- Journal Details
- First Published
- 03 Aug 2009
- Publication timeframe
- 2 times per year
- Open Access
Page range: 9 - 30
Regarding the effectiveness of privatization, two schools of thought are distinguished: a school in favor of privatization in general and a school that judges the success of privatization to be dependent on the institutional context. This article discusses the arguments of both schools and presents a case study on the privatization processes that did take place in Kosovo. The Kosovo case is a critical case as Kosovo was a post-conflict country with a deplorable institutional setting at the time it initiated the privatization processes. If privatization was successful anyway, this would make for a strong argument in favor of privatization in general.
The outcomes of the case study show, however, many unintended and negative effects of privatization in the Kosovo context. The conclusion, therefore, disputes the claim that privatization is beneficial in general, irrespective of the institutional setting. Instead, the article makes a plea for creating a favorable institutional setting before starting far-reaching transformations through large-scale privatization.
The issues arising from this article are important for policy-makers and international missions considering implementing similar programs to other post-conflict countries.
- institutional framework
- post-conflict state building
- Open Access
Page range: 31 - 56
The New Public Management movement regards citizens as customers and, accordingly, focuses on the quality of services provided by public-sector organizations. Since this approach negatively affected democratic values, there has been a shift of the focus from consumer satisfaction and quality of services to quality of governance. The latter implies the improvement of the relationship between government and citizens as active members of the community. Over the last twenty years, participatory budgeting (PB) has become a popular form of co-production intended to improve the quality of local governance. The aim of the article is to provide a comparative analysis of the use and role of PB in Croatia, Poland and Slovakia and to identify the models of PB used in selected countries. In order to compare the case studies of municipalities in selected countries, a qualitative analysis has been used and the classification of PB models applied. Most analyzed local units use the “Porto Alegre adapted for Europe” model, but the “Consultation on public finances”, “Representation of Organized Interest” and “Proximity participation” models are also represented. The main findings are that PB indeed enables better allocation of public sources according to citizens’ needs (various public services were delivered following the trend of social innovation and co-creation), but the problem lies in the low amount assigned for PB from public budgets and the relatively low interest of citizens to participate in the PB processes. PB might also bring certain risks linked with its implementation, e.g. misuse of the idea for political reasons or additional costs of projects delivered in the PB process.
- public services
- participatory budgeting
- Open Access
Page range: 57 - 71
Recently growing attention has been paid to the issue of public-sector innovation: scholars have progressively developed a fully-fledged field of study in this direction, since remarkable differences exist between public and private organizations. Perhaps paradoxically, the decline of NPM itself from the 1990s onwards has paved the way to further developments of this field of study, surpassing the existent model through the exploration of innovative tools for stakeholders’ involvement in public decision-making. New Public Management reforms of public administration combined with the use of information and communication technologies have brought many innovations to the public sector, among others also public e-procurement. Our objective is to identify the driver and barriers of e-procurement use in contracting-out of public goods and services based on analysis in one selected region and its four municipalities in Slovakia. This study uses a qualitative and quantitative approach and is based on original data from our own research, including data collected within the LIPSE (Learning from Innovation in Public Sector Environments) research project. The main findings of our analysis are that the use of public e-procurement is an innovative tool for contracting out the public services and as such facilitates modern public-administration reforms based on information and communication technologies.
- innovations in public services
- public-sector innovations
- Open Access
Page range: 73 - 96
Our research focuses on selected accountability mechanisms in the two countries. In Slovakia these are the Supreme Audit Office (SAO) and the Ombudsman. In the UK, at the national level we chose the Committee of Public Accounts (PAC), the National Audit Office (NAO) and the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman (PHSO) and on the local level the relatively recently introduced local government system of Scrutiny and Overview.
The goal of our article is to assess the potential contribution of these accountability arrangements to the anchoring of social innovation in the public sector. The theory anticipates that accountability institutions such as the SAO and Ombudsman may create feedback loops supporting public innovations. We undertook detailed checks on the concrete situation in the Slovak Republic and in the UK. On the basis of the comprehensive set of data reviewed, including reports, interviews and more generally available information, we can confidently conclude that while in Slovakia such a feedback loop barely functions, in the UK it does function on a limited but still significant scale. In the last part we provide selected arguments why the Slovak situation is less positive.
- social innovations
- accountability mechanisms
- United Kingdom
- Open Access
The Evaluation of the Role of the Office for Protection of Competition of the Czech Republic in Regulating Public Procurement
Page range: 97 - 116
Our study offers additional insight into the Office for Protection of Competition. It examines the Office for Protection of Competition in terms of an input-process-output model, defines the inputs needed for its activities and examines the outputs of its control activities. It also identifies external factors (in the environment) that affect the performance and behavior of the Office for Protection of Competition and have an impact on inspection activities. The theoretical background as well as assumptions are then subjected to empirical scrutiny. Theoretical conclusions and recommendations for more effective control of public contracts are drawn from the conclusions which are established.
- Office for Protection of Competition
- input-process-output model
- public procurement
- Czech Republic
- Open Access
Page range: 117 - 134
The Czech Republic, as many other countries of Central and Eastern Europe, faced and is still facing a pension-reform challenge. The diversification of pension pillars led to the massive displacements of participant contributions from the public PAYG pension pillars to the newly constructed private, defined-contribution, fully-funded pillars. In the Czech Republic, the adoption of the relevant law was preceded by serious political conflict between supporters and opponents of this step (both among different political actors and among professionals). In an analysis of the conflict we critically apply the Advocacy Coalition Framework. We work mainly with the analysis of policy documents, public statements of the individual actors and an analysis of voting on the relevant law in both chambers of the Czech Parliament towards the identification of the crystallization process of two clear-cut coalitions between actors from both sides of the spectrum. The Advocacy Coalition Framework in exploring the dynamics of the public-policy process proved to be able to explain situations where there is sharp political conflict. Through the lens of the devil-shift of both camps (advocacy coalitions with different beliefs), each fell into extreme positions within the coalition to affirm the correctness of their arguments and positions.
