Malta

   

Executive Capacity

#26
Key Findings
Despite growing core-government steering capabilities, Malta falls into the lower-middle ranks (rank 26) with regard to executive capacity. Its score on this measure has improved by 0.8 points relative to 2014.

Strategic-planning capacities have improved in recent years, with more experts supporting the process. Spurred by recent policy failures, the Prime Minister’s Office has expanded its coordination and monitoring of line ministries. A greater share of policy proposals must now be approved by the cabinet.

The RIA process is evolving, with assessment quality varying. Review of sustainability issues remains spotty, but is improving. Ex post evaluations are carried out for most significant policies. Consultation with civil society has steadily improved, but critics say NGO views have little influence in key policy and planning areas.

Government efficiency has continued to improve, with audits noting serious failings under the previous administration. Competition between ministries sometimes hinders monitoring despite recent improvements. Task funding remains contentions, with municipal bodies pressured to carry out tasks beyond their official remits. Regulatory enforcement is sometimes biased toward powerful lobbies.

Strategic Capacity

#20

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

10
 9

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


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


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

In practice, there are no units and bodies taking a long-term view of policy challenges and viable solutions.
Strategic Planning
7
Each government ministry has a director and unit responsible for strategy and planning. These are strongest in the Ministry of Finance, the Malta Planning Authority, the Malta Transport Authority, the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs, and the Education Ministry. In 2015, a new unit focused on information and the implementation of standards was introduced in the office of the prime minister to facilitate coordination between various stakeholders when implementing projects. Strategic planning has been boosted by the government’s efforts to reduce public debt. The National Statistics Office has also been reformed. Over the last year, the influence of strategic planning units over fiscal and education policy has increase. The success of Malta’s EU presidency, supported by a four-year program that upgraded coordination vertically and horizontally across government entities, has shown the substantive improvements that have been achieved. A Budget Implementation unit also monitors the implementation of policies with relevance to the budget.

Within ministries, the permanent secretary is responsible for developing strategy, including identifying key performance indicators, and determining timeline and budgets. Strategic plans normally run over three-, four- or five-year cycles and are often developed in the course of consultation with internal and external stakeholders. Internationally recognized benchmarking methodologies are used to track progress. These plans typically include strategic priorities, strategic actions, core commitments and deliverables. In some cases, ministries employ consultants to produce reports on current policy issues, a practice that may be regarded as forward planning. The Management Efficiency Unit coordinates separate ministry plans and the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA), which reviews government IT requirements, also assists. Usually when a policy is to be reformed or updated a strategic plan is released for consultation. It has been proposed that the annual government budget be instead shifted to a multi-year time frame to ensure a greater degree of continuity and long-term planning.
A plan to develop special strategies for disadvantaged regions is being established. Government-allied Member of Parliament Glenn Bedingfield has been tasked with spearheading a soon-to-be launched strategy for Cottonera. The strategy will seek to improve environmental and social standards in this inner-harbor area, and will include short- and long-term restoration goals.

Citations:
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20150823/local/malta-keeps-a-rating-deficit-is-down-economy-stronger.581555
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151002/local/dbrs-confirs-maltas-long-term-rating-at-a-stable.586719
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151004/business-news/ey-predicts-malta-gdp-growth-of-39-in-2015-29-in-2016.586905
http://www.politico.eu/article/maltas-eu-presidency-how-did-it-go/
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170701/local/eu-presidency-a-fantastic-experience-has-come-to-an-end-pm.652048
Caleja Ragonesi I., Maltese Presidency aims to make the ordinary extraordinary. Europe’s Word January 2017
Strategic Plan 2017-2020 Academy for disciplined forces Malta
Mobile Government Strategy 2017-2018ffddddf
Ufficcju tal - prim Ministru, Rapport Annwali 2015
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20181017/local/79-of-budget-2018-measures-were-fulfilled.691830

