Malta

   

Executive Capacity

#28
Key Findings
Despite growing core-government steering capabilities, Malta falls into the lower-middle ranks (rank 28) with regard to executive capacity. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.8 points relative to 2014.

A recently introduced Prime Minister’s Office Unit has improved coordination capacities. A specific minister is tasked with overseeing implementation of the government manifesto, and strategies for carrying out budgetary items have been improved. Coordination between ministries and civil servants has improved markedly.

The RIA process is evolving, with assessment quality varying. Review of sustainability issues remains spotty, but is improving. Consultation with civil society has steadily improved, but with continuing gaps in key policy areas.

Government efficiency has continued to improve, with audits noting serious failings under the previous administration. The run-up to the 2017 EU presidency resulted in better communication policies. The PMO has an office dedicated to monitoring ministry activity, but this does not extend to the assessment of policies.

Strategic Capacity

#18

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

10
 9

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.
 8
 7
 6


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.
 5
 4
 3


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.
 2
 1

In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
Strategic Planning
7
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

How influential are non-governmental academic experts for government decisionmaking?

10
 9

In almost all cases, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


For major political projects, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government transparently consults with a panel of non-governmental academic experts at an early stage of government decision-making.
 2
 1

The government does not consult with non-governmental academic experts, or existing consultations lack transparency entirely and/or are exclusively pro forma.
Scholarly Advice
5
Consultation processes involving academic experts has always been rather intermittent, but since 2013, such experts have been involved in a greater number of areas including family issues, gay rights, care of the elderly, health issues such as diabetes, IT in schools, and others. With the exception of standing parliamentary committees, which regularly consult with academic experts, the government tends to consult with outside experts in an issue-based and ad hoc manner. Academic input is at the line ministry level. Policy issues have at times been the focus of studies directly commissioned from faculties, institutes and other bodies. Information required by the government may also be contracted out on an individual basis. In 2017, two academics were consulted during the drafting of a white paper on a new inspections process. When drawing up new key policy indicators (KPIs) on public administration academics from across Europe were commissioned to prepare the report. Malta’s EU presidency served to bring academia closer to government policymaking with many academics providing support during the six-month presidency.

The government has increasingly used policy documents when inviting consultation with NGOs and experts. In other cases, calls for expression of interest have been the method. However, Malta does not have a formalized process of consultation and this makes the process rather patchy, with one ministry consulting regularly and others rarely. However, consultation with experts sometimes gives rise to accusations of conflicts of interest.

Citations:
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160908/local/gozo-ministry-ordered-to-publish-consultancy-deals.624367
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160818/local/chamber-of-pharmacists-not-consulted-on-move-to-electronic.622392
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161007/local/delimara-power-station-ippc-application-to-get-public-consultation.627239
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160816/local/era-chairman-denies-conflict-of-interest-in-townsquare-application.622170
PA Chief insists Paceville consultants had no conflict of interest Malta Today 02/11/16
Paceville Master plan:Mott Macdonald should refund payment aftet alleged conflict of interest Independent 23/11/16

Interministerial Coordination

#28

Does the government office / prime minister’s office (GO / PMO) have the expertise to evaluate ministerial draft bills substantively?

10
 9

The GO / PMO has comprehensive sectoral policy expertise and provides regular, independent evaluations of draft bills for the cabinet / prime minister. These assessments are guided exclusively by the government’s strategic and budgetary priorities.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO has sectoral policy expertise and evaluates important draft bills.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO can rely on some sectoral policy expertise, but does not evaluate draft bills.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not have any sectoral policy expertise. Its role is limited to collecting, registering and circulating documents submitted for cabinet meetings.
GO Expertise
5
Government ministries in Malta enjoy almost complete autonomy, with limitations only in the form of budgetary constraints imposed by the Ministry of Finance and cabinet approval. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) relies largely on the attorney general’s office to evaluate draft bills, while consulting specialists on non-legal issues. Before going to the Attorney General’s Office, draft laws and policies are scrutinized in cabinet. The employment of more sectoral policy experts has added to this improvement.

