Lithuania

   

Executive Capacity

#9
Key Findings
Showing significant institutional-reform ability, Lithuania scores well (rank 9) with regard to executive capacity. Its score on this measure is unchanged relative to its 2014 level.

While strategic planning is well institutionalized, the planning system suffers from unnecessary complexity. The government-office has been reorganized to improve policy formulation and quality control. Line ministries have considerable autonomy, but work collaboratively with the prime minister’s office. The regularity of informal meetings has increased following a decision to make all official government meetings public.

RIAs are more formal than substantive. Digital coordination tools are well-developed. Public consultation is currently routine, but not generally aimed at development of consensus. A new public-consultation methodology is being developed. The current government’s makeup of mostly non-partisan ministers has led to internal tensions and troubles coordinating communications.

A lack of reliable and comprehensive data on public-service provision hampers monitoring and standardization. A recently introduced procedure for funding municipalities has increased dependence on central-government grants. Adaptability, particularly in the context of EU fund absorption, has been high, with OECD accession viewed as likely to strengthen regulation quality.

Strategic Capacity

#9

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

10
 9

Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions, and they exercise strong influence on government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Their influence on government decision-making is systematic but limited in issue scope or depth of impact.
 5
 4
 3


Strategic planning units and bodies take a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions. Occasionally, they exert some influence on government decision-making.
 2
 1

In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
Strategic Planning
8
Lithuania’s strategic-planning system was introduced in 2000 and has been updated several times since. At the central level of government, the planning system involves all stages (planning, monitoring and evaluation) of managing strategic and operational performance. The main strategic documents include the long-term Lithuania 2030 strategy and the medium-term National Progress Program, which is in turn linked to short-term strategic-performance plans and budget programs. The planning system in general is well-institutionalized; its functioning is supported by a network of strategic-planning units within each ministry and a governmental Strategic Committee that was re-introduced in 2013 by the 2012 to 2016 government. However, the strategic planning system suffers from unnecessary complexity. About 250 strategic documents exist, while strategic action plans include 1,800 monitoring indicators. The 2016 to 2020 government developed guidelines and an action plan for restructuring strategic planning and the budget formulation system to focus more on results and ensure fiscal sustainability. The current government also introduced so-called change baskets, channeling more financial resources to the implementation of government priorities and other significant legislative commitments (e.g., poverty reduction and national defense). For instance, financial support for children will be increased from €30 per child in 2018 to €50 per child in 2019.

A State Progress Council composed of politicians, public and civil servants, academics, business leaders, and other representatives of Lithuanian society was established to help design the Lithuania 2030 strategy and monitor its implementation. The council’s composition was updated after the 2012 to 2016 government came to office and meetings were held on a regular basis until 2016. Although the 2016 to 2020 government was initially reluctant to employ this governance arrangement, after almost two years of putting Council activities on hold it decided to update its composition. It remains to be seen if the Council will resume its role as the prime minister appears increasingly driven by pre-election incentives, disregarding strategic priorities.

More generally, though these strategic and advisory bodies take a long-term approach and offer viable policy solutions, their influence on governmental decision-making varies by policy issue. There is a certain gap between the long-term policy aims contained in various strategic documents and the actual practices of individual public-sector organizations. In addition, politically important decisions are sometimes made without due consideration of strategic priorities and performance-monitoring, with strategic-planning documents and performance reports often playing little role in daily decision-making processes or the activities of street-level bureaucrats.

Does the government regularly take into account advice from non-governmental experts during decision-making?

10
 9

In almost all cases, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 8
 7
 6


For major political projects, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 5
 4
 3


In some cases, the government transparently consults with non-governmental experts in the early stages of government decision-making.
 2
 1

The government does not consult with non-governmental experts, or existing consultations lack transparency entirely and/or are exclusively pro forma.
Expert Advice
6
Lithuanian decision-makers are usually quite attentive to the recommendations of the European Commission and other international expert institutions. They are also receptive to involving non-governmental academic experts in the early stages of government policymaking. The governments led by Andrius Kubilius and Algirdas Butkevičius set up expert advisory groups (including the so-called Sunset Commission, which involved several independent experts). For instance, experts commissioned by the Ministry of Social Security and Labor drafted a new “social model,” which contained a comprehensive set of proposals for the regulation of labor relations and the development of a more sustainable state social-insurance system. This package was approved by the parliament in 2016. The Skvernelis government, however, has not renewed the mandate of the Sunset Commission. Instead, the government decided to develop a center for evidence-based policymaking involving the government agency MOSTA (the Research and Higher Education Monitoring and Analysis Center).

However, major policy initiatives are usually driven by intra- or interparty agreements rather than by empirical evidence provided by non-governmental academic experts. In many cases, expert recommendations are not followed when the main political parties are unable to come to a political consensus. In addition, the rarity of ex ante impact assessments involving experts and stakeholder consultation contributes to the lack of timely evidence-based analysis. For example, debates on amendments to the Alcohol Control Law, which was adopted by the parliament in 2017, were affected by the lack of timely evidence-based analysis. Some initiatives publicly deliberated by the government in 2018 (e.g., the introduction of vouchers for buying food from small retailers) were not accompanied by impact assessments. These also raised questions as to whether they represented pre-election campaigning aimed at placating popular dissatisfaction with rising inflation rather than serious efforts by the government to deal with public concerns (see also Evidence-based Instruments).

