Interministerial Coordination


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

Most policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
Formal procedures of coordinating policy proposals are set in the rules of the national government. According to it, all relevant ministries must be consulted and involved in a consensus-building process before an amendment or policy proposal can be brought to the government. An online draft-bill portal (Eelnõude infosüsteem, EIS) is used for the purposes of inter-ministerial coordination and public consultations. In addition to this formal procedure, senior civil servants from the various ministries consult and inform each other about coming proposals; deputy secretaries general are key persons in this informal consultation process.
Cabinet meetings are prepared by ministry officials and civil servants. Findings from a large-scale analysis several years ago into the internal politics and practices of the cabinet and ministries emphasized the existence of a cyclical culture of dependence between ministers and senior officials. One expression of this mutual dependence, according to the same analysis, was that ministers put greater trust in the advice of their subordinate civil servants than in the advice of ministerial colleagues. This pattern extends to all aspects of the cabinet’s agenda. With regard to policy programs and similar intersectoral issues, coordination between civil servants of separate ministries happens as a matter of course. In specific matters, coordination may even be dictated. For instance, statements from the Ministry of Finance on economic and financial matters must be obtained by other ministries. On the whole, given the decision-making culture, civil servants in different ministries are expected to engage in coordination. An unwritten code of behavior prescribes harmonious and smooth activity, and ministers or ministries are expected to subject projects that are burdensome or sensitive to a collective examination and analysis.
Jaakko Nousiainen, “Politiikan huipulla. Ministerit ja ministeriöt Suomen parlamentaarisessa järjestelmässä”. Porvoo: Werner Söderström Osakeyhtiö, 1992, p. 128; Eero Murto, Power Relationship Between Ministers and Civil Servants, pp. 189-208 in Lauri Karvonen, Heikki Paloheimo and Tapio Raunio, eds. The Changing Balance of Power in Finland, Stockholm: Santérus Förlag, 2016.
The federal government deliberates behind closed doors, and minutes of these meetings are not public. A leading expert on government decision processes has estimated that in most decision-making processes, “either the preliminary procedure or the co-reporting procedure leads to an agreement.” The preliminary procedure consists of interministerial consultations at the level of the federal departments. After the departments have been consulted, the co-reporting procedure begins. The Federal Chancellery leads the process by submitting the proposal under consideration as prepared by the ministry responsible to all other ministries. These then have the opportunity to submit a report or express an opinion. A process of discussion and coordination ensues, designed to eliminate all or most differences before the proposal is discussed by the Federal Council.

Two instruments, the large and the small co-reporting procedures, are specifically designed to coordinate policy proposals between the ministries. These processes invite the ministries to take positions on political issues. The co-reporting procedure is largely a process of negative coordination, which highlights incompatibilities with other policies but does not systematically scrutinize the potential for synergy.
Coordination through the cabinet is collegial, and officials largely carry out interdepartmental coordination through negotiations between their affected ministries, often via interdepartmental committees or working groups. There is a certain degree of congruence between such interdepartmental committees and cabinet committees, with different ministries leading on different issue areas. The PMO plays an important role, especially for issues that involve the parliament. Other important ministries are the Finance Ministry, which prepares the annual budget, the Justice Ministry, which checks the legal aspects of all bills, and the Foreign Ministry, which gets involved in security, defense and development policies.
Jørgen Grønnegård Christiansen, Peter Munk Christensen and Mariun Ibsen, Politik og forvaltning. 4. udgave. Copenhagen: Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2017.
Senior ministry officials and interministerial meetings are important for the preparation of draft bills and for cabinet meetings. There is both formal and informal coordination in the conception of new policy, in policy modification or in the conception of a pre-draft bill. As part of the process, interministerial ad hoc groups are formed. Normally, a pre-draft bill is already the result of consultation with social partners and civil society groups. Once the pre-draft bill is published, official consultation rounds start again.
“Système politique.” Le portail officiel du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, Accessed 28 Dec. 2017.