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
5
Consultation processes involving academic experts has always been rather intermittent, but since 2013, such experts have been involved in a greater number of areas including family issues, gay rights, care of the elderly, health issues such as diabetes, IT in schools, and others. With the exception of standing parliamentary committees, which regularly consult with academic experts, the government tends to consult with outside experts in an issue-based and ad hoc manner. Academic input is at the line ministry level. Policy issues have at times been the focus of studies directly commissioned from faculties, institutes and other bodies. Information required by the government may also be contracted out on an individual basis. Driven particularly by the needs of the country’s EU presidency, this process has become more inclusive since 2017, with many academics providing support for government policymaking. In 2017, two academics were consulted during the drafting of a white paper on a new inspections process. When drawing up new key policy indicators (KPIs) on public administration academics from across Europe were commissioned to prepare the report. New proposals on maintaining or creating affordable rental housing have also been based on academic research. A number of experts have also been appointed as non-resident ambassadors.

The government has increasingly used policy documents when inviting consultation with NGOs and experts. In other cases, calls for expression of interest have been the method. Until recently, Malta did not have a formalized process of consultation. This rendered the process rather patchy, with one ministry consulting regularly and others rarely. Today, web-based consultation processes have become more refined, and calls for consultation more frequent. Nonetheless, gaps in the consultation process remain. In some policy areas, consultation remains sketchy or minimal, while in others, policy areas stakeholders are brought in only at a late stage. Occasionally, experts selected for the consultation process are accused of having conflicts of interest.

Citations:
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160908/local/gozo-ministry-ordered-to-publish-consultancy-deals.624367
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160818/local/chamber-of-pharmacists-not-consulted-on-move-to-electronic.622392
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161007/local/delimara-power-station-ippc-application-to-get-public-consultation.627239
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160816/local/era-chairman-denies-conflict-of-interest-in-townsquare-application.622170
PA Chief insists Paceville consultants had no conflict of interest Malta Today 02/11/16
Paceville Master plan:Mott Macdonald should refund payment aftet alleged conflict of interest Independent 23/11/16
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20181002/local/white-paper-on-valletta-monti-stalls-to-be-published-shortly.690602
https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/90252/watch_local_government_white_paper_proposes_more_responsibilities_for_regional_committees#.W9MPkXszaM9
https://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/90157/rent_reform_will_not_fix_prices_targets_stability_through_longer_leases#.W9MQJ3szaM8

Interministerial Coordination

#26

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
5
Government ministries in Malta enjoy almost complete autonomy, with limitations only in the form of budgetary constraints imposed by the Ministry of Finance and cabinet approval. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) relies largely on the attorney general’s office to evaluate draft bills; however, it also consults with specialists on legal and non-legal issues. Before going to the Attorney General’s Office, draft laws and policies are scrutinized by the cabinet. In recent years, the PMO has increased the number of experts supporting the policy process. The 2015 ministerial code of ethics specifies the number of consultants and advisers each ministry is allowed to engage. Consultation with a greater number of sectoral-policy experts, in some cases employed by the government itself, has contributed an improvement in the policy process.

In March 2013, the government appointed a minister, as part of the PMO, to oversee the implementation of the government’s manifesto and more recently introduced a specific strategy to implement the government’s program. This strategy operates on a three-year planning cycle in conjunction with the budgetary cycle implementation program. Ministries have full responsibility for the policy, and draw up action plans that are monitored on a monthly basis by the PMO; areas of concern are flagged and brought to the attention of the public service and cabinet.. Malta’s EU presidency has also contributed greatly to improving ministerial coordination. Great efforts are also being made to upgrade the capacity of the public service through the recruitment of graduates with specialized training. In collaboration with the University of Malta, MCAST and other bodies, the government has recently established the Institute for Public Service (IPS) to coordinate training at all levels. The PMO has recently demonstrated an improved ability to respond to policy implementation failures. For example, during the period under review, the PMO heightened its overview of ministries to make up for a number of policy failures that occurred during the previous legislature, although certain ministries still make occasional efforts to evade oversight.

