Organizational Reform


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

The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly and effectively.
The monitoring and evaluation of existing institutional models forms an important element of the Finnish political and administrative system. Earlier attempts to improve the proportionality of the electoral system and alter constituency sizes are examples of how evaluation and monitoring processes in Finland mainly focus on administrative and steering issues. A system of program management that introduced new measures for monitoring the government plan was implemented several years ago. This monitoring system has been adopted as well as improved by subsequent governments. The Stubb cabinet (2014 – 2015) made monitoring data publicly available. The same policy has been followed by the Sipilä cabinet. It is now customary to report online the developments toward realizing the 26 main goals and five main reforms listed in the government plan. Reports are updated monthly. The Secretariat for Government Strategy Work assists the government and ministries in implementing and monitoring the key projects and reforms.
“Government Programme Monitoring Data”,;
Valtioneuvoston kanslia, “Jyrki Kataisen ja Alexander Stubbin hallitusohjelmien loppuseuranta 2015”,;
Toimintasuunnitelma strategisen hallitusohjelman kärkihankkeiden ja reformien toimeenpanemiseksi 2015-2019. Päivitys 2016. Hallituksen julkaisusarja 2/2016.
In Hungary, there is no regular formal monitoring of the institutional arrangements of governing in place. However, there is strong and rather comprehensive oversight of the working of the state apparatus from the top down, measured against the political will of the leadership, and the government has been quick to change any institutional arrangements it has deemed to be politically dangerous. The Orbán governments underperform with regard to coherent policy planning but react quickly to failures in individual political cases or in major policymaking mistakes. Public policy has often been very volatile, changing according to the government’s current needs. There is a relatively high number (11) of plenipotentiaries without the line-ministerial structures for specific issues. Overseeing them and integrating them into policymaking requires additional emphasis and may turn out to be counter-productive in the long run.
New Zealand
Following from the change to a proportional electoral system in 1996, institutional arrangements in the core executive as well as executive-legislative relations and democratic decision-making have been regularly and effectively monitored. Although the first government under the new electoral system was a majority coalition, subsequent governments have lacked a parliamentary majority. Rather than assembling a formal coalition, the recent National government followed the example of its immediate predecessor, the Labour government of Helen Clark, by keeping its support parties at arm’s length from the cabinet. All 20 cabinet seats were held by National members. Two of the three support parties (United Future and the Maori Party) were given ministerial portfolios outside of cabinet but within the larger executive. The only member of parliament from the Act party, a newcomer to parliament, was given the title of undersecretary (he declined a promotion to ministerial level in a December 2015 cabinet reshuffle). While each party was committed to providing the government with confidence and supply, it was free to oppose the government on all policy matters that lay outside its portfolio responsibilities. This governing arrangement had the dual benefit of limiting the influence of the small support parties while providing them with the ability to retain their separate political and electoral identity.

In contrast, the new Labour/NZ First government is a coalition, with Labour holding 16 of 20 cabinet seats, including the positions of prime minister and finance minister, and NZ First holding four, including deputy prime minister. To ensure it has a legislative majority, the new government secured a confidence and supply agreement with the eight-member Greens. In return, the Greens received three ministerial posts outside of cabinet.

One area of particular interest is the performance of the reformed electoral system. The Electoral Commission regularly commissions surveys to ascertain satisfaction with the way elections are organized, what the barriers to voting are and how to address these barriers. In the context of the general election in 2011, a referendum was held on whether to retain or replace the electoral system. A majority of 56% opted to keep the mixed-member proportional (MMP) system.
Colmar Brunton, Voter and non-voter survey report, Auckland and Wellington: Colmar Brunton New Zealand 2012.
Elections New Zealand: Results of the Referendum: (accessed October 9, 2014).
Ministerial List: (accessed October 24, 2015).
Institutional arrangements of governing obviously cover a wide array of arrangements. As indicated earlier, it is astounding in many ways to think that Sweden has transformed politically from a pre-democratic system to a democratic state, embedded in an international union such as the European Union, with only a minimum amount of institutional and constitutional reform. Such a transformation testifies to the capacity of institutions to accommodate change. Given their institutional capacity to adapt to external change, institutional arrangements as such are rarely assessed.

