TEN network, consisting of European Policy Centre (CEP) from Belgrade, European Policy Institute (EPI) from Skopje and Institute Alternative from Podgorica (IA), held a two-day regional conference “Improving Performance of Public Administration: Current Experiences and Future Perspectives “.
Focus of the conference was the role and significance of performance audit and policy evaluation for the improvement of policy making and achieving better public administration in the context of the EU accession process.
Officially opening the conference, Nebojsa Lazarevic, CEP Director, stressed that accession negotiations represent the greatest challenge for Serbia, not only in terms of joining the EU but becoming successful member state in the future, that is capable of gaining benefits from the EU membership and representing own interests once it starts participating in the decision-making on the EU level.The key test for public administration will be to manage EU structural funds that Serbia approaches with EU membership.
Radoslav Sretenovic, President of the State Audit Institution, pointed out that the jurisdiction of the SAI for performance audit becomes essential element in the accountability process in public sector, particularly in the new environment of public sector management. When it comes to improving performance of public administration, Sretenović stressed that the SAI has given and will give a contribution in this area: “I am sure that operational Performance Audit, carried out by the State Audit Institution, may contribute to the evaluation of public policies and that they are strongly associated . ”
That efficient public administration is an essential element of building and maintaining institutions sustainability was also confirmed by Tanja Miscevic, head of Serbia’s negotiating team for EU accession. “Each of the 35 negotiating chapters includes strengthening administrative capacity of Serbia, but it is primarily a matter of Chapter 32, financial control, and Chapter 23, justice and fundamental rights,” said Miscevic.
Malinka Ristevska Jordanova, director of EPI and Stevo Muk, president of Managing Board in IA agreed that is very important to have regional cooperation in the negotiating process, in form of exchanging national experiences, as well as cooperation with civil society.
Later that day TEN representatives Milena Lazarevic (CEP), Simonide Kacarski (EPI) and Jovana Marovic (IA) presented their joint study “Performance Audit and Policy Evaluation in the Western Balkans: On the Same or Parallel Tracks?” On findings and recommendations they discussed with Jasna Atanasijevic, Director of Public Policy Secretariat in Serbia and professor Gerhard Hammerschmid, Hertie School of Governance from Berlin.
The remaining two panels of first conference day also had productive discussion, “Feeding performance audit results into policy development: What are the odds?“ moderated by Simonida Kacarska (EPI) and “EU as the Driving Factor in the Improvement of Government Accountability and Performance in the Western Balkans” moderated by Zorana Gajic (ReSPA).
The second day was reserved for national experiences exchange in field of public administration reform. Working groups of experts and researchers from the region and Europe discussed does policy evaluation matter, what is performance and delivery of public administration and haw to improve policy-making. The working groups were moderated by Milos Djindjic (CEP), Marko Sosic (IA) and Kristina Cuculoska (EPI).
The Conference is being organised within the project Performance Audit and Policy Evaluation: On the Same or Parallel Tracks supported by the Regional Research Promotion Programme in the Western Balkans (RRPP), financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). CEP is project holder while partners are other TEN members: Institut Alternativa from Podgorica and European Policy Institute from Skopje.