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

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

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

How effectively do ministerial or cabinet committees coordinate cabinet proposals?

10
 9

The 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
6
While government officials do organize cabinet committees to assist in clarifying issues prior to full cabinet meetings, these do not necessarily correspond to line ministries but to individual issues. Occasionally ministers form cabinet subcommittees to coordinate policies between ministries. The chair of the subcommittee, however, would not be from the ministry from which the policy originated. Cabinet committees on EU affairs, including on the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy, have been appointed. In addition, an ad hoc cabinet committee oversaw the preparations and running of Malta’s presidency of the EU in 2017.

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

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

10
 9

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


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


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

There is no or hardly any coordination of policy proposals by ministry officials/civil servants.
Ministerial Bureaucracy
6
Civil servants from a ministry typically coordinate policy proposals with other line ministries before a policy is officially drafted. During the review period, a new system was established. The cabinet director general is in charge of administrative decisions and ensures that cabinet decisions are implemented in the different ministries. On Mondays, the chiefs of staff meet to draft memos for the cabinet. On Tuesdays, the cabinet meets and makes a decision. On Wednesdays, the permanent secretaries meet to decide on how to implement the cabinet’s decisions. A commissioner for the simplification and reduction of bureaucracy has been established to implement reforms across government. These have been introduced horizontally (e.g., delegating staff recruitment to departments and agencies) and vertically (e.g., engaging ministries to improve efficiency). The permanent secretaries have requested that all departments examine current processes and consider methods of simplification. One result is the introduction of push service delivery, whereby individuals do not apply for social benefits but rather receive them automatically. Every year a report is published and made available to the public on the simplification systems that have been introduced. In 2017, the first 12 key performance indicators (KPIs) for the public service were put into place. This is a new concept for the public service, and is designed to establish clear objectives that need to be attained within a specific time-frame. A “mystery shopper” for government departments was also introduced, with the aim of identifying shortcomings in service delivery and allowing the situation to be remedied.


Occasionally interministerial committees help coordinate policy before the drafting process is started. This has increasingly become normal practice, with a number of interministerial committees created to support Valletta’s campaign to be the 2018 European Capital of Culture, and to prepare for the Commonwealth Heads of State Summit in Malta, an EU-Africa summit, and Malta’s presidency of the EU in 2017. These activities have laid stronger foundations for more effective coordination between the ministries and civil servants.

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

10
 9

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


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


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

Informal coordination mechanisms tend to undermine rather than complement formal mechanisms of interministerial coordination.
Informal Coordination
7
The government tendency toward informal coordination mechanisms has increased since Malta joined the European Union in 2004. Many directives from Brussels cut across departments and ministries, and this encourages ministries to talk to each other and work more closely together. Preparations for the EU presidency in January 2017 and the actions taken during the presidency itself raised this informal coordination to unprecedented levels. Currently, the PMO has begun exercising an expanded coordinating role that has advanced progress on a number of domestic issues and policies. Increased overview of ministries by the PMO’s Principal Permanent Secretary and the PM’s own team has enhanced coordination further. Overall, this has resulted from the establishment of the Ministry for European Affairs and Implementation of the Manifesto.

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.
7
The use of digital technologies in Malta to support interministerial coordination, as well as for client use, has now become widespread. This process is managed by the Malta Information Technology Agency (MITA), the government’s internet agency, and supported by private-sector experts. Individual government ministries can access policies by other ministries that may touch on their own policy formulation, as well as any policies that come from the cabinet. In 2017, a total of 21 mobile apps for government services were launched; moreover, the servizz.gov.mt website went live, offering access to about 800 services and the associated forms. The publicservice.gov.mt website was also launched to disseminate information and news about the country’s public services.