Thomas, Bernard, and Laurent Schmit. “Die Unentbehrlichen: Wie viel Macht haben hohe Beamte?”, Sept. 2013, Accessed 28 Dec. 2017.
New Zealand
The cabinet process is overseen by the cabinet office on the basis of clear guidelines. Departmental chief executives typically meet with ministers prior to cabinet meetings to discuss the agenda and clarify matters. The amount and effectiveness of policy proposal coordination varies a great deal depending on the policy field. However, there is clearly coordination in the preparation of cabinet papers and demanding processes specified in cabinet office circulars.
CabGuide – Officials’ Committees that support Cabinet Committees: (accessed October 9, 2014).
CabGuide – Role of the Cabinet Office: (accessed October 9, 2014).
Since the mid-1980s, cabinet meetings have been prepared in advance by senior ministry officials such as junior ministers or directors-general (who are also political appointees), depending on the issue. Although the bailout period itself has come to a close, the continuing conditions of budgetary constraint means that this coordination is still carried out in conjunction with the Ministry of Finance. This latter entity closely monitors all state expenditure.
Many policy proposals are effectively coordinated by ministry officials/civil servants.
There is generally a high level of coordination between line ministry public servants. In most cases, ministries must coordinate with the Department of Finance and the Treasury, since they are responsible for finding the resources for any new policy developments, and such developments must feed into the government’s spending and budget cycle. Where there are legal implications, there must be coordination with the Attorney General’s Department. Departments least likely to coordinate their activities across the government portfolio are Defense and Foreign Affairs and Trade, since their activities have the fewest implications across the other portfolios.

Coordination is especially effective when the political leadership is driving proposals, but less effective on policy matters initiated at the level of the minister or department, in part reflecting greater uncertainty among civil servants as to the support for the proposal from the political leadership. It also reflects differences in policy priorities and culture across departments, as well as inherent competition between departments for power, relevance and resources.
Many policy proposals are coordinated by line ministries with other line ministries. However, due to issues of departmental mandates and authorities, this process is generally not as effective as the central-agency coordination process. On certain issues, the line department may be unwilling to recognize the role or expertise of other line departments, or have fundamental differences of perspectives on the issue, and hence may fail to consult and/or coordinate a policy proposal with others. The paramount role of central agencies in policy development means that departments have in fact little ability to effectively coordinate policy proposals.
If a ministry wishes to get its proposals accepted or passed, there are no other options than to liaise and coordinate with other ministries or agencies involved. For instance, the Macron Law on the economy (2015) had to be co-signed by 13 ministers. In case this consultation has not taken place, objections expressed by other ministers or by the Council of State might deliver a fatal blow to a proposal. All ministries are equal, but some are more equal than others: for example, the finance minister is a crucial, omnipresent and indispensable actor. Usually the coordination and consultation process is placed under the responsibility of a “rapporteur,” usually a lawyer from the ministry bureaucracy. The dossier is always followed as well by a member of the minister’s staff who communicates with his/her counterparts and tries to smooth the process as much as possible. In the most difficult cases (when ministers back up strongly the positions of their respective civil servants), the prime minister has to step in and settle the matter.
Before every Council of Ministers meeting there is a preparatory meeting – the pre-consiglio – where the heads of all legislative ministerial offices filter and coordinate the proposals to be submitted to the Council of Ministers meeting. The head of the Department for Juridical and Legislative Affairs of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers chairs these meetings. Proposals on which there is no agreement will rarely make it to the Council of Ministers. Further informal meetings between ministerial officials take place at earlier stages of drafting. However, the bureaucracies of individual ministries are normally protective of their prerogatives and are not keen to surrender autonomy.
The official decision-making process mandates the coordination of policy proposals at the state-secretary level. New policy initiatives are officially announced at weekly state-secretary meetings, after the draft proposals are circulated in a transparent process providing all ministries with an opportunity to review and comment on the issues. The process is open to the public and input from non-governmental entities is welcomed. Ministry responses to draft proposals are collected and ministerial coordination meetings on particular drafts are held to achieve consensus on the substance of the proposals. In cases where consensus cannot be reached, the proposals move to cabinet committee for further consideration at the political level.

