Organizational Reform


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

The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly and effectively.
The monitoring and evaluation of existing institutional models forms an important element of the Finnish political and administrative system. Earlier attempts to improve the proportionality of the electoral system and alter constituency sizes are examples of how evaluation and monitoring processes in Finland mainly focus on administrative and steering issues. A system of program management that introduced new measures for monitoring the government plan was implemented several years ago. This monitoring system has been adopted as well as improved by subsequent governments. The Stubb cabinet (2014 – 2015) made monitoring data publicly available. The same policy was followed by the Sipilä cabinet. For example, progress toward realization of the 26 main goals and five main reforms listed in the government plan were reported online and updated monthly. The Rinne government launched a joint communication model for its major reform projects, managed by the Government Communications Department. One of this body’s central tasks is to provide an overview of the implementation of reforms.
“Government Programme Monitoring Data,”;
Valtioneuvoston kanslia, “Jyrki Kataisen ja Alexander Stubbin hallitusohjelmien loppuseuranta 2015,”;
Toimintasuunnitelma strategisen hallitusohjelman kärkihankkeiden ja reformien toimeenpanemiseksi 2015-2019. Päivitys 2016. Hallituksen julkaisusarja 2/2016.
“Government Communications Strategy.” Publications of the Finnish Government
New Zealand
While New Zealand’s political system does not provide codified mechanisms for routine reviews of its institutional arrangements, both National Party and Labour governments have repeatedly surveyed the system’s performance in the past – through a number of different devices. For example, governments have used referendums to consult citizens directly on institutional issues, including on the electoral system (1993 and 2011), and established expert/stakeholder advisory groups in a number of areas, such as Open Government Partnership (OGP) processes (2016-) and data ethics (2019-).
Institutional arrangements of governing obviously cover a wide array of arrangements. As indicated earlier, it is astounding in many ways to think that Sweden has transformed politically from a pre-democratic system to a democratic state, embedded in an international union such as the EU, with only a minimum amount of institutional and constitutional reform. Such a transformation testifies to the capacity of institutions to accommodate change. Given their institutional capacity to adapt to external change, institutional arrangements as such are rarely assessed.

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

Agencies are monitored fairly closely, so much so that a couple of recent royal commissions have recommended that agencies should not have to provide data on their performance with the same frequency as they do today and that the system should allow for more variation among agencies in this respect. The red-green government that came into power in 2014 has launched a process of reducing the number of performance indicators that agencies are requested to provide data on. These efforts are part of a larger project to replace New Public Management models of public sector management with a more trust-based model of management. Several reforms of this kind were developed in 2016 and 2017 and scheduled to be implemented in 2018 and 2019. Given the prospect of a change in government after the 2018 elections, this reform is now pending.
SOU 2007:75 Att styra staten – regeringens styrning av sin förvaltning.
SOU 2008:118 Styra och ställa – förslag till en effektivare statsförvaltning
The institutional arrangements of governing are monitored regularly.
Government structures are constantly changing in Canada, but there are few procedural structures in place to (self-) monitor whether current arrangements are appropriate or whether change has resulted in improvement. Instead, changes are initiated at the will of the government in power, with little ex post evaluation. In the case of the recent merger of the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade with the Canadian International Development Agency, for example, the government offered no details about the nature of the amalgamation, nor about the cost savings it was intended to realize.

The current government, which won its previous mandate in part based on the promise of transparency and fairness, has since established a number of independent committees tasked with monitoring certain government processes. For example, in an effort to reduce partisanship in lawmaking, it created an independent advisory board that will aid in the selection of senators, and created the Independent Advisory Board to oversee appointments to the Supreme Court. It remains too early to gauge the long-term impact of these committees.
David Zussmann (2013), Mergers and successful transitions, Canadian Government Executive, Volume 19 Issue 5
Monitoring and management within the public sector is crucial given the size of the sector. Tight public finances have increased focus on efficiency and productivity in the public sector. This has fueled a public management and governance strategy that has focused on the use of contracts, result-oriented salaries, measurements, evaluations and efficiency reports.

Significant efforts have been undertaken to digitalize public administration, including those services directly interacting with citizens. Annual tax reporting is digitalized and most communication utilizes the e-boks system. Since 1 November 2014, all citizens above 15 years must be connected to Digital Post (there is the possibility to receive physical post, for example, for the cognitively and physically handicapped). Denmark ranked first in the United Nation’s 2018 list of e-government development index.