Interministerial Coordination

#15

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

10
 9

The GO / PMO provides regular, independent evaluations of draft bills for the cabinet / prime minister. These assessments are guided exclusively by the government’s priorities.
 8
 7
 6


The GO / PMO evaluates most draft bills according to the government’s priorities.
 5
 4
 3


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

The GO / PMO does not have any sectoral policy expertise. Its role is limited to collecting, registering and circulating documents submitted for cabinet meetings.
GO Expertise
7
Under Prime Minister Kubilius, the Government Office was reorganized into a Prime Minister’s Office and given the task of assisting in the formulation and execution of government policies. This reform increased the capacities of the core government to assess the policy content of draft government decisions, at the expense of its capacity to review their legal quality. However, this latter function was moved to the Ministry of Justice. Shortly after taking power, the Butkevičius government reversed this organizational reform, reorganizing the Prime Minister’s Office once again into a Government Office. Under Prime Minister Skvernelis, the Government Office was again reorganized to better support the formulation of strategic reforms and centralize quality control of draft legal acts.

Over the last ten years, the development of evidence-based decision-making instruments (e.g., a monitoring information system, a budget-program assessment system, and an impact-assessment system) has increased the capacity of the core government to monitor and evaluate draft policy decisions based on the government’s political agenda. However, the degree of effectiveness has varied by instrument, as well as with the relevance and quality of the empirical evidence available for decision-making. After assessing the coordination of regulatory policy in Lithuania, the OECD recommended establishing an integrated strategic plan for better regulation, a high-level coordination body and a better-regulation unit within the central government.

Citations:
OECD, Regulatory Policy in Lithuania: Focusing on the Delivery Side, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2015 http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance/regulatory-policy-in-lithuania_9789264239340-en.

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

10
 9

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


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


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

Consultation occurs only after proposals are fully drafted as laws.
Line Ministries
7
The government adopts multiannual political priorities, coordinates their implementation and regularly monitors progress. As a result, it focuses on policy proposals and strategic projects related to these annual priorities. The majority of policy proposals are initiated by ministries and other state institutions, but the Government Office is kept informed with regard to their status and content. The fact that all policy areas are legally assigned to particular ministers, coupled with the fact that since 2000 governments have been formed by party coalitions rather than a single party, has meant that line ministries enjoy considerable autonomy within their policy areas. The Government Office is sometimes called upon to mediate policy disagreements between line ministries. Under the Skvernelis government, a new commission for strategic projects has been established to coordinate 41 IT, infrastructure and change projects. The commission is chaired by the prime minister, and includes a government chancellor; a prime ministerial adviser; and ministers for finance, foreign affairs, and transport and communication.

How effectively do ministerial or cabinet committees coordinate cabinet proposals?

10
 9

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


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


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

There is no review or coordination of cabinet proposals by committees. Or: There is no ministerial or cabinet committee.
Cabinet Committees
7
Although Lithuania’s government can create advisory bodies such as government committees or commissions, the number and role of such committees has gradually declined since the beginning of the 2000s, when coalition governments became the rule. Top-priority policy issues are frequently discussed in governmental deliberations organized before the official government meetings. The Strategic Committee is composed of several cabinet ministers, the chancellor and a top prime-ministerial deputy who manages the government’s performance priorities, policy and strategy. Another government committee, the Crisis Management Committee, advises the government on crisis management. A European Union Commission continues to act as a government-level forum for discussing Lithuania’s EU positions; made up of relevant vice-ministers and chaired by the minister of foreign affairs.

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

10
 9

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


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


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

There is no or hardly any coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
Ministerial Bureaucracy
7
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 takes place at various levels of the administrative hierarchy: coordination at the civil-servant level is followed by that of ministerial representatives (junior ministers and ministerial chancellors) representing the ministries at the government level. The latter meetings, which had been initially discontinued under the Skvernelis government, were later reintroduced in the form of interinstitutional meetings after a change of the government chancellor.

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.

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

10
 9

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


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


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

Informal coordination mechanisms tend to undermine rather than complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
Informal Coordination
7
Formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination still dominate the decision-making process, despite the emergence of new informal coordination mechanisms and practices at the central level of government. Political councils are created to solve political disagreements within the ruling coalition. In addition, the leadership of political parties represented in the government is often involved in the coordination of political issues. Informal meetings are sometimes called to coordinate various issues at the administrative or political level. Since the Skvernelis government decided at the end of 2018 to make all government meetings public (government sessions had already been public before this decision), cabinet ministers are likely to meet informally on a more regular basis on Mondays.

Furthermore, the 2012 to 2016 government planned to develop a senior civil service stratum, which could actively engage in policy coordination at the managerial level. However, these politically sensitive provisions were later withdrawn from subsequent drafts of the Civil Service Law. A new civil service reform adopted in 2018 did not establish a higher civil service.

