Although the administration reform started almost 20 years ago, it is considered one of the basic reform processes in the country since 2014, both from the aspect of Serbia’s accession to the EU, and from the aspect of the quality of life of citizens, the main focus is on state administration and central administration.
The assessment of the public administration and the capacity of the administration, which is regularly carried out by SIGMA and which the European Commission uses in its assessments of Serbia’s progress to EU, is limited to state administration. The methodology for monitoring public administration carried out by think tank organizations in the countries of the Western Balkans within the framework of WeBER projects also focuses on the work of central institutions. On the other hand, the fact that over 70% of EU legislation is implemented by local self-government units indicates the need to shift the focus, if not completely from the central to the local level, then at least extend it to improving the work and strengthening the capacity of local governments. Through the application of methodological tools, therefore, it is necessary to strengthen the capacity of local civil society organizations to deal with the monitoring of public administration reform at the local level, and to influence the improvement of local regulations, policies, procedures and services through cooperation with local authorities.
Insufficient engagement with the local level of government in the context of public administration reform was recognized, so the project Public administration Monitoring for better local Governance – Pratim JA was initiated in 2020, which focuses on the assessment of administration and administrative procedures at the local level of government. One of the tasks of this project was to develop a methodology for monitoring and evaluating the public administration reform at the local level of government, which would be complementary to previously developed methodologies, used by SIGMA and WeBER, and enable a true picture of the state and capacities of the entire public administration to implement EU legislation. Identifying the shortcomings and then overcoming them would enable Serbia to become a credible and capable EU member state with a professional and efficient administration. A pilot research on the monitoring and assessment of the public administration reform in local administration was conducted within the Pratim JA project in 17 local self-government units (hereinafter: LGUs) in the period from December 2021 to August 2022. The monitoring covered six areas and 14 principles of public administration, and the situation was assessed through 12 indicators that monitor those areas and principles. The research was conducted in seven cities (Niš, Subotica, Prokuplje, Vršac, Užice, Novi Pazar and Valjevo), nine municipalities (Aleksinac, Vlasotince, Bečej, Odžaci, Arandjelovac, Despotovac, Ivanjica, Tutin and Koceljeva) and one urban municipality (Zvezdara).