The cabinet and government departments were reformed (i.e., merged and/or abolished) during the 1980s and 1990s, but today most observers seem to agree that this type of reform rarely solves any problems. Instead, the main institutional monitoring and reform takes place at the agency level where the number of agencies has decreased by about 25% over the past five to six years. While some agencies have been abolished, the bulk of reduction has come from mergers. There are about 340 agencies in the Swedish administrative system. This reduction in the number of agencies says very little about the extent of regulation; in some ways it is a numbers game aiming to communicate the image to the voters that the government is cutting back in central bureaucracy. That having been said, there is more or less continuous assessment of the agency system and the performance of agencies in service delivery and policy implementation.

Agencies are monitored fairly closely, so much so that a couple of recent Royal Commissions have recommended that agencies should not have to provide data on their performance with the same frequency as they do today and that the system should allow for more variation among agencies in this respect. The red-green government that came into power in 2014 has launched a process of reducing the number of performance indicators that agencies are requested to provide data on. These efforts are part of a larger project to replace New Public Management models of public sector management with a more professionally and trust-based model of management. Several reforms of this kind have been developed during 2016 and are scheduled to be implemented in 2018.
SOU 2007:75 Att styra staten – regeringens styrning av sin förvaltning.
SOU 2008:118 Styra och ställa – förslag till en effektivare statsförvaltning
The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly.
Government structures are constantly changing in Canada, for better and for worse. It is not a static system, but there are few procedural structures in place to (self-) monitor whether current arrangements are appropriate or whether changes have resulted in the intended improvements. Instead, changes are initiated by the government in power whenever it deems appropriate, with little or no ex post evaluation. In the case of the recent merger of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), for example, the government offered no details about the exact nature of the amalgamation as conceived, nor about the cost savings it was intended to realize. Other examples in which comprehensive evaluation following an organizational reform has been lacking include the establishment of Service Canada as a delivery platform for government services in 2000, and the split of Human Resources Development Canada into two departments in 2004 (only to be merged again in 2008).

The current government, which won the election in part based on the promise of transparency and fairness, has set up a number of independent committees that will monitor certain government processes. One example is the creation of an independent advisory board that will aid in the selection of senators in an effort to reduce partisanship in lawmaking. The political will seems to be there, but it is too early to gauge their potential impact as few of these committees have been fully formed.
David Zussmann (2013), Mergers and successful transitions, Canadian Government Executive, Volume 19 Issue 5
There have been ongoing discussions on monitoring and management within the public sector. Given the size of the sector, this has important economic implications, and tighter budgets have made these issues more visible in recent discussions and policy initiatives. The government’s economic strategy relies on substantial improvements in productivity within the public sector. The current government has formulated an ambitious plan to improve efficiency in the public sector at the same time as tightly monitoring budgets.

The current public management and governance strategy includes contracts, result-oriented salaries, measurements, evaluations and efficiency reports.

The agency for modernization at the Ministry of Finance is responsible for innovation and efficiency in the public sector. Its focus is on ensuring both efficiency and productivity within the public sector, broadly defined. The current government includes a minister for public sector innovation. There has been significant effort undertaken to digitalize public administration, including those services directly interacting with citizens. Annual tax reporting is digitalized and most communication utilizes the e-boks system. Since 1 November 2014, all citizens above 15 years must be connected to Digital Post (there is the possibility to receive physical post, for example, for the cognitively and physically handicapped). Denmark ranks 9th on the United Nation’s 2016 list of e-government development index.
Niels Ejersbo og Carsten Greve, Moderniseringen af den offentlige sektor. Copenhagen: Børsens Forlag, 2005.

“90-årig mand taber sag: Glemte at tjekke sin e-Boks - og så faldt hammeren,” (Accessed 17 October 2016).

UN E-government development index,, Accessed December 1st 2016. (Re-accessed 17 October 2017).
The government office has an annual monitoring procedure under which cabinet decision-making processes are reviewed. This results in frequent improvements to the process. In 2013, major revisions to the regulatory impact assessment system were made, along with the introduction of a green-paper system that will move public consultations on new policy initiatives to an earlier phase of the policy-planning process.