How extensively and effectively are digital technologies used to support interministerial coordination (in policy development and monitoring)?

10
 9

The government uses digital technologies extensively and effectively to support interministerial coordination.
 8
 7
 6


The government uses digital technologies in most cases and somewhat effectively to support interministerial coordination.
 5
 4
 3


The government uses digital technologies to a lesser degree and with limited effects to support interministerial coordination.
 2
 1

The government makes no substantial use of digital technologies to support interministerial coordination.
Digitalization for Interministerial C.
8
Lithuanian authorities use digital technologies frequently and quite effectively to support interministerial coordination during policy development and monitoring. Various document management systems track the execution of activities set out in the Government Program’s Action Plan and other documents, while the MIS (Monitoring Information System) supports the preparation of strategic (action) plans and budget programs. There are two systems and IT tools for monitoring the implementation of EU-financed and national interventions (the Structural Funds’ MIS and MIS). Also, there is a special information system that enables online cooperation among state institutions and external stakeholders in the negotiation of EU legislation, while a new system for the coordination of systemic projects is under development within the framework of managing government priorities.

Although Lithuanian authorities rely strongly on IT systems during interministerial coordination, the application of collaborative knowledge management tools (e.g., shared spaces and collaborative learning) is underdeveloped. New IT solutions are being developed centralizing support services in a newly established National Center of Shared Services that will provide accounting and personnel management services to more than 100 institutions associated with the central government. Digital technologies do support policy coordination, but their potential is not exploited for jointly improving policy content during policy formulation nor taking corrective management actions during policy monitoring.

Evidence-based Instruments

#15

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

10
 9

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


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


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

RIA are not applied or do not exist.
RIA Application
7
Although the production of impact assessments for draft government decisions became mandatory in 2003, high-profile regulatory initiatives are in most cases not in fact subject to in-depth assessment. Seeking to improve the relevance and quality of impact assessments, a review of the impact assessment system was conducted under the Kubilius government. Meanwhile, the Butkevičius government decided to focus the system on high-priority regulatory decisions. The Skvernelis government confirmed the need to apply rigorous impact-assessment methods (e.g., cost-benefit or cost-effectiveness analyses) and suggested the establishment of a competence center for evidence-based policymaking.

However, the OECD has argued that impact assessment in Lithuania remains a largely formal exercise intended to justify choices already made (with a strong preference for the regulatory option). And indeed, no high-profile decision involving the selection of the best identified alternative has yet been made following an RIA process. Since 2013, the Government Office has prepared an annual priority list of legislative initiatives that need to be assessed in greater depth (14 initiatives in 2013 and 26 initiatives in 2014). However, the number of such initiatives is rather small compared to the 300 or so draft laws contained in the Annual Legislative Program. More significantly, this too remains a purely formal exercise, detached from actual decision-making. The principle of proportionality, under which important legislative initiatives with broad possible effects would be given more detailed impact assessments, is often ignored. Consequently, this instrument is generally disregarded by ministers and members of parliament. To improve the situation, it was recommended that all the major political parties agree to a memorandum of understanding.

The Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union, the largest parliamentary party, pledged in its election program to conduct cost-benefit analyses for new initiatives. The same provision was repeated in the new coalition government’s program. According to its action plan, the Government Office intends to create a center for evidence-based policymaking, which will conduct cost-benefit analysis on strategic issues and other systemic evaluations. However, many controversial initiatives (e.g., the introduction of a voucher system, reform of the school teacher pay model, reduction of the number of members of parliament and relocation of the Ministry of Agriculture from Vilnius to Kaunas) were not based on ex-ante impact assessments but rather guided by a political desire to be popular. This demonstrates that the current government continues the practice of ignoring the essential principle of proportionality when impact assessments are conducted for the most important initiatives.

Finally, to implement the recommendations of the OECD, the Ministry of Justice (in cooperation with the Government Office) developed an ex-post assessment model that will be integrated into the lawmaking process. If this model is approved by the government and parliament, it will come into effect on 1 January 2020, launching new assessments on the application and functioning of regulations. It is doubtful, however, if a larger impact assessment scope will improve the relevance and quality of RIA in Lithuania.

Citations:
OECD, Regulatory Policy in Lithuania: Focusing on the Delivery Side, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2015 http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance/regulatory-policy-in-lithuania_9789264239340-en.

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

10
 9

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


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


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

RIA analyses do not exist or the RIA process fails to achieve any of the three objectives of process quality.
Quality of RIA Process
5
The process of regulatory impact assessment does not ensure sufficient participation by relevant stakeholders. According to the OECD, external stakeholders in Lithuania do not see impact assessment as a useful tool, because it provides little room for their feedback or contributions. Although four institutions are tasked with overseeing the quality of impact assessment, the quality of impact assessments is not in fact systematically monitored. Therefore, draft government legislation is checked primarily for legality, with little attention paid to the possible impact of the proposed legislation. Though RIA results are available for decision-making, they are rarely debated or otherwise used in the policy process. The principle of proportionality is not applied as major political initiatives are raised without proper impact assessments.