Citations:
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20161003/local/malta-ranks-first-in-europe-for-egovernment-services.626864
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171210/business-news/Microsoft-highlights-Malta-s-eGovernment-as-a-case-study.665311
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20171106/local/e-government-service-platform-wins-international-award.662430

Evidence-based Instruments

#22

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

10
 9

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


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


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

RIA are not applied or do not exist.
RIA Application
6
As it has worked to fulfil its obligations under EU law, Malta’s government has been improving and strengthening its regulatory processes. The process has generally been slow, but has gained momentum in recent years. However, some areas still lack a proper framework. Within the existing framework, the cabinet is required to approve RIAs for government notices, regulations and by-laws. This process is detailed in the Small Business Act, Chapter 512 in Maltese law. Recent reports from the EU have continued to confirm steady progress. To ensure that reviews contain sufficient detail, an International Accreditation Forum (IAF) process was introduced. Each ministry is responsible for drawing these up, assisted by their legal offices and program-implementation policy directorates (a unit found in each ministry). Nonetheless, the Office of the Attorney General, which also has a legislative unit, often carries much of the responsibility for this task.

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

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

10
 9

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


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


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

RIA analyses do not exist or the RIA process fails to achieve any of the three objectives of process quality.
Quality of RIA Process
4
Malta’s policy on regulatory impact assessments (RIA) is evolving. In some areas, the process of consultation is superficial, based mostly on public reaction to published consultation papers or a dedicated government website created for the purpose. In others it is more sophisticated. Previously, consultation prior to implementation was commonly extensive when regulations dealt with economic or labor issues; this practice has now increasingly been extended to social issues. The government has thus increased its consultation frequency and expanded its dissemination of information; nonetheless, in small states such as Malta, truly “independent” bodies are generally absent or rare. Furthermore, civil society groups must become more proactive if they are to help shape policies during the formulation stage.

Consultation activities have been codified to support environmental impact assessments. Guidelines initially allowed for an open, transparent and inclusive consultation process. However, in April 2016, the Planning Authority was separated from the Environmental Authority, a reform that may have confused this process. Critics have also charged that consultation sometimes involves only selected interest groups.

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

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

10
 9

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


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


Sustainability checks lack two of the three criteria.
 2
 1

Sustainability checks do not exist or lack all three criteria.
Sustainability Check
4
While regulatory impact assessments are a compulsory regulatory tool in Malta, the government has no formally adopted sustainability strategy. Until recently, sustainability checks were common mostly in areas involving planning and the environment; however, these have now successfully been extended to the economic sphere, as EU and credit-rating reports indicate. Yet generally speaking, the effectiveness of key regulations and policy initiatives is assessed mainly through Malta’s National Reform Program, and the associated annual report that Malta (like all other EU member states) submits to the European Commission. This report is like a progress check, where Malta provides detailed updates relating to its Europe 2020 targets as a result of its policies. These reports include quantitative impact indicators that can illustrate the effectiveness (or failure) of regulatory projects that touch on social, environmental and economic issues. Overall, Malta has made progress in many areas, reaching many targets but lagging behind in others. Some indicators of progress include an increased level of subsidy provided to public transport programs, improved efficiency with the power-generation sector, and a plan for sustainable water use backed by actual budgetary allocations.

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

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
6
In recent years, ex-post evaluations have been carried out for most significant policies. Various tools are used, and supported by enhanced digital processes. Improvements in ministerial coordination have also contributed to this development, along with ongoing review by the Office of the Principal Permanent Secretary. A “mystery shopper” for government departments was introduced in 2017, tasked with identifying shortcomings in service delivery so that they could be remedied accordingly. The National Audit Office performs audits to determine whether government entities have adequate systems of internal controls in place, with follow-up audits conducted to determine whether identified weaknesses have been dealt with. The 2018 follow-up audit report paints a mixed picture, with recommended improvements fully or partially implemented in some cases, and no changes made in others.