The management of relations with parliament, governing parties and ministries is not regularly reviewed. This is considered by civil servants to be the purview of politicians and therefore not an appropriate topic for initiatives emanating from the civil-service level.
Lithuania’s policymakers monitor institutional governing arrangements (both institutions and rules of procedure) regularly and effectively. During the global financial crisis, the Kubilius government initiated broad organizational reforms across the country’s public-sector institutions. All Lithuanian ministries were restructured, while several government and many ministerial agencies were abolished or reorganized in the 2009 – 2011 period. The Butkevičius government continued to monitor the public administration on the basis of annual public-sector reports and specific functional reviews. For instance, the Sunset Commission reviewed the structure and performance of public nonprofit institutions in Lithuania, but its activities were stopped in 2016. The rules of procedure and business processes are frequently reviewed using quality-management instruments, the application of which is becoming increasingly widespread in the country’s public administration. However, the results of these monitoring processes are not sufficiently used in making decisions, and some changes to institutional arrangements remain motivated by governments’ short-term political needs. The high importance attached to OECD membership might motivate Lithuanian political authorities to give more attention to monitoring governance arrangements.
Self-monitoring takes place both informally and formally. On a formal level, there is a parliamentary committee devoted to monitoring whether government and parliamentary activity adheres to the constitutional framework. In addition, the Office of the Auditor General, which reports to parliament, has gradually made itself more assertive while expanding its policy focus. Informally, there is substantial monitoring of the way institutional arrangements affect government functions. For example, ministerial portfolios are shuffled when change is deemed necessary, notably each time there is a change of government.
Self-monitoring takes place as a part of the political process, which includes a large number of private and public actors. It is not institutionalized outside the context of the evaluation of policies (as by implication, policy evaluation leads indirectly to the monitoring of the institutional framework for these policies). Evaluation activity in Switzerland is high and evaluations form an important part in political life in Switzerland (Sager et al. 2017).
Sager, Fritz, Thomas Widmer und Andreas Balthasar (Hg.) (2017). Evaluation im politischen System der Schweiz – Entwicklung, Bedeutung und Wechselwirkungen. Zürich: NZZ Verlag, Reihe „Politik und Gesellschaft in der Schweiz“.
Flexibility and informal meetings are a key feature of the government system, enabling it to respond in a way uniquely tailored to the situation at hand that has always been valued highly and is an essential constituent of prime ministerial government in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, the Cabinet Office in particular has a remit to monitor the government’s functioning and does so through a range of mechanisms, which have been reinforced by recent civil service reforms, particularly civil service management procedures. A key change introduced by the new government is the introduction of the more wide-ranging “single departmental plans,” which replace the use of business plans. These single departmental plans set clear priorities for departments, encompassing manifesto commitments, critical business-as-usual activity, and efficiency and productivity initiatives. In addition, self-monitoring occurs through implementation task forces (a 2015 innovation which complements cabinet committees), regular assessments of progress by the Civil Service Board chaired by the cabinet secretary and a new so-called shadow civil service board. The shadow civil service board is composed of junior civil servants and charged with assessing specific projects and advising senior management. In response to critiques from Select Committees and the Institute for Government, the government revised its guidance on the Machinery of Government, placing greater emphasis on the importance of senior leadership and accountability.

This self-monitoring has been bolstered by a renewed commitment to open government and the public release of data. Executive monitoring is complemented by media scrutiny, parliamentary committees, various policy-specific statutory bodies and independent organizations, such as the Institute of Government. The Institute of Government stated that its task of monitoring central government was facilitated by the availability of data, “the fact we can produce this report supports that.” The dissemination of good audit practices has been encouraged by the publication of internal audit standards and there are periodic reviews of areas of governance concern, recent examples being an audit of race disparities and a review of national security capabilities.

There is neither a particular institution nor a commission that independently and impartially operates as an oversight body with respect to governmental activities. In addition, institutional self-monitoring capacities are still low. However, the creation of the Better Regulation Unit in the Chancellery and the extension of the competences of the National Regulatory Control Council (Normenkontrollrat, NKR) – an independent advisory body – have strengthened the capacities for self-monitoring.
The present government has a mandate for institutional reform and has made some progress in implementing its program in this area as set out in its four Annual Reviews of the Programme for Government. Specific examples have been discussed in relation to other SGI criteria.
The Israeli government has installed various executive-branch institutions, both internally and externally, tasked with monitoring its activities and performance in areas such as procedures, financial transfers and human resources. For example, the Accountant General regularly audits financial decisions in ministries. The Civil Service Commission ensures that internal due processes are followed, and oversees human resources. However, in recent Knesset discussion regarding reforms to the Commission’s work, critics have asserted that the Commission’s work is inefficient. The PMO monitors implementation of the State Comptroller’s recommendations as well as the internal accounting units in each ministry. Supplementary mechanisms for self-regulation include protocols and guidelines governing daily practice.
Most important in this area was the Governability Committee that was established in 2011 and submitted its policy recommendations in 2013. This committee focused on reassessing the government’s organizational deficits and challenges. The government has since that time ratified the conclusions and implemented most of them.
“About: the Accountant General,” Ministry of finance website (Hebrew):

