Final Conference – “Partnership for Good Governance“

April 25, 2018 – The Final Conference of the Project “Partnership for Good Governance“, organised by the European Movement in Serbia (EMinS) and the European Policy Centre (CEP), was held on April 25th, 2018 at the Metropol Hotel in Belgrade. This event gathered more than 100 representatives of the state institutions, the international community and the civil society.

At the event, The Gray Book on Public Services, authored by Milena Lazarević, CEP Programme Director and Katarina Tadić, CEP researcher, was presented. The Grey Book is a result of the integrated research conducted within the project on public policy making in three selected areas and on citizen satisfaction in these areas. The Grey Book offers concrete, evidence-based recommendations also in line with citizens’ opinion for improving the public policymaking process, as well as for enhancing quality, efficiency and accessibility of public services. The Gray Book is one of the main results of this project that CEP and EMInS carried out in the previous period, with the support of the US Agency for International Development – USAID.

At the event, the introductory remarks were given by Branko Ružić, Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government (MPALSG), Azza El-Abd, Director of USAID Mission for Serbia,  Suzana Grubješić, EMinS Secretary-General and Milena Lazarević, CEP Programme Director.

“The purpose of the public administration reform process is that the citizen feels the state serves him, not the opposite,” said Minister Ružić in his speech. “Public administration reform is one of the three pillars of the European integration, and it is also very important for a better life for our citizens,” he underlined.

He also stressed that MPALSG is grateful for this research and recommendations provided by The Gray Book, as well as that the Ministry will put special efforts to involve civil society and citizens in the policy-making process.

“Public Administration Reform is a process that requires the involvement of everyone in the country, although the Ministry, as the process coordinator, will work mostly on it and be there for other stakeholders”, Ruzić concluded.

Azza al-Abd has pointed out that the good public services are a precondition for good quality of life for citizens, and that public administration is “the face of the state that all citizens see every day”.

“That is why cooperation, partnership and dialogue are the most important in this process,” said El-Abd. “Progress in the public administration reform process cannot happen unless everyone is working together, as the name of this project says “Partnership for Good Governance”.

“The public administration reform is not a single event, it is a long process, which will last until citizens are satisfied. Our project has shown that civil society can work well with public administration and how this communication can be useful and good for everyone. The result of this communication with government is The Gray Book of Public Services that we present today.” said Grubješić.

“It is important to involve citizens as much as possible. We have collected more than 4,000 citizens’ testimonials and based on these formulated recommendations,” she highlighted.

Lazarević emphasized that it is important to enable citizens to give their feedback, which means to give them a possibility to evaluate public services provided to them.

“There are many ways to do that,” Lazarević said, “it is only a matter to have a will to listen the voice of citizens – that is our key recommendation,” she underlined.

In the end, Tara Tepavac, EMinS Project Manager, and Katarina Tad, CEP researcher, presented the main findings of the Gray Book. They stressed out that the difference between this project and previous ones is that now, for the first time, both sides have been included during the research – one side, public servants, and on the other – citizens, so “full image” and perception of public services in Serbia have been obtained.

The interactive discussion with the representatives of relevant state institutions, the international community and civil society organisations followed the presentation of the key results and recommendations from the Grey Book.