference, 19 May 2017. participants had the opportunity to visit the first One Stop Shop for public service delivery in Albania located in the town of Kavaje.

The event was organized in close cooperation between the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA) and the Government of Albania. ReSPA is the inter-governmental organization for enhancing regional cooperation, promoting shared learning and supporting the development of public administration in the Western Balkans. The chair of  ReSPA Governing Board for the entire year 2017 will be the Government of Albania, as a forerunner in this area of the PAR in the Western Balkan region.

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