“About the Inspection General for State Comptroller Affairs,” PMO website (Hebrew):

Government Decision 482: adoption of the recommendations of the governability committee, 30.6.213,

“Information security management and survivability of internet and computer infrastructure for government offices,” state comptroller yearly publication 63b 2013: (Hebrew)

“Notice number 3,” Civil service commission website (Hebrew)“About: Civil Service Commission,” Civil service commission website (Hebrew):

Protocol – The Special Committee – Reforms in the Civil Service Commission:

“Rules, procedures and guidelines for CEOs in the civil service,” Civil service commission 2013: (Hebrew)
“The internal audit law 1992,” Official legislation (Hebrew)
Institutional reform of the executive has been a major topic in Japan for more than a decade. For its part, the post-2012 LDP-led government under Prime Minister Abe has sought to readjust institutional arrangements by establishing and/or reinvigorating a number of councils and committees. To some extent, the Abe government has sought to bring back the strong leadership framework that characterized the government under Prime Minister Koizumi (2001-2006), for instance through a strong Cabinet Office.
South Korea
The president’s office monitors institutional governance arrangements. The president frequently reorganizes ministries and government agencies when inefficiencies are detected. Unfortunately, it seems that meaningful improvements are achieved only after major problems become obvious, as for example following the lack of coordination between government agencies during the Sewol ferry-disaster rescue operation. The recent corruption and abuse-of-power scandals, which in part involved influence-peddling through informal Blue House networks, undermined trust in formal institutions and policymaking procedures and revealed a surprising lack of checks and balances. In particular, persons without formal government positions seem to have wielded undue access and influence over policymaking without any check-and-balance mechanisms in place. The Moon administration has announced that it will improve self-monitoring and transparency. However, weak voluntary compliance and organizational self-seeking among government-agency actors remain deeply rooted throughout the governance system.
Several units in the hierarchic Turkish administration contribute to the monitoring process directly or indirectly. These include the State Supervisory Council, the Prime Ministry Inspection Board, the Directorate General of Legislation Development and Publication, the Directorate General of Laws and Decrees, and the Council of State. Each administrative institution has its own internal control unit for monitoring how financial rules are implemented. However, these units are not fully effective. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) and individual ministries also occasionally communicate with the parliament’s general secretariat and other institutions and organizations with the aim of reforming existing legislation.

Turkey has undergone an organizational change involving the creation of new institutions, the merging or splitting of ministerial bodies, legal changes and rapid personnel shifts. These developments make monitoring exceedingly difficult. The OECD Sigma assessments provide some insight on actual operations. As stated in the annual report of the PMO and of the Ministry of Development, coordination and monitoring are major weaknesses in Turkish public administration.

