This paper aims to establish a degree of existence of Hayek’s idea of governmental assembly in the Centre of Government (CoG), which is not only the technical, administrative support for the Prime Minister but has also a regulatory-coordinative, policy role. This paper’s focus is on CoG that is along with the classical tasks of the Prime Minister’s cabinet dedicated to systemic performance. Having this in mind a request was sent by the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia to other parliaments of the EU member states and Switzerland through the ECPRD net to gain information on the effectiveness of national CoGs and/or Prime Minister’s cabinets
- The Centre of Government
- Systemic Approach
The legislation provides tangible benefits to a country and citizens by addressing public problems. For the well-targeted, evidence-based, flexible, responsive, easy to understand and comprehensively written legal rules that address the context and people in which and for which rules are enacted and implemented, there is a greater likelihood for the proper implementation, responsiveness and achievement of legal goals. Such rules are essential for the rule of law, the protection of common values, the effective functioning of public administration and the private sector. For qualitative legislation/regulation, it is assumed it is well-prepared, socially acceptable and effectively implemented in practice. Improving a regulatory environment should be thus one of the permanent national priorities. On the other hand, numerous side effects of legislation put a shadow on the legislation’s effectiveness and the above-given lines. People are many times captives of their ideas and usually blame anything but themselves for a present state of affairs. But when frames change also practices change, because ‘character ( The same stands for Einstein: ‘nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced’ (Einstein, 2007). The different tasks require that the different assemblies should represent the views of the electors in different respects. For the government it seems desirable that citizens’ wishes for particular results should find expression, or, in other words, that their particular interests should be represented; for the conduct of government a majority committed to a programme of action and “capable of governing” is thus clearly needed. Legislation proper, on the other hand, should not be governed by interests but by opinion, i.e. by views about what kind of action is right or wrong – not as an instrument for the achievement of particular ends but as a permanent rule and irrespective of the effect on particular individuals or groups (F. A. Hayek, 1998).
The same stands for Einstein: ‘nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced’ (Einstein, 2007).
The different tasks require that the different assemblies should represent the views of the electors in different respects. For the government it seems desirable that citizens’ wishes for particular results should find expression, or, in other words, that their particular interests should be represented; for the conduct of government a majority committed to a programme of action and “capable of governing” is thus clearly needed. Legislation proper, on the other hand, should not be governed by interests but by opinion, i.e. by views about what kind of action is right or wrong – not as an instrument for the achievement of particular ends but as a permanent rule and irrespective of the effect on particular individuals or groups (F. A. Hayek, 1998).
How should regulators, therefore, change regulatory frames within the uncertain and complex challenges whose scale and nature call for new approaches needed to solve wicked problems (i.e. problems characterized by uncertainty, complexity, exponentiality, divergent values, self-organisation, emergence, interdependent processes, structures and actors), how they could administrate them? Boundaries of knowledge limit a rational construction of the unchangeable and all-encompassing general rules focused in the future. This makes the rules of The Rule of Law implies limits to the scope of legislation: it restricts it to the kind of general rules known as formal law, and excludes legislation either directly aimed at particular people, or at enabling anybody to use the coercive power of the state for such discrimination. It means, not that everything is regulated by law, but, on the contrary, that the coercive power of the state can be used only in cases defined in advance by the law and in such a way that it can be foreseen how it will be used (Friedrich August Hayek, 2006).
The Rule of Law implies limits to the scope of legislation: it restricts it to the kind of general rules known as formal law, and excludes legislation either directly aimed at particular people, or at enabling anybody to use the coercive power of the state for such discrimination. It means, not that everything is regulated by law, but, on the contrary, that the coercive power of the state can be used only in cases defined in advance by the law and in such a way that it can be foreseen how it will be used (Friedrich August Hayek, 2006).
Even though Hayek’s idea on that kind of Governmental Assembly did not come to life it could be present in the mentioned upper-level coordination; in this paper it is presented as the Centre of Government (CoG), is not only a technical, administrative support for the Prime Minister, but more and more has also a regulatory-coordinative, policy role. The term centre of government (CoG) refers to the organisations and units that serve the Chief Executive (President or Prime Minister, and the Cabinet collectively) and perform certain crosscutting functions (strategic management, policy coordination, monitoring and improving performance, managing the politics of policies, and communications and accountability). The CoG includes a great variety of units across countries, such as General Secretariat, Cabinet Office, Office/Ministry of the Presidency, Council of Ministers Office, etc. (OECD, 2017b). CoGs represent a tiny fraction of total governmental expenditure – an average of 0.045% across OECD countries – and typically employ less than 0.1% of central government employment or fewer than 40 staff per million inhabitants (Davies, 2014).
The term centre of government (CoG) refers to the organisations and units that serve the Chief Executive (President or Prime Minister, and the Cabinet collectively) and perform certain crosscutting functions (strategic management, policy coordination, monitoring and improving performance, managing the politics of policies, and communications and accountability). The CoG includes a great variety of units across countries, such as General Secretariat, Cabinet Office, Office/Ministry of the Presidency, Council of Ministers Office, etc. (OECD, 2017b).
CoGs represent a tiny fraction of total governmental expenditure – an average of 0.045% across OECD countries – and typically employ less than 0.1% of central government employment or fewer than 40 staff per million inhabitants (Davies, 2014).
