rss_2.0NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy FeedSciendo RSS Feed for NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy Journal of Public Administration and Policy Feed Covid-19 Pandemic as a Driver of More Responsive Social Procedures: between Theory and Practices in Slovenia<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>ARTICLEtrue Leave Policy in European Countries: A Comparative Approach Using Cluster Analysis<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>ARTICLEtrue Policy Perspective on Regulating Disinformation in Romania during the Covid-19 Pandemic<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>ARTICLEtrue Monitoring Tools of the Russian Federal Tax Service<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>ARTICLEtrue Advisory Systems in Times of Crisis: A Case Study of Slovak Advisory Committees during Covid-19<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>ARTICLEtrue Participatory Budgeting Designs in the V4 Countries<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>ARTICLEtrue Media Use in Central and Eastern European Cities: Defining Local Government-Citizen Relationships through Phases<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>ARTICLEtrue Disparities in COVID-19 Vaccination in Romania<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>ARTICLEtrue, not Latent: Patronage in Top-Level Appointments in Serbia<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>ARTICLEtrue Case Study on the Development of Digital Competences of Teachers at the University of Ljubljana<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>ARTICLEtrue can VAT Statistics Tell Politicians? (with a Focus on EAEU Data)<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>While policymakers use taxes for the regulation of the economy, tax authorities constantly monitor the amount of revenues from different taxes, and sometimes the tax benefits in use. However, the author believes that policymakers neglect the feedback mechanism, offered by the tax statistics – the signal function of the taxes. The author shows, on the example of tax policies and VAT statistics, how these outline the trends in the development of the Eurasian Economic Union – signs of tax competition, dependence on import and tax loss due to policy gap. The paper further suggests the possible course of action for the policymakers.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Trust in Government (2007–2014): A Comparative Study<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This article exposes contemporary approaches to transparency and trust. It explores the links between the two concepts in 10 countries between 2007 and 2014, using open-data indexes and access-to-information requests as proxies for transparency. So far, most studies have focused on conceptual models, specific aspects of transparency in particular case studies or have compared legal frameworks from different countries. Here, data about citizens’ requests to get access to administrative documents have been gathered. This dataset, combined with existing indexes on open data and government, has enabled us to establish a national ranking, particularly useful in a comparative perspective. Data about trust have been collected from reports published by international organisations. Key findings prove that there is no sharp decline of trust in government in all countries considered in this article. They also tend to show that transparency and trust in government are not systematically positively associated. Therefore, this article challenges the common assumption, mostly found in the normative literature, about a positive interrelation between the two, where trust in government is conceived as a beneficial effect of administrative transparency. Finally, it suggests that mis(trust) may be considered a key driver of transparency and would as such call for more transparency from public bodies.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue Factors Determining the Slovak Tax System Performance<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>The main goal of this paper was to identify the main factors determining the performance of the Slovak tax system. For practical reasons, we decided to deal with all of the potentially relevant dimensions that can be included in the theme – from tax policy to tax administration. The paper is based on primary and secondary data; it combines qualitative and quantitative research methods. The primary data were collected in two rounds, with long-term research about the needs perceived by tax officials and with the “Delphi method”. The comparison of the opinions of tax officials and tax experts with the existing evidence serves as the basis for the paper’s conclusions and policy proposals. The research shows that the most important areas mentioned by tax officials and experts are relevant (to simplify tax collection, to decrease tax bureaucracy, to provide better information about the tax system to businesses and citizens and to improve tax administration services). However, the second most frequent answer by tax officials (to decrease the tax burden) is somewhat disputable – the research indicates the existence of some level of tax illusion, even at the level of tax administration professionals. The research also reveals the relatively low priority given to the need to increase the level of risk connected with tax evasion, which is surprising because the data clearly indicate a very high level of tax fraud in the country.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue Ambiguous Meaning of the Ethical Issue in a Context of NPM Reforms: Insights from the OECD, Canada and France<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>An important interest in public-administration ethics has been expressed in OECD member states since the 1990s in reaction to the development of New Public Management (NPM) reforms. However, the meanings attached to the ethical issue in a context of managerial modernization remain ambiguous depending on the country and / or time period studied. Therefore, this article aims at underlining the main characteristics of administrative ethics thanks to the creation of a theoretical concept which summarizes them. The latter can also serve as an analytical grid to engage in further research and especially comparisons between varying national cases.</p><p>For that purpose, the analysis is divided in two parts and draws insights from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, Canada and France, through a review of major official reports and a series of interviews with public officials and experts in charge of these questions. First of all, it concentrates on the OECD’s historical activities on public-sector ethics in order to devise a theoretical concept of administrative ethics. The utility and relevance of this concept is then tested while being implemented to compare the Canadian and French governments’ overall interest in ethics in their process of public-management reform.