Citations:
Follow Up Reports by the National Audit Office 2018 http://nao.gov.mt/en/recent-publications

Societal Consultation

#20

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
6
The government has an obligation to consult. In addition, a ministry for dialog has been established. New policies and legislation must be published for consultation. A formal consultative structure, called the Malta Council for Economic and Social Development, works well in facilitating consultation between business associations, trade unions and government. The government has also setup a separate Council for Economic and Social Development for Gozo and a consultative council for the South of Malta. A consultation portal is also currently active. NGOs concerned with social policy tend to be regularly consulted; however, environmental NGOs are rarely integrated into the policymaking process. The Planning Authority has its own consultation processes, but the views of non-governmental actors are taken into account to only a very questionable extent. Overall, Malta has seen a substantial increase in the number of policy areas open for public consultation. Malta today has a proliferation of NGOs, and increased consultation has created wider scope for them to act. However, greater progress could be achieved if NGOs were to become more professional, and officialdom less sensitive to feedback and more prepared to react to criticism. One such case in which advice was ignored was the extension of hunting hours in Majjestral Park against the recommendation of the advisory committee.

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

Policy Communication

#18

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
6
The Department of Information is responsible for providing public information on, among other things, government policies and plans. Each ministry has its own communications office to keep the public informed. Regular meetings of the permanent secretaries have enhanced communication procedures within the government. Moreover, the run-up to the EU Presidency demanded improvements to the country’s communication strategies. Today, individual ministers hold daily press briefings and occasionally engage public relations firms. Despite the apparent progress, no studies exist to assess the overall impact. Communication strategies are today formulated with a greater amount of expert input than was previously the case, and communication between ministries has been enhanced. In 2017, the government spent more than €2.5 million on social-media advertising. In 2018, the Malta Financial Services Authority spent €200,000 for communication-strategy advice, seeking to improve Malta’s reputation with European institutions.

Citations:
How the Maltese government spend over 2.5 million in social media ads. Malta Today 07/11/17
Times of Malta 06/11/18 MFSA spends €210,000 for communications advice

Implementation

#31

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
6
Government efficiency has continued to improve, although strong economic growth and the government’s ambitious plans have created challenges for the administration. Central to this improvement has been the Prime Minister’s Office and the work of the Principal Permanent Secretary’s Office. Policy implementation is measured against agreed upon KPIs and benchmarks, policies are monitored and shortfalls highlighted. Templates are sent out to ministries with deadlines and then assessed and reviewed. Every February, the first round of audit closing meetings commence. In October 2018, the PMO and the Ministry of Finance stated that 79% of measures announced in the previous year had been successfully implemented. Ongoing training has been key.
However, problems remain. Recent National Audit reports have continued to highlight failures and inefficiencies under the previous and present administrations. Gaps include insufficient control over service providers and a lack of controls related to personal emoluments, missing documentation, deficiencies in stock management, and a lack of adherence to public-procurement regulations. Local councils’ performance remains sub-optimal, although reforms are now being developed.

Citations:
Gozo projects lacking good-governance rules Times of Malta 16/12/2015
Briguglio, M An F for Local Councils Times of Malta 12/12/16
Report by the Auditor General Public Accounts 2015
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/80417/half_of_nao_recommendations_implemented_auditing_is_not_a_witchhunt#.We2pXVuCyM8
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/environment/townscapes/79047/no_value_for_money_in_fekruna_bay_expropriation__nao#.We2pt1uCyM8
http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/national/79029/labour_urges_pn_to_stop_ignoring_nao_reports_pointing_fingers_at_azzopardi#.We2p4VuCyM8
The following reports are obtained here http://nao.gov.mt/en/recent-publications
Performance Audit: An evaluation of the regulatory function of the Office of the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations -
REPORT BY THE AUDITOR GENERAL ON THE PUBLIC ACCOUNTS 2017 -
An investigation of matters relating to the contracts awarded to ElectroGas Malta Ltd by Enemalta Corporation
Report by the Auditor General on the Workings of Local Government for year 2017 -
Performance Audit: A Strategic Overview on the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture’s Inspectorate Function -
Follow-up Audit: Follow-up Reports, 2018 by the National Audit Office -
Times of Malta 05/02/18 Dirt in cleaning contracts? OLAF asked to probe ‘corruption’ at St Vincent De Paul Home
Documents claiming abuse sent anonymously