In March 2013, the government appointed a minister, as part of the PMO, to oversee the implementation of the government’s manifesto and more recently introduced a specific strategy to implement the government’s program. This strategy operates on a three-year planning cycle in conjunction with the budgetary cycle implementation program. In this context, every policy measure in the budget is assigned to a ministry. The ministry then has full responsibility for the policy and draws up an action plan, which is monitored on a monthly basis by the OPM; areas of concern are flagged and brought to the attention of the public service and cabinet. The PMO has more recently demonstrated a greater ability to respond to policy implementation failures. Malta’s EU presidency has also contributed strongly toward ministerial coordination. Great efforts are also being made to upgrade the capacity of the public service through the recruitment of graduates with specialized training. In collaboration with the University of Malta, MCAST and other bodies, the government has recently established the Institute for Public Service (IPS) to coordinate training at all levels. However, a number of policy failures indicate that more time is required for these reforms to bear fruit.

Citations:
Sansone, K Justice to be transferred to OPM - Labor MP is Commissioner Against Bureaucracy Times of Malta 18/06/13
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151029/local/over-32m-in-government-consultancies-in-one-year.590017

Can the government office / prime minister’s office return items envisaged for the cabinet meeting on the basis of policy considerations?

10
 9

The GO/PMO can return all/most items on policy grounds.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO can return some items on policy grounds.
 5
 4
 3


The GO/PMO can return items on technical, formal grounds only.
 2
 1

The GO/PMO has no authority to return items.
GO Gatekeeping
9
Malta’s system of government is based on the Westminster system, and the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) can return most items on policy grounds. In practice, policies are adopted or rejected following cabinet discussions. Although the PMO has not established procedures for sectoral policy overviews, it now employs a number of offices to achieve this, including the Policy Efficiency Unit and Internal Audit Offices. The NAO also monitors policies and gives feedback; government has pledged to implement all recommendations. Much also depends on the powers of persuasion of the prime minister among his cabinet colleagues. The cabinet has a great deal of leverage, and its members are the most likely to object to policy or a draft bill.

To what extent do line ministries involve the government office/prime minister’s office in the preparation of policy proposals?

10
 9

There are inter-related capacities for coordination in the GO/PMO and line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO/PMO is regularly briefed on new developments affecting the preparation of policy proposals.
 5
 4
 3


Consultation is rather formal and focuses on technical and drafting issues.
 2
 1

Consultation occurs only after proposals are fully drafted as laws.
Line Ministries
5
Since 2013, a sustained effort at coordination has been made in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and in line ministries. During the period under review, the government established an office within the PMO to coordinate the policies contained in the ruling party’s electoral manifesto. In a new review strategy, ministries monitor the outputs of policies previously discussed with the cabinet; the OPM then monitors policies until they are implemented and supports the ministries in their implementation. Coordination meetings are also organized by the OPM bringing together the various ministries. Decisions taken by ministries have more than once been rescinded by the PMO, a practice less common in the past. The PMO may also seek to review its own policies with the help of the Management Efficiency Unit and occasionally employs consultants. Cabinet meetings have allowed experts to give direct advice to ministers, a departure from the past. From time to time, cabinet meetings are held in different regions for the purpose of consultations.

Citations:
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/33324/prime-minister-holding-cabinet-meeting-in-mellieha-20140121#.V_uQfvl96M8
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/48377/cabinet_meeting_in_gozo_cost_taxpayers_7000#.V_uQpfl96M8
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160223/local/cabinet-meeting-in-birzebbuga.603449

How effectively do ministerial or cabinet committees coordinate cabinet proposals?

10
 9

The large majority of cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated first by committees.
 8
 7
 6


Most cabinet proposals are reviewed and coordinated by committees, in particular proposals of political or strategic importance.
 5
 4
 3


There is little review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees.
 2
 1

There is no review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees. Or: There is no ministerial or cabinet committee.
Cabinet Committees
6
While government officials do organize cabinet committees to assist in clarifying issues prior to full cabinet meetings, these do not necessarily correspond to line ministries but to individual issues. Occasionally ministers form cabinet subcommittees to coordinate policies between ministries. The chair of the subcommittee, however, would not be from the ministry from which the policy originated. Cabinet committees on EU affairs, including on the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, have been appointed. In addition, an ad hoc cabinet committee oversaw the preparations and running of Malta’s presidency of the EU in 2017.

Citations:
Harwood Mark, Malta in the European Union 2014 Ashgate, Surrey

How effectively do ministry officials/civil servants coordinate policy proposals?

