rss_2.0NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy FeedSciendo RSS Feed for NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policyhttps://sciendo.com/journal/NISPAhttps://www.sciendo.comNISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy Feedhttps://sciendo-parsed.s3.eu-central-1.amazonaws.com/64725b11215d2f6c89dc5399/cover-image.jpghttps://sciendo.com/journal/NISPA140216Key Criteria Influencing Stakeholders’ Decision-making about PB Continuation: The Case of the Czech Republichttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0015<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Participatory budgeting (PB) is a modern trend involving citizens in decisions on distributing public resources. Assuming that the identified drawbacks of PB are described as internal and external factors, simple criteria were developed to predict the fate of PB. These criteria reflect stakeholders’ decisions about PB continuation in the future. Using panel data between 2017-2022 from the Czech Republic, it appears that the selected criteria were evaluated as an upgrading process, signalling the continuation of PB. However, this does not mean abandoning the process in the case of downgrading. The results indicate a certain probability for upgrading PB to continue, while the fate of downgrading PB is indeterminate and could depend on other factors. In the case of new governance after an electoral change, using the criteria could help explain the actual situation regarding the interest of stakeholders in PB.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00152023-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Procedural Challenges of Cross-border Cooperation and Consistency in Personal Data Protection in the EUhttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0017<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Data protection is an increasingly important topic in the European administrative field at national and cross-border levels. Such a trend reflects different phenomena in contemporary society, which further leads to a more focused concern for a harmonised elaboration by the Member States despite their autonomy, in principle, regarding EU law implementation. However, as revealed by the Slovenian case in this article, the European Data Protection Board and national supervising authorities, mostly information commissioners, express the need to regulate some issues more decidedly. Interestingly, yet not surprisingly, their focus is on procedural aspects, as according to administrative science and several European Commission documents, procedure strongly influences the results. As a result, the article elaborates on the relevant procedural issues to be addressed to ensure a harmonised enforcement of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in force since 2018. Various research methods are employed, combining qualitative, normative, and comparative analyses and quantitative approaches, emphasising statistical data obtained from annual reports for 2020, 2021, and 2022. The results show a lack of procedural provisions in several aspects, including the definition of the parties to the procedure and their defence rights, particularly access to the file, to be heard, and complain, as well as one-stop-shop access to legal protection, deadlines, and investigation powers. Such gaps are expected to be covered by procedural institutions enshrined in National Administrative Procedure Acts (APA). However, as suggested by the Slovenian experience, such a solution is minimal due to differing national regulations and relatively low awareness of APA relevance in data protection even among supervising authorities. Hence, the authors argue that there is a need to develop and adopt standard EU rules to regulate such issues.</p> <sec><title style='display:none'>Points for Practitioners</title> <p/> <p>The article refers to data protection within theoretical, normative, practical, comparative, and national dimensions. In addition to analysing statistical data regarding procedural issues of cross-collaborative application of GDPR in the Member States - primarily Slovenia - the article provides practical implications of legislative, organisational, and IT adaptations required for harmonising EU-wide enforcement of GDPR. The insights provided herein can support the development of similar solutions in other EU countries. Therefore, the research findings are relevant for practitioners from various European administrations who are in charge of implementing GDPR and, specifically, supervising its implementation, as well as for policymakers and legislators in their respective areas of data protection and administrative procedural law. The findings will also benefit the European Commission when drafting new legislation to enhance cooperation and consistency between Member States in enforcing personal data rights set by GDPR.</p> </sec> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00172023-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00EU Integration Coordination in Georgia: Evolution of the Coordination Model and Contingent Factorshttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0013<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper compiles a single case study on the national EU integration coordination in Georgia since 1991 to date. The paper aims to ground Georgia’s case in the existing academic literature with a detailed case description and testing of the EU integration coordination mechanisms in Georgia based on theories and models in the PA literature. Georgia’s coordination mechanisms are assessed against external incentives, such as ‘socialisation’ v. ‘conditionality’ (Schimmelfennig, 2009), and classified in terms of Kassim’s (2003) system of national coordination. The paper describes five distinct periods in the evolution of EU integration coordination formats: the first encounter (1991-1999); the silhouettes of coordination (1999-2004); the deliberate coordination (2004-2014); the pragmatic coordination (2014-2022) and the coordination limbo (2022 to date). EU integration coordination structures from 2004 to 2014 are likened to a comprehensive centraliser - with the centre being the driving force of the entire coordination process, with all the issues or thematic areas being depicted in respective planning documents. Since 2014, the country’s approach has been compared to that of a selective centraliser, since Georgia shows signs of selectiveness in its ambitions to deliver on a nationally agreed EU policy outcome. The paper finds that, unlike prevalent patterns in EU integration coordination, the relative stagnation of the EU coordination process happens after the accession; in Georgia, this has occurred during the onset of the conditionality stage, which makes this an outlier case. In assessing the reasons for the weakening of the process of coordination, this case supports findings that the actor-centric approach is vital to explaining the coordination efforts (Dimitrova &amp; Toshkov, 2007; Fink-Hafner, 2013). The paper concludes that a significant improvement of existing EU integration coordination structures is needed to build a comprehensive approach, reinforced with horizontal coordination and networking, to construct an agreed and inclusive EU integration coordination.