Issues can be fast-tracked at the request of a minister. Fast-tracking means that the usual procedures for gathering cross-sectoral and expert input can be circumvented, putting the efficacy of coordination at risk. In 2016, 27% of all issues before the cabinet were fast-tracked, a significant drop from 2015.

At a lower bureaucratic level, coordination occurs on an ad hoc basis. Ministries conduct informal consultations, include other ministry representatives in working groups and establish interministerial working groups to prepare policy proposals. These methods are widely used, but not mandatory.
State Chancellery (2015, 2016), Reports, Available at:, Last assessed: 20.10.2017.
The interministerial coordination of policy proposals is an official civil service goal. Single Departmental Plans (SDPs) set out departmental objectives and how these will be achieved. SDPs highlight areas of cross-departmental working, including where departments are working together to deliver shared objectives and are overseen by the Cabinet Office and the Prime Minister’s Office. There are also some cross-departmental bodies established in response to the identification of specific objectives, such as the Work and Health Unit set up to improve the employability of disabled or ill people.

However, problems of capacity and capability in this area have been revealed by surveys undertaken within the civil service. Examples of civil service disruption are, on the one hand, the Civil Service Reform Plan of 2012 and, on the other hand, the coalition’s spending cuts, which have hit parts of the ministerial bureaucracy very hard and led to considerable job cuts. Relations between the civil service and the government have been affected, but the situation does not seem to have had a great impact on the efficiency of policy-proposal coordination. As explained above, the Cabinet Office assures coordination at the level of officials.

There are concerns that the workload required to deliver Brexit will undermine coordination within government.
Ministry staff and civil servants do not always play a dominant role in the drafting of policy proposals before those proposals reach ministerial committees. Depending on the ministry and the importance of the proposal, officials and civil servants are more or less effectively involved in the preparation and coordination process.
Ministry officials and civil servants play an important role in preparing cabinet meetings. Even so, no cooperation between ministries is presumed in cases when the ministers themselves are not involved. As a consequence of the strong tradition of ministerial power and independence, the involvement of too many ministries and ministers has been found to be a barrier to policymaking. Currently, coordination between ministries is irregular. The prime minister has the power to create coordination committees, but the number of active committees is currently low.
The LDP-led government has worked more effectively with the bureaucracy than did the previous governments led by the Democratic Party of Japan (2009-2012). In 2014, the government introduced a Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs, which is supposed to help the prime minister make appointment decisions regarding the 600 elite bureaucrats staffing the ministries and other major agencies. This significantly expanded the Cabinet Office’s involvement in the process and its influence over the ministerial bureaucracy, including the personal influence of Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, who has been in office since 2012. There are more political appointees in the ministries than before, and as Abe has been prime minister since 2012, the average stay of such appointees has become longer, giving them more expertise and clout within their ministries.
The process of drafting laws and resolutions requires consultation with the ministries and state institutions affected by the issue. The coordination process is led by the ministry responsible for a given issue area. Coordination took place at different levels of the administrative hierarchy: coordination at the civil-servant level was followed by that of managers representing the ministries at the government level. Although policy issues used to be regularly discussed by ministerial representatives (junior ministers and ministerial chancellors), most of these meetings have been discontinued under the Skvernelis government.