During the review period, the use of state of emergency powers and the debate on Turkey’s transition to a presidential political system has intensified. In January 2017, the State of Emergency Procedures Investigation Commission was established to evaluate and resolve complaints related to the use of state of emergency decree laws with the intention of unblocking administrative objections. The government submitted a large harmonization reform package to parliament in September 2017. The package contains changes to 132 articles in 16 laws. For the time being, it is unclear how and to what extent self-monitoring would be considered relevant in the new constitutional framework that President Erdogan and the AKP have in mind.
Belgin Uçar Kocaoğlu and M. Kemal Öktem, “Belediyelerde Yönetsel Kapasite Değerlendirmesi: İç Anadolu Bölgesi Örneği,” (accessed 1 November 2017)
“132 maddelik anayasa uyum paketi Başbakanlık’ta,” (accessed 1 November 2017)
“State of Emergency Commission receives nearly 60,000 applications,” Daily Sabah, (accessed 1 November 2017)
TC Maliye Bakanlığı, İç Denetim Koordinasyon Kurulu, Kamu İç Denetim Rehberi, (accessed 27 October 2015)
Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions, Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges 2014-15, (accessed 27 October 2015)
There is little in the way of formal processes to indicate that institutional arrangements are monitored regularly, but such monitoring does occur occasionally. Institutional arrangements do periodically change, often manifesting as rearrangements and renaming of departments. Ad hoc reviews are also conducted, such as the 2004 Review of the Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Office Holders. In some key areas such as migration, Australian authorities carefully monitor the impact of policies, and rapidly change policy directions if appropriate.
Ministries are required to establish sectoral goals, which are then evaluated annually. Reports are presented quarterly but do not focus directly on the adequacy of institutional arrangements. For example, the accomplishment of ministerial goals is evaluated, but not the adequacy of the ministry in general. The Ministry of Finance assesses the adequacy of institutional arrangements in the case of new law proposals, but there is no specific institution assigned to monitor preexisting institutional arrangements. Furthermore, to a certain degree, changes in institutional arrangements tend to be influenced by personnel criteria rather than being efforts to engage in strategic structural change.
Based on the amount of amended or adopted regulations that deal with institutional arrangements, the government’s monitoring activities certainly exist and inform policymaking. Since March 2014, the Act on National Government has furnished the ministerial nomination processes with a new flexibility; it no longer lists ministers, but only sets a maximum number for the government as a whole. This enables nominations to better reflect current needs. However, it is generally difficult to estimate how systematic and consolidated the government’s self-monitoring activities truly are. The maximum limit on the number of ministers is likely to be removed in 2018.
Ιn the period under review, the monitoring of institutional governance arrangements were improved. For example, after long delays, new arrangements in state-funded pension schemes were put in place. Many different, previously autonomous, pension funds were merged and their management was centralized under a new national social insurance organization (EFKA). A performance-based evaluation of civil servants was also carried out for the first time in Greece. The monitoring of such arrangements was done from the top, namely either the office of the head of the government or the office of the minister responsible for a new institutional arrangement. However, though other mechanisms for monitoring government were available, such as competent parliamentary committees and interministerial committees, these were mostly marginalized by the incumbent government, as has been the case with previous governments.
Traditionally, the attention paid to the internal organization of the government machine has been selective and sporadic. No systematic monitoring was accomplished on a regular basis. The spending review initiated under the Monti government, and continued by the Letta, Renzi and Gentiloni governments has reformed this field. Reforms have focused mainly on financial aspects, but have also involved the monitoring of institutional arrangements of government (with particular attention given to the structures of local government). However, many proposals for a deeper restructuring of government offered by these review exercises have not been implemented. Under the Renzi government, the Prime Minister’s Office has been partially restructured to increase effectiveness in implementing the government’s program. However, a full restructuring is yet to be undertaken. The reform of state bureaucracy – promoted by the minister for public administration – introduced stronger instruments for systematic monitoring of public administration (Decree DLgs. 25 May 2017). Though it is too soon to determine how effectively the new instruments have been used.
Historically, Mexico has often found ways of dealing with the so-called agency problem in policy implementation, which explains why institutional arrangements need constant monitoring. Traditionally this agency problem was dealt with by a high degree of authoritarianism. In today’s Mexico, democracy – even if sometimes insufficiently implemented – requires new models of overcoming this agency problem in an increasingly diversified and complex state structure. Particularly policymakers at the central level and in the more advanced states are becoming aware that effectively governing complexity requires different principles. Yet, pockets of authoritarianism, weak state capacity and widespread corruption result in uneven capacity for monitoring institutional arrangements and regulatory reforms. At the top of the political pyramid, the quality of self-monitoring still depends much on the personal engagement of the president. Mexican policymakers have tended to engage quite frequently in administrative reorganization, possibly to excess. President Peña Nieto has been an ambitious, and perhaps excessive, reformer.
The current government, which took office on 26 November 2015, has published both a policy agenda, the Programa do XXI Governo Constitucional, and the Lei Orgânica do XXI Governo (legislation stipulating government reorganization). Both of these documents, if implemented, necessitate monitoring the institutional arrangements of governing. The question that remains for this government is much the same as for its predecessors: whether it will be able to deliver on plans to reform institutional arrangements of governing, and effectively institutionalize these changes beyond the mere legal approval of new arrangements. So far, after almost two years of governing, the answer remains no.
Programa do XXI Governo Constitutional, 2015 – 2019.

Lei Orgânica do XXI Governo Decreto – Lei # 251 – A/2015 de 17 December 2015.
The institutional arrangements of governing are selectively and sporadically monitored.
There is no regular monitoring within the executive branch of the government. Due to the fragmented structure of the government and comparatively weak position of the chancellor, the ability to engage in oversight from within the central government is very weak. However, a monitoring effort is currently ongoing with respect to reform of the Austrian administration (Verwaltungsreform), based on proposals made by the Austrian audit court.