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00132023-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Who Participates in Participatory Budgeting? Unravelling of Who Shows Uphttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0012<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Participatory budgeting (PB) is often described as one of the most successful instruments for participation, engaging people in decision-making, and prioritising where to allocate public money. It has travelled in the form of comprehensive administrative reforms and politically neutral devices to improve governance, especially when arriving to Europe and the Central Eastern European region (CEE). Recently, it was brought to light that PB development in the CEE region was undoubtedly different from the original case; instead of resulting in radical changes to increase activities in favour of marginalised groups, it results only in small changes. This work presents a single case study of the Czech city Brno; information consisting of age, gender, education, economic activity, and preferences of all the PB participants was collated for five years, from its inception in 2017 till 2021. In this case, we observe and analyse the particularities of the participant group, not only in static terms of one year but also drafting a trend on how the participatory base developed throughout the five years. Both desk and field research were employed to gather data. The turnout at PB voting does not copy the general demographic composition of Brno’s residents. Results show that some segments are represented by PB voters with higher proportions, making them more involved in deciding which projects in the city are to be executed using PB. In this way, the description of data-gathering in Brno contributes to the methodology of quantitative data gathering, which might be expanded to other CEE cities in order to elaborate comparisons in the future.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00122023-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00The Technical Efficiency of Slovak Water Companies: An Application of Network DEAhttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0020<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The technical efficiency of water companies plays a crucial role in ensuring the reliable and sustainable delivery of clean and safe drinking water. It also influences the effective management of water and wastewater services. Services of this kind, usually provided by a monopoly supplier, offer operators no market incentives to innovate, or improve their efficiency. So, the mission of the regulatory institutions is to simulate a competitive environment. The main aim of this contribution is to use Network Data Envelopment Analysis (N-DEA) to assess and benchmark the technical efficiency of 14 water and wastewater companies offering their services in Slovakia from 2019 - 2021. The methodology of N-DEA allows us to assess the activity’s cost and delivery efficiency, and its overall technical efficiency. We show that full cost efficiency was achieved by two small and one large water companies operating in different regions. Three of the largest suppliers of water and wastewater services and one small company achieved the efficient delivery of water services. Overall efficiency was achieved by one large company in 2021 and one small company in 2019 and 2020. The outcome of our empirical analysis demonstrates the excellent skills of managers in technically efficient companies, regardless of company size and region. That outcome may be of interest to regulatory institutions and the management of individual water companies.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00202023-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Reorganising Local Public Utilities: Where and Why We Can Argue for the Remunicipalization Trends?https://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0016<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper is based on the use of evidence to scrutinise the effect of the Public-Private Partnership Act on the local public utility providers, where the context of the water and wastewater sector in Slovenia serves as an example. The Act affected the legal status of public enterprises, where solely public ownership was prescribed, and therefore demanded the reorganisation of existing public enterprises. The paper aims to evaluate the reorganisation process and the trend of remunicipalisation, the motives of reorganisation (political, pragmatic or transformative) and the advantages and disadvantages of the reorganisation process. A detailed, structured online questionnaire was designed and pretested for primary data collection to reach these aims. The questionnaire was sent to the Slovenian local public utility providers in water and wastewater management. The data was collated from 2018 to 2020. It was used in the analysis to provide evidence about the outcomes of the reorganisation process. The results show that new legislation contributed to increased public ownership in local public utility provision. The results also reveal that pragmatic motivating factors contributed to increased municipal buying out of private investors from (public) enterprises. The reorganisation process led municipalities into remunicipalisation, meaning that full municipal ownership and control increased.