Coordination is a lengthy, well-documented process. Joint working groups are sometimes established, while interministerial meetings are used to coordinate the preparation of drafts and resolve disagreements before proposals reach the political level. All draft legislation must be coordinated with the Ministry of Justice and/or the Government Office. However, the substance of coordination could be improved if the initiators of draft legislation were to use consultation procedures more extensively in assessing the possible impact of their proposals. The importance of coordination should be recognized not only during the planning phase, but also during the implementation, monitoring and evaluation phases of the policy process.
Senior civil servants and political appointees play an important role in preparing cabinet meetings. This process follows fixed procedures, and matters must be appropriately prepared before being presented to the cabinet. This includes the creation of documentation alerting cabinet ministers to the essentials of a proposal, thus allowing cabinet meetings to focus on strategic issues and avoid being distracted by routine business details. Most issues on the agenda have been prepared well before the meeting.
South Korea
Civil servants from different ministries regularly coordinate on policies of common concern. This coordination and cooperation among related civil servants across ministries can be either formal or informal, hierarchical or horizontal. Unfortunately, attitudes in the ministries are shaped by a departmentalism that obstructs coordination. Different ministries use their policies to compete for support and approval from the office of the president. There is also a clear hierarchy delineating the ministries. Civil servants in important ministries, such as the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, consider civil servants from other ministries, such as the Labor Ministry or the Environment Ministry, as being “second tier.” Key issues given a high priority by the president can be effectively coordinated among concerned ministries.

Some attempts to improve coordination among ministries are being made. Various interministerial coordination mechanisms have been implemented on the basis of sector and theme, such as the interministerial coordination system for ODA. Moreover, it is expected that the efficiency of and communication between government agencies will be improved by the introduction of a new records-retrieval system. The National Archives and Records Administration (NIS) has announced that it will establish a search and retrieval service in consultation with the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.
“Korea’s Government 3.0: the Beginning of Open Government Data,” Korea IT Times, February 24, 2016
The two most important senior bureaucratic positions in the 13 ministries are the secretaries of state, who play a role much like that of junior ministers in other European countries, but do not belong to the government in Spain; and the undersecretaries, who are career civil servants that typically act as department administrators. These figures meet every Wednesday in the so-called General Committee of Undersecretaries and Secretaries of State. This committee effectively prepares the Council of Ministers weekly sessions, which are held two days later, on Fridays. The Government Office (directed by a minister who is also the deputy prime minister), chairs the meetings of this preparatory committee in which all draft bills, all appointments and any other ministerial proposals are discussed and scheduled as a part of the Council of Ministers’ agenda. A provisional agenda (known as the “black index”) is published by the GO a week before the cabinet meeting. The GO also collects and circulates all relevant documents for discussion by the line ministers. On Tuesday mornings, senior Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) officials assess the relative importance of agenda items on the black index and identify where there are likely to be divergent positions. Thus, the Wednesday meetings of the preparatory committee perform an important gatekeeping function in returning problematic proposals to the appropriate line ministry and forwarding the remaining proposals to the Council of Ministers (now classified into two indexes: the green index, which covers ongoing administrative matters, and the red index, for issues which are more controversial either by nature or because a lack of ministerial consensus).

While policy proposals are efficiently coordinated at the highest level of the bureaucratic hierarchy, the tradition of interministerial coordination at mid-level administrative bureaucracy means efficiency is weaker here. To be sure, the role of high-ranking civil servants (normally the subdirectores generales) is crucial in the preparation of policy proposals within every line ministry, but their subsequent involvement in horizontal coordination with other ministries is very limited. In fact, and as a consequence of the strong departmentalization, every ministry tends to act within its area of competence or jurisdiction, avoiding proposals which may involve other ministries. Although many administrative interministerial committees formally exist, in practice these committees do not coordinate the drafting of policy proposals or decision-making between different ministries. As administrative committees do not tend to work efficiently, they have fallen by the wayside and now usually simply facilitate the exchange of information or try to settle jurisdictional conflicts.
Ley 50/1997, de 27 de noviembre, del Gobierno
As mentioned earlier, most of the daily coordination on policy matters does not involve the political level of the departments but is instead handled at the administrative level. However, as soon as coordination takes place on a political dimension, it is “lifted” to the political level.

Coordination within the GO remains a significant problem, although some measures have been implemented to address that problem. Many departments still find it difficult to coordinate policy across departmental boundaries. Departments that were formed through mergers of departments tend to display “subcultures” of the former departments.
Jacobsson, B., J. Pierre and G. Sundström (2015), Governing the Embedded State (Oxford: Oxford University Press).