The new Social Democratic prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, made it clear in her opening speech to the parliament at the beginning of October 2019 that she felt that new public management guided savings and efforts to increase efficiency had gone too far, and had created too much paper work for public sector employees.
Niels Ejersbo og Carsten Greve, Moderniseringen af den offentlige sektor. Copenhagen: Børsens Forlag, 2005.

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

UN E-government development index,, Accessed December 1st 2016. (Re-accessed 17 October 2017).

United Nations E-Government Survey 2018, (Accessed 7 October 2018).

Statsminister Mette Frederiksens tale ved Folketingets åbning 2019, (Accessed 18 Octobr 2019).
The government office has an annual monitoring procedure under which cabinet decision-making processes are reviewed. This results in frequent improvements to the process. In 2013, major revisions to the regulatory impact assessment system were made, along with the introduction of a green-paper system that will move public consultations on new policy initiatives to an earlier phase of the policy-planning process.

The management of relations with parliament, governing parties and ministries is not regularly reviewed. This is considered by civil servants to be the purview of politicians and therefore not an appropriate topic for initiatives emanating from the civil service level.
Lithuania’s policymakers monitor institutional governing arrangements (both institutions and rules of procedure) regularly and effectively. The Ministry of the Interior has established a committee to monitor the implementation of the Public Government Improvement Program, which includes representatives from that ministry, the Government Office, and other key ministries and state institutions. However, these monitoring and review processes do not include representatives of the business community or civil society, or individual experts. Non-governmental actors used to participate in the activities of the Sunset Commission, but its mandate was not extended through the 2016 – 2020 government term. Also, 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. A uniform project-management standard introduced by the Skvernelis government for the governmental and ministerial levels provides for the establishment of a project monitoring group and the application of monitoring procedures during the implementation of projects.

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.
Self-monitoring takes place both informally and formally. On a formal level, there is a parliamentary committee devoted to monitoring whether government and parliamentary activity adheres to the constitutional framework. In addition, the Office of the Auditor General, which reports to parliament, has gradually made itself more assertive while expanding its policy focus. Informally, there is substantial monitoring of the way institutional arrangements affect government functions. For example, ministerial portfolios are shuffled when change is deemed necessary, notably each time there is a change of government.
Self-monitoring takes place as a part of the political process, which includes numerous private and public actors. It is not institutionalized outside the context of the evaluation of policies (as by implication, policy evaluation leads indirectly to the monitoring of the institutional framework for these policies). The major actor in self-monitoring is the Parliamentary Control of the Administration (PCA), an evaluation service of the Federal Assembly which, on behalf of the Control Committees (“Geschäftsprüfungskommissionen”), conducts studies on the legality, expediency and effectiveness of federal authorities’ activities. When commissioned to do so, the PCA can also scrutinize the effectiveness of federal government measures on behalf of other parliamentary committees. In addition, the various federal offices conduct internal evaluations that they trigger themselves. The nature of these self-evaluations vary and depends on the activity of the respective evaluation unit.
In general, according to Sager et al., evaluation activity in Switzerland is high and evaluations form an important part of political life in Switzerland.
Sager, Fritz, Thomas Widmer und Andreas Balthasar (Hg.) (2017). Evaluation im politischen System der Schweiz – Entwicklung, Bedeutung und Wechselwirkungen. Zürich: NZZ Verlag, Reihe „Politik und Gesellschaft in der Schweiz“.
Flexibility and informal meetings are a key feature of the government system, enabling it to respond in a way uniquely tailored to the situation at hand that has always been valued highly and is an essential constituent of prime ministerial government in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, the Cabinet Office in particular has a remit to monitor the government’s functioning and does so through a range of mechanisms, which have been reinforced by recent civil service reforms, particularly civil service management procedures. A key change introduced by the new government is the introduction of the more wide-ranging “single departmental plans,” which replace the use of business plans. These single departmental plans set clear priorities for departments, encompassing manifesto commitments, critical business-as-usual activity, and efficiency and productivity initiatives. In addition, self-monitoring occurs through implementation task forces (a 2015 innovation which complements cabinet committees), regular assessments of progress by the Civil Service Board chaired by the cabinet secretary and a new so-called shadow civil service board. The shadow civil service board is composed of junior civil servants and charged with assessing specific projects and advising senior management. In response to critiques from Select Committees and the Institute for Government, the government revised its guidance on the machinery of government, placing greater emphasis on the importance of senior leadership and accountability.

