Strategic Capacity

   

How much influence do strategic planning units and bodies have on government decision-making?

EUOECD
 
Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions, and they exercise strong influence on government decision-making.
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Denmark
The amount of strategic thinking in Danish government administration varies across different ministries. It also depends on the decision-making style of the ministry head. Major reforms in Denmark are usually prepared through committees or commissions established to produce a report outlining issues and options. In recent years, commissions have played an essential role in the policy formation process, including Strukturkommissionen (infrastructure commission), Velfærdskommissionen (welfare commission), Arbejdsmarkedskommissionen (labor market commission), Skattekommissionen (tax commission), Produktivitetskommissionen (Productivity commission) and Dagpengekommissionen (unemployment insurance commission). In addition, it is quite common to appoint expert groups to prepare inputs for important policy discussions and reforms. The members can be experts, representatives of organizations or civil servants. Moreover, professionalism in ministries has increased.

A tradition has developed in formulating overarching strategic policy plans (usually with a horizon of about 10 years), such as the government’s 2010 plan, 2015 plan, 2020 plan and most recently 2025 plan. The 2025 plan was presented by the Liberal minority government in August 2016 and subsequently reconfirmed by the new three-party government in May 2017. The plan sets policy targets for, among other areas, fiscal sustainability and living standards.

There has been a continuous effort to modernize the public sector to make it more efficient. Economic policy plans have included expectations on productivity increases in the public sector, although there are obvious measurement problems in assessing the outcome of such initiatives. As a sign of the ongoing process, the new coalition government has a minister responsible for public innovation.

It should be noted that government policies traditionally have been consensus-driven. This applies both to parliament, as most governments have been minority governments, and in relation to negotiations involving organizations and the political system, most notably in relation to labor market issues.
Citations:
Niels Ejersbo og Carsten Greve, Modernisering af den offentlige sektor. Copenhagen: Børsen, 2005.

The Danish Government, Denmark’s National Reform Programme. May 2011. http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/nrp/nrp_denmark_en.pdf (accessed 20 April 2013).

The National Reform Programme Denmark 2014. http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/pdf/csr2014/nrp2014_denmark_en.pdf

DK2025 - et stærkere Danmark. August 2016. http://stm.dk/publikationer/DK2025_web/index.htm (Accessed 17 October 2016).

The Danish Government, “Vækst og velstand 2025,” https://www.regeringen.dk/2025/ (Accessed 16 October 2017)
Finland
Strategic planning has considerable influence on government decision-making. The strategic goals contained in the government program are recorded in specific government-strategy documents. These strategy documents cover a one-year period and include a plan for pursuing priority goals, a notice of intent for upcoming key decisions and indicators for evaluating government performance. The implementation of the government program is assessed by a report halfway through the cabinet’s tenure, which defines how strategic goals should be attained through the rest of the cabinet’s time in office. The Prime Minister’s Office assists the prime minister and the government in their work and is responsible for the planning of social policy legislation that does not fall within the competence of any other ministry. The government often launches policy programs to ensure its key objectives are met. Meanwhile, the preparation and monitoring of programs is delegated to ministerial groups. In addition, the Committee for the Future deals with future-related matters. As a former entrepreneur, Prime Minister Sipilä has given the government program an even more strategic turn. For some of its policy objectives, the government utilizes trial projects to assess reform impacts. The basic income trial project, which will be run with 2,000 participants nationwide in 2017 and 2018, is an example of this kind of new strategic evidence-based planning.
Citations:
Basic income experiment; http://www.kela.fi/web/en/basic-income-experiment-2017-2018
 
Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Their influence on government decision-making is systematic but limited in issue scope or depth of impact.
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Canada
Neither the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) nor the Privy Council Office (PCO) has an official planning unit today. In 1997, Policy Horizons Canada was established under the PCO with a mandate to provide analysis and help the federal public service anticipate emerging policy challenges and opportunities, in order to support medium-term policy development. Its budget is small, however, and this unit has not reported through the PCO since 2007. Nevertheless, there are thousands of public servants employed by the PCO, the Department of Finance and the Treasury Board (close to 3,000 individuals in all) who have no specific program responsibility. Their purpose is to manage politically sensitive files and to plan. Therefore, some argue that the planning capacity of the government of Canada is as strong as that of other Western countries, and in some cases even stronger.

The Trudeau government has made ample use of special advisory groups to provide information and consultations on a number of policy areas (e.g., economic growth, cultural policy and issues relating to young people). In theory, discussions in these groups will influence long-term policy. For example, the Prime Minister’s Youth Council advises on issues affecting young people, including future energy policy. How influential these groups are in crafting policy, however, is unclear.
Latvia
In December 2011, Latvia established a central government planning unit, the Cross-Sectoral Coordination Centre (Pārresoru koordinācijas centrs, PKC). The PKC’s mandate was to develop a long-term strategic approach to public policymaking, while also monitoring decision-making to ensure that public policies are effective. The PKC also monitors ministries’ progress toward meeting the government’s stated goals, as outlined in the government declaration.

To date, the PKC has produced the National Development Plan, monitored progress toward the Latvia 2030 framework and established an active role for itself in decision-making, contributing to policy debates on a range of cross-sectoral issues such as demographics and income disparities. The PKC reviews all proposals discussed by the cabinet and provides weekly briefings for the prime minister on substantive issues pending discussion by the cabinet. In 2015, the PKC’s mandate was expanded to include a coordinating role in the management of state-owned enterprises.

In addition to the PKC’s core government role and despite a reduction in departmental units and staff numbers, most ministries have retained some independent planning capacity. The PKC has been criticized for becoming mired in the details of policy planning, effectively duplicating the work of ministries while failing to provide the cross-sectoral, meta-approach expected of it.

The effectiveness of the PKC is not limited by its ability to provide quality analysis and evidence-based arguments, but rather by its inability to carve out a position of authority and influence within the decision-making process. Analysis provided by the PKC to politicians is easily tossed aside when political expediency dictates. The PKC itself sees its role as providing much-needed analysis, but not necessarily ensuring that these evidence-based arguments are respected in the decision-making process.
Citations:
The Cross-Sectoral Coordination Centre, Information Available at (in Latvian): http://www.nap.lv/par-pkc, Last assessed: 31.10.2014
Lithuania
Lithuania’s strategic-planning system was introduced in 2000 and has been updated several times since. At the central level of government, the planning system involves all stages (planning, monitoring and evaluation) of managing strategic and operational performance. The main strategic documents include the long-term Lithuania 2030 strategy and the medium-term National Progress Program, which is in turn linked to short-term strategic-performance plans and budget programs. The planning system in general is well-institutionalized; its functioning is supported by a network of strategic-planning units within each ministry and a governmental Strategic Committee that was reintroduced in 2013 by the 2012 to 2016 government. However, the strategic planning system suffers from unnecessary complexity. About 250 strategic documents exist, while strategic action plans include 1,800 monitoring indicators. The 2016 to 2020 government developed guidelines and an action plan for restructuring strategic planning and the budget formulation system to focus more on results and ensure fiscal sustainability.

