Interministerial Coordination


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

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.
The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet is responsible for policy coordination, and as such evaluates and provides advice on major proposals from federal ministries. The department has significant resources, and has authority to draw from, and consult with, appropriate sources across the entire government system.
Draft bills are vetted primarily by the Privy Council Office and to a lesser extent by Finance Canada and the Treasury Board. These central agencies are highly prestigious and central-agency experience is extremely important for advancement to senior levels within the federal public service. Consequently, central-agency staff members are highly skilled and possess the comprehensive sectoral-policy expertise needed for the regular and independent evaluation of draft bills based on the government’s strategic and budgetary priorities.
The president’s advisory ministry (Ministerio Secretaría General de la Presidencia, Segpres) and the Government or Cabinet Office (Ministerio Secretaría General de Gobierno, Segegob) have the necessary instruments and capacities at their disposal to monitor and evaluate the policy content of line-ministry proposals. Nevertheless, channels of evaluation and advice are not fully institutionalized, and may change with each new head of state.
As a ministry in itself, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has the capacity to evaluate proposed policy. The PMO’s resources have been increased considerably over the last decade. The primary function of the PMO is to support the duties of the prime minister, who directs the work of government and coordinates the preparation and consideration of government business. The PMO monitors the implementation of the government program and coordinates Finland’s EU policy. In addition, the PMO is tasked with coordinating communications between the government and various ministries, planning future-oriented social policies, and promoting cooperation between the government and the various branches of public administration. The PMO has six departments: the Government EU Affairs Department, the Government Administration Department, the Ownership Steering Department, the Government Communications Department, the Government Strategy Department and the Government Session Unit. The PMO has a state secretary, a permanent state undersecretary and some 550 employees distributed across several task-specific units.
The formation of the PKC, which reports directly to the prime minister, has ensured a mechanism enabling input from the government office on the substance of policy proposals from line ministries. The PKC evaluates proposals that are to be addressed by the cabinet as they are published for debate – thus, before being put on the cabinet agenda. It also screens documents going to the cabinet on a weekly basis, focusing on four issues: cross-sectoral impact, adherence to the policy-planning system, adherence to the government declaration, and compatibility with the main medium-term and long-term strategy documents (the National Development Plan and Latvia 2030).
1. National Development Plan 2020, Available at (in Latvian):, Last accessed: 12.01.2022.

2. Sustainable Development Strategy of Latvia until 2030, Available at:, Last accessed: 12.01.2022
The primary coordinating role is undertaken by the Cabinet Office, which has expertise in all areas of government since Cabinet Office officials commonly worked in other departments before. According to its website, the Cabinet Office has over 2,000 staff, is responsible for the National Security Council and is central to “making government work better.” The Cabinet Office’s Economic and Domestic Secretariat is responsible for coordinating policy advice to the prime minister and the cabinet, and the attached Parliamentary Business and Legislation (PBL) Secretariat provides advice on legislation and supervises progress made by bill drafting teams. Implementation task forces were replaced in a reform in mid-2020 by new cabinet committees for “operations” that coordinate the delivery of policy.

The power of the prime minister to recast cabinet committees is matched by the scope for civil servants to be reassigned to reflect the latest legislative priorities, ensuring effective oversight of line ministries.
The closest comparison to a government office or prime minister’s office in the U.S. system is the White House staff, along with other units of the Executive Office of the President (e.g., the Council of Economic Advisers, the Office of Management and Budget, and the National Security Council).

Because of the separation of powers, Congress sometimes compete with the president to shape policymaking in executive agencies. In response to these challenges, presidents have gradually established a large executive apparatus designed to help assert presidential control over the departments and agencies. The total professional staff in the presidential bureaucracy vastly exceeds that of a parliamentary system’s GO or PMO, with roughly 2,500 professionals and a budget of $300 million to $400 million.

The Trump White House was by all accounts vastly inferior in expertise and organization to that of any prior modern president. Trump did not seriously attempted to maintain orderly processes or to rely on experienced or expert judgment. The Biden administration reversed these tendencies and favored a return to the expert-informed policymaking prevalent during the Obama years.
The GO / PMO evaluates most draft bills according to the government’s priorities.
The Danish Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) is relatively small. It normally has a staff of about 80, spread between three groups (i.e., academics, technical and administrative staff), the academic group being the largest.

The office is divided into two main sections, one dealing with foreign policy and the second with domestic political and economic issues. There is also a law division and an administrative division. The High Commissioner for the Faroe Islands and the High Commissioner for Greenland also fall under the PMO. The prime minister’s portfolio tasks include the North Atlantic area (e.g., Greenland and the Faroe Islands), the press, constitutional law and relations with the Royal Family.

Given its small size, the PMO does not have the capacity to evaluate the details of all laws. But some officials are seconded from important line ministries to give the PMO a certain capacity. This capacity has been strengthened since the 1990s.