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

During the period under review, the monitoring of institutional governance arrangements was improved. The new government that took office during the summer of 2019 reorganized governance structures by appointing highly skilled experts or managers with job experience in the private sector to various management post across the public sector. All governance monitoring was executed from the top, namely either by the PMO or the office of the minister responsible for the new institutional arrangements. Since the summer of 2019, the PMO has been staffed by two government ministers without a portfolio as well as technocrats responsible for monitoring. Though other mechanisms for monitoring government have been available in the past, such as parliamentary and interministerial committees, these were mostly marginalized by the government serving from 2015 to 2019. However, there are signs that such committees are experiencing a resurgence under the new government.
In Hungary, there is no regular formal monitoring of the institutional arrangements of governing in place. However, there is strong and rather comprehensive oversight of the working of the state apparatus from the top down, measured against the political will of the leadership, and the government has been quick to change any institutional arrangements it has deemed to be politically dangerous. Public policy has often been very volatile, changing according to the government’s current needs. The Orbán governments underperform with regard to coherent policy-planning but react quickly to failures in individual political cases or to major policymaking mistakes. In the case of the 2019 municipal elections, however, monitoring failed.
The present government has a mandate for institutional reform and has made some progress in implementing its program in this area as set out in its four Annual Reviews of the Programme for Government. Specific examples have been discussed in relation to other SGI criteria.
The Israeli government has installed various executive-branch institutions, both internally and externally, tasked with monitoring its activities and performance in areas such as procedures, financial transfers and human resources. For example, the Accountant General regularly audits financial decisions in ministries. The Civil Service Commission ensures that internal due processes are followed, and oversees human resources. However, in recent Knesset discussion regarding reforms to the Commission’s work, critics have asserted that the Commission’s work is inefficient. The PMO monitors implementation of the State Comptroller’s recommendations as well as the internal accounting units in each ministry. Supplementary mechanisms for self-regulation include protocols and guidelines governing daily practice.

Occasionally, the media publishes a leaked government report detailing government discrepancies and mismanagement, which the respective government office has attempted to hide from the public. While there are some recent examples, this custom has been ongoing for years. According to a recent media report, a confidential report examining how Israel Electric Corporation manages its expenses was drafted a decade ago. The report listed in great detail numerous wasteful policies, decisions and instances of mismanagement that cost the government billions of shekels. Despite its severity, the report was never published. Another recent media report states that the Ministry of Health’s CEO dismissed a report drafted by the ministry, which found that grants that were given to medical doctors and interns who moved for work reasons to peripheral regions did not achieve their goal and failed to improve healthcare services in peripheral regions. In December 2018, it was reported that the chairman of the Jewish National Fund, Keren Kayemet LeJisrael, had hidden from the public a severe report about his own management of the fund, which includes also a suggestion that the fund should be closed.
“About: the Accountant General,” Ministry of finance website (Hebrew):

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

Bar-Eli, Avi. “Apparently This is the Greatest Theft in the State of Israel’s History.” In The Marker website.. Last updated: October 10th, 2019. (Hebrew)

Efrati, Ido. “Due to the CEO’s Pressure, the Ministry of Health Shelved a Report Stating that the Grants’ Money for Doctors in the Periphery Goes to Waste.” In Ha’aretz website.. October 6th, 2019. (Hebrew)

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

Ilan, Shachar. “Dani Atar Hides a Report’s Draft that Calls to Consider Kakal’s Dismemberment.” In Calcalist website.. December 24th, 2018. (Hebrew)

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

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

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

“Rules, procedures and guidelines for CEOs in the civil service,” Civil service commission 2013: (Hebrew)