10
 9

Most policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 8
 7
 6


Many policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
 5
 4
 3


There is some coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
 2
 1

There is no or hardly any coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
Ministerial Bureaucracy
6
Civil servants from a ministry typically coordinate policy proposals with other line ministries before a policy is officially drafted. During the review period, a new system was established. The cabinet director general is in charge of administrative decisions and ensures that cabinet decisions are implemented in the different ministries. On Mondays, the chiefs of staff meet to draft memos for the cabinet. On Tuesdays, the cabinet meets and makes a decision. On Wednesdays, the permanent secretaries meet to decide on how to implement the cabinet’s decisions. A commissioner for the simplification and reduction of bureaucracy has been established to implement reforms across government. These have been introduced horizontally (e.g., delegating staff recruitment to departments and agencies) and vertically (e.g., engaging ministries to improve efficiency). The permanent secretaries have requested that all departments examine current processes and consider methods of simplification. One result is the introduction of push service delivery, whereby individuals do not apply for social benefits but rather receive them automatically. Every year a report is published and made available to the public on the simplification systems that have been introduced.


Occasionally interministerial committees help coordinate policy before the drafting process is started. Increasingly this has become normal practice as a number of interministerial committees were created to support Valletta’s campaign to be the 2018 European Capital of Culture and prepare for the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit in Malta, an EU-Africa summit, and Malta’s presidency of the EU in 2017. These activities have shown a marked increase in effective coordination by the ministries and civil servants.

How effectively do informal coordination mechanisms complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination?

10
 9

Informal coordination mechanisms generally support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


In most cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, informal coordination mechanisms support formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

Informal coordination mechanisms tend to undermine rather than complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
Informal Coordination
6
The government tendency toward informal coordination mechanisms has increased since Malta joined the European Union in 2004. Many directives from Brussels cut across departments and ministries, and this encourages ministries to talk to each other and work more closely together. Preparations for the EU presidency in January 2017 has raised this informal coordination to unprecedented levels. Currently, the PMO exercises an expanded coordinating role which has advanced progress on some domestic issues and policies. Overall, this is the result of establishing the Ministry for European Affairs and Implementation of the Manifesto. Furthermore, the principal permanent secretary has introduced frequent coordination meetings seeking to enhance the process.

Evidence-based Instruments

#25

To what extent does the government assess the potential impacts of existing and prepared legal acts (regulatory impact assessments, RIA)?

10
 9

RIA are applied to all new regulations and to existing regulations which are characterized by complex impact paths. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 8
 7
 6


RIA are applied systematically to most new regulations. RIA methodology is guided by common minimum standards.
 5
 4
 3


RIA are applied in some cases. There is no common RIA methodology guaranteeing common minimum standards.
 2
 1

RIA are not applied or do not exist.
RIA Application
6
Malta’s policy on regulatory impact assessments (RIA) is not fully developed and the process of filing is also not fully integrated in Maltese policymaking; however, a RIA process does exist, with the cabinet required to approve RIAs for government notices, regulations and by-laws. This process is detailed in the Small Business Act, Chapter 512 in Maltese law. Nonetheless, since the European Union utilizes RIAs as part of all major regulatory projects, the government has had to improve its RIA process; recent reports from the EU confirm steady progress. To ensure detail to the system, an IAF process was introduced. Each ministry is responsible for drawing them up, assisted by their legal office and program implementation policy directorate (a unit found in each ministry). Nonetheless, the attorney general’s office, which also has a legislative unit, does much of the work.

Citations:
OECD (2007), “Regulatory Management Capacities of Member States of the EU that Joined the Union on 1 May
2004: Sustaining Regulatory Management Improvements through a Better Regulation Policy,” Sigma Papers, No. 42, OECD Publishing. https://www.mepa.org.mt/permitting-ea-eiaprocess
Ope rational Program II ‘Empowering People for More Jobs and a Better Quality of Life,’ July 2012, p.28
http://www.bru.gov.mt/wp-co ntent/uploads/2011/01/ESF-4-87-Laun ch-Speech-by-Mr-J-Aquilina.pdf
http://www.bru.gov.mt/administrative-b urdens/
http://gov.mt/en/Government/Gov ernment%20of%20Malta/Ministries%20a nd%20Entities/Pages/OPM-Portfolio.a spx

Does the RIA process ensure participation, transparency and quality evaluation?

