The reform of public administration of developing and transitional economies has been on the agenda of international cooperation from its beginnings. The reform focus has varied over time - raising reform capacities in the era of structural adjustment, transforming the state apparatus towards more market-oriented societies in former socialist countries, or enhancing horizontal governance as in the case of today’s EU and OECD support for EU neighborhood and enlargement countries. But the major reform challenge is how to help states and its administrations to better serve its citizens. It has been recognized that the mere transfer of structures, procedures or laws will not automatically result in better performance and lead to change. Today’s efforts are aware of the systemic and political character of change in administrations. Reforms from within may be complemented by measures to mobilize constituencies exerting pressure for change from the outside. These constituencies can be central reform agencies, parliaments, local governments or civil society.
GFA concept and services
GFA understands public administration reform (PAR) objectives as improving procedures, processes, structures and management skills in order to enhance the integrity, efficiency, effectiveness, or legitimacy of state action. PAR can aim at enabling partner countries to comply with international agreements in a transparent and efficient way. Finally, it should make service delivery more efficient, geared towards citizens' needs, or meet criteria such as transparency, integrity, legitimacy or the rule of law.
GFA´s services in past and actual projects fall into the three categories of PAR support measures. Institutional framework and structure, such as design of legal and institutional reforms, improvement of administrative oversight and control mechanisms, or development of procedural framework for legal approximation of EU legislation. Human resource management, e.g. advice on civil service regulation, public administration education and training, or raising awareness regarding integrity principles. Organization and procedures, such as supporting the reengineering of public service delivery, improvement of citizen complaint handling, training on information access and administrative procedures laws.
A variety of donors have contracted GFA for assessing and developing the capacities of actors at the national level, e.g. centre of government entities and key ministries, state agencies such as public service agencies or public administration reform units, independent oversight institutions such as supreme audit agencies or ombudsmen. Our teams of experts have also been entrusted with the implementation of reform efforts at sub-national levels, e.g. capacity development of municipal administrations on result-based management, service delivery procedures or human resource management.