“The internal audit law 1992,” Official legislation (Hebrew)
Reform of the executive has been a major topic in Japan for over a decade. Under Prime Minister Abe, the LDP-led government has sought to readjust institutional arrangements by establishing and/or reinvigorating a number of councils and committees. To some extent, the Abe government has sought to bring back the leadership framework that characterized the government under Prime Minister Koizumi (2001 – 2006), for instance through a strong Cabinet Office.
Ministries are required to establish sectoral goals, which are then evaluated annually. Reports are presented on a quarterly basis but do not focus directly on the adequacy of institutional arrangements. For example, the accomplishment of ministerial goals is evaluated, but not the adequacy of the ministry in general. The Ministry of Finance assesses the adequacy of institutional arrangements in the case of new law proposals, but there is no specific institution assigned to monitor preexisting institutional arrangements. Furthermore, to a certain degree, changes in institutional arrangements tend to be influenced by personnel criteria and are not driven by an effort to introduce long-run strategic structural change. Ministry portfolios are subject to sporadic monitoring while procedures and work formats are subject to regular monitoring.
Based on the amount of amended or adopted regulations that deal with institutional arrangements, the government’s monitoring activities certainly exist and inform policymaking. Since March 2014, the Act on National Government has furnished the ministerial nomination processes with a new flexibility; it no longer lists ministers, but only sets a maximum number for the government as a whole. This enables nominations to better reflect current needs. However, it is difficult to estimate how systematic and consolidated the government’s self-monitoring activities truly are.
The government has stepped up its efforts to monitor wide-ranging aspects of government work, especially from within the PMO. The Office of the Principal Permanent Secretary bears primary responsibility for this. However, ministers everywhere seek from time to time to avoid such monitoring; this sometimes becomes evident when the central government fails to respond to questions on some ministry action because the action was taken unilaterally by that ministry. EU supervision of most aspects of governance has also led to a need for greater monitoring; however, Malta has today resolved many of its outstanding issues with the European Commission. The NAO and the Ombudsman also continue to provide essential monitoring functions. In 2019, the government announced the creation of a new entity to monitor public-private partnerships. The PMO is currently overseeing an overhaul of procedures in a number of ministries and public organizations, following recommendations made by Moneyval, the Venice Commission and GRECO.
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 28/01/19
Times of Malta 17/01/2020 Venice Commission Reforms without delay, Robert Abela
Historically, Mexico has often found ways of dealing with the so-called agency problem in policy implementation, which explains why institutional arrangements need constant monitoring. Traditionally this agency problem was dealt with by a high degree of corporatist authoritarianism, which came at a high cost for controlling agents. In today’s Mexico, democracy – even if sometimes insufficiently implemented – requires new models of overcoming this agency problem in an increasingly diversified and complex state structure. Particularly policymakers at the central level and in the more advanced states are becoming aware that effectively governing complexity requires different principles, including monitoring institutional governance arrangements. In July 2018, Mexico launched an online platform to track progress toward achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Yet, especially at the subnational level, pockets of authoritarianism, weak state capacity and widespread corruption result in uneven capacity for monitoring institutional arrangements and regulatory reforms. At the top of the political pyramid, the quality of self-monitoring still depends much on the personal engagement of the president. Mexican policymakers have tended to engage quite frequently in administrative reorganization, possibly to excess. President Peña Nieto was an ambitious, and perhaps excessive, but largely unsuccessful reformer. President López Obrador is even more ambitious and is attempting to radically transform Mexico. AMLO’s new social programs and plans to revive the Mexican oil industry are intended to transform Mexico’s socioeconomic structure. In addition, he wants to demilitarize the war on drugs, a strategy which so far failed. The very ambitious plans enjoy high support within the Mexican population. After one year in office, AMLO’s approval ratings are very high. In November 2019, more than 67% of Mexicans supported AMLO.
SDG 2018. Mexico’s SDG Portal Brings Functionality to Reporting.
South Korea
The president’s office monitors institutional governance arrangements. The president frequently reorganizes ministries and government agencies when inefficiencies are detected. At the same time, institutional reforms are often driven by individual high-ranking government officials rather than being part of a comprehensive plan. For example, the recent controversy over the creation of a new government agency tasked with investigating and prosecuting high-level government officials was primarily driven by former Justice Minister Cho Kuk. However, the initiative did not provide adequate assessment as to how this new institution would be more independent than the existing public prosecutor’s office from political meddling, or how it would improve investigations of high-level officials overall.
The institutional arrangements of governing are selectively and sporadically monitored.
There is little in the way of formal processes to indicate that institutional arrangements are monitored regularly, but such monitoring does occur occasionally. Institutional arrangements do periodically change, often manifesting as rearrangements and renaming of departments. Ad hoc reviews are also conducted, such as the 2004 Review of the Corporate Governance of Statutory Authorities and Office Holders. In some key areas such as migration, Australian authorities carefully monitor the impact of policies, and rapidly change policy direction if appropriate.
There is no regular monitoring within the executive branch of the government. Due to the fragmented structure of the government and comparatively weak position of the chancellor, the ability to engage in oversight from within the central government is very weak. However, a monitoring effort is currently ongoing with respect to reform of the Austrian administration (Verwaltungsreform), based on proposals made by the Austrian Court of Audit.