10
 9

RIA analyses consistently involve stakeholders by means of consultation or collaboration, results are transparently communicated to the public and assessments are effectively evaluated by an independent body on a regular basis.
 8
 7
 6


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to one of the three objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The RIA process displays deficiencies with regard to two of the three objectives.
 2
 1

RIA analyses do not exist or the RIA process fails to achieve any of the three objectives of process quality.
Quality of RIA Process
4
Malta’s policy on regulatory impact assessments (RIA) is still evolving. In some areas, the process of consultation is superficial, based mostly on public reaction to published consultation papers or a dedicated government website created for the purpose. In others it is more sophisticated. When regulations deal with economic or labor issues, consultation prior to implementation is more extensive. In such cases, the government usually consults key economic actors through the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development. Thereby, the RIA process allows for the possibility of informal evaluation by independent bodies. Government has increased consultation and dissemination of information; nonetheless, in small states such as Malta “independent” bodies are generally absent or rare. Furthermore, civil society groups must become more constructive in their assessment and approach to government policies.

Consultation activities were best codified for environmental impact assessments. Guidelines allowed for a more open, transparent and inclusive consultation process. However, in April 2016, the Planning Authority was separated from the Environmental Authority. It remains to be seen what impact this new setup and new mechanisms, for instance the summary procedure, will have on transparency and consultation. In the case of a new plan for Paceville, consultation allegedly occurred after the plan was formatted, leading to claims that plans are made on an ad hoc basis involving only selected interest groups.

Citations:
http://www.mcesd.org.mt/mcesd/conte nt.aspx?id=101553
OECD (2007), “Regulatory Management Capacities of Member States of the EU that Joined the Union on 1 May
2004: Sustaining Regulatory Management Improvements through a Better Regulation Policy,” Sigma Papers, No. 42, OECD Publishing.
https://gov.mt/en/Go vernment/Public%20Consultations/Pag es/Public-Consultations.aspx
Hospital development impact assessment waiver may breach EU law Times of Malta 26/08/2015
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150430/local/mepa-is-seeking-views-of-public-on-stadium.566146
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150511/local/mepa-issues-consultation-document-on-selmun-palace-hotel.567744
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160404/local/mepa-becomes-the-planning-authority-once-more.607804
More development to be included in planning process, Times of Malta 19/04/2016
A Master Plan in Reverse Times of Malta 10/10/2016

Does the government conduct effective sustainability checks within the framework of RIA?

10
 9

Sustainability checks are an integral part of every RIA; they draw on an exhaustive set of indicators (including social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainability) and track impacts from the short- to long-term.
 8
 7
 6


Sustainability checks lack one of the three criteria.
 5
 4
 3


Sustainability checks lack two of the three criteria.
 2
 1

Sustainability checks do not exist or lack all three criteria.
Sustainability Check
4
While regulatory impact assessments are a compulsory regulatory tool in Malta, the government has no formally adopted sustainability strategy. Sustainability checks that do exist are often found only in areas involving planning and the environment. The effectiveness of key regulations and policy initiatives are assessed mainly through Malta’s National Reform Program, the annual report that Malta (like all other EU member states) submits to the European Commission. This report is like a progress check, where Malta provides detailed updates relating to its Europe 2020 targets as a result of its policies. These reports include quantitative impact indicators that can illustrate the effectiveness (or failures) of regulatory projects that touch on social, environmental and economic issues. Overall, progress has continued, manifested, for example, in the decision to increase subsidization of public transport schemes and improve the efficiency of electricity generation. However, a clear way forward has been lagging in the provision and sustainable use of water resources.

Citations:
http://ec.europa.eu/europe2020/maki ng-it-happen/index_en.htm

Societal Consultation

#18

To what extent does the government consult with societal actors to support its policy?

10
 9

The government successfully motivates societal actors to support its policy.
 8
 7
 6


The government facilitates the acceptance of its policy among societal actors.
 5
 4
 3


The government consults with societal actors.
 2
 1

The government rarely consults with any societal actors.
Negotiating Public Support
6
The government has an obligation to consult. In addition, a ministry for dialog has been established. New policies and legislation must be published for consultation. A formal consultative structure, called the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, works well in facilitating consultation between business associations, trade unions and government. The government has also setup a separate Council for Economic and Social Development for Gozo and a consultative council for the South of Malta. NGOs concerned with social policy tend to be regularly consulted while a huge divide separates environmental NGOs from the policymaking process. Overall, Malta has seen a substantial increase in the number of policy areas open for public consultation. Malta today has a proliferation of NGOs and increased consultation has created wider scope for them to act. However, greater progress can be achieved if NGOs become more professional and officialdom less sensitive to criticism. Key policy areas such as health care were not opened up to consultation (e.g., on the sale of government hospitals); medical professionals are now threatening strikes in order to be heard.