A State Progress Council composed of politicians, public and civil servants, academics, business leaders, and other representatives of Lithuanian society was established to help design the Lithuania 2030 strategy and monitor its implementation. The council’s composition was updated after the 2012 to 2016 government came to office and meetings were held on a regular basis until 2016. However, the 2016 to 2020 government has proven reluctant to employ this governance arrangement. The current government introduced the so-called change baskets, setting aside €617.5 million for the implementation of government policies and other legislative commitments in 2018. A large share of these additional resources will be channeled toward social policies (including direct financial support for children).

Although these strategic and advisory bodies take a long-term approach and offer viable policy solutions, their influence on governmental decision-making in fact varies by specific issue. There is a certain gap between the long-term policy aims contained in various strategic documents and the actual practices of individual public-sector organizations. In addition, politically important decisions are sometimes made without due consideration of strategic priorities and performance-monitoring results, with strategic-planning documents and performance reports often playing little role in daily decision-making processes. These strategic priorities and documents were largely ignored during the 2016 parliamentary elections, illustrating their limited importance. Instead competing parties and candidates focused on either concrete short-term policy issues, such as increasing wages and pensions, or general issues, such as migration and inward investment.
New Zealand
The core executive in New Zealand is organized according to new public-management approaches and methods. Most importantly, contracts are negotiated between ministers and chief executives. With the large number of government departments and ministers (28), most of whom are responsible for several portfolios, taking a whole-of-government approach to policy development can be complex and time-consuming. Recent governments have reacted to concerns about fragmentation by recentralizing the steering capacity of the core executive. The most important government departments involved in strategic planning and policy formation are the central agencies of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC), the State Services Commission (SSC) and the Treasury. All contracts (performance agreements and departmental statements of intent) support a cooperative and whole-of-government policy approach, though evaluation of the performance assessment of chief executives has a strong focus on departmental achievements. The National government (2008-17) sought to achieve substantial efficiency reforms without a major reorganization of public sector departments and ministries. This led to various initiatives, such as greater rationalization and coordination with respect to back-office functions (such as IT, payroll and procurement) with a view to achieving savings which can be shifted to delivering frontline services. Since chief executives are on contract and employ staff, these changes can occur only with their support and cannot be imposed on individual departments.

Developing strategies to enhance public sector performance management has been progressing for some time. Since the government has imposed a cap on the size of the state sector, these measures are aimed at securing greater efficiency, effectiveness and performance across the sector. Recent initiatives include the Better Public Services (BPS) program and the Policy Project Frameworks. BPS aims to build efficient and effective public services by emphasizing outputs, strengthening leadership and providing better services and greater value for money. The Policy Project Frameworks aims to improve government infrastructure around policy capability, skills and advice. Under the new prime minister, Bill English, who took office after the surprise resignation of John Key in December 2016, the government updated 10 Better Public Services targets as part of a new social investment package that included changed standards for improved math and literacy skills in primary schools, better health outcomes for new mothers and their children, reductions in child abuse and the number of serious crime victims, lower welfare dependence and faster times to access social housing.

The prime minister can draw on only moderate strategic-planning capacity (in the form of a policy-advisory group) vis-à-vis ministers. Ad hoc groups, often including some outside expertise, are increasingly used to complement government agencies’ policy-advisory function.
Citations:
Department of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet (DPMC). Annual Report for the Year Ended 30 June 2015 (Wellington: State Services Commission 2015) http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/sites/all/files/publications/dpmc-annual-report-2015.pdf (accessed 5 October, 2016).
Prime Minister Launches Policy Project Frameworks. Department of the Prime Minister and the Cabinet (DPMC). http://www.dpmc.govt.nz/node/1566 (accessed 5 October, 2016).
Performance Improvement Framework: http://www.ssc.govt.nz/pif (accessed October 9, 2014).
Six Dimensions of System Performance (Wellington: State Services Commission 2013).
State Services Commission: Annual Report for the Year Ended 30 June 2013 (Wellington: State Services Commission 2013).
The Capability Toolkit – A Tool to Promote and Inform Capability Management (Wellington: The Government of New Zealand 2008).
McBeth, Paul, 2017. English flags $321m social investment package for needy Kiwis. New Zealand Herald. 3 May 2017.
Sweden
The strategic capacity of government has been enhanced over the past few years. Much of that capacity is found in the finance ministry where most of the long-term planning takes place. The main role of the Prime Minister’s Office is not so much long-term planning but more coordination within government.

A case in the point is the so-called “future commission” which presented its final report in early 2013. In the final report, the commission assesses the economic and social changes that are likely to shape Swedish society in the longer term. Exactly how the commission’s findings will flow into the policy process is yet to be seen. The commission was not an institutionalized feature of the normal policy process but rather a group of experts the government appointed to look into long-term issues. The creation of the commission does signal that the government is thinking in the longer term, and other commissions have since been appointed to take a similar long view on various issues on the policy agenda.

In addition to these planning efforts in the government departments, the agencies are also engaged in planning. They are not operating in close proximity to the departments, however. The exception to this pattern is when a department asks one of its agencies to look into a particular issue and to prepare advice on policy-initiatives.

The previous government invested considerable energy to increase the coordination among government departments and to provide better steering of the executive agencies.

Historically, policy planning has been achieved to a large extent by the use of Royal Commissions. Most of these commissions were composed of elected officials and stakeholders. During the past decade or so, the quality of these commissions – particularly with regard to the quality of the studies they deliver and their capacity to generate consensus among major political actors and stakeholders as to policy goals and means – has deteriorated. Many commissions today have very few members and are often dominated by civil servants. This has had a negative impact on those commissions’ final reports and the quality of the advice they produce as well as the political role of commissions as a forum in the policy process where compromises among the political parties can be negotiated.
Citations:
Zetterberg, K. (2011), ”Det statliga kommittéväsendet: En del av den svenska modellen,” Svensk Juristtidning 8:753-763.

Svenska framtidsutmaningar. Slutrapport från regeringens framtidskommission (2013) (Stockholm: Statsrådsberedningen) (http://www.regeringen.se/content/1/c6/21/33/06/9cde7be8.pdf)

Garsten, C., B. Rothstein and S. Svallfors (2015), Makt utan mandat: de policyprofessionella i svensk politik (Stockholm: Dialogos).
UK
Although the United Kingdom has one of the most centralized political systems and is one of the long-established liberal democracies in the world, the resources directly available to the prime minister are relatively limited compared with those available to other heads of government. Formally, there is no prime ministerial department to provide strategic planning or advice, although the Cabinet Office provides an important coordinating role across government and its head, the cabinet secretary, attends cabinet meetings. The cabinet secretary is also the head of the civil service, after the two roles were separated under the previous coalition government, and chairs the quarterly Projects Commissioning Board. In 2014, the post of chief executive of the civil service was created with the incumbent becoming a permanent secretary of the Cabinet Office in 2015. The Projects Commissioning Board works closely with the Economic and Domestic Affairs Secretariat (EDS), established in summer 2015, which fosters future and innovative projects. A substantial effort has been made since 2010 to modernize the civil service, including its strategic capacity, with a cabinet-level minister taking the lead. A civil-service reform plan was launched in 2012 and led by the Cabinet Office. Establishing policymaking as a profession is one of the stated goals, a task that will have potentially long-term consequences for steering capability and strategic capacity.