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

This blend of two contradictory principles undermines the reform capacity of the Austrian system. The government and its individual cabinet members can neither depend on the full loyalty of a partisan civil service, nor be sure of a complete civil service impartiality.

From the beginning of 2018, the ÖVP-FPÖ government has tried to strengthen political control over the civil service – especially by establishing the system of “secretary generals” in all ministries. This system has had a centralizing effect by guaranteeing the loyalty of the civil service to the specific minister who appoints the secretary-general. This tendency indirectly contradicts the non-partisan status of the Austrian civil service.
Numerous reports on the reform of rules, procedures and structures are prepared at the request of governmental authorities. The Court of Accounts plays a very active and stimulating role in this regard. However, few of these recommendations are implemented. Resistance by the ministries or agencies affected is usually fierce, and is often supported by opposition parties or even by part of the majority coalition. The issue is complicated by the fact that ministerial structures can be set up and changed by the government in charge.
The local government administrations have proven to be among the systems least adaptable to structural change. This system is multilayered, complex and no longer in line with the challenges of the modern economy and society. Most serious attempts at reform have failed. However, some elements of the 2015 territorial reorganization may trigger more change (new powers to metropolitan areas, organized cooperation/fusion of the numerous and often too small municipalities). The initial measures taken by President Macron seem to indicate that he has chosen the indirect but powerful instrument of state subsidies to force local governments to make changes. However, the government’s ambitious changes concerning the metropolitan areas and Paris are still on hold, as they face (as usual) fierce resistance from the powerful local-government lobby. From de Gaulle to Macron, all governments have had to limit themselves to partial and ad hoc reforms, making the overall system complex and costly.
There is neither a particular institution nor a commission that independently and impartially operates as an oversight body with respect to governmental activities. In addition, institutional self-monitoring capacities are still low. However, the creation of the Better Regulation Unit in the Chancellery and the extension of the competences of the National Regulatory Control Council (Normenkontrollrat, NKR) – an independent advisory body – have strengthened self-monitoring capacities. The NKR published its last report in October 2019, in which it requested greater effort to improve laws and reduce administrative burdens (NRK 2019). Moreover, the NKR has also sought changes and better monitoring of the organizational set-up for digitalization.
Nationaler Normenkontrollrat (NRK) (2019):
Iceland has no formal political or administrative system of self-monitoring organizational reform. Monitoring of institutional arrangements is irregular. Institutional arrangements are occasionally reviewed. For example, the 2009 – 2013 cabinet reshuffled several ministerial portfolios to strengthen policy coordination and administrative capacity. The 2013 – 2016 cabinet immediately reversed some of these mergers, increasing the number of cabinet ministers from eight to 10 and the 2017 cabinet further increased the number to 11.
Traditionally, the attention paid to the internal organization of the government machine has been selective and sporadic. No systematic monitoring was accomplished on a regular basis. The spending review initiated under the Monti government, and continued by the Letta, Renzi and Gentiloni governments, reformed this field somewhat. Reforms have focused mainly on financial issues, but have also involved the monitoring of institutional arrangements of government (with particular attention given to the structures of local government). However, many of these review exercises’ proposals for a deeper restructuring of government have not been implemented. The first Conte government discontinued the spending review. After limited past reforms that increased the ability to monitor the government program, little attention has been paid to a serious restructuring of the Prime Minister’s Office. Reforms introduced under the Conte government only marginally affected the state bureaucracy’s low level of productivity.
In the absence of systematic monitoring of institutional arrangements, the government relies mainly on international expertise. EU and OECD data significantly effects the political agenda, and the implementation of social and economic policies. For example, the 2007 OECD country report on research and innovation led to the creation of a research and innovation committee, and subsequently to the updated ERAWATCH assessment of research systems and policies in 2013.