Citations:
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151005/local/second-public-consultation-on-regulation-of-drones.587085
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150909/local/policy-launched-to-facilitate-use-of-tables-and-chairs-in-public.583770
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150910/local/energy-rules-consultation.583796
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151028/local/consultation-document-on-language-policy-for-early-years-launched.589986
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150918/local/consultation-document-on-free-access-to-bills-published.584900
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151010/business-news/Final-consultation-on-green-economy.587604
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150829/local/white-paper-on-schools-role-in-alleviating-traffic-congestion-launched.582378
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150915/local/white-paper-to-reduce-inspections-bureaucracy-launched.584533
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160203/local/green-ngos-have-open-invitation.601085
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160114/local/700000-scheme-for-ngos-launched.598666
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/69495/green_ngos_to_get_collective_50000_in_government_funds#.We2bzVuCyM8
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/lifestyle/health/69774/watch_conference_highlights_ngos_contribution_in_health_sector#.We2cCluCyM8
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/64883/social_dialogue_minister_stresses_role_of_ngos_in_outreach_programmes#.We2ciluCyM8

Policy Communication

#19

To what extent does the government achieve coherent communication?

10
 9

The government effectively coordinates the communication of ministries; ministries closely align their communication with government strategy. Messages are factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 8
 7
 6


The government coordinates the communication of ministries. Contradictory statements are rare, but do occur. Messages are factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries are responsible for informing the public within their own particular areas of competence; their statements occasionally contradict each other. Messages are sometimes not factually coherent with the government’s plans.
 2
 1

Strategic communication planning does not exist; individual ministry statements regularly contradict each other. Messages are often not factually coherent with the government’s plans.
Coherent Communication
6
The Department of Information is responsible for providing public information on, among other things, government policies and plans. Each ministry has its own communications office to keep the public informed. Regular meetings of the permanent secretaries have enhanced communication procedures within the government. Also, the run-up to the EU Presidency has demanded better communication strategies and these have been adopted. Individual ministers hold daily press briefings and occasionally engage public relations firms. Despite progress, no studies exist to assess the impact. At times, it appears that the message has failed to get through. In 2016, the government spent €200,000 on advertising 2017 budget measures. Between 2013 and 2017 the government spent €2.5 million on social media, with the office of the prime minister being the biggest spender.

Citations:
How the Maltese government spend over 2.5 million in social media ads. Malta Today 07/11/17

Implementation

#35

To what extent can the government achieve its own policy objectives?

10
 9

The government can largely implement its own policy objectives.
 8
 7
 6


The government is partly successful in implementing its policy objectives or can implement some of its policy objectives.
 5
 4
 3


The government partly fails to implement its objectives or fails to implement several policy objectives.
 2
 1

The government largely fails to implement its policy objectives.
Government Efficiency
6
Government efficiency has continued to improve. Central to this improvement has been the Prime Minister’s Office and the work of the Principal Permanent Secretary’s Office. Policy implementation is measured against agreed upon KPIs and benchmarks, policies are monitored and shortfalls highlighted. Templates are sent out to ministries with deadlines and then assessed and reviewed. Every February, the first round of audit closing meetings commence. The preparations over the last year for the EU presidency has improved public service efficiency. Ongoing training has been key. However, problems remain. Recent National Audit Reports have highlighted gross inefficiencies under the previous administration. Current assessments continue to point to persistent failings, including on inventory management, control over service providers and controls related to personal emoluments. They also note missing documentation, deficiencies in stock management and lack of adherence to public procurement regulations. Local councils’ performance was suboptimal, with the auditor’s report stating that “accounts lacked documentation, were improperly recorded, missing key components and sometimes contained conflicting figures. Effectively, this prohibited the NAO from analyzing their performance.” Nonetheless, OPM has been working on these issues and the NAO has indicated improvements.

Citations:
Gozo projects lacking good-governance rules Times of Malta 16/12/2015
Briguglio, M An F for Local Councils Times of Malta 12/12/16
Report by the Auditor General Public Accounts 2015
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/80417/half_of_nao_recommendations_implemented_auditing_is_not_a_witchhunt#.We2pXVuCyM8
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/environment/townscapes/79047/no_value_for_money_in_fekruna_bay_expropriation__nao#.We2pt1uCyM8
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/79029/labour_urges_pn_to_stop_ignoring_nao_reports_pointing_fingers_at_azzopardi#.We2p4VuCyM8

To what extent does the organization of government provide incentives to ensure that ministers implement the government’s program?