This paper thus differentiates between the Prime Minister’s Cabinet and CoG, the latter seen as the Cabinet’s systemic update in the complex environment. This paper’s focus is on CoG that is along the classical tasks of the Prime Minister’s cabinet dedicated to system performance,
According to American psychologist Zimbardo (2008) (known for the Stanford prison experiment), the banality of evil is equally as likely as the banality of heroism. Both occur in special situations where
Systems approach shifts the discussion from processes and organisational boundaries In the SIGMA paper, there are nine critical functions, to be implemented by the CoG, that are necessary for a well-organised, consistent and competent policy-making system. These are: co-ordination of preparation of the government sessions; ensuring legal conformity; co-ordination of preparation and approval of the government’s strategic priorities and work programme; co-ordination of the policy content of proposals for government decision making, including defining the policy preparation process and ensuring coherence with government priorities; ensuring that policies are affordable and co-ordination of public sector resource planning; co-ordination of the government’s communication activities to ensure a coherent government message; monitoring of the government’s performance to ensure the government collectively performs effectively and keeps its promises to the public; handling relations between the government and other parts of the state (president, parliament); co-ordination of EI affairs (Vági, & Kasemets, 2017).
In the SIGMA paper, there are nine critical functions, to be implemented by the CoG, that are necessary for a well-organised, consistent and competent policy-making system. These are: co-ordination of preparation of the government sessions; ensuring legal conformity; co-ordination of preparation and approval of the government’s strategic priorities and work programme; co-ordination of the policy content of proposals for government decision making, including defining the policy preparation process and ensuring coherence with government priorities; ensuring that policies are affordable and co-ordination of public sector resource planning; co-ordination of the government’s communication activities to ensure a coherent government message; monitoring of the government’s performance to ensure the government collectively performs effectively and keeps its promises to the public; handling relations between the government and other parts of the state (president, parliament); co-ordination of EI affairs (Vági, & Kasemets, 2017).
CoG can be a new approach for the
It is necessary to draw attention not only to the areas typically mentioned in documents (e.g. the insufficient institutional efficiency and performance characterized by lengthy administrative procedures, the inefficiency of public spending and governance, inadequate digitization, a high burden of regulations, a low level of participation and a high level of perception of corruption), but also to those that are not (the responsive, context-oriented rules, ways of collecting and processing data, systemic orientation and balance between objectives and tools/procedures for their implementation, learning how to prepare the rational general rules). A prerequisite for the good public service delivery is thus a good regulatory framework and its coordination. Since the internal consistency of theory can have a “hypnotic effect of satisfaction”, its value must be tested in practice. Despite the value of uniform reporting, A monitoring of governmental tasks is a particular challenge to provide the comprehensive, reliable and accurate picture of situations in different administrative areas and different agencies. Apart for a few similar bodies (e.g. administrative units), the various information and other more or less pragmatic solutions are generally used to monitor a solution of administrative matters, thus affecting the reliability, availability, completeness and quality of the data and, consequently, their basic usefulness for monitoring the functioning of the administrative system at the organizational and normative level and the system’s adaptation to changed circumstances.
A monitoring of governmental tasks is a particular challenge to provide the comprehensive, reliable and accurate picture of situations in different administrative areas and different agencies. Apart for a few similar bodies (e.g. administrative units), the various information and other more or less pragmatic solutions are generally used to monitor a solution of administrative matters, thus affecting the reliability, availability, completeness and quality of the data and, consequently, their basic usefulness for monitoring the functioning of the administrative system at the organizational and normative level and the system’s adaptation to changed circumstances.
At the executive level of government, the Prime Minister Cabinet is usually understood as the centre of government (CoG) that ensures the basic functioning of the system. The role of CoG is not only to promote but also to implement evidence-based, strategic and consistent policies. The success of any government and the implementation of its key strategies and reforms depend on such Centre that achieves this general goal through the coordination of ministries and other public agencies. The overarching objective of the Centre is to ensure high-quality decision making by government and to align various government actions towards strategic goals. This can be done in numerous ways, while this paper is focused on the increase the use of business plans within ministries to clarify accountability and responsibilities for meeting government goals; develop mechanisms for consultation and agreement between the political level and senior civil service leadership, build leadership capacity, and establish accountability frameworks; establish a core Central Office The OECD’s document define the institutions that make up the Centre of Government. Review and develop procedures and systems across the Centre of Government for more effective coordination; strengthen consultation and communication within and beyond the central administration. Improve legislative drafting and the application of regulatory impact assessment; consider a review of regulatory policy; develop a more appropriate balance of responsibilities between parliamentary legislation and executive orders; consider how to renew and refresh the social dialogue; develop and communicate a vision and clear roadmap for public sector reform; articulate reform priorities and define an action plan for their achievement; establish clear leadership responsibilities to push and guide reform.
increase the use of business plans within ministries to clarify accountability and responsibilities for meeting government goals;
develop mechanisms for consultation and agreement between the political level and senior civil service leadership, build leadership capacity, and establish accountability frameworks;
establish a core Central Office The OECD’s document
The OECD’s document
define the institutions that make up the Centre of Government. Review and develop procedures and systems across the Centre of Government for more effective coordination;
strengthen consultation and communication within and beyond the central administration. Improve legislative drafting and the application of regulatory impact assessment;
consider a review of regulatory policy;
develop a more appropriate balance of responsibilities between parliamentary legislation and executive orders;
consider how to renew and refresh the social dialogue;
develop and communicate a vision and clear roadmap for public sector reform;
articulate reform priorities and define an action plan for their achievement;
establish clear leadership responsibilities to push and guide reform.