At a political level, a special advisory unit has supported all recent prime ministers. George Freeman, Conservative member of parliament for Mid-Norfolk, has led the current unit, the Prime Minister’s Policy Board, since shortly after Theresa May became prime minster in July 2016. Special advisers and civil servants staff these advisory units. The remit of Number 10 Policy Unit is defined by the prime minister but tends to focus on strategic political and policy decisions. In 2012, the prime minister and deputy prime minister established a dedicated Implementation Unit within the Cabinet Office, charged with driving implementation in areas deemed to be of high priority and now reinforced by the creation of implementation task forces to oversee the delivery of policy initiatives. All government departments have been required by the new government to produce single departmental plans, which serve both to define their strategic objectives and to enable them to be monitored more effectively.

However, political uncertainty has made strategic planning harder. After Theresa May lost the Conservatives’ parliamentary majority in the 2017 general election she has led a minority government dependent on a “supply and confidence” agreement with the DUP, a Northern Irish unionist party. In addition, Conservative MPs – from both extremes of the Brexit spectrum – keep attacking their own government’s plans. And in spite of being members of the cabinet, Michael Gove (Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) and Boris Johnson (Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) – former joint heads of the “leave” campaign and May’s opponents in the contest for the party leadership – keep fighting the prime minister in a way that in the past would have been considered incompatible with notions of cabinet government and collective cabinet responsibility. These political factors have diminished the government’s de facto capacities for strategic planning. Whether the system will regain its structural strength depends on Theresa May’s ability to win back control of her cabinet and her party in the near future.
Citations:
https://civilservicelearning.civilservice.gov.uk/sites/default/files/twelve_actions_report_web_accessible.pdf

Institute for Government (2014) Whitehall Monitor 2014 A data-driven analysis of the size, shape and performance of Whitehall (http://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/sites/default/files/publications/IFG%20-%20Whitehall%20Monitor%202014.pdf)
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Australia
Probably the most important government body for encouraging long-term strategic policy development is the Productivity Commission, which notionally provides advice to government on microeconomic policy, but which increasingly is asked to provide advice in other policy areas. The Productivity Commission conducts reviews and inquiries as directed by government, and also independently produces research reports. All advice and reports are publicly released in a timely fashion.

Within the Commonwealth public service, extensive use is made of committees to undertake strategic planning, and these committees’ activities generally peak immediately before and after the transition to a new government, and in the pre-budget period. The public service also maintains a single department, the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, with the aim of coordinating and directing strategic planning across the government as a whole.

The coalition government rationalized the number of government departments and agencies shortly after coming into office in September 2013. The Community and Public Sector Union estimated that 18,000 public sector jobs have been cut in the subsequent period. The implications for strategic planning are not likely positive.
Citations:
http://www.blackincbooks.com/books/dog-days

http://www.cpsu.org.au/news/why-re-elected-turnbull-government-bad-your-job

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/paul-keating-australia-lacks-a-foreign-policy-to-negotiate-the-rise-of-china-20160830-gr4y70.html

Productivity Commission: https://www.pc.gov.au/

https://www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/trade-assistance

https://www.pc.gov.au/research/completed/rising-protectionism
Belgium
Each minister works closely with a team of collaborators in each ministerial cabinet. Each cabinet is usually large, with as many as 30 to 40 senior staff and experts. Meetings take place often, and the team designs policies in line both with the minister’s objectives and the government agreement. The minister and the advisory team are then responsible for drafting bill projects which are then submitted to the government in weekly meetings.

In terms of long-term planning, the knowledge accumulated by a minister’s collaborators can be lost at the end of a legislative period, as the ministerial team changes with the minister. Moreover, the frequency of staff rotation is generally high. In contrast, public administration is run by civil servants with longer tenures of office, but these groups do not generally take part in strategic ministerial decisions. Long-term planning (beyond a legislative term) is therefore made difficult. The main rationale for relying on the minister’s team instead of civil servants is that the former are the minister’s (and the party’s) close aides and tend to be more flexible in terms of working hours and availability for emergency situations.

The federal Planning Bureau (Bureau du Plan/Planbureau) does play a role in providing longer strategic-planning options, but in general it is the ministerial cabinets that are the main movers of legislative efforts.
Chile
The president has the ability to ask for and ensure strategic planning, whether through formal or informal channels. Line ministries, most notably the Ministry of Finance, and the president’s advisory ministry (Secretaría General de la Presidencia, Segpres), have considerable influence in strategic-planning processes. Meetings between strategic-planning staff and the head of government are held frequently. However, no long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions is necessarily presented – these are either limited in scope or depth of impact depending on the topic. Strategic planning, policy planning and regulatory reforms, budget planning, and ex ante evaluation of government policies and public-investment programs are carried out by specialist units and departments inside the various ministries. While there is no explicit multi-year budget planning process in place in Chile, this takes place implicitly due to the fiscal rule that (by law) links overall government expenditure to forward-looking estimates of long-term government revenue, based on growth trends and copper-price projections. These forecasts are provided in a transparent way by specialist budgetary commissions comprised of academic and private-sector experts (mostly professional economists).
Estonia
The supporting structures of the government in Estonia are mainly located in the line ministries. The Government Office (GO) is quite limited in this respect, though there is a Strategy Unit within the GO, which mainly has a consulting function. Its main tasks are to support the composition of strategic-development plans, to coordinate and draw up the government’s action plan, and monitor the implementation of the above-mentioned policy documents. The Strategy Unit employs 10 staff. A seven-year governmental program intended to improve the quality of policymaking was approved in 2014. The human capacity of the Strategy Unit is enhanced by various expert groups and task forces established within the aforementioned program. By 2017, several ex ante and ex post policy analyses and forecasts had been requested.

In addition to the Strategy Unit, there is also a Prime Minister’s Bureau, comprised of experts in various policy areas who advise the prime minister. Different from the Strategy Unit, this body is closely linked to the prime minister’s political party and its members change with each new prime minister.
Ireland
There is some evidence that Irish policymakers improved their strategic-planning capacity since the period in the immediate aftermath of the crisis. The annual reports on the Programme for Government detail a more coherent strategic approach to policymaking and increased use of advisory bodies.

However, independent advice is not always followed. Popular pressures for increased spending and tax reductions influenced government decisions in the 2016 budget, reflecting the proximity of a general election. The Fiscal Advisory Council and the Economic and Social Research Institute have urged the government to devote more of the revenue gains arising from the recent economic improvement to a faster reduction of the budget deficit, at the expense of lower taxes and increased spending. However, the imposition of limits on mortgage lending during 2015, intended to moderate the rise in home prices, is a welcome example of unpopular but prudent strategic thinking.

During the 2011 to 2016 government and current minority government, detailed reports were published by the government monitoring annual progress on implementing the Programme for Government.
Malta
Each government ministry has a director and unit responsible for strategy and planning. These are strongest in the Ministry of Finance, the Malta Planning Authority, the Malta Transport Authority, the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs, and the Education Ministry. In 2015, a new unit focused on information and the implementation of standards was introduced in the office of the prime minister to facilitate coordination between various stakeholders when implementing projects. Strategic planning has been boosted by the government’s efforts to reduce public debt. The National Statistics Office has also been reformed. Over the last year, the influence of strategic planning units over fiscal and education policy has increase. The success of Malta’s EU presidency, supported by a four-year program that upgraded coordination vertically and horizontally across government entities, has shown the substantive improvements that have been achieved.