The OECD has issued several recommendations for improving the RIA process, including strengthening quality-oversight monitoring, consolidating oversight of the quality of impact assessment in a single lead institution (the Government Office) and ensuring that stakeholders are consulted in the early phases of the RIA process. In response, the Government Office has reviewed regulation policy, strengthened central coordination capacities and proposed improvements to the RIA process.

Citations:
OECD, Regulatory Policy in Lithuania: Focusing on the Delivery Side, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2015 http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance/regulatory-policy-in-lithuania_9789264239340-en.

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

10
 9

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


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


Sustainability checks lack two of the three criteria.
 2
 1

Sustainability checks do not exist or lack all three criteria.
Sustainability Check
6
In 2003, the government adopted the National Sustainable Development Strategy. The Ministry of Environment is responsible for coordinating projects related to this document. Lithuanian policymakers are supposed to conduct sustainability checks within the existing framework for regulatory impact assessment. The 2012 impact-assessment guidelines provide for the assessment of economic, social and environmental impacts, among other factors. Both short-term and long-term impacts should be assessed under the new guidelines. However, the guidelines do not provide an exhaustive set of impact indicators addressing these impact dimensions. Producing high-quality environmental reviews remains a challenge under the new system, which focuses on impacts within the business environment and remains a largely formal exercise. The ex-ante evaluation of the 2014 to 2020 operational program supported by EU structural funds included strategic environmental assessment that considered the likely effects of EU investments on the environment (in line with EU and national legislation).

To what extent do government ministries regularly evaluate the effectiveness and/or efficiency of public policies and use results of evaluations for the revision of existing policies or development of new policies?

10
 9

Ex post evaluations are carried out for all significant policies and are generally used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 8
 7
 6


Ex post evaluations are carried out for most significant policies and are used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 5
 4
 3


Ex post evaluations are rarely carried out for significant policies and are rarely used for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
 2
 1

Ex post evaluations are generally not carried out and do not play any relevant role for the revision of existing policies or the development of new policies.
Quality of Ex Post Evaluation
7
Government ministries frequently evaluate the effectiveness and/or efficiency of public policies, but most evaluations are related to the use of EU funds; it is mandatory to evaluate the implementation of operational programs financed from EU structural and investment funds. For instance, 63 evaluations were performed during the programming period from 2007 to 2013. Many evaluations will be executed during the 2014 to 2020 period. The implementation of evaluation recommendations is monitored on a regular basis, but a 2013 study revealed that only about 60% of all the recommendations provided by the evaluators were executed by Lithuanian ministries and other state institutions. This average rate of implementation was attributed to insufficient institutional and personnel evaluation capacities in the public administration, which reduce the demand for evaluation, hinder quality assurance and the use of evaluation results. The recommendations of the State Audit office are likewise routinely ignored by the government.

Although Lithuanian authorities should also assess the implementation of national budget programs, no such evaluations have been completed since 2016. This is related to the ongoing restructuring of the strategic planning and budget formulation system. An action plan for improving the efficiency of the public sector envisions the establishment of an evidence-based competence center that will conduct cost-benefit analysis on strategic issues and other systemic evaluations. MOSTA, which provides evidence-based information and guidance on policy formulation and implementation, is likely to become responsible for these analyses and evaluations in several policy fields.

Societal Consultation

#10

Does the government consult with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner?

10
 9

The government always consults with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner.
 8
 7
 6


The government in most cases consults with societal actors in a fair and pluralistic manner.
 5
 4
 3


The government does consult with societal actors, but mostly in an unfair and clientelistic manner.
 2
 1

The government rarely consults with any societal actors.
Public Consultation
7
In Lithuania, major societal actors are consulted through institutionalized arrangements such the Tripartite Council, as well as through various ad hoc means. Major societal actors were also involved in the preparation and monitoring of the long-term Lithuania 2030 strategy, working through the State Progress Council. Under the Skvernelis government, a new accord was signed between the government, business organizations and trade unions. The accord provides for the preparation of a separate agreement between these partners, which would reduce taxes on wages in exchange for employers’ commitment to increase wages. The Kubilius, Butkevičius and Skvernelis governments carried out public consultation on several policy issues, including pension-system reform, a national energy-independence strategy, anti-corruption policy, open-government measures, and tax reform. The practice of prior consultation in developing regulations is mandated by the Law on the Basics of Legislation.

However, the scope of consultation with societal actors remains insufficient, as the consultation process is limited to an exchange of information and positions, with little attempt to achieve consensus among the stakeholders involved. In addition, according to the 2015 OECD report on regulatory policy in Lithuania, the time allocated to consultation is insufficient, and the quality of feedback is insufficiently high. Moreover, the impact-assessment process also suffers from a lack of consultation, despite the adoption of new legal provisions in recent years to address this issue. For these reasons, a 2015 OECD report recommended that the country develop public-consultation guidelines and allow more time for consultation. In response, the Government Office launched a large stakeholder consultation project co-funded by the European Social Fund at the end of 2016. The project developed a public-consultation methodology and application guidelines, but it has not yet established a public-consultation standard needed for bringing societal consultation to a higher level. Protests by school teachers and a public strike in the premises of the Ministry of Education and Science that lasted several weeks in late 2018 (a protest against a new pay model introduced in September 2018) demonstrates a lack of capability to achieve consensus from major stakeholders for policy reforms.