A literature review revealed along with scant empirical evidence on the effects of different types of CoG configurations on the quality of policies, also a growing interest in the subject (Alessandro, Lafuente, & Santiso, 2013). As the above-mentioned weaknesses could be present also in other countries the request was sent by the National Council of the Republic of Slovenia to other parliaments of the EU member states and Switzerland through the ECPRD (European Centre for Parliamentary Research and Documentation) net to gain information on the effectiveness of national CoG and/or Prime Minister’s cabinet (if a country does not have CoG)
The first question asked whether there is an institution (or a way of work) that supervises the draft bills, guidelines, strategies etc. are not contradictory between themselves, among other public institutions and to governmental goals (not only from a legal point of view but also from other social, economic, environmental etc. views). Countries’ answers are divided into three groups: no central body, no central body but various processes and a central body.
There is no central body in France to examine bills and proposals both in terms of law and also in terms of their relevance to objectives set by the government. However, the Council of State has an advisory role in a legislative process. Under Article 39 of the Constitution, the Council is compulsorily included in the consultation of all bills (of governmental origin), before their adoption by the Council of Ministers and their filing in Parliament. The government is not obliged to follow the advice of the Council. Also, the consultation of the Council of State is optional in the case of legislative proposals (of parliamentary origin). Similarly, there is no such Centre in the Netherlands. Before each legislative Bill is discussed in Parliament it is sent to the Council of State for advice. In Spain, according to the provisions of the Government Act of 1997, the legislation is drafted by the competent Ministry. The draft should be annexed by the reports on the necessity and opportunity of the legislation and an economic report. The draft also requires a technical legal report of the General Technical Secretariat of the Ministry that ensures its constitutionality and legality. Eventually, other reports on legal and gender impact may be added. Once the draft bill is approved by the Council of Ministers, it is sent to the Congress of Deputies.
In Lithuania, there is no such single institution. According to the Statute of the Ministry of Justice the Ministry executes the following functions: formulates state policy in the areas of development of the national legal system and regulation of legal processes (including the legislative process), organises, coordinates and controls implementation of the aforementioned processes; prepares draft Government resolutions and other legal acts; issues conclusions on draft legal acts in cases and in accordance with the order prescribed by legal acts. The Government Office, under its Statute, verifies draft legal acts submitted to the Government and participates in improving the system of regulatory impact assessment. European Law Department under the Ministry of Justice coordinates the transposition of EU legislation into national law and its implementation and issues conclusions on the compliance of the draft laws and Government resolutions with the EU law. In practice, having started the way through the ministries, the draft law passes at least four filters – the initial evaluation of the project by the Ministry of Justice, review in the relevant ministries, evaluation by the Ministry of Justice in compliance with the Constitution, other laws and the EU law and finally in the Office of the Government. The Ministry of Justice is in charge of the coordination of monitoring of legal regulation. The Law on Legislative Framework establishes that monitoring shall be aimed at assessment of the impact of legal regulation both on the regulated area and other areas as well as their administrative burden. Execution of the assessment of administrative burden on economic operators constituted by applicable legal acts falls into the area of competence of the Ministry of Economy, where the administrative burden on citizens and other persons falls under the competence of the Ministry of the Interior. Thus, three Ministries are responsible for the coordination of the assessment of legal regulation.
In Turkey, there is no separate institution like the CoG, but there are few units within the organization of the Presidency, which forms the executive branch, having similar functions attributed to CoG. These units are the Directorate of Administrative Affairs, with the Directorate of Law and Legislation and Directorates of Personnel and Principles and the Directorate of Security Affairs (the sub-units of the Directorate for Administrative Affairs), presidential policy boards, the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Treasury and Finance. In Estonia, according to Government of the Republic Act Estonia § 59 (1), the Ministry of Justice coordinates legislative drafting. There is no special institution or agency that supervises that the draft bills, guidelines, strategies are not contradictory between themselves, among other public institutions and to governmental goals. The Rules of Procedure of the Ministries require that a regulatory impact assessment should always be carried out at the explanatory letter of a draft law, whenever legal norms (laws or general administrative regulations) are introduced, formulated and adopted. According to the Government rules and regulations (p. 5), an impact assessment shall be carried out based on the impact assessment methodology, which is approved by the Government.
In Germany, there is no special institution or agency that supervises the draft bills, guidelines, strategies are not contradictory between themselves, among other public institutions and to governmental goals. However, in 2006 the Federal Government has established the so-called Standards Control Council (
In Austria, there is no such specific institution, but there are various processes that ensure such coordination. The Federal Chancellery and the Ministry of Finance are involved in most interdepartmental projects which aim at the preparation of basic strategies, legislation, documents etc. In particular, the Ministry of Finance has a very strong position and has to agree on all regulations, projects, etc. with financial implications. Besides, all draft laws should be subject to a comprehensive review procedure involving all the bodies concerned (but there are no formalised procedures). For all draft legislation and cross-ministerial strategies, a unanimous consensus in the council of ministers is necessary. Also, the organic budget law provides for outcome orientation as a basic budgetary principle and includes some quality assurance instruments for performance information in the budget and the accompanying materials to draft legislation (especially the outcome-oriented impact assessment). The Federal Performance Management Office (PMO) is responsible for the quality assurance of performance information in the budget documents concerning the high-level outcome objectives and measures (including performance indicators). The mandate comprises the assessment according to the following criteria: relevance, consistency, understandability, comparability, traceability and verifiability. Within this mandate also coordination of performance information between institutions should be carried out so that it is free of contradictions. The quality assurance includes also outcome-oriented impact assessment of draft legislative proposals and major projects.