Within ministries, the permanent secretary is responsible for developing strategy, including identifying key performance indicators, and determining timeline and budgets. In some cases, ministries employ consultants to produce reports on current policy issues, a practice that may be regarded as forward planning. The Management Efficiency Unit coordinates separate ministry plans and the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA), which reviews government IT requirements, also assists. Usually when a policy is to be reformed or updated a strategic plan is released for consultation.
Citations:
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150823/local/malta-keeps-a-rating-deficit-is-down-economy-stronger.581555
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151002/local/dbrs-confirs-maltas-long-term-rating-at-a-stable.586719
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151004/business-news/ey-predicts-malta-gdp-growth-of-39-in-2015-29-in-2016.586905
http://www.politico.eu/article/maltas-eu-presidency-how-did-it-go/
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170701/local/eu-presidency-a-fantastic-experience-has-come-to-an-end-pm.652048
Caleja Ragonesi I., Maltese Presidency aims to make the ordinary extraordinary. Europe’s Word January 2017
Strategic Plan 2017-2020 Academy for disciplined forces Malta
Mobile Government Strategy 2017-2018ffddddf
Ufficcju tal - prim Ministru, Rapport Annwali 2015
Mexico
The Mexican president is required by law to produce a strategic plan in his first year in office. At a lower level, there are quite a few planning units within the Mexican government, though they do not all have decisive input in the policymaking process.

Strategic planning was most prominent in the 1960s, 70s and 80s; in the latter decade no fewer than three former planning ministers moved up to the presidency of Mexico. In more general terms, a “passion for planning” stems from the origins of the Institutional Revolutionary Party regime and its corporatist structures within a mixed economy. Mainly as a consequence of market-oriented reforms, the role of planning entities has declined since the late 1980s. This was partly the result of Mexico becoming an export-oriented economy, but also because planning itself was a failure during this period, with Mexico too bound to international economic trends to successfully implement planning decisions. The uncertainty about the future of NAFTA once again illustrates how strongly Mexico’s ability to formulate and pursue domestic policies depends on developments beyond its borders.

Planning has seen a resurgence in popularity in recent years. The major challenge to planning in Mexico, and Latin America more generally, consists in creating sufficiently tight links between the agencies responsible for planning, the implementing agencies and powerful interest groups. The implementation of several highly significant recent reforms have put Mexico’s planning skills to the test. This includes the implementation of anti-corruption laws and reforms in the social sector, as well as in energy and telecommunications. The current Mexican president has faced historically low approval ratings in the final years of his term, which will further diminish chances for successfully implementing strategic plans crafted at the beginning of his administration. Longer-term, Mexico has committed itself to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and created a specialized technical committee involving 25 federal agencies to collect the statistical information required to monitor progress. It remains to be seen, however, to what extent Mexico will be able to plan and implement a coherent sustainability strategy with strong priorities.
Norway
Significant strategic planning takes place in the course of governmental decision-making. The Ministry of Finance is a key actor in the long-term planning process, and also presents views during the annual budget cycle on how best to cope with long-term economic challenges and the financing of the welfare state.

The typical procedure for major decisions or reforms entails the following steps: First, the government appoints an ad hoc committee tasked with delivering a detailed report on a particular issue. Some of these committees are composed exclusively of experts, while others have a broader membership that includes politicians and representatives of interested parties such as unions, business confederations and other non-governmental organizations.

For instance, a report to the Ministry of Finance would typically be drafted by high-profile academic economists along with representatives of unions, employers and the central bank. When this procedure leads to legislative action, a proposal is drafted and distributed to interested parties, who are invited to make comments and suggestions (a period of three months for comments is recommended, and six weeks is the minimum period allowed).

Only after comments have been received will the government prepare a proposal for parliament, sometimes in the form of a parliamentary bill, but occasionally only as an initial white paper. Governments deviate from this procedure only in cases of emergency, and any attempt to circumvent it would lead to public criticism.

There is an established procedure for the approval of the annual budget. Activity starts a year in advance, when the government holds three conferences on the budget proposal. The finance minister presents an initial proposal to parliament in the first week of October. A parliamentary committee plays an active role in the budget process, making concrete proposals for the distribution of resources. This proposal becomes the basis of parliamentary discussion. After the parliament approves a proposal for the allocation of resources, it becomes binding for subsequent, more detailed discussions that take place in various parliamentary committees. By December 15, this work is concluded and the final budget is approved by the full parliament.

The shortcomings in governance that were revealed in the course of the July 22 terrorist attacks and their aftermath have resulted in a general downgrade in the scores associated with executive capacity. However, these shortcomings have been mostly rectified in the past several years.
South Korea
Strategic planning remains an important factor in South Korean governance. The office of the president includes a senior secretary and two secretaries for the president for state affairs. President Moon launched the State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee in May 2017. This commission is comprised of key departments specializing in policy and administration, the economy, diplomacy and security, and policy planning. A total of 30 members play an advisory role in assisting the new government in reviewing the structure, function and budget of each government organization. Commission members also help to identify key policies that the government will pursue, and help develop medium and long-term plans to carry out the policies. The plan submitted by the State Affairs Planning Advisory Committee contains policy recommendations to be pursued over the next five years of the Moon administration. The plan includes a national vision, strategies and 100 concrete policy tasks. While the former Park Geun-hye administration set priorities toward achieving very general goals including “happiness for the people,” “economic democratization” and a “creative economy,” President Moon has formulated much more concrete tasks under the general guiding principle of “A Nation of the People, a Just Republic of Korea.”
Citations:
Korea.net. Policy Roadmap of the Moon Jae-in Administration. July 19, 2017.
Korea.net. President Moon Unveils Five-year Policy Agenda. July 19, 2017. http://www.korea.net/NewsFocus/policies/view?articleId=148013
Korea.net. President Launches Advisory Committee on State Affairs. May 22, 2017. http://www.korea.net/NewsFocus/policies/view?articleId=146390
Netherlands
The Dutch government has four strategic-planning units. All of these are formally part of a ministry, but their statutes guarantee them independent watchdog and advisory functions.

The Scientific Council for Government Policy (Wetenschappelijke Raad voor het Regeringsbeleid, WRR) advises the government on intersectoral issues of great future importance and policies for the longer term and weak coordination of the work plans of the other strategic planning units. It is part of the prime minister’s Department of General Affairs and is the only advisory council for long-term strategic-policy issues. In 2016, the annual conference of the Dutch Association of Public Administration focused on the need for more strategic intelligence in addressing the big societal issues of the future.

The Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (Centraal Planbureau, CPB) is part of the Department of Economic Affairs. It prepares standard annual economic assessments and forecasts (Centraal Economisch Plan, Macro-Economische Verkenningen), and cost-benefit analyses for large-scale infrastructural projects. In election years, it assesses the macroeconomic impacts of political parties’ electoral platforms. For more than 200 days after the March elections in 2017 while the cabinet was being formed, the CPB was an important background advisor in calculating the financial scope for new policy initiatives.