There is a strong tradition of so-called minister rule (ministerstyre). A minister is in charge of a certain area, but the cabinet is a collective unit and is supposed to have only one policy focus, for which the prime minister has the overall responsibility. Coordination takes place through special committees. Most important is the government coordination committee which meets weekly. Other committees are the committee on economic affairs, the security committee and the appointment committee. There is also a tradition of two-day government seminars once or twice per year where important government
issues are discussed.

Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen has created the Political Secretariat to ensure improved coordination and control across ministries. This has been criticized by the opposition, who argue that there is no tradition in Denmark for political appointees filling important posts in ministries, but has been defended by the prime minister, who argues that it ensures the government’s policy line will be respected. The official description of the Political Secretariat on the PMO’s website states that it has “a special focus on the government’s priority projects and policy development, and is working to strengthen the strategic direction of the government and increase internal coordination between ministers and special advisers.”
Jørgen Grønnegård Christensen, Peter Munk Christiansen og Marius Ibseb, Politik og forvaltning, 4. udgave, Hans Reitzels Forlag, 2017.

The Prime Minister’s Office Organisation, (Accessed 17 November 2020).
The presidential office offers positions of high prestige in Mexico. It is involved with the legislative process to a decisive degree. Due to the absence of a high-level career civil service, both the cabinet and the presidential office are staffed with presidential appointments, which generally have the capacity to assess proposals from line ministries. Nevertheless, the independence of figures within the executive is thus questionable since everyone of influence in the presidential office is a political appointee.

Holding a majority in Congress and benefiting from a high degree of public legitimacy, the initiatives of the president and MORENA are highly likely to be implemented. Decision-making is centralized in the presidency. In this regard, however, the midterm elections of 2021 did not strengthen the traditionally weaker position of the president in the second part of the term.
New Zealand
The Policy Advisory Group in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (DPMC) currently consists of 12 staff members covering a broad spectrum of policy expertise. They are in constant contact with the prime minister and provide advice on all cabinet and cabinet committee papers. They also engage in coordinating interministerial cooperation. The Policy Advisory Group provides direct support to the prime minister on specifically commissioned initiatives. In 2015, a Legislation Design and Advisory Committee (LDAC) was established with the aim of improving the quality and effectiveness of legislation. The LDAC advises departments regarding the design and content of bills while still in the development stage.

To support the prime minister and her government’s priorities, the DPMC added the Child Wellbeing and Poverty Reduction Group as an operating unit in February 2018. The DPMC’s wider Policy Advisory Group continues to play a crucial role in aligning the public service’s effort to support the government’s priorities while also providing free and frank advice to the prime minister on all items of government business. In 2019, the newly established National Emergency Management Agency was incorporated into the DPMC.
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Annual Report 2019 (
The Office of the Prime Minister has a staff of approximately 190 people, about 10 of which are political advisers, with the rest being professional bureaucrats. The office is not tasked with evaluating policy proposals in detail, but rather works to coordinate activities, ensure that government policies are roughly aligned, and monitor whether policy-planning is adequate and follows prescribed procedures. The office has sufficient expertise and capacity for these purposes, and is considered to be an elite department with very highly skilled employees. The tradition of coalition governments in Norway involves strong coordination activity among the government coalition partners.
South Korea
South Korea’s presidential system has a dual executive structure, with the president serving both as head of state and head of government. The prime minister is clearly subordinate to the president and is not accountable to parliament. The presidential office, known as the Blue House, has the power and expertise to evaluate draft bills. As the real center of power in the South Korean government, the Blue House has divisions corresponding with the various line-ministry responsibilities. The Prime Minister’s Office has sufficient administrative capacity and nonpolitical technocrats to design and implement policies and strategies politically chosen by the Blue House. President Moon has promised to decentralize powers, and plans to hold a referendum to amend the constitution in this manner. As of the time of writing, however, constitutional reform has been stalled due to objections by opposition parties.
Government Performance Evaluation Committee,
KBS News. “Activate the ministerial meetings for better collaboration.” July 28, 2017. (In Korean)
The Korea Institute of Public Administration (KIPA),
Kong, Kanga. “Moon Seeks to End South Korea’s ‘Imperial’ Presidential System.”, Bloomberg, Mar. 2018,
Mobrand, Erik. “Has the Time Come to Amend South Korea’s Constitution?” The Diplomat, July 24, 2020.
Spain’s Government Office (Ministry of the Presidency) and Prime Minister’s Office (Gabinete) are tasked with evaluating line-ministry proposals from the political and technical points of view. The internal structure of the Prime Minister’s Office vaguely reflects the various ministerial portfolios, although without achieving a comprehensive policy expertise that enables perfect oversight throughout the executive. For its part, the Government Office, which is also responsible for organizing the Council of Ministers’ cycle of sessions, and whose head is the powerful deputy prime minister, has no sectoral-policy expertise, but also evaluates the substantive content of draft bills to some extent.