Citations:
OECD, Regulatory Policy in Lithuania: Focusing on the Delivery Side, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2015 http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance/regulatory-policy-in-lithuania_9789264239340-en.

Policy Communication

#25

To what extent does the government achieve coherent communication?

10
 9

Ministries are highly successful in aligning their communication with government strategy.
 8
 7
 6


Ministries most of the time are highly successful in aligning their communication with government strategy.
 5
 4
 3


Ministries occasionally issue public statements that contradict the public communication of other ministries or the government strategy.
 2
 1

Strategic communication planning does not exist; individual ministry statements regularly contradict each other. Messages are often not factually consistent with the government’s strategy.
Coherent Communication
5
The political fragmentation associated with Lithuania’s ruling coalitions has made it difficult to formulate and implement an effective government communications policy. Line ministries and other state institutions are responsible for communicating with the public within their individual areas of competence; however, the Communications Department of the Government Office attempts to coordinate these activities and provides the public with information about the government’s performance. For instance, a unified government portal that aims at providing relevant information to the citizens about the performance of the whole government (the cabinet, the Government Office, ministries and government agencies) was launched in 2015.

On the whole, the government lacks a coherent communication policy. Contradictory statements are rare but do occur to varying degrees depending on the particular government and the elections calendar. Although the Butkevičius government announced that it would pursue a whole-of-government approach to public policy and management, it was not able to achieve this goal by the end of its political term. Moreover, Prime Minister Butkevičius has himself publicly made contradictory statements on such politically important issues as tax reform and the future of nuclear power in Lithuania, probably reflecting the diversity of opinions within his party and the 2012 to 2016 ruling coalition, as well as changing political circumstances. Several ministers in the current government have little political experience, making it more difficult for government to effectively communicate policies.

In its 2015 report, the OECD recommended that the core government rebalance its engagement with other institutions by emphasizing its role as a facilitator of exchange and dialog across government and with non-state stakeholders, rather than primarily focusing on top-down communication. However, the government of Prime Minister Skvernelis, composed mostly of non-partisan ministers (so-called professionals), also faced difficulties in coordinating their communications on policy priorities and reforms undertaken, in particular in 2018 as the 2019 municipal and presidential elections approached. The prime minister himself has increasingly been criticized, in particular, when he accused the Conservative party of conspiring with foreign services and when he unexpectedly sacked three ministers in late 2018, apparently without informing them in advance.

Citations:
OECD, Regulatory Policy in Lithuania: Focusing on the Delivery Side, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2015 http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance/regulatory-policy-in-lithuania_9789264239340-en.

Implementation

#15

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The government largely fails to implement its policy objectives.
Government Effectiveness
7
During the fast process of transition and accession to the EU, Lithuanian governments’ narrow focus on this task produced a lag in policy implementation. The performance of the three most recent governments has been mixed. Kubilius government policy of fiscal consolidation represented one important success, few major structural reforms occurred in Lithuania during the 2008 to 2012 period, with the exception of higher education reform, a partial optimization of the health care network and a restructuring of the energy sector. Although the Butkevičius government (2012 – 2016) outlined a broad set of policy priorities, its implementation record was also mixed. The government introduced the euro in 2015, developed the new “social model,” completed the construction of the liquefied-natural-gas terminal in Klaipėda and advanced the renovation of apartment blocks. However, less progress was achieved in other policy areas, including structural reform of higher education and training, health care, and public administration. The Skvernelis government (formed in 2016) was able to push through a few important reform policies, including a new labor code, the merger of state-owned forestry companies, and amendments to the alcohol control law as well as tax and pension reforms. The current government was able to achieve this progress despite its diminished parliamentary majority following a split within the Social Democratic party’s parliamentary group. Coalition politics, shifting political attention, the conflicting strategies of various advocacy coalitions and weak political leadership frequently explain the government’s failure to implement major policy objectives. For example, the consolidation of higher education institutions is deviating from the government’s initial plan as several amendments were made both during parliamentary deliberations and the actual implementation. Also, the promising proclamations of health care reform announced by the Skvernelis government have not been followed by decisive implementation plans that improve the efficiency and effectiveness of health care in the country.

The government should also continue improving the effectiveness and efficiency of its spending. In the World Bank’s 2017 Worldwide Governance Indicators, Lithuania scored 80 out of 100 for government effectiveness, down from 81 in 2016. However, in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018, Lithuania ranked 95 out of 137 countries for efficiency of government spending. In its 2018 report, the European Commission recommended improving the efficiency of public investment as a means of stimulating overall productivity growth in the country.