In the UK, there is the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel (OPC). However, this deals only with the legal technicalities. There are many ways in which proposed legislation is scrutinised from a policy perspective. Ministers in the Department would have to approve it. Before a Bill is introduced into Parliament, it must be approved by the Business and Legislation Committee, (made up of certain ministers and chaired by the Leader of the House of Commons). As the Bill goes through Parliament, and amendments are proposed (whether by the Government or by backbench or Opposition MPs) the OPC continues to work with Government departments and also House of Commons officials in the Commons Public Bill Office and the House of Lords Public Bill Office. The Government draws up a programme of legislation for each session of Parliament. These are announced in the Queen’s Speech on the occasion of the State Opening of Parliament. The list of Bills the Queen announces is not fixed, however. Other Bills may be introduced, and some Bills announced in the Speech may not in practice be introduced. The Cabinet Office is a Government Department which supports the Prime Minister and the Cabinet to deliver the Government’s programme. Within the Cabinet Office, the Parliamentary Business and Legislation (PBL) Secretariat provides the secretariat for the Business and Legislation Committee, which is chaired by the Leader of the House of Commons and made up of 11 senior government ministers. The Committee’s role is to “consider issues relating to the Government’s parliamentary business and implementation of its legislative programme”. There are also other central government organisations which are there to ensure that legislation does not interfere with wider government objectives. One example is the Better Regulation Executive within the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy; it works with government departments to ensure regulatory burdens on business are measured and reduced where possible. Government departments must produce impact assessments for all UK Government interventions of a regulatory nature that affect the private sector, civil society organisations and public services. These are made available with other Bill documentation to assist Parliament with the scrutiny of the legislation.
In Slovenia at the Governmental level there is the Office of legislation (OL) that ensures constitutionality and legality, the systemic coordination of legislation, and conformity with the legal drafting rules applying to laws and other state regulations, but this is usually done by one person that according to his knowledge supervises drafts are not contradictory with valid legal acts. Other aspects (except legal) are not considered, while coordination among other public institutions (with an institution that proposes new act) is done by content- or competence-involved institutions themselves, and not through OL. Legislative/regulative acts are usually not considered from strategic documents’ points of view. Each year a Government normative program is made (what legal acts will be prepared and by which institution), but its effectiveness and efficiency are not considered. In Poland, there are three organisational entities at the governmental level: the Government Legislation Centre that cooperates with the Legislation Council and the Centre of the Strategic Research (responsible for the strategy of the key public policies). The Standing Council of Ministers’ Committee is a subsidiary body whose task is to initiate, prepare and coordinate decisions and positions of the Council. Prime Minister nominates one of the members of the Council as a chairperson of the Committee. The Chancellery of the Prime Minister evaluates the cost-effectiveness of proposed regulations, their impact, prepares an evaluation of international conditionings of the country and long-distance foreign policy, as well as prepares other analyses, foresight, programs and evaluations commissioned by the Prime Minister. Legal opinions are issued by the Legislative Council, as to the constitutionality and the conformity with the legal system. The Government Legislation Centre is a body subordinate to the Prime Minister. The Centre provides coordination of activities of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister and of other government bodies. It prepares (similarly as the UK’ OPC) government bills and other government acts, as well as positions of the Council of Ministers in legislative matters. It analyses judgements of the Constitutional Tribunal, judgements of other top national courts and the Court of Justice of the European Union as to their impact on the Polish legal system. The fulfilment of governmental goals as well as avoiding contradictions among draft bills are ensured through the duties of the members of the Council of Ministers. By a regular procedure draft bills should be agreed between the members of the Council of Ministers as well be a subject of obligatory consultations and opinions. An important part of the government legislative process is the impact assessment. There are teams for impact assessment within ministries. The Team for Programming the Workings of the Council of Ministers is responsible for checking on the impact assessment of the objectives of a bill at the stage of its inclusion in the register of the legislative plans of the Council of Ministers. Finally, the Department for Programming and Regulatory Impact Assessment of the Council of Ministers evaluates the quality of the impact assessment before a draft can be subject to agreement procedure, submitted to consultations or opinions. Recently the Center for Strategic Analyses has been organized. It encompasses four departments of the Council of Ministers’ Chancellery: Department of Strategic Studies, Department of Regulatory Impact Assessment, Analyses Department and Department Analysing Defence Preparation of the Administration. The tasks of the Head of the Center include: developing program strategies in key policies, giving opinions regarding draft acts as to their impact and consistency with strategic goals, supporting Prime Minister with expert opinions, analysing Council of Minister’s decisions in the context of strategic and program coherence.