Niemann, C. (2013), Villkorat förtroende. Normer och rollförväntningar i relationen mellan politiker och tjänstemän i Regeringskansliet (Stockholm: department of Political Science, University of Stockholm).
Responsibility for policy coordination lies with the Prime Minister’s Office (Department of the Taoiseach). However, to be truly effective in this area the office would require greater analytical expertise across many policy areas than it has at present. Despite much rhetoric about “joined-up government,” the coordination of policy proposals across ministries has traditionally been relatively weak, with conflicting policies pursued in different parts of the civil service. For example, employment creation can take precedence over environmental considerations and local planning processes often do not mesh with national housing policies.

While coordination across government is often an up-hill battle, the development of the cabinet committee system has somewhat improved matters. Hardiman et al (2012, p.120) conclude, “perhaps the most significant organizational change aimed at improving cross-departmental coordination has been the growing reliance on the cabinet committee system: ‘Most of the major policy initiatives – health, environment, climate change, economic renewal – all will have gone through the cabinet committees. So that is a big change in the system of governance … They provide a mechanism to manage complex cross-cutting issues’ (Interview B, 1 Nov 2009).”
Another source of interdepartmental coordination stems from the practice of cabinet and junior ministers each appointing their own “special advisor.” These advisers meet to debate policy proposals: O’Malley and Martin (2018, p265) comment that “the advisers collectively operate in effect as a lower-level cabinet.”
Niamh Hardiman, Aidan Regan and Mary Shayne ‘The Core Executive: The Department of the Taoiseach and the Challenge of Policy Coordination, in Eoin O’Malley and Muiris MacCarthaigh (eds, 2012), Governing Ireland: From Cabinet Government to Delegated Governance. Dublin: IPA.

Eoin O’Malley and Shane Martin, ‘The Government and the Taoiseach,’ in John Coakley and Michael Gallagher, Politics in The Republic of Ireland. (Routledge, 2018).
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.
Much of the coordination takes place in interministerial committees, usually presided over by a minister and composed primarily of deputy ministers (political positions) and top civil servants. In the absence of these committees, bills are subject to interministerial consultation by being sent for review to the ministries affected by each act. If ministries do not respond to the review request within five days, the non-response is considered tacit approval. Prior to government meetings discussing a particular legislative proposal, the Secretariat General of the Government organizes working groups between the representatives of ministries and agencies involved in initiating or reviewing the proposal in order to harmonize their views. While these procedures promote coordination, the capacity limitations of many ministries and the short turnaround time allowed for review undermine effective review and hence allow for only superficial coordination in many cases.
The government rules of procedure establish clear mechanisms to ensure effective cooperation between the ministries. They require the consultation of all ministries that are concerned before the submission of bills to the cabinet. While senior civil servants are thus heavily involved in the coordination of legislation, the effectiveness of this coordination has suffered from the deteriorating quality and increasing politicization of the upper echelons of civil service. Under the Cerar government, a number of prominent and experienced high-ranking civil servants have been replaced by party loyalists with limited administrative experience and even less expert knowledge.
Since the 2006 elections, politicians have demanded a reduction in the number of civil servants. This has resulted in a loss of substantive expertise, with civil servants essentially becoming process managers. Moreover, it has undermined the traditional relations of loyalty and trust between (deputy) ministers and top-level officers. The former have broken the monopoly formerly held by senior staff on the provision advice and information by turning increasingly to outside sources such as consultants. Top-level officers have responded with risk-averse and defensive behavior exemplified by professionally driven organizational communication and process management. The upshot is that ministerial compartmentalization in the preparation of Council of Ministers meetings has increased. Especially in the Ministry of Justice and Safety, the quality of bureaucratic policy and legislation preparation has become a reason for serious concern.
R.B. Andeweg and G.A. Irwin ( 2014), Governance and politics of the Netherlands. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

