In order for Bosnia and Herzegovina to integrate more quickly into the European Union, public administration reform is needed, which implies a more efficient, effective, accountable and transparent public administration, citizen-oriented and ready to meet all European requirements. The vision of public administration reform is outlined in the new Strategic Framework for Public Administration Reform adopted by the BiH Council of Ministers in September 2018, as well as the new Action Plan for Public Administration Reform, adopted in July 2020.
The Action Plan for Public Administration Reform is one of the key priorities in the Opinion of the European Commission on the application of Bosnia and Herzegovina for membership in the European Union. Measures in the Action Plan relate to strengthening the capacity of public administration through the implementation of principles and achievement of principles and standards of EU countries, establishing user-oriented and transparent public administration, building a professional and depoliticized civil service system based on merit system and establishing rational, coherent, efficient, effective and responsible organizational structures of public administration at each level of administrative authority.
Public administration reform is one of the preconditions for the successful integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina into the European Union, but also an obligation under the Stabilization and Association Agreement. Public administration has a key role to play in the European integration process, as it enables the implementation of the necessary reforms for EU accession, while ensuring an effective dialogue on the accession process. The ability of administrative capacities to adopt and implement basic EU regulations (acquis communautaire) is one of the main conditions for EU membership. However, the modernization of public administration in our country is necessary, not only because of our aspirations towards the European Union, but, above all, as a prerequisite for a responsible and cost-effective civil service.
A more efficient, effective, accountable and transparent public administration, which will be citizen-oriented and ready to respond to all European requirements, is the vision of public administration reform outlined in the documents of the Public Administration Reform Strategy and Action Plan 1 for its implementation. These documents were adopted in 2006 by the governments of the Federation of BiH, the Republika Srpska and the Brčko District of BiH, and the Council of Ministers of BiH. The main purpose of the PAR Strategy is to create and maintain a public administration capable of providing services to our citizens, with the quality they expect, and to ensure the good implementation of the reforms necessary for the European integration process throughout the country. Following these documents, the governments adopted a Joint Platform on the Principles and Manner of Implementation of the Action Plan 1 of the Public Administration Reform Strategy in BiH, which provided the political and legal framework for monitoring and implementation of AP 1.
The first Action Plan (Action Plan 1) was adopted at the same time as the Strategy and contained concrete proposals for the development of general administrative capacities. It was created based on the recommendations of the Systematic Review of Public Administration Institutions. Action Plan 1 lists the specific measures and activities that administrative institutions, ie governments, need to implement, which practically means strengthening the BiH administration, which must be ready to respond to EU requirements. The measures that are being implemented are of an individual character, and they are being implemented by administrative bodies at all levels. The bearers of certain activities are clearly indicated, while joint measures are implemented through the implementation of projects that are the same for all four administrative levels, developed by the PARCO together with the monitoring teams from these six areas. These activities are funded by the Public Administration Reform Fund.
Four years after the adoption of AP 1, a thorough revision of this document was needed because the last deadlines set in this document expired at the end of 2010. The revision of AP 1 was carried out because a number of objectives have already been achieved, set too ambitiously or in a way that does not guarantee added value in terms of benefits for citizens, businesses and society as a whole. Until then, the implementation of AP 1 was primarily focused on the preparation and adoption of laws and bylaws, while the new AP 1 focuses on public administration reform to implement concrete measures that will have direct and measurable benefits for citizens, businesses and society as a whole. In the revision of AP 1, emphasis was placed on more specific objectives, and in the same sense, a change was proposed in the manner of monitoring and reporting on the implementation of measures. Performance indicators are set in such a way that only the production of regulations, strategies, methodologies and other documents does not mean the successful implementation of the goal, but the successful implementation requires concrete results (for example, improving customer satisfaction, saving time and money for citizens, businesses or budget). This plan was to be implemented by the end of 2014.
The reforms described in the Action Plan 1 of the PAR Strategy were aimed at developing general administrative capacities in all branches of government. This general capacity is crucial, but it is not enough to create policies and provide services in multiple sectors, for which the state, entities and other levels of government are responsible. In addition, the EU accession process will require certain sectoral reforms in order to create the institutional basis for the adoption of the Acquis Communautaire. Therefore, through the Public Administration Reform Strategy, the development of the Second Action Plan was envisaged, and the reform was to include various sectors of public administration. This document was never prepared.
After the expiration of the PAR Strategy and the Revised Action Plan 1 in 2014, public administration reform continued in 2015 through ongoing projects and other unfinished activities from the Revised Action Plan 1. However, the expiration of the PAR Strategy and the adoption of the Reform Agenda for BiH require a new direction for reform. public administration in BiH. Information on activities in the process of public administration reform, adopted by the BiH Council of Ministers, through the conclusions adopted with the Information, authorizes the PARCO to prepare a document, together with representatives of the entities and BD, which would set further direction for PAR.