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
6
The cabinet is the most important organizational device at the disposal of the government providing incentives to ensure ministers implement the government’s program. Second to this are the weekly meetings of permanent secretaries. Meanwhile, the powers of the Prime Minister’s Office have increasingly been used to drive policy implementation. The ministerial secretariat is generally responsible for overseeing the implementation of a program. However, this function has become more centralized; the government can now show how much of its program has been implemented. A yearly report provides details on each budget measure, indicating when it was implemented and by which ministry. A list of unimplemented measures is also included. In addition, the Management Efficiency Unit in the PMO provides ministries with advice and capacity-building tools. Informal coalitions, such as those between civil society groups or businesses and individual ministries, can drive implementation in certain policy areas, such as the extension of LGBT rights. The drive to introduce simplification measures across ministries facilitates decentralization (e.g., in recruitment accords), granting ministries greater independence as well as additional incentive to implement policies successfully.

Citations:
PM wants powers to appoint ministers who are not MPs Times of Malta 15/02/16
Implementation of government measure 2018 Publicservice.gov.mt

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The GO / PMO does not monitor the implementation activities of line ministries.
Monitoring Ministries
5
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) monitors the implementation activities of most line ministries and the structures for doing so effectively are being continually refined. The PMO has an office dedicated to monitoring which is increasingly fine-tuning the system. The PMO does not have a unit to assess policies in the ministries. Instead, the ministries themselves must do this work according to impact assessment procedures and the policy cycle. If problems surface in a ministry, the PMO steps in to assist. Furthermore, the cabinet office, which is part of the PMO, monitors policy implementation by line ministries, ensuring that they implement the decisions made by the PMO. There are ongoing attempts to enhance coordination, with improvements made during this review period based on lessons learned from failures in the last legislative period. Nevertheless, competition between ministries sometimes hinders or obstructs monitoring.

Citations:
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151010/local/around-70-per-cent-of-last-budget-measures-implemented-pm.587638
Bartolo insists that ministries should support each other, pull the same rope Independent 10/06/15
Times of Malta 17/10/18 79% of budget measures implemented

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
5
Malta is a unitary state. As such monitoring of bureaucratic agencies is undertaken by, for example, parliamentary oversight, such as during parliamentary committee sessions or annual budget debates. A Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) also exists. The National Audit Office produces an annual report on all public service entities (departments, agencies, etc.), though the reports are ad hoc, focused on different sections and departments of ministries and agencies every year The ombudsman also produces a procedural audit, though it has been recommended that the ombudsman be given the same rights of oversight as held by the audit office in order to better review the workings of government. The 2017 Ombudsman report emphasized difficulties in receiving timely information, and further indicated problems related to the inappropriate disclosure of government information – specifically problems with binding parties signing government contracts to secrecy, and in areas where essential health and energy services in sectors have been partially or fully privatized, and some parties are not sufficiently legally prohibited from disclosing information to third parties. The Department of Local Government assesses the performance of local government bodies. There is also an internal audit office within ministries. The Prime Minister’s Office, through the Office of the Principal Permanent Secretary, has become more involved in monitoring processes, and positive results are beginning to show. The recruitment of more qualified personnel and the provision of greater amounts of training are also proving effective in this regard, helping to improve adherence to EU directives. Nonetheless, NAO reports still point to problematic areas.

