Slide 1

Results of the OECD public governance
review of Estonia
“Towards a single government approach”
June 29, 2011, Jerusalem
Heiki Loot
Secretary of State
Head of Government Office, Estonia
• Population 1.34 million
• Area 45,000 km2
• Parliamentary democracy
1918 – independence
1940 – occupied by Soviet Union
1991 – independence restored
2004 – member of NATO and EU
2010 – member of OECD
Economic growth rate has been remarkable
Eesti SKP maht
20 000
18 000
16 000
14 000
12 000
10 000
8 000
6 000
4 000
2 000
1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010* 2011* 2012* 2013* 2014*
1 474 2 037 2 889 3 725 4 463 5 000 5 359 6 160 6 971 7 776 8 719 9 685 11 182 13 391 15 828 16 107 13 861 14 146 14 925 15 690 16 713 17 787
Estonia made well through the crisis
• Government proved to be agile and effective (OECD
• 9% of GDP fiscal consolidation in 2009
– results: deficit only 1,7% of GDP, surplus 0,1% in 2010
• Adjustments in most policies hand in hand with
budget reductions
• Productive expenditure (investments, education, RD,
enterpeneurial supports) as well as pensions and
family policy were left untouched
• Since first half of 2010 Estonia has enjoyed the upturn
(3,1% in 2010; 8,5% first quarter 2011)
• January 1, 2011 we entered the eurozone
Economic crisis led to the adjustments
in the public sector
OECD public governance review
Inspired and encouraged by similar Irish and Finnish
Comprehensive governance review (encompasses all
levels of government – national, regional, local)
Two case studies: education and social care
High quality assured by 140 interviews, Estonian
high level support group and advisory group,
participation of 8 OECD and 13 national experts
from 11 member countries, discussions in Estonian
top civil service conference and OECD Public
Governance Committee meeting
417 pages of analysis, incl 14 pages of
OECD public governance review
“Towards a single government approach”
Main conclusion: Estonia is too small to
afford fragmentation
Main recommendation: to move towards a
single government approach
Three main challenges:
Promoting a “whole-of-government” approach in
public administration
Building a common agenda
Delivering public services effectively
OECD public governance review
“Towards a single government approach”
• Promoting a “whole-of-government” approach in public
– Enable horizontal co-ordination by clarifying accountability in crosssectoral initiatives and ensuring the work is sustained over time
– Strengthen responsibility for and practice of co-operation in the public
administration by supplementing informal and personal networks with
institutional ones
– Build a whole-of-government perspective into the organisational culture
of the public administration in order to support horizontal ways of
– Empower the public administration to work in a whole-of-government
– Reduce barriers to government agility by building flexibility into the
machinery of government
Main reforms in process 1
• Strengthening cooperation between secretaries
general, deputy secretaries general, heads of
department and other levels of ministries
– Collaboration and co-operation among senior leaders is critical to
achieving a whole-of-government approach to public administration
– One reason that public administration reforms have not advanced in
Estonia is that senior public servants have not been able to articulate a
coherent and unified message about the need and direction for reform,
and then communicate it to politicians
– To gain support and buy-in at the political level, the public
administration's senior leadership needs to communicate its own vision
for reform. This requires leaders across the public administration to
collaborate in developing a co-ordinated vision or direction for where the
public administration should be heading, or for the type of reform
necessary, before going forward to government
Main reforms in process 1
• Strengthening cooperation between secretaries
general, deputy secretaries general, heads of
department and other levels of ministries
– SG’s weekly meeting not only a forum to review
forthcoming government agenda but also a forum to develop
new ideas and solutions, identify policy synergies, build
dialogue and exchange information
– Over time this group should take on shared responsibility for
delivering on horizontal priorities
Main reforms in process 1
• Strengthening cooperation between secretaries
general, deputy secretaries general, heads of
department and other levels of ministries
SG’s two-days seminar on the implementation of the results
12 issues identified and SG working groups established
Follow-up seminar in London
Working groups meetings
Implementation plan to government in September
Top civil service conference in October
Main reforms in process 2
• Preparing and implementing new Government
programme for 2011-2015
– After coalition agreement was signed, 18 policy groups of
deputy secretary generals were established to identify and
formulate detailed actions in Government programme
– Setting clear objectives in Government programme and
aligning budgetary strategy and ministerial annual plans
accordingly (develop and maintain “strategic alliance”
between Government Office and Ministry of Finance)
– Same policy groups continue to coordinate and follow
– Special task-forces in some horizontal priorities (“wicked
Main reforms in process 3
• Improving government communications internally and
externally to ensure that all key officials in the public
administration have more detailed, broader and common
information on the background/rationale of Government
objectives and actions
– Coordination body of government communication established (comprises
heads of communication of ministries, chaired by the director of
government communications unit of the Government Office, meets every
week, coordination of messages on major issues and upcoming
government meetings, also joint projects, “events calender” etc)
– “Main points of discussion” and background information on major
government decisions disseminated to members of top civil service
– Single government portal instead of 11 ministries websites to give outside
a strong message of a single government (web editors working group)
Main reforms in process 4
• Centralising ministries corporate services (accounting,
personnel management, IT, public procurement) in
order to pave the way to more flexible Government
– Cost savings
– Allowing ministries and other government agencies to concentrate
resources and efforts on policy design and implementation rather than on
administration and operations
– Reducing “administrative weigth” of ministries to allow more flexibility in
the long run
– Amend legislation to enable machinery of government changes to be made
via administrative orders set by the Government to best deliver on
government priorities and to meet citizen needs
– Unify structures in order to facilitate cooperation between ministries and
mobility of staff
Main reforms in process 5
• Establishing rotation and secondment schemes across
all classification levels to improve the mobility of
public sector staff
– Start with senior management
– Senior management rotations should be compulsory (up to
five years)
– Central recruitement and selection commission (nominations
or appointments on the proposal by the commission)
– Continue with other rotation groups
– Devolve responsibility for recruitement and selection
decisions of all ministry’s staff from ministers to secretaries
Thank you!
Questions, comments?

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