H. Tjeenk Willink, Een nieuw idee van de staat, Socialisme & Democratie, 11/12, 2012, pp. 70-78

“Is justitie politiek te managen?, in NRC-Handelsblad, 1 October 2015
There is some coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
Austria’s federal bureaucracy is characterized by structural fragmentation. Each federal ministry has its own bureaucracy, accountable to the minister alone and not to the government as such. Each minister and his or her ministry is regarded as having a party affiliation according to the coalition agreement. Policy coordination is possible only when the ministers of specific ministries agree to establish such a specific coordination. As fitting in the government’s ministerial structure of the government, individual ministers fear loss of control over their respective bureaucracies, and thus lasting and open contacts are possible only between the (politically appointed) personal staff of ministers belonging to the same political party.

Because the Austrian bureaucracy is organized along the lines of a (British-style) civil service system, the different ministerial bureaucracies are stable in their political makeup and therefore immune to short-term political influences. Specific ministries are generally dominated by one party over the long term (e.g., the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (social democratic) and the Ministry of Agriculture and Environment (conservative).

It has to be seen whether the new coalition government wants to change some of these de iure or de facto rules.
While ministries are not significantly involved in preparing cabinet meetings, each minister has a large team of close collaborators and advisers (the ministerial cabinet) to prepare projects, which are first submitted to the minister, and then to the Council of Ministers. For some decisions, responsibilities are shared among several ministers, a situation that happens regularly. In this case, ministerial teams must coordinate their actions in intercabinet meetings before being able to submit a proposal to receive the approval of each minister. Proposals may be submitted to the ministers’ council only at this stage.

The bottom line is that top civil servants do not play a significant role – in most cases, they are at best informed of ongoing discussions and are simply asked to deliver data and information.
The constitution limits the number of ministries (10+1), with each’s broad area of responsibility governed much like a fiefdom. Ministry officials and civil servants participate in ad hoc bodies or seek coordination with other ministries, but the final decision is usually taken by ministers themselves.

New units formed as a result of recent reforms should lead to more interministerial interaction. Greater consultation between line ministries on policy matters and efforts to coordinate the implementation of policy decisions is needed.
Czech Rep.
As part of the interministerial coordination process, some coordination among line-ministry civil servants takes place. Senior ministry officials are generally a crucial link in collecting and discussing comments on proposed legislation. The definition of their roles and responsibilities should be improved through the new civil service law, which went into effect at the beginning of 2015 and regulates the legal status of state employees in administrative offices and represents a significant step toward establishing a stable and professional public administration.
Ex-ante coordination between the line ministries’ leading civil servants has not been particularly strong under past German coalition governments. In addition, an entrenched political practice ensures that no ministry makes any proposal that might be postponed or blocked by other ministries. The federal Ministry of Finance must be involved when budgetary resources are concerned, while complicated legal or constitutional issues necessitate the involvement of the federal Ministry of Justice. But generally, every ministry is fully responsible for its own proposed bills. All controversial issues are already settled before being discussed by the cabinet. The dominant mechanism for conflict resolution is the coalition committee.
Given the small number of ministries in Hungary, inter-ministerial coordination has, to some extent, been replaced with intra-ministerial coordination, especially within the Ministry of Human Resources (EMMI), the biggest super-ministry, and also in the Ministry of National Economy (NGM). In addition to policy coordination by the PMO, senior ministry officials meet in order to prepare cabinet meetings. There is also a special Inter-ministerial Coordination Committee for European Affairs (EKTB), a committee consisting of senior ministry officials tasked with coordinating EU-related issues that is also under the auspices of the PMO.
Over the past decade, the government has sought to improve interministerial cooperation in order to overcome bureaucratic entanglements and political power struggles. In so doing, it has introduced roundtable meetings, director generals and vice director generals of ministries coordination forums, guidelines, and digital information platforms. However, experts say that ministries are essentially territorial in nature, and information sharing between ministries is difficult at best.