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00162023-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Assessing Individuals’ Perceptions of the Impact of Corruption on the Domains of Sustainable Development: A Cross-sectional Study in Palestinehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0014<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The main objective of this study is to assess the impact of corruption on the social, economic, environmental and political domains of sustainable development from individuals’ perspective. The study also attempts to relate individuals’ perceptions to their socioeconomic characteristics. The study uses the convenience sampling approach, where 521 responses are collected through an online-administered questionnaire. Each domain of sustainable development is defined by a set of items measured on a five-point Likert scale. Individuals’ perceptions of the impact of corruption on sustainable development domains are assessed by measuring the mean score value of each item. The association between individuals’ perceptions and their socioeconomic characteristics is evaluated using the independent-samples t-test. The study finds that the impact of corruption on the four domains of sustainable development as perceived by individuals is within the high level. Results also show a statistically significant difference between individuals from different socioeconomic groups in their perceptions of the impact of corruption on sustainable development. Results revealed that a high level of corruption would hinder the progress towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at all levels. Therefore, improving the quality of governance in public institutions and controlling corruption is crucial to attaining economic and sustainable development.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00142023-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00The Alleged Culprit of Poor Coordination of Integration of Health and Social Care Services for Very Ill Older Persons in Sweden, 2000-2022https://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0019<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Despite numerous attempts to transform Swedish older adult care, similar problems regarding its coordination have persisted over the years. This literature review aims to identify which coordination mechanisms can be perceived as the alleged culprit of poor coordination of integrated health and social services for seriously ill older individuals in Sweden between 2000 and 2022. Classical and contemporary coordination theories are utilised to pinpoint these coordination mechanisms, and the analysis is based on the content of collected articles from this thematic area. This literature review reveals that the following coordination mechanisms are perceived as the primary cause of poor coordination in older adult care: (1) plans, programmes, rules, and standardised work processes. Research has confirmed that decentralisation, the autonomy of regional and local authorities, new regulations implemented in the spirit of NPM, and double principalship have hindered care integration for seriously ill older adults; (2) roles, standardisation of skills, and direct supervision. Neither organisational principal adequately addresses excess employee workloads and an insufficient number of employees providing care services, which generates stress, conflicts, and even occupational burnout among staff. They do not prioritise staff competency development; (3) proximity, feedback, and adjustments through mutual communication. Most studies have shown that communication among staff is crucial to achieving integration, but it could be more effective among staff members involved in providing care. Knowledge about “objects and representations” and “routines and standardisation of outcomes” is somewhat limited and deserves further research.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00192023-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Reducing Error Rate in Property Tax Declaration Forms through Simplification and Highlighting Instructionshttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0018<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The paper is mixed-method research on reducing administrative burden and, more specifically, the learning costs of filling out a property tax declaration form. It presents the development process of a guidebook, which simplified the instructions and experimentally tested the effectiveness of the guidebook in lowering the error rate. Young Slovak adults (N=43) were divided into two groups; the treatment group worked with the guidebook, and the control group used the official instructions the Ministry of Finance provided. The guidebook aimed to decrease learning costs using behavioural support (simplification, highlighting, examples, and the like). The results suggest that the guidebook helps significantly decrease the number of errors compared to the complex instructions the Ministry of Finance provided. However, while the guidebook is very effective in reducing errors in simple tasks, it may not be sufficient help for more complex tasks such as mathematical calculations. Therefore, simplified instructions must go hand-in-hand with interventions such as pre-populating of forms.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00182023-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00Hierarchical Clustering of the European Countries from the Perspective of E-government, E-participation, and Human Developmenthttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0011<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The information society offers governments the opportunity to work closer with citizens and companies, to respond better to their requirements, and to create the conditions for the functioning of a modern, efficient, and democratic public administration. Due to the development of the information society, e-governance and e-participation appeared and developed, through which the communication of governments with stakeholders became more straightforward and less expensive. This research aims to identify and analyse comparatively how the telecommunications infrastructure and Internet users influenced the expansion and diversification of e- government and e-participation that contributed to the human development index in the EU states in 2010-2022. In the longitudinal data analysis, we apply fixed and random estimators to see the most critical determinants of the human development index. In the second part, we cluster the 27 EU countries in four clusters by Ward’s hierarchical algorithm. The hierarchical clustering emphasised that there is still a digital divide among EU countries. The digital divide occurs because of the lack of Internet access of the population from marginalised communities of European countries, resulting in socio-economic disparities. Therefore, some EU states should have initiatives to bridge the gap to digital technologies. The research results are essential for those governments coordinating the policies and the entire process of integrating information technologies and dedicated e-government and e-participation applications in central and local administration.