During the elaboration and implementation of the RRP, the Government Office coordinated an extensive consultation process among ministries. The office also coordinated dialogue with social partners, regional authorities (a new Recovery Plan Sectoral Conference was created) and local entities. An interministerial commission chaired by the president has been set up to manage the RRP and approve projects.
Structure of the Ministry of the Presidency
Interministerial coordination has been a significant problem in the Swedish system of government for a long time but has now been addressed in a comprehensive strategy. The previous government (2006 – 2014) implemented a major program (“RK Styr”) in order to strengthen the coordination among departments. This goal was believed to be a necessary step to increase the capability of the GO to steer the agencies more effectively.

The government in 2019 decided to strengthen interministerial coordination across broad policy sectors rather than from an institutional perspective, by ministry. The collaboration programs take the Agenda 2030 program as a departure point, as well as a set of topics the government considers to be Sweden’s strengths, including climate adaptation within the private sector; maintaining a competent workforce and lifelong learning; the digital structural shift of the private sector; and health and the life sciences (Regeringskansliet, 2021).

In formal and legal terms, the government and its departments act as a collectivity. All decisions in the government are made collectively, and there is no individual ministerial accountability. The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) plays a significant role in the coordination process. This is also the case for the Finance Ministry. Furthermore, when the incumbent government is a coalition government, as has been the case since 2006, policies must be coordinated not just among the relevant departments but also among the governing parties (Jacobsson, Pierre, and Sundström, 2015).

The practices of governing and coordination are much more complex. Each department has a fair amount of autonomy in its respective sector. Coordination among departments takes place at different organizational levels depending on whether the issue is a technical and administrative issue, or whether it is a more political matter. In the case of the latter, political actors make the final decisions. When bills involving more than one department are drafted, coordination is achieved through meetings where drafts of the bill are discussed. There are instances where drafts have gone through a very large number of revisions as part of the coordination process. In the pro-growth policies of the mid-2000s, for instance, the bill that eventually was submitted to the parliament (Riksdag) was the 56th version of the bill (Dahlström, Peters, and Pierre, 2011; Niemann, 2013).

The lack of coordination has to some extent been resolved by increasing the centralization within the Government Office (GO). The finance ministry has become a “primus inter-pares” among the departments; a pattern that emerged in the wake of the financial crises in the early 1990s but that has remained ever since (Pierre and Sundström, 2009).

The PMO rarely coordinates policy content, which generally takes place during the process of deliberation or drafting of bills.
Dahlström, Carl, B. Guy Peters and Jon Pierre. (eds.) 2011. “Steering from the Center” Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Jacobsson, Bengt, Jon Pierre and Göran Sundström. 2015. “Governing the Embedded State.” Oxford University Press.

Niemann, Cajsa. 2013. “Villkorat Förtroende. Normer och Rollförväntningar i Relationen Mellan Politiker och Tjänstemän i Regeringskansliet.” Stockholm: Department of Political Science, University of Stockholm.

Pierre, Jon and Göran Sundström. (eds.) 2009. “Den Nya Samhällsstyrningen.” Malmö: Liber.

Regeringskansliet (Government Offices of Sweden). 2021. “Regeringens Strategiska Samverksansprogram.”
The Prime Minister’s Office contains a “strategic cell” that helps the prime minister evaluate and steer policy across all levels. Typically, this oversight function is shared with deputy prime ministers (one per coalition party, apart from the prime minister’s party) in a regular meeting called the “Kern” (core). Each of the advisers and experts in the cell specializes in one field. They assess only the most important issues, as the relatively small size of the team limits its ability to deal with all issues at hand. The fact that governments are always coalitions (comprising at least four parties) also gives a central role to party advisers of the corresponding minister in the lawmaking process.
There are three main loci of policy coordination once a policy proposal has been forwarded to the prime minister. The first is the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), the second is the President’s Office, and the third, in cases of legislation or regulation, the Council of State. This hierarchical organization gives the prime minister the option of modifying ministers’ draft bills. For important issues, this steering function is shared with the President’s Office, and entails strong cooperation and collaboration between the two secretaries-general at the Élysée and Matignon. Both the president and the prime minister appoint civil servants from all ministries as sectoral policy advisers. All ministerial domains are covered in this regard. Several hundred people are involved in government steering, monitoring, oversight and advising functions.

However, it would probably be overstated to consider these various checks a method of evaluation. The PMO mainly coordinates and arbitrates between ministries, takes into consideration opinions and criticisms from involved interests and from the majority coalition, and balances political benefits and risks. The President’s Office does more or less the same in coordination with the PMO. President Macron pays particular care and attention to the fit between proposals and political commitments made during his electoral campaign. More than offering a thorough policy evaluation, these two institutions serve as a place where the ultimate arbitrations between bureaucrats, party activists and vested interests are made. Evaluation is more implicit than explicit, since the impetus for reform tends to derive from dissatisfaction with the current state of affairs.
The center of government has traditionally struggled to coordinate and evaluate government legislation. However, following the change in government in July 2019, there has been a visible improvement. New Democracy, which won the national elections, rose to power with a concrete plan of reorganizing decision-making and passing legislation in a less haphazard manner than was the case with preceding governments. Government priorities were clearly laid out in 2020–2021 and interministerial coordination processes were streamlined. Through legislation adopted immediately after the elections, the Prime Minister’s Office was upgraded to the Presidency of the Government, and started playing a vital, overarching role in monitoring targets and evaluating the effectiveness of ministries.