This lack of communication results at least partially from the government’s highly centralized budget process, which makes public servants defensive of limited and strictly supervised resources. In 2016, a report by the State Comptroller suggested that the lack of communication regarding foreign affairs is a result of the transfer of duties from away from main ministries such as the ministry of foreign affairs to other ministries. The report also asserted that interministerial disagreements are delaying the publication of regulations necessary for the implementation of laws. A report from 2015 claimed that 175 laws had not been implemented because ministries had not yet established regulations regarding those laws. According to that report, 32% of regulations are not promulgated because of internal arguments between ministries.

Some of the communication difficulties between ministries results from the dominance of non-sectoral offices such as the PMO in policy development, as well as the use of ad-hoc interministerial committees in order to give momentum to policy proposals. An expert committee recently recommended the establishment of a mechanism for coordination and decision-making as a means of addressing the numerous entities involved in the implementation of national goals. The committee suggested accomplishing this by strengthening the PMO’s authority, and emphasizing its role as a coordinator between other ministries.

Another recent step toward strengthening cooperation within ministries can be found in an executive-training program called “the leadership academy.” Established in 2014, this identifies the promotion of communication as a primary goal.
“About: Public sharing,” Sharing official website (Hebrew)“ Failures of the public sector and directions for change,” The committee for social and economical change website (Hebrew)

Brada, Moshe, “Coordination between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defense,” The Knesset Research Center 2007: (Hebrew)

Bar-Kol, Yair, “Appointing a minister for interministerial cooperation,” TheMarker 3.4.2013: (Hebrew)

Haber, Carmit, “Managerial culture blocks to implementing open government policy,” The Israel Democracy Institute (March 2013) (Hebrew)

Ravid, Barak.”Watchdog: Power Struggles Between Ministries Hindered Israel’s Battle Against BDS,” 24.5.2016

“The committee to investigate the Prime Minister’s headquarter,” Official state report, April 2012 (Hebrew).

“The division of electronics and technologies,” Accountant General website (Hebrew) “The guide for governmental sharing: A model for cooperation between ministries,” official state publication, 2013:מודל%20לשיתוף%20פעולה%20בין%20משרדי%20הממשלה.pdf (Hebrew)

“The Leadership Academy- founding statement,” November 2014, Civil Service Commission website:

Zinger, Ronny. “175 lews are not implanted because ministries didn’t set regulation for them” – Calcalist, 25.1.2016 (Hebrew):,7340,L-3679237,00.html
Traditionally, there was little real distinction in Mexico between civil servants and politicians, though the relationship between them has significantly varied over time. The upper administration overly consists of presidential appointments, with only a limited number of career bureaucrats. Two exceptions are the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where bureaucratic expertise has always played a major role. The reason for this is the importance of being a competent actor in multilateral arenas given the dominance of the United States and the experience of macroeconomic turmoil due to continuous political interference in economics. Traditionally, the political system has been weighed toward presidential appointments. The cabinet today is much more heterogeneous, however, with some figures personally close to the president and others more independent. The politicization of the cabinet, which has increased under the three recent administrations, is constraining its ability to coordinate policy proposals given the centrifugal tendencies. On the other hand, the previously mentioned independent agencies are often characterized by higher levels of bureaucratic professionalism. Moreover, socioeconomic modernization has, albeit slowly, changed the administrative landscape, with technical expertise increasing in many sectors (e.g., social sectors) and the number of policy experts with an administrative background increasing in the upper administration; this trend continues in the current administration.
Senior ministry officials play a substantial role in interministerial coordination. All meetings of the Council of Ministers, the Polish cabinet, are prepared by the Council of Ministers’ Permanent Committee, which is made up of deputy ministers from the ministries. The Committee for European Affairs, which is in charge of EU coordination, also relies strongly on coordination by top civil servants. In contrast, bureaucratic coordination at lower levels of the hierarchy is still relatively limited, even though the joint administration of EU funds has helped to intensify interministerial exchange. Changes in personnel, especially in the security agencies, have secured the dominance of the government over administration.
In Slovakia, senior ministry officials have traditionally been heavily involved in the interministerial coordination process at the drafting stage. In contrast, coordination at the lower levels of the ministerial bureaucracy has suffered from a strong departmentalist culture and the top-down approach taken in most ministries. Under the second Fico government, the role of senior civil servants in interministerial coordination decreased and coordination within the Smer-SD party gained importance. Since coming to power, SNS and Most-Híd have also weakened the role and independence of the civil service by seeking to provide positions to party members.
Ministerial undersecretaries, under the authority of a minister and his or her aide, executes services on behalf of the ministers. This is a political position that is achieved through merit and a successful political career. Deputy undersecretaries in the ministries also help to conduct ministerial affairs.