Citations:
The Worldwide Governance Indicators of World Bank are available at http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/#home
The 2017 – 2018 Global Competitiveness Report of the World Economic Forum: http://www3.weforum.org/docs/GCR2017-2018/05FullReport/TheGlobalCompetitivenessReport2017%E2%80%932018.pdf
Vitalis Nakrošis, Ramūnas Vilpišauskas and Vytautas Kuokštis: Fiscal consolidation and structural reforms in Lithuania in the period 2008-2012: from grand ambitions to hectic firefighting. International Review of Administrative Sciences 81 (3), 2015, p. 522–540.
COMMISSION STAFF WORKING DOCUMENT, country report Lithuania 2018: https://ec.europa.eu/info/sites/info/files/2018-european-semester-country-report-lithuania-en.pdf

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The organization of government does not provide any mechanisms for ministers to implement the government’s program.
Ministerial Compliance
7
The government’s organization provides ministers with various incentives to implement the government’s agenda. The primary organizational instruments include coalition agreements, government programs, multiannual government priorities, identified priority actions and monitoring processes, cabinet meetings and deliberations, and the assignment of ministerial responsibility for policy areas. Since prime-ministerial powers within the executive are limited by constitutional provisions and the fragmentation of coalition governments, officeholders need to seek support from other cabinet ministers (including ministers of finance, who tend to share the prime minister’s party affiliation), from parliamentary groups, and from the president (who has a veto power over draft laws) as they seek to implement the major objectives of the government program. In addition, as they implement governmental policy, line ministries tend to focus on the sectoral-policy aims falling under their responsibility at the expense of related horizontal-policy aims. However, the current government, where most ministers are non-partisan and whose selection was based on their professional record as well as support from the president, increasingly faced tensions due to disagreements among the prime minister, sectoral ministers, and members of the ruling Lithuanian Farmers and Greens Union parliamentary faction. This led to three ministers being sacked by the prime minister.

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The GO / PMO does not monitor the implementation activities of line ministries.
Monitoring Ministries
8
The Government Office effectively monitors policy implementation, through several channels. First, it administratively tracks the execution of government actions assigned to different ministries and other state institutions. Second, through its information system of monitoring, it assesses the achievement of government priorities and linked policy objectives on the basis of performance indicators. Progress in the implementation of policy is discussed during cabinet meetings and other government-level deliberations. However, information derived from this monitoring process is only infrequently used to propose corrective action when progress is deemed insufficient. Thus, the monitoring process does not always prevent the prioritization of sectoral or bureaucratic over full-government and horizontal interests in policy implementation. As part of one EU-funded project, the Government Office reviewed monitoring and evaluation practices, and made a number of recommendations as to how performance measurement could be improved in line ministries (including the development of key performance indicators or indicator libraries in various policy areas). Despite the implementation of this project, the National Audit Office stated that the country’s monitoring and reporting system continues to lack quality information, while the government and line ministries often provide incomplete information regarding the achievement of their policy aims and objectives in their reports.

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The ministries do not monitor the implementation activities of bureaucracies/executive agencies.
Monitoring Agencies|Bureaucracies
6
Lithuania’s fragmented structure of agencies and other public-sector organizations undermines the effective monitoring of bureaucratic performance. While agencies subordinate to the central government or individual ministries can be monitored relatively efficiently, autonomous organizations such as public nonprofit institutions, foundations and state-owned enterprises that carry out administrative functions are more difficult to control. Parent ministries and third parties acting on behalf of the ministries use a combination of ex ante and ex-post oversight mechanisms, including the assessment of agency results. However, many Lithuanian ministries have no professional staff specifically assigned to monitor agency activities, and the interest shown by ministers and other politicians in the performance of agencies depends on the changing salience of political issues. In 2012, the Governance Coordination Center was established as part of the State Property Fund. Among other tasks, it monitors the implementation of state-owned enterprises’ goals, and produces regular reports on the performance of these enterprises. Beginning in 2013, the scope of annual public-sector reports produced by the Lithuanian Ministry of the Interior was expanded to include municipal organizations. However, this ministry’s reports remain of a descriptive nature, lacking specific recommendations as to how the performance of individual organizations or their groups might be improved. In 2015, the Sunset Commission reviewed the performance of public nonprofit institutions and proposed several recommendations, some of which were related to improving the monitoring of these institutions. However, in 2016, the Sunset Commission ceased operating. In 2018, controversies regarding the implementation of a recently adopted Law on the Protection of Children’s Rights illustrated practical difficulties in implementing measures when various institutions on various levels of governance are involved.

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The central government often and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational self-governments.
Task Funding
6
Lithuanian municipalities perform both state-delegated (funded through grants from the central government) and independent (funded through a national tax-sharing arrangement and local sources of revenue) functions. Lithuania has a centralized system of government with powers and financial resources concentrated at the central level. The central government provides grants for the exercise of functions delegated to the local level, as local authorities have minimal revenue-raising powers. In 2012, the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities expressed its concern that Lithuanian municipalities have limited capacities and insufficient resources to deliver the services delegated to them. Municipal concerns, including that of adequate funding, are addressed by a joint commission that includes the government and the Association of Lithuanian Municipalities. After the Constitutional Court ruled that the existing legal framework governing the allocation of municipal revenue was not in line with the constitution, the government introduced a new procedure for allocating revenue to municipalities. However, this decision will increase municipalities’ dependence on targeted central-government grants.