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00112023-12-16T00:00:00.000+00:00The Covid-19 Pandemic as a Driver of More Responsive Social Procedures: between Theory and Practices in Sloveniahttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0001<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Social and other administrative procedures are gaining importance because of the increasing complexity of administrative relationships brought about by the Covid‐19 pandemic, digitalisation, and other societal changes. When exercising social rights, procedural elements should be seen – both at the level of regulation and enforcement of the rules – as factors contributing to the welfare state, the rule of law, and good administration, and not as an excuse for a bureaucratic attitude. In view of the multifunctionality of social procedures, including their casual‐functional role in social relationships and their potential for a critical value‐based evaluation of the current regulation, the rationale for this study is to assess the impact of the Covid‐19 pandemic on special administrative procedures conducted by the 16 social work centres (SWCs) in Slovenia. A special emphasis is placed on the informational calculation of social assistance payments, such as child benefits, kindergarten subsidies or state scholarships ‐by far the most numerous procedures involving social rights in Slovenia, with over one million cases annually. Drawing upon a normative analysis, available statistics, semi‐structured interviews with SWCs managers and surveys among employees, the findings reveal that the response of SWCs to the crisis has improved. However, largely due to the lack of coordination on the part of the line ministry, the simplifications introduced mainly benefit the public administration rather than particularly vulnerable parties to the procedure. Consequently, there is a need to pay greater attention to providing the parties with adequate protection of their constitutional rights and other elements of good public governance.</p> <sec><title style='display:none'>Points for Practitioners</title> <p/> <p>In addition to analysing the direct practical implications of the legislative, organisational, and IT adaptations to the Covid‐19 pandemic, the article provides a broader study of the multifunctionality of social procedures and their role in ensuring citizens’ fundamental rights in times of socially unstable conditions. The findings are thus directly applicable for practitioners deciding on social procedures in the broader European setting, and for policymakers and legislators in the respective fields. As the conclusions are grounded on a strong methodological framework, this should contribute to advocating the much‐needed change in ensuring the protection of the basic constitutional rights in social procedures in times of crisis in Central Europe and beyond.</p> </sec> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00012023-06-11T00:00:00.000+00:00Parental Leave Policy in European Countries: A Comparative Approach Using Cluster Analysishttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0002<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Currently, parental leave policy is one of the key instruments of social policy in the family sphere in many European countries. Despite the common territorial context, parental leave design may vary greatly in different European countries. In this respect, the influence of differentiative parameters of the parental leave system on the social policy results in European countries is still overlooked. Our study aims to compare parental leave policies in European countries using cluster analysis and reveal the differentiation of the results of policies related to parental leave policy in the clusters of countries. We put forward the following research questions: (1) Are groups of European countries shaped according to the characteristics of parental leave policy similar to European geographical regions? Which cluster has the largest proportion of CEE countries? (2) How different are the results of policies associated with parental leave policy in these groups of countries? As an information source, we used the International Review of Leave Policies and Research 2020, which presents data on parental leave policy in 32 European countries. As indicators for cluster analysis, we used the number of maternity, paternity, and parental leave flexibility elements. The research identified three groups of European countries varying in the number of flexibility elements in the structure of each type of leave. We concluded that leave policies in these countries are not conditioned by their geographical location but may result from their social policies. We also observed that a parental leave policy may contribute to reducing gender inequality in the country. The scientific significance of the research lies in revealing similarities and differences between parental leave policies in the context of a wide circle of European countries and in expanding existing knowledge of the public values theory in public administration.