The Netherlands Institute for Social Research (Sociaal-Cultureel Planbureau, SCP) is part of the Department of Public Health, Welfare and Sports. The SCP conducts policy-relevant scientific research on the present and future of Dutch social and cultural issues – for example, political engagement and participation of citizens, media and culture, family and youth, care, housing.

The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving, PBL) is part of the Department of Infrastructure and Environment. It is the national institute for strategic policy analysis for the environment, nature and spatial policies. During the 2017 cabinet formation process, the influence of the PBL and high-level civil servants was visible in the long list of energy transition policy initiatives.

In addition to the major strategic planning units, there are at least two important extra-governmental bodies. Firstly, the fairly influential Health Council (Gezondheidsraad, GR), is an independent scientific advisory body that alerts and advises (whether solicited or unsolicited) government and the States General on the current level of knowledge with respect to public-health issues and health-services research. Secondly, the Netherlands Institute for International Relations (Clingendael) conducts background research on Europe, security and conflict issues, diplomacy, and the changing geopolitical landscape.
Citations:
R. Hoppe, 2014. Patterns of science/policy interaction in The Netherlands, in P. Scholten & F. van Nispen, Policy Analysis in the Netherlands, Policy Press, Bristol (ISBN 9781447313335)

P. ‘t Hart, De opgave centraal. Festival Bestuurskunde, 13 September 2016 (platform overheid.nl, consulted November 8 2016)

Nationale Ombudsman, Nederland ergert zich aan gebrek aan deskundigheid ambtenaren, 5 September 2016 (National ombudsman.nl, consulted 8 November 2016)

“Politici die achteraf bepalen wat de kiezer belangrijk had moeten vinden,” NRC-Handelblad, 16 September 2017
6
Austria
The strategic capacity of the Austrian executive is limited by the lack of clear majorities in the federal parliament and in most of the state (provincial) parliaments. With some exceptions, no party can claim to have the mandate to implement a set of policies agreed to by a majority of voters and members of parliament. Rather, coalitions must be formed, a process with clear advantages and clear disadvantages. On the one hand, executive responsibility is blurred, as the presence of too many veto players prevents the development of consistent strategic capacity. On the other, coalitions enable a more inclusive government. Political decision-making in Austria is still characterized by a tendency to prefer a maximum of consensus, even at the price of postponing necessary decisions and shying away from taboos identified with the interests of special groups (such as public service unions or organized agrarian interests). Inter- and intra-party veto players have significant influence, and undermine strategic capacity.

Strategic-planning units and bodies consisting of public officials do exist within the ministries. The Federal Chancellery can be considered the principal strategic-planning unit, as it is responsible for coordinating the government’s various activities. However, it lacks the specialized personnel that would enable it to work as a comprehensive strategy unit, and has no power to give instructions to other ministries.

In 2017 the coalition between SPÖ and ÖVP collapsed due to a change of leadership within the ÖVP. Consequently, the general election scheduled for 2018 had to be moved to October 2017. The outcome of the election resulted in a new coalition agreement, negotiated between the ÖVP and FPÖ. However, the formation of a new coalition will not change the inbuilt weaknesses of a coalition government based on partners with conflicting interests.
Croatia
The introduction of strategic-management tools has just begun in Croatia’s public administration. At the central-government level, strategic planning over the last decade has been dominated by the goal of EU accession. Since joining the EU in 2013, strategic-planning capacity has increased substantially, in part due to the learning process that took place during the accession period, but also thanks to Croatia’s inclusion in the EU strategic-planning exercise organized within the framework of the European Semester. The Plenković governments have taken the drafting of the annual national reform programs, as required by the European Commission, rather seriously. Despite the introduction of these institutional and procedural arrangements, policymaking in Croatia continues to be dominated by short-term political interests.
Israel
Israel’s government adopted the practice of strategic planning only in the 1990s. Previously, government actions were based on practical experience rather than theory, with much improvisation and a policy framework driven by short-term incentives. As a result, the Israeli government did not develop strategic planning units early on, even though a planning division was developed in the Israeli Defense Forces in the early 1970s.

Today, the director general of the Prime Minister’s Office oversees the body’s administrative and policy work. He or she supervises three main planning agencies: The National Economic Council, the National Security Council and the Policy Planning Department. In 2010, the government formed a committee to investigate internal strategic planning capacities; the results, published in late 2012, identified many structural deficiencies.

A number of steps have been taken as a consequence, with the most prominent of these being the annual publication of the Governmental Plan Book. The review period featured the fifth time this book had been published, and it was this time accompanied by important advancements such as an extension to non-departmental governmental agencies; the inclusion of measurement indicators, target budgets and personnel allocations; biannual plans; and most importantly, a revision and assessment of the previous implementation of plans and decisions in all ministries. The 2017 book demonstrates the success and professionalism of reform efforts in governmental planning, and ministries and politicians today use it regularly as a working tool.
Citations:
“A guide for government planning,” The department for policy planning, September 2010 (Hebrew)

Arlozorov, Merav, “Serious, Ambitious, and Improving: Some Good Words on Netanyahu’s Government,” The Marker, 5.3.2017, https://www.themarker.com/news/1.3903271


Loten, Tomer, “The Governmental Planning Reform is Now Complete: Now is the time for an Implementation Reform.” The Marker, 27.3.2017, https://www.themarker.com/opinion/1.3954484

“Policy departments – auxiliary tool for navigation,” the Reut institute 11.6.2008. (Hebrew)

Working Plan Book 2017-18, PMO Office, March 2017: http://www.plans.gov.il/pdf2017/ (Hebrew)

“Government releases 2017-2018 work plan,” Ynet reporters, 03.05.2017, https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4930776,00.html
Italy
The concept of strategic planning is not particularly developed in Italian governmental and administrative culture. This is in part due to the fact that governments have been predominantly preoccupied with coalition problems and that the administration is still very much guided by a legalistic culture. Nevertheless, some progress has been made with recent governments. Recent government programs have been more detailed, and become significant instruments for organizing and planning government activity. Within the government office (called the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, or Presidenza del Consiglio), a special department guided by a minister without portfolio has been created to oversee the implementation of this program. This department produces regular reports on the program’s implementation status. The financial aspect of strategic planning is more developed, as the treasury has to implement rigorous budgetary stability goals, and works within a triennial perspective. While under the Renzi government, which featured a strong personalization of leadership, the minister of finance had to negotiate with the prime minister before implementing strategic plans in coordination with EU authorities. However, under the Gentiloni government, the minister of finance has a stronger role.
Japan
Under the central-government reform implemented by the Koizumi government in 2001, the role of lead institutions was considerably strengthened. The unit officially in charge of “policy planning and comprehensive policy coordination on crucial and specific issues in the cabinet” is the Cabinet Office (Naikaku-fu), which assists the prime minister and his cabinet. It is supported by a well-staffed Cabinet Secretariat (Naikaku-kanbō). The Cabinet Office also coordinates a number of policy councils including the Council on Economic and Fiscal Policy. While there is a certain amount of overlap between councils concerning strategic issues, and thus the danger of fuzzy demarcations of responsibility, the councils have at least contributed to informing the governmental and public discourses in a constructive manner. While individual line ministries have strategic-planning units staffed with mid-ranking officials, their actual influence on long-term planning seems to be limited compared to the clout of bureau chiefs and more senior officials such as administrative vice-ministers. Policy-planning units tend to have very few staff members.
Citations:
Kotaro Tsuru, Where Has the Growth Strategy Gone? Working style reform is the way to go, Article translated by RIETI from Nihon Keizai Shimbun of November 10, 2015, 10 February 2016, http://www.rieti.go.jp/en/papers/contribution/tsuru/30.html