One example of these practices is the 2006 Council of Europe report “Profile of the Luxembourgish educational linguistic policy,” the result of a two-year investigation involving national stakeholders. The report led to the reform of language teaching in 2009. The OECD audit of the country’s public employment service (L’Agence pour le développement de l’emploi, ADEM) against the background of a rising unemployment rate resulted in a draft bill adopted in 2012. It has become clear that sustainable changes would require the creation of in-house analysis and forward-looking planning capacities. No ministry or administration is currently able to fulfill these requirements.
“OECD Reviews of Innovation Policy – Luxembourg 2016.” OECD Publishing, 2016. Accessed 19 Oct. 2019.
During the period under review, no substantial measures have been introduced concerning the monitoring of institutional arrangements and there is little evidence of de facto monitoring of institutional governance arrangements. What little monitoring occurs appears to be reactive to political crises or challenges. The rules of procedure for the Council of Ministers make no reference to self-monitoring mechanisms.
Regimento do Conselho de Ministros do XXI Governo Constitucional – Resolução do Conselho de Ministros n.º 95-A/2015, Diário da República n.º 246/2015, 1º Suplemento, Série I de 2015-12-17, available online at::
The prime minister has the power (both constitutionally and politically) to reformulate the institutional organization of the government. Without any legal constraint, he personally decides on the structure of portfolios and other governing arrangements every time he appoints new ministers. After taking office in June 2018, Prime Minister Sánchez introduced several changes with regard to ministries’ names and jurisdictions, without a prior impact assessment. As yet, no central actor performs a self-monitoring function. However, laws 19/2013 on transparency, access to public information and good governance, and 39/2015 on general administrative procedure state that the Government Office must engage in planning, evaluation, and comprehensive monitoring of general legislation and, where appropriate, must promote revision and simplification.
Ley 39/2015
There have only been two visible changes in the institutional practices of the Dutch government at the national level. One is that the monarch was stripped of participation in cabinet-formation processes in 2012; the second chamber or senate now formally directs that process. The effect on government formation was very mixed, with a historically rapid formation in 2012 and the longest-lasting coalition formation process in 2017. The second change was the informal adaptation to lower levels of parliamentary support on the part of the Rutte I and II governments. Informal coordination processes between government ministers, and all members of the senate and second chamber have become crucial for governing at the national level. Following provincial elections in 2019, this also applies to the present Rutte III cabinet.

Two open organizational-reform crises have emerged in recent times that threaten citizens’ well-being in the long run. The first is the underfunded, understaffed and ill-considered transfer of policy responsibility to municipal and local governments within important domains such as youth care, healthcare and senior-citizen care. However, experiments in local budgeting and deliberative and participatory policymaking (Code Oranje, Civocracy) have gained a modicum of traction at the local level.

Second, there is a looming reform crisis in the justice and policing system, which undermines the government’s task of protecting citizens’ security. The reform of the policing system from regional or local bodies into a single big national organization is stagnating; police officers have mounted strikes based on wage and working-condition issues; and the top echelon of the police leadership is in disarray. One manifestation of this crisis in the organizational reform of policing has been the polarization of views on the role of mayors in fighting local (often drug-related) crime. Some observers want mayors to be crime fighters; others argue that the office holder should merely stay informed regarding prosecutions and policy actions. The digitalization of the justice system and the reduction in the number of courts, in addition to imposed cutbacks, has wreaked havoc within the judicial branch of government. There is a crisis in the relations between the political and the bureaucratic elements, given that the Department of Justice and Security is supposed to provide political guidance to both of these reform movements.

Although institutional arrangements are monitored regularly (Scientific Council of the Government on Citizen Self-Reliance, Council for Public Administration on Local Democracy and annual reports by the national Council of State), recommendations and plans are not followed up due to a lack of political will. In 2019, the Council of State warned that there was a risk of subjecting parliamentary legislation to the outcomes of poldering practices that effectively give too much power to organized and vested stakeholder interests (e.g., in the context of the big agreements on housing, pensions and climate).
Code Oranje|Democratic Challenge, democratic


NRC-Handelsblad, 11 April 2019. Raad van State: parlement maakt zichzelf machteloos door akkoorden.