In Greece, several institutions supervise the draft bills, guidelines, strategies and other documents are not contradictory. A competent authority is depended on the stage of the legislative procedure: the drafting of the bill, during the tabling of legislative proposals, and after. In general, Law 4048/2012 (“Regulatory Governance: Principles, Procedures and Means of Better Regulation”) provides that the principles of good regulation are applicable in the preparation and evaluation of laws and regulations. Also, Ministers at the beginning of the regular session of the Parliament and as part of the Ministry’s legislative planning, are obliged to inform the Office of Good Regulation on the number and scope of the bills they intend to introduce for approval in the Parliament. Means of better regulation are particularly consultation, impact analysis report, the explanatory statement of the law, the simplification, codification and reformation of law and the assessment of the implemented regulations. In the stage of drafting of a bill, the State Legal Council is competent for the legal drafting support, through its representatives in each Ministry. Additionally, according to Article 95 paragraph 1d) of the Constitution of Greece “the jurisdiction of the Supreme Administrative Court pertains to the elaboration of all decrees of a general regulatory nature”. Social and economic aspects of a draft bill are assessed by the Economic and Social Committee. Its mission is to conduct social dialogue for the overall policy of the country and, especially, for the orientations of the economic and social policy, as well as to formulate opinions on Bills and law proposals referred to it, as required by article 82 paragraph 3 of the Constitution of Greece. Before tabling the draft bill to the Parliament, the General Secretariat of the Government processes the proposals of the Cabinet and makes sure they are not contradictory to the general goals of the government policy. Additionally,
In Slovakia, the institution, that supervises and assesses draft bills before the Government’s deliberations is the Legislative Council of the Government of the Slovak Republic (the Legislative Council) as the permanent advisory and coordinating body of the Government in the field of legislation. Furthermore, under the way of work that supervises draft bills, we can subsume the comment procedure (consultations), during which Ministries and public institutions can submit their objections and comments to the draft bills. In Romania, there are numerous central institutions at the disposal of the Government to support its work. They include, among others, a) the General Secretariat of the Government which role is to ensure the unfolding of technical operations related to government acts, the resolution of organizational, legal, economic and technical issues pertaining to the Government or the Prime Minister’s activity, as well as the Government and the Prime Minister’s legal representation; b) the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, which consists of a group of counsellors and experts; c) a special directorate; and d) the Prime Minister’s cabinet. The ministerial secretary-general is the top-ranking public servant within the ministry and will act as its administrative head. One of the main reasons behind the creation of this post is the Government’s intention to improve both intra-ministerial and inter-ministerial communication and coordination. Thus, the ministerial secretary-general acts as the chief link between ministerial line units and the political leadership of the ministry, including the minister, the state secretaries (deputy ministers) and their directors. Equally important, the secretaries-general constitute a network, with the Secretary-General of the Government at its centre. For example, weekly meetings of all ministerial general secretaries are envisaged, chaired by the Deputy Secretary-General of the Government. These meetings are expected, amongst other things, to play a key role in the preparation of the meetings of the Government. According to the Romania Constitution (art. 79), the Legislative Council shall be an advisory expert body of Parliament, that advises draft normative acts for a systematic unification and coordination of the whole body of laws. It shall keep the official record of the legislation of Romania. The Legislative Council is constituted as a specialized consultative body to Parliament, but it also fulfils an important role in the executive (i.e. pre-parliamentary) stages of legislation. Thus, all drafts of normative acts that are to be submitted to the Government must first be considered by the Legislative Council. Also, in the area of legislation, state aid and public-private partnership, the National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis participates in monitoring the implementation of the Governance Program, and performs analyses of the state of fulfilment of its provisions and proposes measures to achieve the objectives assumed under the Governance Program. It coordinates, together with the General Secretariat of the Government, the activity of public policy units in the ministries in terms of methodological and information and analysis work.
The second question asked whether this institution is focused (only) that draft decisions are transformed in the legal forms or it is more concerned whether real outcomes are achieved. If the latter is relevant – are there any legal institutes (e.g. sunset clauses) or time frames when ex-post regulatory assessment should be done? In the UK, the OPC is concerned with the quality of legislation drafting rather than policy outcomes. Bills do sometimes have sunset clauses and statutory review provisions. These can be included in legislation on an ad hoc basis, where Parliament feels it should revisit the issue after a fixed period after the legislation comes into force. However, there is a special regime for new regulations (delegated legislation) affecting businesses. An independent Regulatory Policy Committee appointed by the Government assesses the impact on the business of new regulatory and deregulatory proposals. When a government department’s policy change is going to impact business, then that department has to follow the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s Better Regulation Framework Guidance. The procedure set out in this includes considering early on whether either sunset provision would be appropriate or whether a statutory five-yearly review clause is required by section 28 of the Small Business and Enterprise Act 2015. Parliament also does post-legislative scrutiny on certain Acts of Parliament independently of the Government. The function is performed by committees in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, with some oversight from the Commons Liaison Committee and the Lords Liaison Committee. However, only a small number of Acts are subject to formal scrutiny.
In Slovenia, the quality of drafting of legislation is a primary responsibility of OL, while the latter does not consider other goals. The latter is taken for a
In Slovakia, the Legislative Council is more concerned about how the draft bills are transformed in the legal forms. In Austria, the drafting of legislation including an impact assessment is a primary responsibility of line ministry. The PMO is responsible for the quality assurance of the ex-ante impact assessment of the draft laws and the coordination and the overall reporting on the ex-post impact assessment. The vast majority of draft bills do not have sunset clauses but ex-post internal impact assessments are required within 5 years of passing a new law or amendment. Results are reported to Parliament by the PMO. In Poland, the Government Legislation Centre and the Legislation Council concentrate on the compliance with the Polish law system (ex-ante) while the Centre of the Strategic Research is focused on the non-legal goals (ex-ante). Above that, the expost impact assessment can be prepared by one of the Ministers (which is in charge of the particular scope of the bill) among others on demand of the Council of Ministers or the Chief of the Centre of the Strategic Research. The Council of Ministers can prepare guidelines on the impact assessment.