N. N., Abe seeks to undermine tripartite system in labor policymaking process, Japan Press Weekly, 8 August 2016, http://www.japan-press.co.jp/modules/news/index.php?id=9838
Spain
The idea of reinforcing long-term thinking and smarter policymaking has drawn increasing political attention in Spain during the crisis. Several key areas that had not been subject to multiyear plans before the 2000s, including economic policy (structural reforms), security and external action, are now addressed through strategic documents that receive annual evaluations. Sectoral strategies have been published or announced in the areas of pensions system, human rights, and international development cooperation. The government’s central strategic-planning units have been strengthened accordingly. The Prime Minister’s Economic Office – which, among other functions, has been responsible for the National Reform Program under the Europe 2020 Strategy – has clearly become more powerful. Recently, a new Department of National Security was created within the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), tasked with developing the country’s National Security Strategy. The political instability of the minority government in power since 2016 has undermined the government’s strategic-planning capacities.
Citations:
European Commission: “Spain – National Reform Programme 2017”
https://ec.europa.eu/info/si tes/info/files/2017-european-semest er-national-reform-programme-spain- es.pdf
Turkey
All public institutions, including municipalities, special provincial administrations (laws 5216, 5302 and 5393) and state-owned economic enterprises (KİTs), but excluding regulatory and supervisory bodies, must prepare strategic plans according to Law 5018 (2003) on Public Financial Management and Control and the By-law on Principles and Procedures for Strategic Planning in Public Administrations (2006).

Ministries have established strategic-planning units, creating the need for inner- and interministerial coordination and cooperation on present and future tasks and problems. In general, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministries of Finance, Development and Interior, the Turkish Grand National Assembly, the Turkish Court of Audit, and the Board of Internal Audit are the primary institutions involved in the process of strategic planning. The High Planning Board of the Ministry of Development is in charge of coordinating development plans and annual programs, and determining investment and export incentives.

Strategic management within the Turkish public administration faces several challenges. Public institutions in general have insufficient strategic-management capacity. Strategic plans, performance programs, budgets and activity reports are prepared with little if any coordination. Although a total of 730 internal auditors are employed across 207 public institutions, the Turkish public administration as a whole has failed to develop an effective internal-audit system. The Court of Audit cannot fulfill its functions and pursue performance audits. There is no relationship between political strategy documents and lower-level policy materials, and little coordination between associated institutions. Difficulties in gaining access to relevant information within public administrative bodies and insufficient human resource capacities are additional major contributors to this failure. There are also no cumulative statistics on the frequency of meetings between strategic-planning staff members and government heads. In general, these meetings are held once a year and during budget negotiations. However, there is no harmony between strategic plans and governmental decisions.

During the review period, the 2016 – 2019 National e-Government Strategy and Action Plan was prepared. The plan envisages an integrated, technological, participatory, innovative and high-quality Effective e-Government Ecosystem, and takes into account national and international considerations.
Citations:
T.C. Kalkınma Bakanlığı, Kamuda Stratejik Yönetim Çalışma Grubu Raporu, Onuncu Kalkınma Planı (2014-2018), 2015. http://www.kalkinma.gov.tr/Lists/zel%20htisas%20Komisyonu%20Raporlar/Attachments/264/Kamuda%20Stratejik%20Y%C3%B6netim%20%C3%87al%C4%B1%C5%9Fma%20Grubu%20Raporu.pdf (accessed 7 November 2016)
Kamu İdarelerince Hazırlanacak Stratejik Planlara Dair Tebliğ, Resmi Gazete, 30 April 2015, http://www.resmigazete.gov.tr/eskiler/2015/04/20150430-10.htm (accessed 7 November 2017
TC Ulaştırma, Denizcilik ve Haberleşme Bakanlığı, 2016-2019 Ulusal e-Devlet Stratejisi ve Eylem Planı, 2016 http://www.sp.gov.tr/upload/xSPTemelBelge/files/Swkoy+2016-2019-Ulusal-e-Devlet-Stratejisi-ve-Eylem-Plani.pdf (accessed 1 November 2017)
Stratejik Yönetimde Kapasite Geliştirme Projesi, http://www.sp.gov.tr/tr/html/97/Stratejik+Yonetimde+Kapasite+Gelistirme+Projesi (accessed 1 November 2017)
Yüksek Planlama Kurulu, http://www.kalkinma.gov.tr/Pages/Yuksek-Planlama-Kurulu.aspx (accessed 1 November 2017)
 
Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Occasionally, they exert some influence on government decision-making.
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Bulgaria
The most important systematic strategic-planning process is related to the requirements of EU membership and the necessity of preparing strategy and programs within the EU framework. These include the convergence program, the reform program as a part of the European Union’s 2020 strategy, and concrete strategical considerations justifying the setting of priorities for EU funds absorption. Under the macroeconomic imbalances procedure of the European Union, which categorizes Bulgaria as a country with excessive imbalances, Bulgaria is obliged to integrate specific European Commission recommendations into the development of policy strategies.

There are national strategies on security, energy, governance and development of water resources, development of scientific research, Roma integration, physical education and sport, which serve for some long-term orientation. These strategies have been prepared in coordination with various ministries and on the basis of extensive discussions with the relevant expert communities. They are overseen by the line ministries and parliamentary committees responsible for these policy areas. Presently, the Council of Ministers’ portal for public consultations lists 159 “active” strategic documents relating to the national level, more than 20 of which have a term that reaches beyond 2020.

An important stimulus toward intensified strategic thinking at the government level will be provided by the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union in the first half of 2018, which will require the country to be proactive in setting a strategic agenda for the European Union as a whole.
Citations:
Strategic documents at the national level (a list of documents in Bulgarian), available at: http://strategy.bg/StrategicDocumentsHandler.ashx?lang=1&type=1
Czech Rep.
While the institutional infrastructure for strategic planning in the Czech Republic remains relatively weak, a number of strategic frameworks exist, partly resulting from EU pressure. In April 2017, the government approved the strategic framework Czech Republic 2030, setting long-term priorities for the development of the country. The document sets out the direction of development for the next decade in order to improve the quality of life of the Czech population in all regions. It also aims to help the country achieve development which is socially, economically and environmentally sustainable. The drafting of the document could be attended by all advisory bodies of the government and a network of non-profit organizations.

