Stabilization and Association Agreement between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina – 6th meeting of the Special Group for Public Administration Reform
June 6, 2023
- Strategic framework for public administration reform (SF PAR)
- Establish a functional body for making political decisions that will include the chairperson of the Council of Ministers of BiH, the presidents of the entity governments and the mayor of Brčko District, and send an invitation to the ministers responsible for various areas of the PAR and to PAR coordinators. The state level, the entities and the Brčko District should adopt a decision on the arrangement for the PAR coordination of – the so-called Common platform – in June 2023. Create appropriate rules of procedure with the support of OECD – SIGMA with consultations at the political and technical level and adopt it in the relevant bodies of the Common platform (3rd quarter 2023).
- The role of the PAR coordinator should be strengthened in terms of managing the implementation and monitoring of the Action Plan. Initiate recruitment procedures in the entities and Brčko District in order to increase the human potential of the PAR coordinators and accordingly revise the regulations on the internal organization (3rd quarter 2023).
- All PAR coordinators should revise the PAR Action Plan for the period 2023-2027, which should be adopted by all levels of government by the fourth quarter of 2023, with priority given to digitization of government services and PAR processes. Prioritization will be realized with the support of OECD-SIGMA and finalized by September 2023, while the cost estimate for the implementation of the Action Plan should be completed by the end of the year.
- Ensure regular annual monitoring and reporting on the implementation of the Strategic Framework for Public Administration Reform and its Action Plan on a semi-annual and annual level, and without delay adopt the monitoring report for 2022 at all levels of government and publish it on the website of the Public Administration Reform Coordinator Office (Q3 2023). Improve the quality of monitoring by establishing procedures for data collection in the implementation of PAR (4th quarter 2023).
- Initiate systematic consultations with civil society organizations during the monitoring and revision of the Action Plan for the reform of public administration and integrate their feedback into the monitoring report and strategic objectives on the PAR during the revision of the Action Plan (3rd quarter 2023).
- To update the communication strategy on PAR in accordance with the new PAR Action Plan for the period 2023-2027. (1st quarter of 2024) and start its implementation (2nd quarter of 2024) in order to increase the awareness of governments and society about PAR issues.
- Ensure greater financial responsibility and sustainability for the implementation of the revised Action Plan for PAR by allocating funds from the budget for 2024 to cover at least 10%-20% of the Action Plan costs (4th quarter 2023).
- Launch an effective mechanism of donor coordination in the PAR to ensure financial coverage of all activities within the time frame of the revised Action Plan and organize the first donor coordination meeting in the 1st quarter of 2024, with the aim of holding meetings every six months.
- Public Finance Management (PFM)
2.1 Continue the implementation of the Public Finance Management Strategy for the period 2021-2025 at every level of management and the comprehensive nationwide Strategic Framework for Public Finance Management. The individual Action Plans for the PFM and the comprehensive plan should be revised (2nd quarter 2024), and include the results of the PEFA report from mid-2023 and the comprehensive report on the monitoring of the PFM should be adopted by September 2023.
2.2 Initiate a policy dialogue at the state level regarding the reform of public financial management with the European Commission, representatives of civil society, development partners and international financial institutions by the 3rd quarter of 2023 at the latest.
2.3 Advance public finance management reforms by the 2nd quarter of 2024 in the following key areas:
2.3.1 Improving the quality of the budget process by respecting the deadlines and rules for budget amendments, for the next budget cycle (2nd quarter 2024) and in cooperation with the IMF, start preparations for the Public Investment Management Assessment at all levels and complete them by the end of year;
2.3.2 Strengthening the credibility of medium-term budget frameworks and fiscal strategies by (1) improving the connection between annual strategic planning and the process of preparing the annual budget and (2) strengthening capacities for forecasting and modeling and improving coordination in this area;
2.3.3 All levels of government should establish the necessary prerequisites related to IT in order to be able to implement the law on the program budget and medium-term budget planning, and to adopt similar regulations at the state level and in the Republika Srpska (2nd quarter 2024).
2.3.4 Ensure an efficient fiscal risk oversight function (while covering the fiscal risks of state-owned enterprises by clearly assigning this function to units in both entities, with clearly defined tasks, appropriate staff and resources.
2.3.5 In both entities create and update a publicly available register of state-owned enterprises with a complete searchable list of all such enterprises, including comprehensive financial statements, audits and organizational information based on a defined methodology.
- Civil service and human resources management
3.1 Strengthen cooperation between ministries of justice and civil service agencies at all levels of government and share information on the time frame and scope of cooperation within the Forum of Directors of Civil Service Agencies by September 2023.
3.2 Improve HRM methodologies for monitoring the implementation of laws on civil service and human resources management, at all levels of government, based on the results of the workshop organized by SIGMA in June 2023, with the aim of adopting these methodologies (4th quarter 2023). Submit annual reports to the European Commission at least six weeks before the next annual meeting of the Special Group for PAR and publish them on the websites of the relevant institutions (1st quarter 2024).