Core government actors are first and foremost legitimized by the political parties. Though officially appointed by the president, the cabinet consists of individuals chosen by the political parties on the basis of post-electoral coalition agreements. Civil-service personnel are in many cases also indirectly linked to one of the political parties. In recent years, short-term appointments within the civil service has bolstered this latter trend, undermining the principle of a professionalized civil service. Individual cabinet members (federal ministers, including the chancellor and vice-chancellor) have increased the size of their personal staffs. This has created a mixed system, partially echoing the model of the British civil service, in which civil servants work under ministers irrespective of their own political links, and partially following the U.S. model of a politicized civil service with party-political links between cabinet members and their staff.

This blend of two contradictory principles undermines the reform capacity of the Austrian system. The government and its individual cabinet members can neither depend on the full loyalty of a partisan civil service, nor be sure of a complete civil-service impartiality. This may change following the formation of a new coalition government at the end of 2017. However, it is not possible to make any serious prediction concerning the direction of intended changes.
There are plenty of reports prepared at the request of governmental authorities in view of reforming rules, procedures and structures. The Court of Accounts plays a very active and stimulating role in this regard. However, only a few of these recommendations are implemented. Resistance by interested ministries or agencies is usually fierce and often supported by opposition parties or even by part of the majority coalition. The issue is complicated by the fact that ministerial structures can be set up and changed by the government in charge. The most ambitious recent attempt has been the general assessment of public policies launched in 2007, which ordered an assessment of all policies and institutions to rationalize their makeup and to find savings. This process was canceled by President Hollande and replaced by a new procedure named the Modernization of Public Action (Modernisation de l’Action Publique), which has produced very modest results over the past five years. Among the government bodies least adaptable to structural change is local government, a system that is multilayered, complex, and no longer in line with the challenges of the modern economy and society. Most serious attempts at reform have failed. However, some elements of the 2015 reform on territorial reorganization may trigger more change (new powers to metropolitan areas, organized cooperation/fusion of the numerous and often too small municipalities). The initial measures taken by President Macron seem to indicate that he has chosen the indirect but powerful instrument of state subsidies to force local governments to make changes. In addition, his government is preparing ambitious reforms concerning Paris’ municipal government. These projects are not yet known in detail, but they will undoubtedly trigger fierce resistance from all fronts if they materialize.
Iceland has no formal political or administrative system of self-monitoring organizational reform. Monitoring of institutional arrangements is irregular. Institutional arrangements are occasionally reviewed. For example, the 2009-2013 cabinet reshuffled several ministerial portfolios to strengthen policy coordination and administrative capacity. The 2013-2016 cabinet immediately reversed some of these mergers, increasing the number of cabinet ministers from 8 to 10 and the 2017 cabinet further increased the number to 11. The draft constitution from 2011-2012 stipulates that cabinet ministers should not exceed 10.
In the absence of systematic monitoring of institutional arrangements, the government relies mainly on international expertise. EU and OECD data significantly effects the political agenda, and the implementation of social and economic policies. For example, the 2007 OECD country report on research and innovation, led to the creation of a higher research and innovation committee and subsequently to the updated ERAWATCH assessment of research systems and policies in 2013.

An example for these practices is the 2006 Council of Europe report “Profile of the Luxembourgish educational linguistic policy,” a two-year investigation involving national stakeholders. The report led to the reform of language teaching in 2009. The OECD audit of the country’s public employment service (L’Agence pour le développement de l’emploi, ADEM), against the background of a rising unemployment rate, resulted in a draft bill adopted in 2012. Self-monitoring seems to be beyond the capacity of government authorities. It has also become clear that sustainable changes would require the creation of in-house analysis and forward-looking planning capacities. No ministry or administration is currently able to fulfill these requirements.
Alexander, Susan, and Milena Slavcheva. “RIO Country Report 2016: Luxembourg.” European Commission, 2017, Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.

“OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy – Luxembourg 2016.” OECD Publishing, 2016. Accessed 21 Dec. 2017.
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.
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
The Spanish prime minister has the power (both constitutionally and politically) to reformulate the institutional organization of the government. Without any legal constraint, he personally decides on the structure of portfolios and other governing arrangements every time he appoints new ministers. Although Prime Minister Rajoy introduced alterations in ministries’ names and jurisdictions after 2016, he did so without a prior impact assessment. The division of the previously unified departments of Economy and Finance (whose minister traditionally enjoyed the status of deputy prime minister) into two different and less powerful ministries has been criticized since 2012, but Rajoy did not reverse this decision.