A medium-term perspective is provided by the government’s policy manifesto, which is presented to the Chamber of Deputies for a vote of confidence. In addition, the government prepares action plans for individual policy fields in cooperation with interest groups and academic and other experts. Such action plans include detailed schedules, name performance indicators and have a coordinator within government. However, in a number of fields, including transport infrastructure and energy policy, no long-term strategy exists.
France
French governments commonly refer to ad hoc committees tasked with providing information on crucial issues. In some cases, a report is requested from a single individual. Committee members are mainly high-level civil servants, former or active politicians and academics, and often are chosen on the basis of their sympathy to the government in office at the time. This situation raises the concern that opportunism may prevail over real strategic planning.

The only bodies that take a long-term view in terms of strategic planning are bureaucratic departments such as those that are part of the finance or foreign affairs ministries. The committee of economic advisers attached to the prime minister’s office produces reports on its own initiative or at the office’s request. Its impact on actual policymaking is limited, however.

France Stratégie, an interesting think tank attached to the prime minister, has recently developed into a body of strategic planning and policy evaluation, although its impact on governmental policy is uncertain for the time being.
Poland
Motivated by EU demands and partly by the objective of improving its absorption and use of EU funds, the Tusk government expanded the planning capacities of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister (Kancelaria Prezesa Rady Ministrów, KPRM) and replaced the previously uncoordinated assortment of sectoral plans with a more systematic approach in which a long-term strategy developed by the Chancellery (Poland 2030: The Third Wave of Modernity) established a framework for a limited number of medium-term strategies. The PiS government has relied on this framework and has developed its own long-term strategy. The new Strategy for Responsible Development was presented by Minister of Development Mateusz Morawiecki in February 2016 and has since been refined. Ultimately, however, policymaking under the PiS government has been guided by the grand visions and inspirations of PiS party leader Jarosław Kaczyński.
Citations:
OECD (2013): Public Governance Review Poland: Implementing Strategic-State Capacity. Paris, Chap. 2.
Portugal
Although the current government had been in office for almost two years as of the end of the review period, there have been virtually no changes with regard to strategic capacity. While there are strategic planning bodies in most ministries, their impact remains limited. The government’s minority status, which makes it dependent on the parliamentary support of three other parties in the parliament, has not contributed to an increase in strategic planning. It remains to be seen whether the stability shown by the government thus far will enable any change in this area in the future.
Switzerland
Strategic planning is not given significant weight in Switzerland. It is further rendered difficult by the fact that the country has a quasi-presidential political system (meaning the government cannot be voted out of office by the parliament) with a collegial government, a strong non-professional element, a consociational decision-making structure, a strong corporatist relationship between a weak federal state and outside interest organizations, and considerable uncertainty deriving from the system of direct democracy.

The Swiss government is not strictly speaking a parliamentary government, and does not have a policy agenda comparable to a “normal” parliamentary government. Furthermore, all seven members of the government have equal rights and powers; there is no prime minister. The president of the government is primus inter pares. He or she is not leader of the government in the sense of a prime minister.

Strategic planning is the task of the Federal Chancellery, the central coordinating body of the Federal Administration. With the new chancellor, Walter Turnheer, elected in 2016, strategic planning has been given more weight as part of the new public management model implemented in the Federal Administration. In 2018, an overall strategic outlook of Swiss policymaking will be published.
USA
The Trump administration and the current Republican Congress have drastically subordinated strategic planning, professional expertise and policy analysis.

The U.S. government has multiple units that analyze policy issues, and that make long-term projections as part of the assessment of current options. The Executive Office of the President has multiple staffs and analytic agencies. On the legislative side, the Congressional Budget Office analyzes the 10-year fiscal impact of all bills with budget implications. Expertise about long-term considerations is available in abundance, in the agencies, Congress and the White House. In past periods, the main barrier to coherent long-term planning was the constitutional separation of powers between the legislative and executive branches, along with frequent elections. By design, no individual or cohesive group controls policy for a long enough period to formulate and implement long-term plans.

In most areas of government and policy, President Trump has shown virtually no interest in long-range planning, professional expertise, or even organized, careful deliberation. His high-level economic advisers and appointees are notably missing economists. In national security policy, he has favored senior military officers, but often relied on his own untutored preferences and impulses. His White House has had essentially no conventionally organized advisory and decision processes.

In Congress, the Republican leadership has sought to overcome popular resistance to its major policies on health care and taxes by avoiding public hearings or bipartisan discussion of any kind. Instead, bills are drafted in secrete within Republican task forces and brought to a vote with the expectation of strict party voting. Republican leaders have tried to prevent the ten-year budget effects “scoring” of bills normally provided by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Both on health care and tax reform their principal claims and arguments have included demonstrably false and misleading statements.

The departments and agencies have witnessed major losses of high-level staff, both because the Trump White House has failed to make political appointments to many positions and because long-serving civil service experts have left agencies due to pressure or discouragement. The State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency, in particular, have sustained massive losses of experienced, expert staff.
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Cyprus
Reforms implemented since 2014 seek to integrate strategic planning into the country’s administrative practices remain neglected. Extending the competences assigned to the former Planning Office, now the Directorate General for European Programs, Coordination and Development (DGEPCD), to other relevant tasks remains under discussion. Thus, the ambition that DGEPCD’s work would supplement the ministry of finance’s budgetary planning and broaden it by including more aspects related to development remains uncertain.

The 2014 law on fiscal responsibility aimed to enable the government to identify goals and design policy actions from a strategic planning perspective. However, its implementation has been hamstrung by political expediency and its expansion to more services faces problems of coordination. Efforts to extend the implementation have not benefitted from the centralization and extensive powers assigned to the minister of finance. Both the European Commission and IMF have noted that reform work has slowed down.
Citations:
1. The new structure of former Planning Bureau, http://www.dgepcd.gov.cy/dgepcd/dgepcd.nsf/index_en/index_en
Germany
In the legislative term that ended in 2017, the government was led by Germany’s two most important political parties: the Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD). This coalition government did not demonstrate large ambitions in improving the strategic planning of the Chancellery or federal government. The head of the Chancellery, Peter Altmaier, had the status of a minister without portfolio, strengthening his position vis-á-vis the minister-presidents of the federal states and heads of the federal ministries. Although the Chancellery has a staff of around 500 employees, the federal government’s organizational structure is not well designed for strategic planning. Although there is a planning group in the Chancellery, its number of staff is extremely small. It was led by Eva Christiansen, who was simultaneously Chancellor Merkel’s media adviser. Under the permanent representative of the planning group, Dr. Andrea Schneider, strategic planning was not the main activity of the planning group nor is the group afforded a high-priority by the federal government.

Critics diagnosed a lack of strategic planning when Chancellor Merkel opened the borders to incoming refugees without extensive prior coordination across government. Others noted that this partial loss of control was unavoidable given the unforeseen magnitude of external events. After an extended period of muddling through – characterized by unclear competences, interparty competition within government, interministerial conflicts and the absence of a strong, coordinative center – Chancellor Merkel established a coordination unit. This unit was established within the Chancellery and was led by Peter Altmaier.