10
 9

The organization of government successfully provides strong incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 8
 7
 6


The organization of government provides some incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 5
 4
 3


The organization of government provides weak incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
 2
 1

The organization of government does not provide any incentives for ministers to implement the government’s program.
Ministerial Compliance
6
The cabinet is the most important organizational device at the disposal of the government providing incentives to ensure ministers implement the government’s program. Second to this are the weekly meetings of Permanent Secretaries. Meanwhile, the powers of the Prime Minister’s Office have increasingly been used to drive policy implementation. The ministerial secretariat is generally responsible for overseeing the implementation of a program. However, this function has become more centralized; the government can now show how much of its program has been implemented. In addition, the Management Efficiency Unit in the PMO provides ministries with advice and capacity-building tools. Informal coalitions, such as those between civil society groups or businesses and individual ministries, can drive implementation in certain policy areas, such as the extension of LGBT rights. The drive to introduce simplification measures across ministries facilitates decentralization (e.g., in recruitment accords), granting ministries greater independence as well as additional incentive to successfully implement policies. The government has touted the idea of appointing ministers who are not members of parliament in order to improve efficiency in program implementation; however, this would require a constitutional amendment.

Citations:
PM wants powers to appoint ministers who are not MPs Times of Malta 15/02/16

How effectively does the government office/prime minister’s office monitor line ministry activities with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The GO / PMO effectively monitors the implementation activities of all line ministries.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of most line ministries.
 5
 4
 3


The GO / PMO monitors the implementation activities of some line ministries.
 2
 1

The GO / PMO does not monitor the implementation activities of line ministries.
Monitoring Ministries
5
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) monitors the implementation activities of most line ministries and the structures for doing so effectively are being continually refined. The PMO has an office dedicated to monitoring which is increasingly fine-tuning the system. The PMO does not have a unit to assess policies in the ministries. Instead, the ministries themselves must do this work according to impact assessment procedures and the policy cycle. If problems surface in a ministry, the PMO steps in to assist. Furthermore, the cabinet office, which is part of the PMO, monitors policy implementation by line ministries and ensures that the respective ministry implements the decisions of the PMO. There are constant attempts to improve coordination and the EU presidency accelerated this. However, competition between ministries hinders some efforts.

Citations:
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151010/local/around-70-per-cent-of-last-budget-measures-implemented-pm.587638
Bartolo insists that ministries should support each other, pull the same rope Independent 10/06/15

How effectively do federal and subnational ministries monitor the activities of bureaucracies and executive agencies with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The ministries effectively monitor the implementation activities of all bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 8
 7
 6


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of most bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 5
 4
 3


The ministries monitor the implementation activities of some bureaucracies/executive agencies.
 2
 1

The ministries do not monitor the implementation activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies.
Monitoring Agencies, Bureaucracies
5
Malta is a unitary state. As such monitoring of bureaucratic agencies is undertaken by, for example, parliamentary oversight, such as during parliamentary committee sessions or annual budget debates A Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) also exists. The National Audit Office produces an annual report on all public service entities (departments, agencies, etc.), though the reports are ad hoc, focused on different sections and departments of ministries and agencies every year The ombudsman also produces a procedural audit, though it has been recommended that the ombudsman be given the same rights of oversight as held by the audit office in order to better review the workings of government. The Department of Local Government assesses the performance of local government bodies. There is also an internal audit office within ministries. The Prime Minister’s Office, through the Principal Permanent Secretary’s Office, has become more involved in monitoring processes. The follow-up of reports remains problematic, though the government has pledged to address administrative shortcomings identified by the National Audit Office. Furthermore, the parliamentary secretary charged with monitoring bureaucracies has strengthened this process.