Citations:
State of local and regional democracy in Lithuania, see https://wcd.coe.int/ViewDoc.jsp?id=1925765&Site=Congress&BackColorInternet=e0cee1&BackColorIntranet=e0cee1&BackColorLogged=FFC679

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The central government deliberately precludes subnational self-governments from making use of their constitutionally provided implementation autonomy.
Constitutional Discretion
6
The central government generally respects local authorities’ constitutional scope of power, but centrally determined political, legal, administrative or fiscal measures sometimes constrain subnational policymaking and implementation autonomy. In addition to the problems of limited powers and insufficient fiscal resources, the elimination of county administrations and other central-level decisions have reduced municipalities’ policymaking and implementation capacities in areas such as territorial planning, construction and the regulation of land ownership.

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

10
 9

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


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


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

Central government does not ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
National Standards
6
National public-service standards at the subnational level are ensured through centralized or regional governance arrangements. For example, landfills are connected in a regional network of service providers. The decentralized provision of other public services at the local level has produced uneven quality in areas such as school education or the accessibility of primary health care services. The Public Management Improvement Program aims at defining minimal-quality standards for various public functions such as health care, education and social services. Though the Sunset Commission has since been dissolved. A recent report from the National Audit Office found that the central government still lacks reliable and comprehensive data on the provision of public services, which is necessary for the effective modernization and standardization of services. The parliamentary group of the Homeland Union (Lithuanian Christian Democrats) recently called for the development of public service standards to enhance opportunities for the Lithuanian public to benefit from quality public services in all counties and districts of the country.

Citations:
The Public Management Improvement Program (in Lithuanian) is available at http://www3.lrs.lt/pls/inter3/dokpa ieska.showdoc_l?p_id=418407&p_query=vie%F0ojo%20valdymo%20tobulinimo%20programa&p_tr2=2

To what extent is government enforcing regulations in an effective and unbiased way, also against vested interests?

10
 9

Government agencies enforce regulations effectively and without bias.
 8
 7
 6


Government agencies, for the most part, enforce regulations effectively and without bias.
 5
 4
 3


Government agencies enforce regulations, but ineffectively and with bias.
 2
 1

Government agencies enforce regulations ineffectively, inconsistently and with bias.
Regulatory Enforcement
7
In the World Bank’s 2017 Worldwide Governance Indicators, Lithuania scored 83 out of 100 for regulatory quality, down from 85 in 2016. A 2017 OECD report indicated mixed effectiveness in regulatory delivery efforts in Lithuania. Although food safety inspections were effective and in line with best practices, compliance with occupational safety rules was problematic, and the regulation of fire safety was of concern. To improve the enforcement system in Lithuania, the report recommended gathering better data and conducting more analysis, paying more political attention to enforcement, improving risk assessment in enforcement activities, rethinking priorities, reallocating resources, and paying more attention to education and outreach.

The better regulation policy of the Lithuanian government seeks to reduce administrative burden, manage risks better, fight corruption and move to compliance promotion. Regulatory reform momentum was strong at first but has slowed down considerably in recent years. No regulatory institution is named on the list of the most corrupt institutions in the country, though some corruption scandals involved a few regulatory agencies. For instance, in 2016 the Special Investigation Service called on the State Food and Veterinary Service to eliminate corruption after its food safety inspections had yielded no action against any food product deemed harmful to human health. In late 2018, the Ministry of Economy released the first study of regulatory institutions’ activities, assessing the methods and instruments used by institutions that regulate businesses. The study determined that 61% of institutions (33 out of 50) assessed were performing unsatisfactorily, with grades below 5.5 out of 10. Only two institutions, State Tax Inspection and State Labor Inspection, received grades above nine. In general, those institutions that mostly deal with regulating business activities performed better than those which have business regulation as only one of their activities. On the basis of these assessments, the Ministry of Economy issued its recommendations on reducing administrative burdens for businesses. The current government also plans to merge some regulatory institutions, reducing their number from 55 to 47 by 2020.

Citations:
OECD, Regulatory Policy in Lithuania: Focusing on the Delivery Side, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2015 http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance/regulatory-policy-in-lithuania_9789264239340-en.
The Worldwide Governance Indicators of World Bank are available at http://info.worldbank.org/governance/wgi/#home
Ministry of Economy, Report of Regulatory Institutions December 2018, available so far only in Lithuania at https://ukmin.lrv.lt/lt/veiklos-sritys/verslo-aplinka/verslo-prieziuros-politika/svieslente

Adaptability

#5

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The government has not adapted domestic government structures, no matter how beneficial adaptation might be.
Domestic Adaptability
9
Lithuania’s policymakers have over time significantly adapted domestic government structures to international and supranational developments. A network of semi-independent regulatory agencies was developed during the pre-accession period. After the completion of EU accession negotiations, Lithuania’s system of coordinating EU affairs was gradually moved from the core government to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and, in the case of specific sectoral matters, decentralized to line ministries.