- Pension reform
- Czech Republic
- diversification of the pension system
- the Advocacy Coalition Framework
- PAYG pension pillar
- a defined-contribution fully-funded pension pillar
- Open Access
Effective Legal Protection against the Excessive Length of Administrative Decision-Making: The Cases of Slovenia and Croatia
Page range: 135 - 166
In administrative matters, the parties usually have a right of access to the court and to a fair trial within a reasonable time limit, as defined by constitutions, only after the exhaustion of appeals. Judicial review is performed in a majority of states by a specialised administrative court in accordance with Articles 6 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Based on a comparative research analysis of supranational and national normative law and European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) case law, this paper provides insight into the extent to which administrative matters can be reviewed in administrative disputes as well as into the legal remedies available to the parties, especially when the authorities violate time limits, focusing on the compliance of the regulation in Slovenia and Croatia with the ECHR standards. The paper also illustrates a comparative perspective of regulation in other European countries, namely Austria and Estonia. Our findings show the importance of the awareness of the necessary interplay between acts on administrative procedure and acts on administrative disputes for an effective realisation of the parties’ rights and the public interest, with administrative justice ensuring a safety net by guaranteeing an effective legal remedy.
- administrative matters
- administrative procedure
- administrative disputes
- administrative silence
- European Convention on Human Rights
- reasonable time
- Open Access
Page range: 167 - 189
The paper answers two basic questions:
To what extent is tax policy an important item of the local political agenda in Polish municipalities ? Is it a subject of intense debates at city hall and local councils or is it accepted as a routine exercise ? The results suggest that the issues related to local taxes play a relatively marginal role compared to issues such as the location of major investments. However, the importance of taxes in local debates increases in those local communities in which the tax yields collected are larger and in the case of those taxes which are paid by a wider group of tax payers. Who governs in local tax-policy-making ? According to local provisions the proposal of tax resolution is submitted by the mayor, and the local council makes the final decision. But empirical findings suggest that the practice follows the “strong mayor” model, in which the local political leader, supporter by his staff of the financial department, is more influential than the councilors.
To what extent is tax policy an important item of the local political agenda in Polish municipalities ? Is it a subject of intense debates at city hall and local councils or is it accepted as a routine exercise ? The results suggest that the issues related to local taxes play a relatively marginal role compared to issues such as the location of major investments. However, the importance of taxes in local debates increases in those local communities in which the tax yields collected are larger and in the case of those taxes which are paid by a wider group of tax payers.
Who governs in local tax-policy-making ? According to local provisions the proposal of tax resolution is submitted by the mayor, and the local council makes the final decision. But empirical findings suggest that the practice follows the “strong mayor” model, in which the local political leader, supporter by his staff of the financial department, is more influential than the councilors.
Those questions are answered on the basis of field research conducted in 2014 in 36 Polish municipalities. The research methods included content analysis of minutes of local council meetings, as well as face-to-face survey and semi-structured in-depth interviews with over 100 mayors, chiefs of finance departments in city halls and councilors.
- local government
- local taxes
- tax policies
- local council
- Open Access
Administrative Aspects of Alternative Consumer Dispute Resolution in the European Union (EU), Slovenia and Croatia
Page range: 191 - 222
The consumer field is widespread and often encompasses different legal fields on a single market, especially when it comes to the field of consumer protection. In fact, the consumer mostly remains a weaker party in resolving consumer disputes, especially in administrative proceedings. Traditional court proceedings do not always offer the most cost-appropriate way of resolving consumer disputes, because the damage with legal costs is disproportionate, especially in Small Claims (20 EUR). In theory, Alternative Dispute Resolution (hereinafter: ADR) is considered more flexible, faster and cheaper for disputes between consumers and businesses. Insofar, Consumer ADR (hereinafter: CADR) is seen as a useful tool that helps consumers realize their right of access to justice. It is argued that CADR systems provide valuable information on the needs of disputants, while preserving confidentiality, increasing consumer satisfaction, equality and grater trust. While CADR is praised in theory as an added value, in practice it still remains unrecognizable and therefore is seen as an ineffective formalism in some EU countries. It seems that consumers and businesses lack awareness of the CADR schemes and their benefits, which have effects on the efficient use of CADR in different public and private institutions. The focus of this paper is on the field of Public Administrative Law, which, through different approaches of scientific analysis, combines the main administrative aspects of CADR systems in the EU. Special attention is given to different administrative barriers in the development of various CADR schemes, which cause the formation of administrative dilemmas in some Member states. The new EU legal regulation on Consumer ADR, Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) and EU Administrative law have set flexible rules and principles that would assure the quality of dispute resolution between EU entities with private or public interests. Similarities in proposed principles would lead us closer towards a common European Administrative Space. However, so far such EU initiatives have left many questions unanswered regarding the supervision and financing of CADR schemes, as well as the administrative issues about the purely internal harmonization of “administrative” CADR practices in Member States. An example of the substantial administrative dilemmas in CADR practices, mostly in the field of universal services, can be recognized in existing CADR systems in selected EU countries, e.g. Slovenia and Croatia.
- Consumer Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Consumer protection
- Public Administration
- CADR schemes
- European Administrative Space
- Open Access
Page range: 223 - 229
- Open Access
Page range: 233 - 236