No central actor performs this self-monitoring function. However, the laws 19/2013 on transparency, access to public information and good governance, and 39/2015 on general administrative procedure state that the Government Office (GO) must engage in planning, evaluation, and comprehensive monitoring of general legislation and, where appropriate, must promote revision and simplification. During the period under review, the government’s internal structure and the procedures of governing were not subject to oversight.
Ley 39/2015, del Procedimiento Administrativo Común de las Administraciones Públicas =BOE-A-2015-10565
There have only been two visible changes in the institutional practices of the Dutch government at the national level. One is that the monarch, formally the head of government, was stripped of participation in cabinet formation processes; the second chamber or senate now formally directs that process. The second is an informal adaptation to less parliamentary support for the Rutte I and II governments. Informal coordination processes between government ministers, and all members of the senate and second chamber have become crucial for governing at the national level.
Two organizational-reform crises have emerged in recent times that threaten citizens’ well-being in the long run. The first is the underfunded, understaffed and ill-considered transfer of policy responsibility to municipal and local governments within important domains such as youth care, health care and senior-citizen care. Many local governments lack the expertise, budgetary powers and monitoring/evaluation capacity to implement these changes without grave difficulties. In many cases, they have joined local-government alliances or have outsourced such tasks to commercial firms without adequate democratic oversight. However, on the local level, experiments in local budgeting, and deliberative and participatory policymaking (Code Oranje, Civocracy) have gained some traction.

Second, there is a looming reform crisis in the justice and policing system, which undermines the government’s task of protecting citizens’ security. The reform of the policing system from regional or local bodies into a single big national organization is stagnating; police officers have mounted strikes based on wage and working-condition issues; and the top echelon of the police leadership is in disarray. The digitization of the justice system and the reduction in the number of courts, in addition to imposed cutbacks, has wreaked havoc within the judicial branch of government. There is a crisis in the relations between the political and the bureaucratic elements, given that the Department of Justice and Security is supposed to provide political guidance to both of these reform movements.
Although institutional arrangements are monitored regularly (Scientific Council of the Government on Citizen Self-Reliance, Council for Public Administration on Local Democracy and annual reports by the national Council of State), recommendations and plans are not followed up due to a lack of political will.
Code Oranje|Democratic Challenge, democratic


Jaarverslag Raad van State, 2016

Kees Breed, “Politici moeten de illusie van de ‘cockpit Den Haag’ loslaten,” 21 September 2016,,

Raad voor het Openbaar Bestuur, Democratie is meer dan politiek alleen. Burgers aan het roer in hun leefwereld, Adviesrapport 28 June 2017

WRR, Weten is nog geen doen. Een realistisch perspectief op redzaamheid, 24 April, 2017
On one hand, presidential advisory and administrative arrangements in and around the White House are reconfigured in important respects by each president. As a result of this fluidity, presidents, their staffs and commentators discuss the effectiveness of the given arrangements of the president’s senior aides almost constantly. By contrast, most other organizational structures – including the basic separation-of-powers system; the structure of Congress; and the structure of departments and major agencies of the executive branch – are rigid. None of these is subject to change by executive decision or ordinary legislative majority, and they are evaluated only in extreme circumstances.

Yet from 2011 to 2016, just such extreme circumstances have emerged. A series of self-induced crises in economic policy, driven by fundamental conflicts over long-term budget policy, has led commentators to question some of the seemingly fixed and intractable features of the political system. The unprecedented levels of partisan conflict in the legislative process, the increasingly routine resort to filibusters in the Senate, and the tendency toward partisan deadlock and inaction have particularly alarmed analysts, not to mention the public. In 2015, the extreme-conservative Tea Party faction among House Republicans raised questions about the power of the speaker of the House to control the agenda. Both Democratic and Republican Senate majorities have discussed abolishing or severely curtailing the Senate filibuster – a major change that could be accomplished by a simple-majority vote only at the beginning of a new Congress.