In Romania, the Parliament, the Government and other authorities of the central and local public administration establish, in applying the norms of the legal technique provided in the law 24/2000 on normative technical norms for drafting normative acts, own regulations including the methodological, organizational measures, the deadlines and the circulation of draft normative acts within their sphere of competence. The primary responsibility for ensuring the timely implementation of Government decisions lies with the individual ministries. Also, the Directorate for Evidence maintains a computerized information system designed to monitor the implementation of Government decisions. Where the ministries fail to provide status reports on time or to implement decisions within the deadlines set by the Government, the Directorate for Evidence will pursue the matter.
In Lithuania, institutions are focused only that draft decisions are transformed in the legal forms; they are not focused on whether real outcomes are achieved. The National Audit Office (Supreme Audit Institution), in its Public Audit Report of 2018, assessed whether the applicable legislative process ensures the creation of the unified, coherent, sustainable and effective legal system. It was concluded in the Report that participants of the legislative process do not properly fulfil their duties requiring impact assessment of the envisaged legal regulation. Customarily preparation of draft legal acts does not include the impact assessment of envisaged legal regulation or this assessment is merely a formality. The estimates made are unreasonable and unjustified, possible alternatives to legal regulation are not provided. Legal acts define areas and cases to be subject to impact assessment of envisaged legal regulation however, no effective system still exists for assessing and monitoring of the impact assessment process. 9 Ministries out of 14 do not record processes carried out during the preparation of the draft legal act and assessment of its potential effect. To ensure the consistent and focussed improvement of the existing legal regulation, as well as efficient use of human resources The National Audit Office, recommended to reorganising the legal regulation monitoring system in a way, concentrating all competencies of various institutions required for proper assessment of legal regulation.
In Estonia, interest groups are engaged in the ex-post impact assessment of an Act following the Good Practice of Involvement. If the implementation of an Act presumably causes significant impact, an impact assessment will be appended to the explanatory memorandum. An impact assessment sets out the obligation to submit an ex-post impact assessment, the activity plan for the preparation thereof, including the estimated date for the performance thereof, the main types of impact and assessment criteria, or justifies the lack of necessity to carry out an ex-post assessment. In Poland, some of the above-mentioned institutions are focused on the real outcomes, other – on the legal forms. There are no sunset regulations. In Romania, according to the law (24/2000), the draft normative act must establish the necessary, sufficient and possible rules that lead to as much stability and legislative efficiency. The solutions it contains must be thoroughly substantiated considering the social interest, the legislative policy of the Romanian state and the requirements of the correlation with the internal regulations as well as the harmonization of the national legislation with the community legislation and with the international treaties to which Romania is a party. The preliminary assessment of the impact of the draft laws, legislative proposals and other draft normative acts represents a set of activities and procedures carried out to ensure an adequate substantiation of the legislative initiatives. The preliminary impact assessment involves identifying and analysing the economic, social, environmental, legislative and budgetary impacts produced by the proposed regulations. The preliminary impact assessment is carried out by the initiator of the draft normative act. In the case of complex draft regulatory acts, the impact assessment may be carried out based on a service contract by scientific research institutes, universities, commercial companies or non-governmental organizations under the legal provisions in force concerning public procurement.
The third question asked whether this institution is focused on how the goals and objectives of Ministries contribute to overall government priority goals. In Slovenia, the OL does not do this. This is the Prime Minister’s responsibility. In the UK the OPC is not focused on how individual ministries contribute to overall government priorities. As in Slovenia, this is ultimately a matter for the Prime Minister, as are the mechanisms through which she does this. The Cabinet Office plays an important role in setting standards and producing guidance for government departments – for example, Single Departmental Plans, spend controls and guidance on consultations. In addition to the OPL, there are other groups of staff based in the Cabinet Office and at the Prime Minister’s Office, which support the Prime Minister in coordinating government policy (e.g. the Implementation Unit is responsible for tracking progress on government priorities). In Greece, this issue is handled during the regular meetings of the Cabinet, where all ministerial activities are reported. Also, the General Secretariat of the Government deals with matters regarding the general legal policy of the government and coordinates the overall government priority goals and policies. In Slovakia, the Legislative Council does not explicitly focus on how the goals and objective of Ministries contribute to overall goals. This falls to the responsibility of each Ministry. The Legislative Council only discusses the draft legislative plan of the Government, which is usually drafted for a while and coordinates and directs the activities of the ministries and other central state administration bodies in the preparation of draft laws and drafts of government regulations.
In Austria, the PMO’s mandate focuses on a formal quality according to the following criteria: relevance, consistency, understandability, comparability, traceability and verifiability. It is not focused on a material assessment of the objectives that are under the responsibility of the line ministries and coordinated within the council of ministers. In Poland, the compliance of the goals and objectives of Ministries with the government priority goals is the Prime Minister’s responsibility and one of the tasks of the Center for Strategic Analyses. In Romania, the National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis elaborates forecasts regarding the economic and social development of Romania in the short, medium and long term, in correlation with the provisions of the Government Program, of the national, sectoral and regional strategies, as well as on the trends in the national and world economy. The Commission fundaments Romania’s strategic economic and social development guidelines, in correlation with the provisions of the Government Program and the national, sectoral and regional strategies, highlighting the strategic priorities for achieving the undertaken development objectives. It elaborates annually or whenever necessary reports on the implementation of the measures of the Government Program, which it proposes for analysis to the Economic Programming Council and submits them to the Prime Minister. It also develops econometric models and methods for assessing the effects of structural reforms and public policies, such as general and structural equilibrium models. In Lithuania, there is no formal institution that would be focused on overall government priority goals. In Estonia, the State Chancellery has been responsible for coordinating the implementation of the strategic development plans of sustainable development.