Financieel Dagblad, 31 August 2019. Polder-sheriffs worstelen met regelwoud en geldgebrek.

Krouwel, A. P. M., & Koedam, J. (2015). The Netherlands: Investiture behind closed doors. In B. E. Rasch, S. Martin, & J. A. Cheibub (Eds.), Parliaments and Government Formation: Unpacking Investiture Rules (pp. 253-274). Oxford: Oxford University press.
With the April 2017 referendum and the subsequent incremental introduction of the presidential system of government, Turkey has undergone an organizational change involving the creation of new institutions, the merging or splitting of ministerial bodies, legal changes and rapid personnel shifts. These developments make monitoring exceedingly difficult.

The organization of the new presidential system was regulated by presidential Decree No. 703 in July 2018. In addition to a vice-president, the head of administrative affairs was established under the General Directorate of Law and Legislation. Its main task as the head of administrative affairs is to coordinate between public institutions and organizations, and examine the congruity of laws adopted by the parliament and draft legislation prepared by government institutions with the constitution, current legislation, presidential decrees and government program. The policy councils of the president are expected to monitor and report the implementation of governmental policies to the president.

Several units contribute to the monitoring process directly or indirectly. These units include the State Supervisory Council, the Directorate General of Law and Legislation of the Presidency of the Republic, the Directorate General of Laws and Decrees of the TBMM, the General Directorate of Laws of the Ministry of Justice, and the Council of State. Each administrative institution has its own internal control unit for monitoring compliance with financial rules. However, these units are not fully effective.
European Commission, Turkey 2019 Report, Brussels, 29.5.2019, report.pdf (accessed 1 November 2019)

Cumhurbaşkanlığı Teşkilatı Hakkında Cumhurbaşkanlığı Kararnamesi 1, (accessed 1 November 2018)

K. Gözler, Türkiye’nin Yönetim Yapısı (TC İdari Teşkilatı), Bursa: Ekin Basın Yayın Dağıtım, 2018.

TC Sayıştay Başkanlığı, AYdın Adnan Menders Üniversitesi 2018 Yılı Sayıştay Denetim Raporu, (accessed 1 November 2019)

“AKP’lilerin atama oyununa yargıdan ‘usulsüzlük’ yorumu,” Cumhuriyet daily news, 23 April 2019, (accessed 1 November 2019)

“Futbol Federasyonu’ndan “usulsüz atama” açıklaması: Mesleki tecrübe fakülteyi bitirince başlar!” 13 September 2019,,839294 (accessed 1 November 2019)
On the one hand, presidential advisory and administrative arrangements in and around the White House are reconfigured in important respects by each president. As a result of this fluidity, presidents, their staffs and commentators discuss the effectiveness of the given arrangements of the president’s senior aides almost constantly. By contrast, most other organizational structures – including the basic separation-of-powers system; the structure of Congress; and the structure of departments and major agencies of the executive branch – are rigid. None of these is subject to change by executive decision or ordinary legislative majority, and they are evaluated only in extreme circumstances.

The executive structures of the Trump presidency have been exceptionally casual and unstable, with a president who appeared to have no appreciation for the benefits of systematic deliberation and division of labor. In many important agencies, such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the State Department, and parts of the Department of Justice, mid-tier and lower-level professionals have also left in large numbers.
There are no formal ex ante mechanisms for monitoring whether institutional arrangements of governing are appropriate. It is only ex post, when a problem becomes serious enough or a crisis emerges, that reflection regarding the structure of governance and institutional arrangements begins. Such cases are usually spurred by public pressure or pressure from some other government body. Deliberations on proposed legislation serve less often to prompt such debates. A striking recent example was the vigorous debate about the weakness of road-construction supervision following a fatal accident in the summer of 2018. Several additional examples appeared in 2019, including the exposure of governance weaknesses in the overall personal-data protection framework after the revenue agency’s servers were hacked, as well as heated debates on the anti-corruption governance structure after the person heading the national anti-corruption agency was exposed as having been involved in activities suggesting corruption and conflict of interest.
There is no regular self-monitoring of the institutional arrangements of Croatian governments. Public organizations are supposed to prepare annual reports, but often fail to do so, and do not use these reports to examine deficiencies.
The main structures and institutions of 1960 remain largely unchanged. Slow reform efforts usually commence when dysfunctions reach critical levels. This reform paralysis is connected to the absence of institutional monitoring. Efforts undertaken by a centralized unit for reform produced some results, mostly in the improvement of procedures. The parliament’s rejection of the establishment of a sub-ministry for development led to the reassignment of tasks from the centralized unit for reform back to three line ministries. This makes reforms harder, given that self-monitoring in line ministries is weak or absent as no central coordination and monitoring body exists.