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00022023-06-11T00:00:00.000+00:00A Policy Perspective on Regulating Disinformation in Romania during the Covid-19 Pandemichttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0005<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Romania is one of the countries that adopted temporary sanctions against disinformation during the state of emergency, which lasted between March 16 and May 14, 2020. The scope of this paper is to analyze the decisions adopted by the National Authority for Administration and Regulation of Communications, which was the institution responsible for regulating the spread of fake news on the internet. We analyzed the motivation to block access to false information and the type of news classified as disinformation. In addition, we analyzed decisions adopted by the National Council of Audio‐visual starting with the end of February 2020, both in terms of recommendations and the sanctions imposed on audio‐visual channels of communication, as well as the decisions to sanction noncompliance with the correct information of the audience. The findings show a limited effect in containing disinformation. Access to a limited number of websites was blocked and after the state of emergency was lifted, access was granted again. Removing access to a website did not stop the authors from continuing their activity by opening a new website. The lack of a definition of false information allowed discretion power in blocking access to news containing information that later proved to be correct. The activity of audio‐visual channels was regulated instead through soft legislation, such as recommendations and instructions, as well as through sanctions. Overall the analysis shows temporary and limited effects of the legislation sanctioning disinformation in Romania.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00052023-06-11T00:00:00.000+00:00Feedback Monitoring Tools of the Russian Federal Tax Servicehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0007<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>In recent years, the Russian Federal Tax Service has increasingly focused on processing taxpayer feedback through various communication channels. In this paper, we investigate the impact of this feedback system on the effectiveness of tax collection over the regions of the Russian Federation for 2017‐2021. Using a unique dataset of feedback received and a bunch ofcontrol variables with instruments, we show that the spread offeedback channels resulted in a small but significant increase in tax proceedings. We provide behavioral interpretation for this result: the introduction of feedback systems signals taxpayers that the tax offices have started to pay attention to what people think about their service. This simple signal transforms the relationship between taxpayers and tax administration from that of surveillance and authority to customer relations, which is reciprocated by the taxpayers and has contributed to the improvement of tax discipline.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00072023-06-11T00:00:00.000+00:00Policy Advisory Systems in Times of Crisis: A Case Study of Slovak Advisory Committees during Covid-19https://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0003<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper aims to fill a gap in the understanding of policy advisory systems (PAS) during the Covid‐19 crisis. As governments rely on PAS in uncertain times of crisis, the state of PAS directly impacts the quality of policymaking. This paper studies the changes within Slovak Advisory committees (AC) at the executive level concerning the changes of government during the Covid‐19 pandemic. Slovakia had relatively good results in the first wave of the pandemic but did not utilize any ofthat experience in the second wave, where deadly infection and death rates were higher. The case of Slovak ACs demonstrates a shift towards a more politicized PAS – the new committees, established by the prime minister, were meeting at the expense of already functioning committees at the beginning of the crisis, and their expertise was more political in character.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00032023-06-11T00:00:00.000+00:00Municipal Participatory Budgeting Designs in the V4 Countrieshttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0009<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Research on PB in CEE has been rather fragmented and has focused on the diffusion of PB, and sometimes on determinative factors inside the countries. Some comparative studies exist but address primarily initial steps of PB. This paper presents the outcomes of a research that focused on the design of participatory budgeting in the Visegrad countries (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia). The main method is a secondary comparative analysis of existing literature and information on the subject. The findings are based on recently published country studies and other available information related to the national context in the countries. We use the country studies as input for a multi‐case study analysis (Zongozzi &amp; Wessels, 2016) to make comparisons and, if possible, generalize some of the findings, but also to point out specifics determined by the context in which PB is being implemented and practiced. As the subsidiary method we used expert evaluation. To obtain extra information we consulted experts in all selected countries during July and August 2022. Analyzing PB processes in these countries showed similar features and that, on the whole, PB processes still belong to the group o the Porto Alegre model adapted for Europe as concluded in the literature published almost a decade ago. But this is only valid at a more abstract level of PB designs. Looking at PB processes in practice, it is seen in the V4 region that the actual practices vary over municipalities, even within one and the same country.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00092023-06-11T00:00:00.000+00:00Social Media Use in Central and Eastern European Cities: Defining Local Government-Citizen Relationships through Phaseshttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0010<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>Research has shown the potential of social media to disseminate important information as well as transform citizen engagement with government. However, implementation proves difficult, especially in public sector organizations. The success, impact and performance of these new forms of networked interactions are yet to be fully explored, especially at the local level. Many municipalities are experimenting with social media use, but few actively measure their performance on these platforms and their interactions with users. Different frameworks have been proposed to describe government communication types and activity on social media. They are addressed here through three phases that refer to forms of government‐citizen communication on social media. The original assessment method developed here contributes to the existing literature and provides guidance to practitioners. Empirically, our research relies on a database of cities that have between 100,000 and 500,000 inhabitants in European Union member states located in Central and Eastern Europe. It provides social media metrics for these cities (N=82 and compares various indicators on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This contributes to a better assessment ofhow social media platforms are used by local governments in the region.