Citations:
73% of budget measures to be implemented by the end of 2016 Malta chamber of commerce

To what extent does the central government ensure that tasks delegated to subnational self-governments are adequately funded?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to fulfill all their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 8
 7
 6


The central government enables subnational governments to fulfill most of their delegated tasks by funding these tasks sufficiently and/or by providing adequate revenue-raising powers.
 5
 4
 3


The central government sometimes and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational governments.
 2
 1

The central government often and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational self-governments.
Task Funding
5
Local councils in Malta are primarily municipal bodies, and cannot raise revenue through local taxes. Nearly all funding for local-government activities comes from the central government, with a small fraction sourced from local traffic fines. The funding formula for local councils is based on geography and population, but – despite legal provisions – local councils run budget deficits, both because of inadequate funding and mismanagement by the councils themselves. At the beginning of 2015, the government launched a fund for local councils’ capital projects however it remains inadequate. Regional committees were generating revenue from contraventions through the local enforcement system, however, this task was taken over by a central government agency in 2014. The total budget allocated for local government for 2017 was €35.5 million. There has been a steady, though not particularly substantial, increase in the overall budget (local councils received €32 million in 2015 and €33 million in 2016), distributed across 68 localities throughout the islands of Malta and Gozo. A 2018 to 2020 local council culture fund of €750,000 has been introduced for cultural events.

Citations:
44 local councils request devolution of government property Malta Today 11/09/2015
Money for local councils Times of Malta 14/02/2015
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151228/local/councils-shortcoming-identified-by-nao-unacceptable-parliamentary.597069
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160706/local/auditor-general-criticises-funding-scheme-as-hasty.617914
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160111/opinion/Auditing-local-governance.598374
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151226/local/councils-christmas-dinner-bills-give-auditor-a-headache.596707
Local government culture fund 2018 - 2020
35.5 million budget for 68 local councils in 2017 The Malta Independent 04/07/17

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments may use their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation?

10
 9

The central government enables subnational self-governments to make full use of their constitutional scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 8
 7
 6


Central government policies inadvertently limit the subnational self-governments’ scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 5
 4
 3


The central government formally respects the constitutional autonomy of subnational self-governments, but de facto narrows their scope of discretion with regard to implementation.
 2
 1

The central government deliberately precludes subnational self-governments from making use of their constitutionally provided implementation autonomy.
Constitutional Discretion
3
Local councils have no constitutional right of implementation autonomy, and all their activities and responsibilities are monitored and can be challenged by the Department of Local Government. All by-laws have to be approved by the central government and decisions taken may be rescinded. These constraints are intentional, to prevent local councils from assuming responsibilities independent from the central government or adopting policies which conflict with those of the central government. Consequently, local councils intent on taking decisions that conflict with the central government, for instance in the area of local planning, must resort to sui generis tactics, often working with civil society organizations, in order to support the views of the locality.

To what extent does central government ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services?

10
 9

Central government effectively ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 8
 7
 6


Central government largely ensures that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
 5
 4
 3


Central government ensures that subnational self-governments realize national minimum standards of public services.
 2
 1

Central government does not ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
National Standards
6
It is the Department of Local Government and the National Audit Office which seek to ensure standards within local councils. The first is responsible for monitoring and reporting on the performance of individual local councils. Central departments set the benchmarks for services provided by local councils. The second is the National Audit Office, which independently investigates local council activities both from a purely auditing perspective and from a “value for money” perspective. It is the latter that has by and large driven reform of local councils. National standards at the local level are also reinforced through the councilors’ code of ethics and the Local Councils Association. The ombudsman’s office has also suggested the introduction of a commissioner for local government within his office.

Citations:
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151226/local/councils-christmas-dinner-bills-give-auditor-a-headache.596707
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160111/opinion/Auditing-local-governance.598374
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160706/local/auditor-general-criticises-funding-scheme-as-hasty.617914
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151228/local/councils-shortcoming-identified-by-nao-unacceptable-parliamentary.597069
Report by the auditor general on the workings of local government for the year 2015

Adaptability

#28

To what extent does the government respond to international and supranational developments by adapting domestic government structures?

10
 9

The government has appropriately and effectively adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 8
 7
 6


In many cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government has adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational.
 2
 1

The government has not adapted domestic government structures no matter how useful adaptation might be.
Domestic Adaptability
7
The capacity of government structures to adapt to change improved during the period of EU accession and since membership. Malta’s preparations for assuming the EU presidency required further adaption to changing scenarios, especially at the ministerial and bureaucratic levels as well as ambassadorial and consulate levels. It also required the expansion and international training of personnel. Consequently, there is greater awareness of the need to respond to international developments. Better coordination among the bureaucracy has also contributed to improvements.