In the absence of internal monitoring, the government commissioned studies to identify existing deficiencies. These have not, however, led to the creation of monitoring mechanisms and no plans in this direction have been made public.
There is no systematic monitoring of the institutional arrangements of governing. Governments must issue annual reports and a final report at the end of their term in office, as Prime Minister Sobotka did in November 2017. However, these reports tend to focus on policies rather than institutions and are normally self-congratulatory. Also, there are sporadic audits within particular ministries. The Supervizor monitoring program introduced after ANO entered government in 2014 and applied to all ANO-controlled ministries has focused on spending rather than on the institutional arrangements of governing.
The PiS government has adopted a number of institutional reforms, but has not monitored the institutional arrangements of government in a systematic and regular way. The goal is not to improve or professionalize institutions but to increase political power and employ personnel that follow the party line.
There is no systematic and regular monitoring of institutional arrangements. Occasionally, the OECD and World Bank have been involved in governance reviews, but the effects of the latter have been negligible. The Dăncilă government was too preoccupied with the European Parliament elections and various other issues/scandals to give attention to monitoring institutional arrangements.
There is no regular self-monitoring of institutional arrangements In Slovenia. The monitoring that takes place is ad hoc and limited. The annual reports of state organizations are formal and self-congratulatory. Under both the Cerar and Šarec governments, the number of audits performed by private sector organizations remained low.
In 1993, Belgium became a federal state with one central (federal) government, three regional governments (Flanders, Brussels, Wallonia), three communities (Dutch-, French- and German-speaking, each with a parliament and a government), 10 provinces, and 589 municipalities (following a merger in 1975). The absence of a hierarchy of decision-making powers among these institutions means that self-monitoring efforts within administrative organizations is limited in practice. It takes a constitutional crisis to trigger a comprehensive process of reflection on institutional functionality. Resulting revisions are typically motivated by pre-existing political agendas rather than by a sound impact evaluation.

There have been six such state reforms from 1970 onwards; the 6th state reform was agreed upon in 2011 and led to the transfer of multiple further competences to the regional and community levels. The federal and regional/community governments nevertheless maintained overlapping competences (as evinced by the fact that there are nine public health ministers) because each state reform was the result of a difficult compromise between those pushing for more devolution and those pushing for reinforced federal competences.

As a consequence, Belgian institutions are far from efficient. The responsibility split between municipalities and regions has not been reoptimized appropriately, particularly in Brussels. Many decisions require interministerial coordination between the federal, regional and community authorities, which makes Belgium almost as complex as Europe. A formal body – the “concertation committee” (comité de concertation/overlegcomité) – has been developed for such coordination. The committee includes federal, regional and community ministers and is supposed to prevent conflicts of interest between the three levels. Very frequently, however, no rational solution emerges. It is also often the case that major policy initiatives requiring coordination are not even initiated because of a local government acting as a veto player that blocks the entire initiative. There are several examples of this in all policy fields with shared competences, most notably with regard to environmental/climate change and health policies.

Tensions between levels of government have remained strong since the May 2019 elections. In the months preceding the demise of the last federal coalition (December 2018), arguments in favor of reviewing institutions on a case-by-case basis to achieve higher efficiency came to the fore. But election results produced a highly polarized political landscape that only fed venomous debates held on twitter over who was to blame for the deadlocks, which effectively halted any efforts to self-monitor.
There is no regular and systematic self-monitoring of institutional arrangements in Slovakia. Governments and governmental bodies (such as the parliament, Government Office) must issue annual reports and a final report at the end of their term in office, however, these documents focus more on policies and formal financial accounting rather than institutional design. In addition, there are sporadic audits within particular ministries. The institutions and processes of governing are analyzed only infrequently and selectively. Shortcomings in audit procedures persist.
There is no monitoring.
Back to Top