One handicap for developing a strategic policy approach was that the government was strongly influenced by party considerations, with all major political decisions determined in negotiations between the heads of the governing parties. Consequently, most governmental decisions were negotiated between the three heads of the parties that had made up the last government (CDU, CSU and SPD) and not between members of government. Party leader of the CSU, Horst Seehofer, was not a member of the government. This practice resulted in “party politicization” of the government, which undermined strategic planning.
Citations:
http://www.zeit.de/2016/35/grenzoeffnung-fluechtlinge-september-2015-wochenende-angela-merkel-ungarn-oesterreich
Greece
Strategic planning has long proved difficult for the central government in Athens. Government has often suffered from an archipelago-like quality, with conflicting political interests, clientelism and a highly formalistic administrative culture serving to enhance segmentation. Weak horizontal coordination within and among ministries, government agencies and state-owned companies make matters worse.

After the change in government in 2015, fewer experts and academics were included in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). Prime Minister Tsipras trusted the left-wing party cadres of Syriza with whom he had worked to bring his party to power, and far left-wing academics who had an abstract understanding of government and policy issues in Greece and little, if any, familiarity with the European Union. After the debacle of the July 2015 referendum, Tsipras revised his policies and adopted more austerity policies, more or less in the line with previous governments. This time, Tsipras subscribed to the strategic planning produced by Greece’s lenders.

Strategic planning was included, at least for the period 2015 – 2018, in the Third Memorandum of Understanding, signed between Greece and its creditors. Progress was noted on completion of the Second Review. For example, an Independent Authority of Public Revenue was established and the authorities made progress in adopting a General Transport Master Plan, covering all transport modes (road, railways, maritime, air and multi-modal), including logistical aspects.

However, this requisite strategic planning did not hold in policy areas which the memorandum did not cover in a binding manner, such as public order, education, culture and sports policy. In these policy areas, instead of strategic planning, there is still a lot of experimentation and improvisation on the part of the government.
Citations:
European Commission, Compliance Report. The Third Economic Adjustment Programme for Greece. Second Review, June 2017 (https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/compliance_report-to_ewg_2017_06_21.pdf)
Luxembourg
Luxembourg’s small size and consequently small size of its administration, does not allow for sufficient strategic planning. Only a few public bodies offer simulations, such as the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies Luxembourg (STATEC) and the General Inspectorate of Social Security (Inspection Générale de la Sécurité Sociale, IGSS). The State Economic and Social Council (Conseil économique et social) and the merged public research institute LISER offer more qualitative analyses. The research department of the central bank (Banque Centrale du Luxembourg) and the general inspectorate of the financial sector (Commission de surveillance du secteur financier, CSSF), focus on economics and finance planning. While these institutions are state-financed, they are nevertheless insufficiently equipped to offer long-term planning activities. For instance, State Economic and Social Council reports are partially written by civil servants from the relevant ministry departments. Strategic planning is mostly performed by institutions abroad, which offer the advantage of independence and guidance via international standards. Once a report is submitted, negotiations begin between the minister and promoters; the final compromise is a draft of the project, designed abroad.
Citations:
“Autres acteurs.” Le portail des statistiques du Luxembourg, www.statistiques.public.lu/fr/acteurs/autres/index.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Banque centrale du Luxembourg, http://www.bcl.lu/fr/statistiques/index.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier, www.cssf.lu/en/. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

Conseil économique et social, www.ces.public.lu/fr.html. Accessed 21 Feb. 2017.

Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research, www.liser.lu. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.
Slovakia
The institutional capacity for strategic planning in Slovakia is weak. Capacities for planning in the ministries are limited, and there is no central policy planning unit in the Government Office. The strengthening of the expertise of the Government Office and the creation of the Council for Solidarity and Development, a new advisory body, under the second Fico government failed to improve planning capacities in any substantial way. The council has been a facade for dialog, primarily used by Prime Minister Fico, who chairs it, for exposing his political plans. At the meeting in June 2017, for instance, Fico presented his ideas on Slovakia’s future in Europe. Due to the second Fico government’s initial emphasis on fiscal consolidation, the role of the Institute for Financial Policy, a research institute affiliated with the Ministry of Finance, has increased. However, the Institute has taken a relatively narrow fiscal perspective and has focused on the short to medium term rather than on the long term. As for the latter, the Slovak National Bank and the Council for Budget Responsibility have become more important.
Citations:
OECD (2015): Public Governance Review Slovak Republic: Better Co-ordination for Better Policies, Services and Results. Paris.
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Hungary
The Orbán governments have subordinated all political actions to the goal of consolidating their power and have reacted to problems and challenges on a day-to-day basis, without reference to an over-reaching plan. The economic and fiscal priorities have frequently shifted, and not much effort has been invested in building institutional capacities for strategic planning. After the 2014 local elections, Orbán promised to elaborate a long-term development strategy for the country but has failed to do so thus far. In late 2016, the government announced the adoption of the third Széll Kálman Plan, a new plan for economic development in the tradition of two strategic documents adopted in 2011 and 2012. Instead of drawing up such a plan, however, the Orbán government became increasingly preoccupied with the campaign for the parliamentary elections in April 2018 and switched to a “campaign government” modus in fall 2017. As it stands, the government has no clear-cut strategy addressing the implications of digital society and the digitalization of the economy. Nor is there an understanding where and how Hungary should position itself in the reform debate of the European Union.
Iceland
Long-term strategic planning in Iceland is often vague, with comparatively weak execution, supervision, and revision of plans. When specific objectives are established in the policy planning phase, a lack of sufficient incentives or institutional mechanisms typically limits their realization. As a result, the government can delay or change strategic plans. For example, parliament approves a strategic regional policy every four years (Stefnumótandi byggðaáætlun), but – as this plan has the status of a parliamentary resolution and not legal status – the government has no binding obligation to implement the plan. Consequently, only certain aspects of these four-year plans have ever been implemented.

Policymaking is monitored by cabinet ministers who rely on their respective ministerial staff for advice and assistance.
Citations:
Special Investigation Committee (SIC) (2010), “Report of the Special Investigation Commission (SIC),” report delivered to parliament 12 April.

Parliamentary resolution on regional policy (Þingsályktun um stefnumótandi byggðaáætlun fyrir árin 2014–2017. 143. löggjafarþing 2013–2014.Nr. 21/143. Þingskjal 1083 — 256. mál.).

Stefnumótandi byggðaáætlun 2017-2013. https://www.byggdastofnun.is/is/byggdaaaetlun/byggdaaaetlun-2017-2023
Romania
While EU membership has forced the Romanian government to produce regular strategic documents, policymaking in Romania continues to suffer from a lack of strategic planning. The most important strategic-planning unit within government is the Secretariat General of the Government, which was established in 2001. However, its planning capacities and its role in the government have been limited. In 2017, the government approved a new strategy for regional development. Put forth by the Ministry of Regional Development, Public Administration and European Funds, it comprised an assessment and plan for all aspects of national and EU budget exercises and their consequent impacts on Romanian territories within the broader European context.
Slovenia
The institutional capacity for strategic planning in Slovenia is rather weak. Capacities for planning in the ministries are limited, and there is no central policy-planning unit in the Government Office. After assuming office, the Cerar government announced that it would expand planning capacities but little progress has been made. In the period under review, the drafting of the Slovenian Development Strategy 2030, which involved more than 200 experts and government officials, continued. In October 2017, the government adopted the Sustainable Development Strategy for Slovenian Tourism 2017-2021.
 
In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
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