Parliament has demonstrated a greater willingness to engage with international forums. This has increased the government’s capacity to address international issues such as climate change, international financial institutions, security policy and humanitarian crises. The recent decision to provide the parliament with greater autonomy and resources is expected to enhance improvements made over these past four years. Furthermore, a debate has finally begun on whether parliament should become a full-time institution. Indeed, the most sophisticated and complex committee in parliament (with the most subcommittees) is the committee dedicated to foreign policy and European affairs.

To what extent is the government able to collaborate effectively in international efforts to foster global public goods?

10
 9

The government can take a leading role in shaping and implementing collective efforts to provide global public goods. It is able to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
 8
 7
 6


The government is largely able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Existing processes enabling the government to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress are, for the most part, effective.
 5
 4
 3


The government is partially able to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. Processes designed to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress show deficiencies.
 2
 1

The government does not have sufficient institutional capacities to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. It does not have effective processes to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
International Coordination
4
Malta does not have the institutional capacity to actively shape a wide range of international efforts. However, Malta has sought to do this within its immediate Mediterranean region and increasingly within the EU. Since 1975, Malta has been a rapporteur of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. It continues to support good-governance efforts in Libya and Tunisia and co-operates closely on refugee and migration issues with neighboring countries. Malta accepts more asylum-seekers per capital than almost all other countries and was one of the few EU countries to honor in full the EU relocation program by taking in its full quota (accepting 131 refugees and asylum-seekers). As such, it has invested heavily in support services since 2013. In 2015, Malta hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and contributed toward the setting up of a fund to assist small commonwealth island countries with adapting to climate change and the fight to eradicate polio. Preliminary discussions also took place in preparation for the climate change summit in Paris. In October 2015, Malta hosted a EU-Africa migration conference (i.e., Valletta Summit on Migration). It has been pressing for the implementation of agreements reached at the summit and is planning a follow-up meeting for 2017. In December 2015, it facilitated talks between Libya’s rival factions in support of a UN peace plan. Malta’s progress in this sphere has also been demonstrated by its success during the EU presidency.

Citations:
Galustain, R., Libya Mediation via Malta, Times of Malta 01/11/16
Malta representative in Palestine visits PLO dignitaries in Ramallah foreignaffairs.gov.mt

Organizational Reform

#20

To what extent do actors within the government monitor whether institutional arrangements of governing are appropriate?

10
 9

The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly and effectively.
 8
 7
 6


The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly.
 5
 4
 3


The institutional arrangements of governing are selectively and sporadically monitored.
 2
 1

There is no monitoring.
Self-monitoring
5
Structures for monitoring institutional governance exist but are often weakened by the existence of large ministerial secretariats staffed with political appointees, which at the end of 2015 totaled 542 – mainly allies of the serving minister. Placing these individuals in the public service can constitute unconstitutional practices. There are suggestions that these positions should be formalized under the constitution in order to improve the selection process for such posts and determining where candidates are placed. This organizational structure emphasizes observance of ministerial policy directives over effective monitoring. However, since 2013, there have been improvements in the monitoring of institutional arrangements, with some reforms implemented. Changes include the introduction of a new Ministry for European Affairs, a new office to coordinate policy across ministries, a shift to weekly rather than monthly meetings of the commission of permanent secretaries, and changes in the order of the weekly government meetings to facilitate efficiency. There has also been an increase in policy consultation exercises and greater attention has been given to reforming procedures. In addition, there are calls for a better regulatory framework to be put in place for a number of agencies and commissions.

Citations:
Over 450 employed in government positions of trust The Malta Independent 20/12/15
Positions of Trust: A Constitutional quagmire Malta Today 22/06/16
Unconstitutional Jobs Times of Malta 07/10/16

To what extent does the government improve its strategic capacity by changing the institutional arrangements of governing?

10
 9

The government improves its strategic capacity considerably by changing its institutional arrangements.
 8
 7
 6


The government improves its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 5
 4
 3


The government does not improve its strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
 2
 1

The government loses strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
Institutional Reform
7
Accession to the EU has improved the government’s strategic capacity. Furthermore, with support from the University of Malta and Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, there is now greater emphasis on capacity-building and change-management training for senior public officers. Meeting long-term objectives and adhering to EU directives have given rise to a number of departments and authorities designed to respond to this challenge. Certain regulatory and enforcement mechanisms remain weak. Some improvement has been registered as a result of the 2017 EU presidency and efforts to improve continue.
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