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

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The central government often and deliberately shifts unfunded mandates to subnational self-governments.
Task Funding
5
Task funding remains a contentious issue. Although many new schemes have been put in place, funding remains inadequate. Local councils in Malta are primarily municipal bodies, and cannot raise revenue through local taxes; however, as they are an integral part of the political system, and under party control, they come under pressure to carry out tasks beyond their remit. Nearly all funding for local-government activities comes from the central government, with a small fraction sourced from local traffic fines. The funding formula for local councils is based on geography and population, but – despite legal provisions – local councils run budget deficits, both because of inadequate funding and mismanagement by the councils themselves. At the beginning of 2015, the government launched a fund for local councils’ capital projects however it remains inadequate. Regional committees were generating revenue from contraventions through the local enforcement system, however, this task was taken over by a central government agency in 2014. There has been a steady, though not particularly substantial, increase in the overall budget. In 2018, the budget for every local council was increased by 4.27%, for a total increase of €7 million relative to the previous year. A 2018 – 2020 local-council-culture fund containing €750,000 has been introduced to pay for cultural events, and a capital-projects fund has also been created.

Citations:
44 local councils request devolution of government property Malta Today 11/09/2015
Money for local councils Times of Malta 14/02/2015
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151228/local/councils-shortcoming-identified-by-nao-unacceptable-parliamentary.597069
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160706/local/auditor-general-criticises-funding-scheme-as-hasty.617914
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160111/opinion/Auditing-local-governance.598374
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151226/local/councils-christmas-dinner-bills-give-auditor-a-headache.596707
Local government culture fund 2018 - 2020
35.5 million budget for 68 local councils in 2017 The Malta Independent 04/07/17
The Independent 12/12/18 A total of 30 local councils benefit from the capital projects fund
Financial Allocations to local councils January -December 2018

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

10
 9

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


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


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

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

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

10
 9

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


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


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

Central government does not ensure that subnational self-governments realize national standards of public services.
National Standards
6
It is the Department of Local Government and the National Audit Office which seek to ensure standards within local councils. The first is responsible for monitoring and reporting on the performance of individual local councils. Central departments set the benchmarks for services provided by local councils. The second is the National Audit Office, which independently investigates local council activities both from a purely auditing perspective and from a “value for money” perspective. It is the latter that has by and large driven reform of local councils. National standards at the local level are also reinforced through the councilors’ code of ethics and the Local Councils Association. The ombudsman’s office has also suggested the introduction of a commissioner for local government within his office. A local-council reform bill was introduced into parliament during the review period. The proposed reform would strengthen regional councils, supply them with financial resources and recognize this level of government in the constitution. Furthermore, it would introduce the position of full time mayors, increase investment in education and training for councilors and staff, introduce so-called “integration programmers,” and extend the hours in which local council services were provided.

Citations:
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151226/local/councils-christmas-dinner-bills-give-auditor-a-headache.596707
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160111/opinion/Auditing-local-governance.598374
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20160706/local/auditor-general-criticises-funding-scheme-as-hasty.617914
http://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20151228/local/councils-shortcoming-identified-by-nao-unacceptable-parliamentary.597069
Report by the auditor general on the workings of local government for the year 2015
White paper on local government 2018

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
5
For the most part, government agencies in Malta enforce regulations effectively and without bias. This said, the close personal relationships inevitable on a small island have undoubtedly greased the cogs of the administrative machine in order to facilitate positive outcomes in many cases. Certain powerful interests such as the construction lobby also wield influence over the decision-making process. Finally, the government’s reliance on direct orders for large purchases, along with allegations of mismanagement in tendering processes, has left it open to accusations of favoritism. For example, the EU Commission has been asked to investigate a government concession to a private consortium seeking to develop on public land, on the basis that the concession was awarded in a biased and irregular manner. In 2013, the government strengthened the fight against corruption by reducing elected political figures’ ability to evade corruption charges, and introduced a more effective Whistleblower Act. To further address these issues, additional changes have been proposed, including a shift a full-time parliament, with members no longer allowed to maintain private interests or sit on government boards. The 2017 ombudsman’s report cited the need for legislation to regulate lobbying, a practice that can distort fair competition and has been linked to allegations of corruption, as well as the need for individuals to receive correct and timely information on the government’s activities in order to ensure transparency and equal treatment before the law.