In 2020–2021, the cabinet met regularly to discuss and decide on draft bills, the content of which had previously been evaluated by the Presidency of the Government in conjunction with the competent ministry. Despite all these changes, government ministers occasionally submitted last-minute amendments to laws as they moved through parliament. Overall, however, compared to the pre-2019 period, there has been a visible improvement in the evaluation of policy content according to the government’s priorities.
Law 4622/2019, adopted in July 2019, promoted interministerial coordination.
The Orbán governments have steadily expanded the competencies and the resources both of the Prime Minister’s Office and the Cabinet Office. The division of labor between the two offices, both of which are now led by a minister, is somewhat artificial. The Prime Minister’s Office is central in policy coordination and makes sure that policies are as close in line as possible with the prime minister’s policy preferences and Fidesz’s ideological rhetoric. The Cabinet Office, headed by Antal Rogán, is primarily responsible for government communication.
The influence and effectiveness of the Department of the Taoiseach is limited by a dearth of analytical skills. One frequently made criticism has focused on the continued reliance on “generalist” recruitment to the civil service. Recent governments have also been criticized for recruiting too many journalists as policy advisers.

The department is focused on strategic policy issues and the delivery of the Programme for Government. The Department of the Taoiseach has steadily grown over the years from about 30 people in 1977 to 223.8 full-time equivalent staff employed across the department in 2022 (Martin, 2022). The Department of Finance is much larger with over 500 people. The Department of the Taoiseach coordinates policy in specific policy areas (e.g., Northern Ireland, European affairs, and more recently Brexit and the COVID-19 pandemic). Nevertheless, most policymaking continues to take place in the line ministries.

An expert group on strengthening civil service accountability and performance reported to government in May 2014. Among the numerous recommendations it made, it proposed the establishment of an accountability board for the civil service, chaired by the taoiseach but including external members. This board would be tasked with reviewing and constructively challenging the performance of senior management as well as monitoring progress on the delivery of agreed-upon priorities. It also recommended that the Irish Civil Service be given an appointed head. An accountability board chaired by the taoiseach with independent members designed to oversee governance across the civil service was established in May 2015 (DPER, 2019). In July 2021, Martin Fraser, the head of the civil service, who is also secretary-general of the Department of the Taoiseach, was appointed ambassador to London and a process to replace him is scheduled to take place in the first half of 2022 (Bray, 2022).
Bray, J. (2022) Ireland’s most senior civil servant to become ambassador to London, The Irish Times, 27 July, available at:

DPER (2019) Accountability Board, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, 11 January, available at:

Martin, M. (2022) Parliamentary Question, Oral answers (20 contributions) (Question to Taoiseach), Dáil Éireann debate 01 March, available at:,-Share&text=At%20present%2C%20there%20are%20223.8,staff%20employed%20across%20the%20Department

Regan, A. & Shayne, M. (2012), ‘The Core Executive: the Department of the Taoiseach and the Challenge of Policy Coordination,’ in Eoin O’Malley and Muiris MacCarthaigh (eds). Governing Ireland: from Cabinet Government to Delegated Governance. Dublin: IPA.

The report of the Independent Panel on Strengthening Civil Service Accountability and Performance is available here: Niamh Hardiman.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as a rule evaluates all draft bills before they are submitted to the Council of Ministers for approval. This scrutiny, however, mainly deals with legal aspects (which to a significant extent also concerns compatibility with European laws), as the PMO itself does not have the size and the systematic sectoral expertise that would allow it to scrutinize policy in detail. This means that intervention by the PMO is in general more reactive than proactive. As a result, corrections to the legislative proposals of the government are often necessary prior to parliamentary approval. Important draft bills are in general scrutinized by the office with regard to the effects a bill may have on the cohesion of the majority coalition. A detailed scrutiny of the financial implications of each bill is conducted by the Treasury, which has a kind of preventive veto power.