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00102023-06-11T00:00:00.000+00:00Territorial Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination in Romaniahttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0004<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper explores relationships between vaccination coverage and indicators at the level oflocal administrative units for the case of rural localities of Romania. Positive correlations have been identified in relation to fiscal capacity, coverage of the population with general practitioners, COVID‐19 incidence rate and absence of a marginalized community within the locality. Regional differences are again highlighted in the analysis. This means that there is at least partially an overlap of the disadvantaged rural areas with the ones registering low vaccination uptakes against COVID‐19. Further on, it means that these territorial areas accumulate a series of structural disadvantages that can prove to increase the discrepancies between them and other rural or large urban areas. The paper contributes to enlarging the perspective on vaccination coverage by adding both conceptual and practical insights. From the point ofview of practitioners, the results of the study can be used to tailor intervention in communities with similar characteristics, to underscore public health inequalities across territories. Points for practitioners are relevant for a wide range of stakeholders from public health, public management, and social protection fields, placed in both local and central level decision‐making positions.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00042023-06-11T00:00:00.000+00:00Blatant, not Latent: Patronage in Top-Level Appointments in Serbiahttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0008<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>This paper examines the model of party patronage in Serbia and its impact on the professionalisation of public administration. Drawing on case studies of the appointment and subsequent performance of heads of three prominent public organisations‐the National Bank of Serbia, the Anti‐Corruption Agency, and the Electro Industry of Serbia‐we demonstrate that, despite efforts to implement the Weberian principle of (neutral competence which involves the prevalence of meritocracy over partisan affiliation, patronage in Serbia has not only persisted but has become more overt and invasive. The given model of patronage involves the pursuit of multiple functions of partisan patronage‐resource extraction, partisan campaigning (including through clientelism), and policy control. We suggest that this model results in the appointment of unqualified individuals to top positions, leading to poor governance and low efficiency of public institutions. The findings point to a (reform reversal” scenario, which departs from the trajectory of mild progress or stagnation usually observed in other cases across post‐communist Europe that follow the adoption ofWeberian standards. As a conceptual contribution, the paper develops a typology, centered around the question of perniciousness of various patronage models, that captures patronage models and trajectories of anti‐patronage developments in a more nuanced manner than the existing frameworks that compare patronage patterns.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00082023-06-11T00:00:00.000+00:00A Case Study on the Development of Digital Competences of Teachers at the University of Ljubljanahttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-0006<abstract> <title style='display:none'>Abstract</title> <p>The renewed 2017 EU Higher Education Agenda expresses the intention to “develop and implement a digital readiness model” to assist higher education institutions, their staff, and students in implementing digital learning strategies and maximising the potential of cutting‐edge technologies such as learning analytics. The anticipated digital transformation will only be successful if higher education institutions and teachers strengthen their digital competences and skills and “become” digitally competent. Many of the incentives for these processes were prompted by the unexpected Covid‐19 crisis, which highlighted the importance of higher education teachers’ digital skills in the need to digitise the higher education environment. The Covid‐19 crisis experience and the accelerating development of digitalisation are changing both the conditions for education and education itself, which is why higher education teachers face the challenging task of lifelong development of digital competences. To complete this task, they must learn about information and communication technology (ICT)/digital technologies and how they can be integrated into the pedagogical process. The challenge for higher education teachers is to develop ICT‐based teaching. This is not about how higher education teachers (and students) master ICT, but about how to make ICT one of the tools for carrying out pedagogical activities in general.</p> <p>The article addresses the development of digital competences among higher education teachers as a critical issue in the renovation of higher education didactics. To that end, various digital competence models and concepts are presented. Among other things, the European Digital Competence Framework for Teachers is highlighted. The case study of activities aimed at developing digital competences of higher education teachers at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), and thus higher education teachers working in the field of education for public administration. Based on the analysis of activities, we discover an increased interest in the development of digital competences, which is reflected in various forms of institutional (university) support for educators (e.g. training), as well as an increased interest in the development of digital competences among higher education teachers.</p> </abstract>ARTICLEtruehttps://sciendo.com/article/10.2478/nispa-2023-00062023-06-11T00:00:00.000+00:00en-us-1