3.3 In accordance with the common policy framework, develop human resources management strategies with the support of RESPA at the state level and in the Republika Srpska (1st quarter of 2024), and begin the implementation of the Strategy for the Development of Human Resources in the civil service structures of the FBiH and in the cantons (3rd quarter 2023) by working on improving the classification, description and evaluation of jobs.
3.4 Adopt an improved legal basis for public service registers at the entity level with a clear division of responsibilities, as well as a legal basis for the establishment of HRMIS at the state level (4th quarter 2023). Ensure the functionality of HRMIS at all levels by providing conditions related to capacity for managing registers and upgrading software (4th quarter 2023).
3.5 Harmonize 11 civil service laws and human resources standards and appoint a working group involving ministries responsible for public administration (3rd quarter 2023) with the aim of finalizing this process by (1st quarter 2024). This implies harmonization of legal provisions for the common scope of the civil service, equal standards in recruitment and selection procedures, compatible job categories and competencies required for those jobs in order to ensure mobility and common standards in working conditions, functions and organization of the civil service.
3.6 It is necessary to harmonize civil service laws with the principles of merit both at the entity level and at the state level without delay (3rd quarter 2023); The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina should also coordinate harmonization with the principles of merit in the cantons and finalize the process of amendments to the law by (1st quarter 2024).
3.7 Stop practices that do not ensure merit-based employment and the good functioning of the civil service, especially in the Government of the Federation, by unfreezing civil service and state-level recruitment, regularly announcing vacancies and hiring senior civil servants when they expire mandate.
- Development of policies and coordination
4.1 The Council of Ministers should make a decision on the proposed options for regulating strategic planning based on the conceptual summary of the Directorate for Economic Planning (by June 2023) and adopt and start implementing the legal framework for sectoral strategic planning by January 2024. Consolidate institutional mandates for coordination and quality assurance of policy planning at the state level (4th quarter 2023) Entities and Brčko District should ensure implementation and, where relevant, adaptation of the legal framework on policy planning, while addressing potential deficiencies in accordance with the OECD SIGMA workshop.
4.2 Submit to the European Commission a preliminary draft of the EU Integration Program in accordance with Article 70.3 of the SAA (national program for the adoption of the EU acquis) (2nd quarter 2023). Also submit an analysis of the functioning of the Decision on the Coordination Mechanism from 2016, together with proposals for eliminating identified deficiencies (2nd quarter 2023).
- Accountability and service delivery
5.1 The Ombudsperson should have a more proactive role in using available communication channels with executive and legislative authorities of different levels of governance in order to more effectively implement their recommendations (4th quarter 2023)
5.2 Improve the legal provisions on access to information at the state and entity level in accordance with the best international practice by making a comprehensive catalog of information available on the websites of public institutions, and introduce provisions on sanctions for violations of the law and ensure a specialized supervisory body with appropriate capacities to monitor implementation of those provisions. Establish a working group for a harmonized approach to such standards, at the level of the state and both entities. Consult the Commission on drafts of the Law on Free Access to Information (3rd quarter 2023) before the adoption of the law (by 4th quarter 2023).
5.3 Improve user-friendly administration (1) by creating an inventory of administrative burdens for all services to identify where the burden is greatest in providing services to businesses and citizens, before proceeding with the simplification and digitization of services, (2) when developing an action plan for harmonization sectoral laws with the Law on General Administrative Procedure at all levels of government. (Q4 2023)
- Submit the Rules of Procedure of the Joint Platform to representatives of OECD-SIGMA and DG NEAR for consultation before adoption
- Submit reports on the monitoring of PAR and PFM after adoption
- Submit a draft of the Action Plan for PAR by September 2023.
- Provide an assessment of the financial impact of the revised Action Plan for PAR
- Make a cost estimate and calculate the amount of financial resources missing for the revised Action Plan for PAR
- Submit an assessment of the fiscal impact of the revised Action Plan for the RJU; we have information that the assessment is being prepared in cooperation with the ministries of finance and that it will be finalized after all consultations are completed.
- Provide us with the scope and calendar of cooperation of civil service agencies within the Forum of Directors of Civil Service Agencies
- Submit data on the HRM form, where data is missing: (1) incumbents and expired mandates, (2) fixed-term contracts; (3) selection of the best ranked candidates
- Submit draft law on civil service to all levels of government when EU and OECD consultations are required – SIGMA and before adoption to ensure alignment with public administration principles
- Next meeting: organize a meeting between DEI and OECD SIGMA and EUD on how DEI plans to improve planning, reporting and costing for the NPAA (Integration Program) and where OECD SIGMA could provide support in this specific application area task.