With the new Draghi government and the strong political leadership exercised by the new prime minister, the PMO’s control over the content of draft bills has significantly increased. The greater control is also due to the need to respect the strict requirements of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, which affect a large part of the legislative initiative.
The Cabinet Secretariat has more than 800 employees, with expertise in all major policy fields. These employees are usually seconded by their ministries. While these staffers possess considerable expertise in their respective fields, it is doubtful whether they can function in an unbiased manner on issues where the institutional interests of their home organizations are concerned. Moreover, the system lacks adequate infrastructure for broader coordination (including public relations or contemporary methods of policy evaluation).
It is widely acknowledged that during his second administration (2012-2020), Prime Minister Abe was able to gradually implement institutional reforms within the Cabinet Office by strengthening the Cabinet Secretariat’s (Kantei) coordinating capacities, and creating new decision-making bodies such as the National Security Council and the Cabinet Bureau of Personnel Affairs, which helped minimize the power of external veto players and enhanced the prime minister’s power in the policymaking process.
Izuru Makihara, The Role of the Kantei in Making Policy,, 27.06.2013,

Markus Winter, Abe and the Bureaucracy: Tightening the Reins, The Diplomat, 16 June 2016,

Karol Zakowski, 2020. Gradual Institutional Change in Japan: Kantei Leadership under the Abe Administration, Abingdon, Oxon: Taylor and Francis.
Under Prime Minister Kubilius (2008 – 2012), the Office of the Government was reorganized into a Prime Minister’s Office and given the task of assisting in the formulation and execution of government policies. This reform increased the capacities of the core government to assess the policy content of draft government decisions, at the expense of its capacity to review their legal quality. However, this latter function was moved to the Ministry of Justice. Shortly after taking power, the Butkevičius government (2012 – 2016) reversed this organizational reform, reorganizing the Prime Minister’s Office once again into the Office of the Government. Under Prime Minister Skvernelis (2016 – 2020), the Office of the Government was again reorganized to better support the formulation of strategic reforms and centralize efforts to exert quality control over draft legal acts. It commissioned a study conducted by the OECD on increasing the use of expertise. The Šimonytė government (in office since 2020) is also aiming to increase capacities at the center of the government and within the ministries, with the goal of increasing the quality of the draft bills prepared and submitted by ministries, as well as of the reviews conducted by the government office. Overall, the Office of the Government has sectoral-policy expertise and evaluates important draft legal acts.

Over the last 10 years, the development of evidence-based decision-making instruments (e.g., a monitoring information system, a budget-program assessment system, and an impact-assessment system) has increased the capacity of the core government to monitor and evaluate draft policy decisions based on the government’s political agenda. However, the degree of effectiveness has varied by instrument, as well as with the relevance and quality of the empirical evidence available for decision-making. After assessing the coordination of regulatory policy in Lithuania, the OECD recommended establishing an integrated strategic plan for better regulation, a high-level coordination body and a better-regulation unit within the central government.

In 2021, STRATA and the Office of the Government launched a project designed to create an interinstitutional competence network, with the aim of better coordinating the various public sector institutions and organizations with analytical competences. Implementation was set to start in 2022.
OECD, Regulatory Policy in Lithuania: Focusing on the Delivery Side, OECD Reviews of Regulatory Reform, OECD Publishing, Paris, 2015
OECD, Mobilising Evidence at the Centre of Government in Lithuania. Strengthening decision-making and policy evaluation for long-term development, Paris: OECD, 2021.
The Chancellor’s Office has limited capacity to evaluate the policy content of line ministry proposals according to the government’s priorities. These limitations are less of an administrative and more of a political nature. First, the federal chancellor, who chairs the cabinet, is only the first among equals. He or she has no formal authority over the other members of the council. Second, with the exception of the years between 1966 and 1983, Austria has been governed by coalitions since 1945. This further reduces the authority of the head of government, as another key member of the government – the vice-chancellor – is usually the leader of another coalition party. The result is a significant fragmentation of strategic capacities. Responsibility within the government is distributed among highly autonomous ministers and among political parties that are closely linked by a coalition agreement, but compete independently for votes.