The fourth question asked whether there is any kind of interagency collaboration to achieve the agency’s goals and objectives. In Slovenia, based on the
In Greece, the inter-ministerial collaboration secures the achievement of goals and objectives during the regular meetings of the Cabinet, where ministerial activities are discussed. To secure the legal formality and the substantive accuracy of the proposal, an ad hoc system of inter-ministerial coordination has been established. Additionally, ministries proposing a bill reach out to the institutions stated above under the first question to ensure the best possible outcome of their initiative. In Slovakia, a draft bill is discussed with competent authorities and institutions during comment procedure. In Austria, when preparing the performance information for the budget the PMO coordinates between the different line ministries with overlapping activities but has no direct possibility of intervention. Line ministries have to explain if they do not accept proposals of the PMO. In their strategic and operational activities, line ministries cooperate in overlapping areas but the ways of cooperation depend on the policy field and can be more or less formal. In Poland, according to the § 3 of the Standing Orders of the Council of Ministers, ‘[b]efore a case is submitted for consideration by the Council of Ministers, a member of the Council of Ministers agrees on a standpoint with other members of the Council of Ministers’. According to the above-mentioned act, specific provisions may oblige to agree on a standpoint with other entities, if the draft concerns their scope of competence. The other entity must be given at least 14 days to prepare a written opinion. A proposer of a bill invites the public to the public consultations on the web pages. The proposer may also expose individual questions addressed to a concrete organization, a civil society person or another entity. The Council of Ministers can prepare guidelines on the public consultations. The proposer is obliged to prepare a consultation report in which the results are explained.
In Romania, a ministry proposing a normative act has the primary responsibility for ensuring proper consultation with other relevant ministries and central offices. Ministries to be routinely consulted include the Ministry of Justice, which must confirm the legality of all draft normative acts; the Ministry of Finance, to which all proposals with financial implications must be submitted; and the Council for Reform, which has to be consulted on all matters that relate to the restructuring of the economy and institutional reform. The Legal Department of the Government, through the Legal Service: follows, in the case of each draft normative document sent to the General Secretariat of the Government to include on the Government’s agenda, the observance of the provisions of the Regulation on Procedures, at the Government level, for the elaboration, approval and presentation of draft public policy documents, drafts of normative acts, as well as other documents, for adoption / approval, approved by the Government Decision no. 561/2009. In this regard, it verifies the fulfilment of the formal requirements, the observance of the normative technical norms and, if necessary, draw up a note containing proposals and/or observations; verify the existence of the supporting note (in the case of comments with observations), as well as the comparative table and the concordance table, as appropriate. The Legislative Council is asked to assess, inter alia, whether the proposal meets formal requirements; is in line with the Government’s legislative program, and is compatible with existing law. The Legislative Council is a specialized consultative body to Parliament, but it also fulfils an important role in the executive (pre-parliamentary) stages of legislation. Thus, all drafts of normative acts that are to be submitted to the Government must first be considered by the Legislative Council. It is, inter alia, required to remark on the legality of the proposed measures; their internal consistency; their adherence to accepted standards of legislative technique; and their impact on existing legislation and the legal system as a whole. Consultation of the Legislative Council is mandatory; however, it acts in an advisory capacity, and its opinions are not binding on the Government. The deadlines within which the Legislative Council has to submit its opinions are tight.
In Estonia, ministries must monitor and regulate areas for which they were established. The ministries must get approval for draft legislation or other matters to the Government of the Republic by other ministries and the State Chancellery. Sufficient time must be given to coordinate a bill or other matter that is necessary for a substantive examination of the matter. The draft law or other matter shall be approved or reasonably not approved within fifteen working days, generally within twenty working days of the Ministry of Justice. In justified cases, the deadline may be changed by the submitter or at the request of the coordinator for approval. EU affairs are generally coordinated within three working days and the deadline for the approval of the draft Ministerial Decree is generally ten working days.
The fifth question asked whether this institution can systematically asses in the real-time dimension the effectiveness of general decisions. In Slovenia, the OL does not have an evaluation system, neither laws do not have criteria that would allow an assessment of their impact in real-time dimension. In the UK, the OPC does not have this role. In Greece, Article 98 of the Constitution provides that, the Court of Audit is competent of monitoring in real-time dimension. Furthermore, Independent Authorities, like the Ombudsman, can exercise real-time control of the effectiveness of the Executive’s policy decisions that are formulated in the laws. In Slovakia, the Legislative Council does not have this function. A draft bill is submitted with a specific intent – a submitting ministry should, therefore, asses the effectiveness of its decisions. Furthermore, this also falls under the scope of the Parliament, which exercises its power of scrutiny primarily towards the Slovak Government and its members. In Austria, performance reporting that concerns performance information in the budget is done once a year and the ex-post internal impact assessments of new legislation and major projects are collected by the PMO and also reported once a year to Parliament and the public. In Poland, Romania and Estonia legal acts do not have criteria that would allow an assessment of their impact in real-time dimension.