During the review period there was an increasing tendency to draft and adopt legislation without appropriate consultation. The creation of new ministries and agencies and the resulting fragmentation of responsibilities has complicated ministerial coordination, for example in the areas of budgeting and medium-term economic policymaking. The oversight bodies under the Prime Minister’s Office are responsible not only for coordinating and overseeing legal proposals, but are also tasked with monitoring legislative implementation.

The 2016 Annual Activity Report of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) stressed that although the PMO has the authority to coordinate ministries, its powers are not used effectively. The authority of the PMO over public administration should be improved and diversified.
Similar observations have been made by the Ministry of Development, the primary policy-coordination body. Accordingly, a serious problem is inefficient coordination due to institutional ambiguity and conflicts.
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While a comprehensive framework for coordination between ministry officials and civil servants exists, many issues are actually resolved at the political level. Within the ministries, a departmentalist culture prevails. This is especially true during coalition governments, when coordination between line ministries under ministers from different parties is virtually nonexistent.
The direct coordination of policy proposals by ministries is limited. There is no stable and transparent scheme for settling interministerial differences within the bureaucracy. The ministries in charge of drafting proposals rarely set up working groups that include peers from other ministries or government bodies. Deadlines for comments by other ministries are often too abbreviated, capacities for comments are sometimes inadequate, and comments made by other ministries are often not taken seriously.
Greek bureaucracy is over-politicized and under-resourced. Political party cadres rather than civil servants coordinate policy proposals. Civil servants in line ministries often lack modern scientific and management skills. Policy proposals are usually assigned to ministerial adviser, who are short-term political appointees and can be non-academic experts, academics and governing party cadres. Top civil servants contribute to policy proposals by suggesting what is legally permissible and technically feasible, although even on those issues ministers often tend to trust their own legal and technical adviser. The remaining civil servants at lower levels of the bureaucratic hierarchy rarely, if ever, know of, let alone contribute to policy proposals. Moreover, there is little horizontal coordination among civil servants working in different ministries. Ministers assign the task of horizontal interministerial communication to their advisers.

Since Syriza’s rise to power in January 2015, in coalition with the ANEL party, the politicization of Greek bureaucracy has been further exacerbated. This pattern continued during the period under review. Governing party cadres are continuously appointed to ministerial and various advisory posts. However, under pressure from Greece’s lenders, the government attempted to re-organize senior civil servants. After a new law was passed by the Syriza-ANEL party in February 2016 and amended in 2016, the role of civil servants in formulating and coordinating policy proposals was supposed to be enhanced. However, in late 2017, the new law was only in the very first stages of implementation. More administrative reforms – in accordance with the Third Review of the Adjustment Program – are to be introduced including a very important one affecting permanent general secretaries and general directors of ministries with a five-year mandate.
The new law on higher civil service is law 4369/2016.
In general, there is an expectation of interagency coordination at various levels of the bureaucracy. The quality of this coordination varies, and as with cabinet level coordination, it is adversely affected by the short-term service of political appointees, which results in underdeveloped working relationships across agencies. The overall or average performance has not been systematically evaluated, however. President Trump has failed to appoint or nominate people to occupy a large majority of the important political-appointee positions in the agencies. In addition, permanent staff have been departing. As a consequence, it would be impossible for interagency coordination to operate effectively at this stage of his presidency.
There is no or hardly any coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
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