Citations:
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20181020/local/possibility-of-state-aid-rules-breach-in-db-groups-its-project-raised.692024
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20181020/local/possibility-of-state-aid-rules-breach-in-db-groups-its-project-raised.692024
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20181027/local/we-have-nothing-to-hide-nothing-to-fear-on-pembroke-project.692678
https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20180828/local/274-million-svdp-deal-was-never-appealed.687770

Adaptability

#25

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
7
The capacity of government structures to adapt to change improved during the period of EU accession and since membership. Malta’s preparations for assuming the EU presidency required further adaption to changing scenarios, especially at the ministerial and bureaucratic levels as well as ambassadorial and consulate levels. It also required the expansion and international training of personnel. Consequently, there is greater awareness of the need to respond to international developments. Better coordination among the bureaucracy has also contributed to improvements.

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

To what extent is the government able to collaborate effectively 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
4
Malta does not have the institutional capacity to actively shape a wide range of international efforts. However, Malta has sought to do this within its immediate Mediterranean region and increasingly within the EU. Since 1975, Malta has been a rapporteur of the UN Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People. It continues to support good-governance efforts in Libya and Tunisia and co-operates closely on refugee and migration issues with neighboring countries. Malta accepts more asylum-seekers per capital than almost all other countries and was one of the few EU countries to honor in full the EU relocation program by taking in its full quota (accepting 131 refugees and asylum-seekers). In 2018, with the assistance of the EU Commission, Malta coordinated the redistribution of a number of migrants stranded in Mediterranean ports to other EU states, while also taking up part of the relocation quota on its own. During the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting hosted in Malta in 2015, the country contributed toward the setting up of a fund to assist small Commonwealth island countries in adapting to climate change and in the fight to eradicate polio. Preliminary discussions also took place in preparation for the climate change summit in Paris. In October 2015, Malta hosted an EU-Africa migration conference, the Valletta Summit on Migration. It has pressed for the implementation of agreements reached at the summit. In December 2015, it facilitated talks between Libya’s rival factions in support of a UN peace plan. Malta’s progress in this sphere has also been demonstrated by its success during the EU presidency. Malta has also contributed to the creation of a strong international regulatory framework for cryptocurrencies. As a net importer of labor, Malta is presently working with governments in the MENA region, focusing initially on Tunisia with the aim of providing employment to skilled Tunisians.

Citations:
Galustain, R., Libya Mediation via Malta, Times of Malta 01/11/16
Malta representative in Palestine visits PLO dignitaries in Ramallah foreignaffairs.gov.mt
Trade between Malta and Tunisia still below potential Times of Malta 05/01/19

Organizational Reform

#16

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

10
 9

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


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


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

There is no monitoring.
Self-monitoring
5
Structures for monitoring institutional governance exist, but are often weakened by the existence of large ministerial secretariats staffed with political appointees, which at the end of 2018 totaled around 700 – mainly allies of the serving minister. 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. The PMO has intensified its monitoring processes, but the most effective monitoring comes from the NAO and the Ombudsman. In 2019, the government announced the creation of a new entity to monitor public-private partnerships.

Citations:
Over 450 employed in government positions of trust The Malta Independent 20/12/15
Positions of Trust: A Constitutional quagmire Malta Today 22/06/16
Unconstitutional Jobs Times of Malta 07/10/16
The number of people in positions of trust is not excessive Times of Malta 16/03/18
Public Service Commission Times of Malta 24/01/17
Government to set up entity overseeing and monitoring public private partnerships Maltachamber.org.mt 28/01/19

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

10
 9

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


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


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

The government loses strategic capacity by changing its institutional arrangements.
Institutional Reform
7
Accession to the EU has improved the government’s strategic capacity. Furthermore, with support from the University of Malta and Malta College of Arts, Science and Technology, there is now greater emphasis on capacity-building and change-management training for senior public officers. The government is working hard to make the public service more attractive to graduates, and has introduced a fast-track promotion process for those with the requisite qualifications. The government also sponsors large number of employees in obtaining the requisite qualifications through its Institute for Public Service Studies.
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