The Federal Chancellery does have a department called the Legal and Constitutional Service (Verfassungsdienst), which is responsible for checking the constitutionality of policy proposals coming from the various ministries. Another instrument of oversight is the evaluation of policy effects (Wirkungsorientierte Folgenabschätzung, WFA), which must be integrated into every policy proposal (since 2013). Under this policy, every draft law has to include an evaluation of its effects in financial, social and other terms, thus enabling other members of the government to evaluate its consequences. Importantly, however, this regime does not center on the Chancellor’s Office, but reflects the pluralistic organizational structure of the Austrian executive. Of the 90 measures evaluated in the Bericht über die Wirkungsorientierte Folgenabschätzung 2020, which was published in 2021, only three related to the Chancellor’s Office.
The GO and prime minister’s support structures primarily provide consulting services, monitor governmental processes and provide technical (judicial) expertise. There is no capacity to undertake substantial evaluations of line-ministry proposals, as the Strategy Unit within the GO employs only 16 people. From 2020, the core responsibility for the country’s strategic planning framework has been transferred from the Ministry of Finance to the GO. The change grants the prime minister more power to manage strategic planning.
The German Chancellery has a staff of about 600. Some of its policy units are “mirror units” (Spiegelreferate) that reflect those areas covered by each of the federal ministries. Staff for these units are often seconded from the line ministries. Thus, while there is expertise within the Chancellery, it is still at a disadvantage compared to the line ministries with their much larger resources.
The Prime Minister’s Office has the fewest staff members of any of the country’s ministries and a limited capacity for independently assessing draft bills. The left-wing cabinet 2009 – 2013 merged a number of ministries, reducing the total number of ministries from 12 to eight. A primary justification was that some ministries lacked broad-based expertise and the merger would make this expertise more widely accessible, which has in some cases been achieved. The center-right cabinet 2013 – 2016 partially reversed this reform in 2013 by appointing separate ministers to head the Ministry of Welfare’s subdivisions of Social Affairs and Housing and Health Affairs. Furthermore, a separate minister of environment and resources was appointed at the end of 2014. These changes increased the number of ministers from eight to 10. After the 2016 elections, another center-right cabinet coalition, comprising three parties, was established. This led to a further increase in ministerial posts from 10 to 11 – a symbol of politicians’ disdain for the proposed constitutional change, which was approved by 67% of voters in 2012 and would cap the number of ministers at 10. The Ministry of the Interior was split in two, separating justice from communications and local government affairs. This remained the same under the right-center-left cabinet, which assumed office in late 2017 and remained in office following the September 2021 election. Once more, the number of the ministerial posts was increased, this time from 11 to 12, as part of a ministerial reorganization, with several ministries given new, longer names.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) need for a staff of independent and professional analysts originally led to the establishment of the National Economic Council, the National Security Council and the Policy-Planning Department that advises the prime minister directly. The 2012 Kochik committee viewed these as positive but insufficient steps and recommended that the PMO’s consulting mechanism be strengthened.

Recent changes have shifted this system. The PMO’s planning reforms have de facto given it the capacity to guide and advise other ministries regarding their policy proposals and bills.

The PMO also has the expertise to evaluate ministerial draft bills through Regulatory Impact Assessments. This is a part of a broader policy to reduce the so-called regulatory burden. Following a 2014 government decision, the PMO has delegates in government ministries who manage regulations affecting each ministry. This mechanism also allows for closer supervision of laws and the work of government offices.
Arian, Asher, “Politics in Israel: The Second Republic,” 2nd Edition 2005 (Hebrew).

Reducing the Regulatory Burden Discussing the decision of the Ministerial Committee on Social and Economic Affairs no, 39, September 2014,

“Reduction of Regulatory Burden Book,”PMO Office, March 2018 (Hebrew):

“The committee to investigate the prime minister’s headquarter,” Official report (April 2012) (Hebrew).
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) employs around 40 civil servants, mostly trained in law, economics and political science. As a result, the PMO does not have sufficient resources to assess all the activities of government ministries. Due to the limited capacities of all ministries, including the PMO, there is no management body or special committee designated to manage interministerial coordination.

Thus, senior civil servants in the ministries prepare a “pré-conseil” or pre-briefing for the weekly meeting of ministers (conseil de gouvernement). All draft bills must be adopted at both stages before being introduced to parliament, as well as revised within these two interministerial meetings. In addition, the Inspectorate General of Finance (Inspection générale des finances, IGF) evaluates draft bills and participates in numerous committees.

Under the aegis of the Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region, the interministerial committee on integration draws up and monitors the implementation of the National Integration Action Plan concerning the integration of foreigners in the Grand Duchy.
“Conseil de gouvernement.” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale. Accessed 14 January 2022.

“Gouvernement.” Le portal de l’actualité gouvermentale. Accessed 14 January 2020.

“Ministry of Family Affairs, Integration and the Greater Region. The interministerial committee on integration (CII).” Accessed 14 January 2022.
While the Chancellery of the Prime Minister is well-staffed and evaluates most draft bills, its policy expertise has declined under the PiS government, as the main criterion for staff employment is political obedience, not expertise or professionalism.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has limited policy expertise. While it is able to assess bills, it lacks the resources for in-depth policy assessment capabilities within most policy areas. Under the preceding Passos Coelho government, policy assessment largely centered on budgetary implications, notably in terms of reducing costs and/or increasing revenue. This was particularly true during the bailout period, but persisted into the post-bailout. Under the two Costa governments, budgetary implications remained important, as the government sought to maintain its euro area commitments. However, the government also evaluated how policy proposals might impact the support provided by its potential parliamentary partners, particularly the Portuguese Communist Party (PCP) and the Left Bloc (BE), with the goal of ensuring that they would at least abstain on the state budget vote.
The Dutch prime minister is formally in charge of coordinating government policy as a whole, and has a concomitant range of powers, which include deciding on the composition of the Council of Ministers’ agenda and formulating its conclusions and decisions; chairing Council of Ministers meetings, committees (onderraad) and (in most cases) ministerial committees; adjudicating interdepartmental conflicts; serving as the primary press spokesperson and first speaker in the States General; and speaking in international forums and arenas (e.g., European Union and the United Nations) on behalf of the Council of Ministers and the Dutch government as a whole. This figure is also responsible for all affairs concerning the Royal House.