Lithuania has managed to maintain a rather good record of transposition and implementation of EU law, as illustrated by the low transposition deficit and relatively small number of infringement cases initiated against the country. Lithuania used to absorb EU investments relatively quickly. Indeed, 15.02% of EU payments had already been disbursed by 29 September 2017, compared to the EU-28 average of 10.24%. However, over the last two years, the rate of unused EU funds increased to 21.9% in the first semester of 2017 and further to 22.4% in the first semester of 2018. This is officially attributed to the need to coordinate EU investments with ongoing reforms, but the country’s administration system lacks sufficient administrative capacities. Although the management of EU funds and control systems is functioning well and in compliance with EU requirements, it is challenging for the Lithuanian authorities to ensure the result-orientation of EU funds while maintaining a high rate of absorption during the programming period from 2014 to 2020. The adoption of EU policy has largely taken place on a formal basis, rather than indicating substantial policy learning. The central bank’s capacities were strengthened as a result of preparations for the introduction of the euro in 2015, while the adoption of economic-governance rules for the euro zone resulted in an expansion in the role and capacities of the National Audit Office. Accession into the OECD in 2018 is expected to strengthen the quality of regulation and the efficacy of state-owned enterprises.

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The government does not have sufficient institutional capacities to shape and implement collective efforts to provide global public goods. It does not have effective processes to ensure coherence in national policies affecting progress.
International Coordination
7
Lithuania actively engages in international policy cooperation on behalf of democracy and market-economic systems, in particular by providing encouragement to its eastern neighbors (the Eastern Partnership countries) to reform, by providing technical and financial assistance, and by serving as an advocate for their interests within the EU institutional framework. Lithuania has been part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan since 2005. The country’s policymakers have managed to coordinate their involvement in these international fields quite effectively. In 2012, Lithuania joined the OECD’s Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes as well as completed a first compliance assessment. In 2015, Lithuania was invited to start its accession process to the OECD. In the second half of 2013, Lithuania took over the rotating presidency of the European Council and was afterward assessed by other EU institutions and member states as performing effective work. Furthermore, Lithuania became a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council for the 2014 to 2015 term. The interparty agreement, which includes a commitment to progressively increase defense spending to 2% of GDP by 2018, is further evidence of a willingness to support NATO. However, the government has been less willing or able to contribute to such global challenges as climate change or trade liberalization (except in the context of its presidency of the European Council presidency). In 2017, the European Commission fined Lithuanian Railways (Lietuvos geležinkeliai) €27.9 million for breaching EU antitrust rules by removing a rail track connecting Lithuania and Latvia, which hindered competition in the rail freight market. Lithuanian authorities have also experienced problems in trying to convince regional partners to agree on the preferred option for synchronizing electricity systems with the Central European grid and a common position on the safety risks posed by the new nuclear power plant being constructed in Astravets, Belarus.

Citations:
Vilpišauskas, R. “Lithuania’s EU Council Presidency: Negotiating Finances, Dealing with Geopolitics,” Journal of Common Market Studies, vol. 52, Annual Review, August 2014, pp. 99-108.

Organizational Reform

#2

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

10
 9

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


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


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

There is no monitoring.
Self-monitoring
8
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 to 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. With ascension into the OECD, better possibilities to benchmark Lithuanian’s public sector performance against other OECD members might maintain political attention on monitoring governance arrangements.

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The government loses strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
Institutional Reform
9
Lithuania’s government has in some cases improved its strategic capacity considerably by changing its institutional arrangements. The Kubilius government made significant changes to existing government structures and procedures in order to enhance its policy capacity. According to the governmental Sunset Commission, the number of central-level institutions decreased from 1,190 in 2008 to 855 in 2011. The Butkevičius government re-established the Strategic Committee and maintained several the institutional bodies established under the previous government (such as the State Progress Council and the Sunset Commission, which was renamed the Public Management Improvement Commission). More recently, the Skvernelis government developed a new concept paper on the institutional set-up of public administration, which proposed reducing the number of institutions by 15%. These organizational changes had initially been sluggish, but are likely to advance since the parliament’s approval of amendments to the Law on Civil Service and the Law on Public Administration in the middle of 2018. Also, Lithuanian authorities decided to rename two government ministries: the Ministry of National Economy will become the Ministry of Economy and Innovation after consolidating responsibility for innovation (digital economy and IT infrastructure), while the Ministry of Education and Science will add “Sport” to its name after gaining control over for this policy field. The Skvernelis government decided to centralize support services for more than 100 central-level institutions by establishing the National Center of Shared Services, which will provide accounting, personnel management, and other support services (e.g., public procurement, property management, and document management) in the future.

Citations:
Saulėlydžio komisija, Valstybės valdymo tobulinimo komisijos (Saulėlydžio Komisijos) 2009–2012 m. veiklos ataskaita: rezultatai ir gairės tolesniems pokyčiams. 27.11.2012.
OECD, Regulatory Policy in Lithuania: Focusing on the Delivery Side, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2015 http://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/governance/regulatory-policy-in-lithuania_9789264239340-en
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