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21 December 2023 – The 13th meeting of the National Working Group for Monitoring Public Administration Reform in Serbia was held, with the participation of 11 representatives from civil society organisations, the European Policy Centre, and representatives from the Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government.
After the introductory remarks and brief introductions of all members, Milica Divljak, a Junior Researcher at the WeBER 3.0 project, presented the results of the national training needs assessment of the National Working Group members. These training sessions will be conducted as part of the WeBER Plus project during the second and third quarters of 2024. The results indicate that the majority of organisations whose representatives filled out the survey assess the overall experience of their organisations in PAR processes with a score of 3. According to the survey, organisations have the least experience in the field of Human Resources Management and the most in the area of Accountability. After presenting the survey results, a discussion followed in which members of the National Working Group shared their observations on the results, as well as their desires and needs for capacity building. The presented results and collected comments will be used to develop a national training programme to enhance the capacities of organisations in the National Working Group to participate in monitoring the PAR processes.
The second session of the meeting focused on discussing the prioritisation of key PAR issues in Serbia. The survey results and voted issues will be used to choose topics to be further explored in the first cycle of policy briefs next year. The topic that received the most votes is the Strategic Framework for PAR implementation (strategy and programmes) and the participation of civil society organisations in monitoring bodies. Following that, the topic that received the most votes is the ever-relevant Transparency in the process of planning and spending public funds, followed by the Inclusiveness of public policy development, which was extensively covered during the WeBER 2.0 project. Another dialogue with civil society will be initiated during the next year to more precisely define the topics that will be further explored in policy briefs.
The meeting concluded with a third session in which Milica Divljak first presented the research findings on the eConsultations portal, and then the participants discussed current issues regarding its usage, as well as potential areas for its improvement.