The sixth question asked how this institution checks the relevancy of an agency’s reasons for a draft bill/general decisions/strategy. In Slovenia, the OL assesses reasons mainly through the prism of constitutionality and legality. Logic, system’s view, statistics, economy and other tools of evidence-based decision-making are usually not done. Similar is in Poland (the Government Legislation Centre and the Legislation Council assess reasons through the principle of legality. The Centre of the Strategic Research evaluates the reasons through the prism of the strategic goals of the Council of Ministers), and Estonia (the Ministry of Justice assesses reasons mainly through the prism of constitutionality and legality). In the UK, this is not the OPC’s role. The Cabinet Office’s Guide to making legislation sets out requirements for government departments to publish Explanatory Notes and Impact Assessments and other compulsory publications to explain reasons for legislation.
In Greece, the relevancy of reasons for a draft bill is secured by the explanatory report, which is checked during the ordinary legislative procedure of the Parliament by the competent standing parliamentary committee or the Plenum. Specifically, article 74 paragraph 1 of the Constitution provides that “every Bill or law proposal must be accompanied by an explanatory report”. Furthermore, under the provision of article 85 paragraph 3 of the Standing Orders ‘it is mandatory that bills and law proposals be accompanied by an explanatory report which must contain the reasons and the aims of the proposed provisions, as well as the entire text of those provisions that according to the bill or the law proposal are amended’. In Austria, the mandate of the PMO comprises the assessment of draft bills according to the following criteria: relevance, consistency, understandability, comparability, traceability and verifiability. General decisions or strategies which are not decided in the form of legislation, are not subject to this process. In Romania, the draft legislation initiated by the competent authorities must be accompanied by the presentation and motivation tools endorsed by public institutions and interested bodies. The preliminary impact assessment involves identifying and analysing the economic, social, environmental, legislative and budgetary impacts produced by the proposed regulations. The preliminary assessment of the impact of draft normative acts is considered to be the basis for the proposed legislative solutions and must be done before the adoption of the normative acts. The foundation of the new regulation should consider both the impact assessment of the specific legislation in force at the moment of drafting the normative act, as well as the assessment of the impact of the public policies that the draft normative act implements. The Government Training Meetings Directorate fulfils the following attributions, through the Government Preparatory Service meetings verifies the fulfilment of the formal conditions by the draft normative acts, including observance of the normative technical norms provided by the Law no. 24/2000, republished and requests the written opinion of the Legislative Council in the case of draft normative acts. The National Commission for Strategy and Prognosis develops specific methodologies and models for assessing the ex-ante and ex-post impact and economic programming.
The seventh question asked whether there are performance indicators or some other ways through which general decisions’ effectiveness can be (objectively) measured. In Slovenia, there are no such indicators. In the UK, the Government uses Single Departmental Plans to measure the performance of government departments, and there are other mechanisms as well. In Greece, there are such indicators. With the legal provisions of article 5 of Law 3230/2004 the framework of monitoring the implementation of the objectives of public authorities has been established, using indicators measuring performance and effectiveness. Slovakia and Poland do not have such indicators. In Austria, both the outcome and output indicators (and where relevant also disaggregated by gender) are present. For all objectives in the performance budget indicators have to be used to measure success. In Romania, with the legal provisions of the Decision No. 1.807 of 13 December 2006 for the approval of the Management Component of the Methodology on the Medium-Term Strategic Planning System of the Public Administration Institutions at Central Level, the framework of monitoring the implementation of the objectives of public authorities has been established, using indicators measuring performance and effectiveness. All ministries have the obligation to develop strategies for three-year periods as a consequence of the above-mentioned legislation.
The eight-question asked whether regular monitoring of citizen satisfaction with public services and institutions is enabled on a governmental or an agency’s level. In Slovenia and Estonia, there is no such
The ninth question has been focused on draft rules and their description. In Greece, every draft law must be accompanied by specific reports. In Austria, the impact assessment includes an explanation of the rationale of the reform, performance indicators and a financial estimate. All draft legislation is subject to a consultation process that involves stakeholders but also all citizens that like to comment on the draft before the final proposal is submitted to Parliament. Questions like i) how strategies and resources required to achieve the agency’s goals and objectives are used in draft laws, ii) how the agency’s goals and objectives incorporate input from the parliamentarian, interest organisations’ or citizens’ consultations, iii) how the agency’s performance goals and priority goals relate to its general goals and objectives, iv) how external factors that could significantly affect the achievement of the agency’s goals and objectives and v) how time and content (criteria-based) evaluations used to establish or review the agency’s general goals and objectives, are unanswered in other countries.
The 2014 OECD
There are elements of effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and ethics of legislation present in countries, but they are The primary challenges relate to the actual implementation of the functions that require well-developed capacities and good inter-institutional co-operation. One example of limited functioning concerns the coordination of policy content, where the function is partly established in Bosnia and Herzegovina, not clearly established in Serbia, and not fully functional in the remaining four Western Balkans governments [Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia] (Vági, & Kasemets, 2017).
The primary challenges relate to the actual implementation of the functions that require well-developed capacities and good inter-institutional co-operation. One example of limited functioning concerns the coordination of policy content, where the function is partly established in Bosnia and Herzegovina, not clearly established in Serbia, and not fully functional in the remaining four Western Balkans governments [Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia] (Vági, & Kasemets, 2017).