The executive structures of the Trump presidency have been exceptionally casual and unstable, with a president who appeared to have no appreciation for the benefits of systematic deliberation and division of labor. As one indicator, Trump assigned his inexperienced 36-year-old son-in-law Jared Kushner to take leadership responsibility on an extraordinarily diverse array of areas, including the Middle East peace process, negotiations with other countries, criminal justice reform, innovation and the opioid crisis. In effect, the administration has de-institutionalized the top levels of the executive branch.
There are no formal ex ante mechanisms for monitoring whether institutional arrangements of governing are appropriate. It is only ex post, when a problem becomes serious enough or a crisis emerges, that reflection regarding the structure of governance and institutional arrangements begins, and such cases are usually spurred by public pressure or pressure from some other government body. Deliberations on proposed legislation serve less often to prompt such debates.
There is no regular self-monitoring of the institutional arrangements of Croatian governments. Public organizations are supposed to prepare annual reports, but often fail to do so, and do not use these reports to examine deficiencies.
While post-program surveillance by creditors is in place, government reform efforts include institutional monitoring in the framework of the better regulation project started in 2017. Some progress is noted, along with resistance by line ministries and disagreements with political parties and the parliament. As in previous years, the government’s many conflicts with various independent state officers that audit or check the legality of executive actions damage its credibility.

To meet EU obligations, some monitoring is necessary. The better regulation project attempts to extending this monitoring to more sectors. However, the project must overcome its own limited capacity, including the absence of a central monitoring body.

Tense relations between the executive and parliament have not helped. Also, the parliament’s own legality check failures led the supreme court to declare 15 out of 16 laws the parliament approved in 2016 unconstitutional. These had been referred to the court by the president.

Finally, to this day no assessment has been made public on the impact of recent massive voluntary retirements on public service capacity.
1. Capital Statement law is a massive Joke, Opinion, Cyprus Mail, 8 September 2017,
Czech Rep.
There is no systematic monitoring of the institutional arrangements of governing. Governments must issue annual reports and a final report at the end of their term in office, as Prime Minister Sobotka did in November 2017. However, these reports tend to focus on policies rather than institutions and are normally self-congratulatory. Also, there are sporadic audits within particular ministries. In 2017, six ministries joined the Supervisor monitoring program. Given the tensions within the governing coalition, however, the Supervisor project only included ANO controlled ministries and focused on presenting the successes of ANO.
The PiS government has adopted a number of institutional reforms, but has not monitored the institutional arrangements of government in a systematic and regular way. The goal is not to improve or professionalize institutions but to increase political power and employ personnel that follow the party line.
Changes to the makeup of Romania’s institutional arrangements remain a frequent occurrence, often following a change in government. Without a systematic and regular mechanism for monitoring institutional arrangements, and with frequent changes in government, the bureaucracy struggles to sustain strategic direction. Occasional reviews by the OECD, World Bank and others persist but their effect is likely negligible.
There is no regular self-monitoring of institutional arrangements In Slovenia. The monitoring that takes place is ad hoc and limited. The annual reports of state organizations are formal and self-congratulatory. Under the Cerar government the number of audits performed by private sector organizations remained low.
In 1992, Belgium became a federal state with one central government, three regional governments (Flanders, Brussels, Wallonia), three communities (Dutch-, French- and German-speaking, each with a parliament and a government), 10 provinces, and 589 municipalities (following a merger in 1975). The federal and regional/community governments have many overlapping competences.

As a consequence, Belgian institutions are far from efficient. The responsibility split between municipalities and regions has not been reoptimized appropriately, particularly in Brussels. Many decisions require interministerial coordination, which makes Belgium almost as complex as Europe. Very frequently, no rational solution emerges, because any such solution either means more devolution to federal entities, which is perceived by “federalists” as a step toward pure separatism, or recentralization of some competences within the central state, which is perceived by “regionalists” as a step backward toward yesterday’s centralized structures.

One efficient solution would be to devolve competences that do not require intense coordination fully to the regions, while centralizing others that require intense coordination. There should also be a clear hierarchical structure between the central state and its federal entities. In contrast, in the current structure, each entity is so independent that the central government cannot impose needed reforms to meet Belgium’s international commitments.

However, the issue is less problematic when only one entity is involved in a reform effort, and monitoring across regions does exist. The good practices of a region (or of other countries) can thus inspire others (the efficiency of institutional arrangements between regional governments is easily comparable, for example).
There is no regular and systematic self-monitoring of institutional arrangements in Slovakia. Governments and governmental bodies (such as the parliament, Government Office) must issue annual reports and a final report at the end of their term in office, however, these documents focus more on policies and formal financial accounting rather than institutional design. In addition, there are sporadic audits within particular ministries. The institutions and processes of governing are analyzed only infrequently and selectively. Shortcomings in audit procedures persist.
There is no monitoring.
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