The prime minister’s own Ministry of General Affairs office has 14 advising councilors (raadadviseurs, with junior assistants) at its disposal. The advising councilors are top-level civil servants, not political appointees; they are the secretaries of the cabinet subcouncils and committees. In addition, the prime minister has a special relationship with the Scientific Council of Government Policy. Sometimes, deputy directors of the planning agencies play the role of secretaries for interdepartmental “front gates.” To conclude, the Prime Minister’s Office and the prime minister himself have a rather limited capacity to evaluate the policy content of line-ministry proposals unless they openly clash with the government platform (regeer-akkoord). The current prime minister’s style of running his cabinet his sectoral ministers with considerable scope for action.

Of course, personal skills and experience make a difference, and Prime Minister Rutte has a reputation for clever informal leadership and conflict management, and (until recently) a Houdini-like skill with regard to extricating himself from political affairs and scandals. He is also known for his aversion to visionary leadership, expressed in a quip ascribed to him: “If you have a vision, consult your eye doctor.” In late 2020 and early 2021, Prime Minister Rutte’s political career was endangered by his own political shrewdness, which included a tendency to provide parliament with meager and only piecemeal information with regard to the cabinet’s decision-making practices (the so-called Rutte-doctrine), along with a routine tactic of claiming selective memory (“Sorry, but I have no active memory of X,Y,Z.”). This misfired when he was caught lying to parliament. He only survived because, despite this, he was a winner in the March 2021 elections, because he could exploit his highly visible leadership role in the efforts to manage the coronavirus crisis. His party (VVD) rallied around him, and in a record-long process of cabinet formation, he regained sufficient levels of trust from the other party leaders involved (CU and especially D66) by giving in to their demands and promising to revise his governing and leadership style.
Citations: sbeleid_stcrnt_2009_63.pdf

M. Rutte, De minister-president: een aanbouw aan het huis van Thorbecke, Lecture by the Prime Minister, 12 October 2016 (, consulted 8 November 2016)

M. van Weezel and T. Broer, Max en Rhijs over de premier: het geheim van politiek trapezewerker en ‘nat zeepje’ Mark Rutte (Vrij Nederland,, accessed 8 November 2019)

Wikipedia, Rutte-doctrine, April 1, 2021. Rutte opperde andere functie voor CDA-kamerlid Omtzigt; ‘Minister maken’.

P. de Koning, 2020. Mark Rutte, Uitgevrij Brooklyn
The GO / PMO can rely on some sectoral policy expertise but does not evaluate draft bills.
The Office of the Government of the Czech Republic is the central body of state administration, but fulfills primarily administrative functions. It is relatively small and has little sectoral policy expertise. While it prepares cabinet meetings and coordinates the work of cabinet councils, and other working and advisory bodies of the government, it does not provide direct oversight for line ministry proposals. However, it may facilitate some oversight by expert advisers.
Government ministries in Malta traditionally enjoy almost complete autonomy in several areas of policy. The government office was primarily tasked with overseeing budgetary matters. Consequently, the fallout for governments from policy failures has been significant. The present government initially faced the same problems, but in recent years has worked to bring policy under greater central control. However, as the hospital privatizations demonstrate, this has not been very successfully. Today the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) enjoys greater control mainly through the cabinet, and through the central control of permanent secretaries in ministries. As early as March 2013, the government appointed a minister as part of the PMO to oversee 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. More resources are being put into building the capacity of the public service through a centrally controlled Institute for Public Service (IPS), which coordinates 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.
Sansone, K Justice to be transferred to OPM – Labor MP is Commissioner Against Bureaucracy Times of Malta 18/06/13
The way in which the Government Office is organized in administrative terms has undergone frequent changes. Until January 2017, it featured two bodies that were engaged in interministerial coordination, the General Secretariat of the Government (GSG) and the Prime Minister’s Chancellery (PMC). Whereas the GSG focused on the formal coordination, the PMC, consisting of about 15 state counselors with different backgrounds, provided the policy expertise. In January 2017, Prime Minister Grindeanu dismantled the PMC and transferred its responsibilities to the GSG. Once appointed, its successor, Prime Minister Tudose, re-established the PMC and the old dual structure. Under Prime Minister Dăncilă, the PMC included seven pro bono “scientific” members with some sectoral experts. Under Prime Minister Orban, the PMC has had only six members in total. This situation has not improved under prime ministers Cîțu and Ciucă.
Slovakia has a strong tradition of departmentalism and collegial cabinets (Blondel et al. 2007), and these two features have deepened under the current coalition, comprised of three very different partners. The Government Office focuses on the legal and technical coherence of draft bills, but lacks the capacity and sectoral expertise to evaluate their policy content.
Blondel, J., F. Müller-Rommel, D. Malová et al. (2007): Governing New Democracies. Basingstoke/ London: Palgrave.
The Swiss political system does not have a prime minister or a prime minister’s office. The government is a collegial body. However, there are several instruments of interministerial coordination and various mechanisms by which ministries’ draft bills are evaluated. Departments engage in a formal process of consultation when drafting proposals, the Department of Justice provides legal evaluations of draft bills, and the Federal Chancellery and Federal Council provide political coordination. In particular, the Federal Chancellery has gained its reputation as the central institution for interministerial planning (Vatter 2020: Chapter 7).

Due to the double role of the Federal Council as a collegial unit with the task of producing widely acceptable proposals, and individual federal councilors as heads of departments with the task of satisfying their parties’ programs and their department policies, coordination becomes more difficult with the increasing political polarization between government parties
Vatter, Adrian 2020: Der Bundesrat. Die Schweizer Regierung. Zürich: NZZ
With the transition to the presidential system in 2017, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) was abolished. In addition to a vice-president, the head of administrative affairs was established. His or her main task 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 General Directorate of Laws and Legislation deals with presidential decrees, international agreements, suitability of legislation, draft regulations, etc. There is no available official data about the number and functions of presidential personnel.

Presidential Decree No. 1 established nine policy councils (including the Local Governing Council, Social Policies Council, and the Health and Food Policies Council) to improve the president’s capacity for public policymaking. The councils will report to the president by taking the views of ministries, civil society, and sector representatives and experts, and follow the policies and developments implemented. It will also give opinions to public institutions and organizations in their fields.
Gözler, K. (2018). Mahalli İdareler Hukuku. Baskı, Ekin Kitabevi: Bursa.
The official government office in Bulgaria, the Administration of the Council of Ministers, plays a mainly administrative role. It prepares cabinet meetings, but has very limited capacity for in-depth evaluation of the policy content of line-ministry proposals. The prime minister’s own political-cabinet staff is relatively small and has little expertise to evaluate the policy content of line-ministry proposals.

The 2021 elections changed the style in which coordination is conducted. Focused more on dialogue, coordination now involves more extensive public hearings and the policies of the newly elected government are expected to draw upon unprecedented coalition agreement details.

Different ministries are chaired by different political parties. Political coordination is a task for the prime minister.

The circulation of draft bills and executive consultation is a fairly established process. The current Prime Minister’s Office will potentially pay more attention to impact assessment procedures and summaries before publishing drafts for public discussion.
Until 2014, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) lacked a central policy unit able to evaluate and coordinate the activities of the line ministries. At the beginning of 2014, a unit for public policy coordination and support to the prime minister was established in the Prime Minister’s Office. The unit is tasked with coordinating and monitoring public polices performed by line ministries. However, the capacity of the staff to provide reliable applied policy analysis is limited.

Within the Prime Minister’s Office, Plenković’s government has a Service for Public Policies and Support to the Prime Minister, which is primarily responsible for systematic monitoring and analysis of individual public policies, and has the task of preparing expert opinions and studies and strategic development plans and analyses. In addition, the service prepares all relevant position papers for the prime minister for his meetings in the narrow government cabinet, as well as his addresses to the parliament and the European Council.

The head of the service is Tena Mišetić, and the PMO as a whole is headed by Zvonimir Frka Petešić. In the political public, these two persons are considered to have decision-making power greater than most government ministers, but all available data and analyses suggest that the PMO has comparatively little independent sectoral policy expertise, and thus lacks the capacity to evaluate the policy substance of draft bills.
Slovenia has a strong tradition of departmentalism and collegial cabinets. The Government Office focuses on the legal and technical coherence of draft bills but lacks the capacity and sectoral expertise to evaluate their policy content, especially since the recruitment of expert staff is limited and often subject to political pressures and political compromise. Janez Janša, the new prime minister, has brought in a few new experts. Among others, he made Jelko Kacin, a former member of the European Parliament, his national coordinator for COVID-19 vaccinations. He also appointed Igor Senčar, the former ambassador and long-time expert in foreign affairs, as his adviser on foreign affairs and EU coordination. On the other side, Janša appointed some of his own party figures to the Prime Minister’s Office to serve as advisors for national security and healthcare.
The GO / PMO does not have any sectoral policy expertise. Its role is limited to collecting, registering and circulating documents submitted for cabinet meetings.
Under the constitution, a line minister is fully responsible for his/her ministry. Each ministry drafts bills and forwards them to the Secretariat of the Council of Ministers, which ensures that the Law Office has checked them for legal soundness and conformity to established formats. The Secretariat offers administrative support to the cabinet’s work, forwards decisions to the competent offices and monitors implementation. According to the constitution, “the general direction and control of the government and the direction of general policy” lies with the Council of Ministers. However, the council does not possess the necessary administrative depth or mechanisms to evaluate proposals and collectively chart policy.

Some GO control lies with the minister of finance and the cabinet, under the law on fiscal responsibility. This is, however, limited to mostly budgetary issues.
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