</p><p>The article distinguishes two key dimensions of public-administration ethics, namely the managerial and normative ones, which are strongly intertwined. On the one hand, the managerial dimension focuses on the management of civil servants’ daily behaviors and combines the compliance-based and integrity-based approaches to govern conducts in public administration. On the other hand, the normative dimension refers to the normative framework incorporating the core principles and values which define civil servants’ professional identities and guide their specific missions and goals within the democratic system.</p><p>The historical comparison of major trends in terms of administrative ethics in Canada and France shows, finally, that, despite national characteristics, the two countries have tended progressively to deal with the ethical issue in a more comprehensive way. They are trying to take into account, for example, problems due to conflicts of public values and combine compliance-based and integrity-based instruments of ethics management. These evolutions shed light more generally on the movement of hybridization, incorporating elements from traditional public administration and New Public Management, which seems to develop in both states.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue for Achieving Accountable, Open and Transparent Government as Illustrated in the Case of Bulgaria<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Because of its importance as an institution, ensuring the accountability and openness of government is a central concern of all democratic societies. In this article, we first examine various means of achieving accountable government, both in general terms and as regards specific strategies. We identify three general categories of mechanisms to encourage governmental accountability with a particular emphasis upon openness and transparency. We then review both prior and new policies being implemented by the government of Bulgaria to achieve an accountable, open and transparent government. Particular attention is given to efforts to limit corruption in Bulgarian government through the introduction of new policies in the areas of openness and transparency.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue to Socio-Cultural Life inside Assisted Care Homes?<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This is a comparative survey of two national legal frameworks in Finland and Kazakhstan providing the elderly in assisted care homes with an opportunity of socio-cultural inclusion. The study departs from the evolving international standards of ageing, which dictate legal obligations to provide the elderly in residential care with access to socio-cultural activities. Our analysis continues with explorations how these standards are reflected in legislation of two selected states. We deliberately selected these two jurisdictions, different in many respects, the most significant of which are the current state of the welfare system and the approach towards elderly care. The residential care in Finland is the primary responsibility of the state, a common modern solution adapted to meet the realities of the modern volatile labor market, career and self-oriented life style and hectic differentiating global economy. In Kazakhstan such care is provided by the state only for those older persons who are in difficult life situation, whereas the able relatives are legally responsible for providing care for the elderly in need of 24 / 7 assistance. Respectively Kazakhstan’s social order relies extensively on family ties.</p><p>Our analysis covers the status of the elderly residing both in 24 / 7 institutional care and in the so-called serviced apartments where the elderly are not in constant care. Rather than drawing on the generalized status of dependency we keep up with the premise that the elderly are special-rights holders. This limitation leaves studying the position of other individuals under public custody out of the present research agenda. Relying extensively on legal analysis, we employ, in particular, a comparative law method and empirical studies, i.e. the interviews with the aged rights holders.</p><p>After we examined how the opportunities for socio-cultural inclusion of the elderly are implemented in two selected jurisdictions with principally different welfare systems, we found that the problem in question is topical for each of the states under consideration. In light of the evolving international law standards institutional practices in both jurisdictions must be sensitive to the issue of socio-cultural inclusion. The socio-cultural dimension of the wellbeing of the elderly, especially with respect to those who are in 24 / 7 care, should be incorporated in the legal system of Kazakhstan just as it exists in the statutory law of Finland.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue Analysis of the Ethics Infrastructure and Ethical Climate in Slovenian Public Administration<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>In consideration of the fact that public administrations worldwide face a number of challenges, many governments are dedicated to improving the ethical climate in public administrations. The same issue is also the focus of the attention of many transnational associations. The basic goal is to ensure the development of comparable ethical climates, ethical behaviour in different public administrations and to develop comparable, suitable ethics infrastructures to enable this. Modern public administrations must bring ethical conduct to the fore and resist unethical behaviour. There are different ideas on how to build ethics infrastructures in public administrations, and examples of good practice that could facilitate the development of such infrastructures are found in the public and private sectors of different countries. In this paper, we connect ethics infrastructures and ethical climates. The evaluation of Slovenia’s ethics infrastructures is based on the framework prepared by the OECD, using its questionnaire developed by Victor and Cullen. The results show that there is no general relationship between ethics infrastructures and ethical climates in public administrations. Nevertheless, some determinants of ethics infrastructures correlate to a high degree to the ethical climate, the strongest impact on ethics climates being the ethical infrastructure’s determinant “public involvement and scrutiny”.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue the Determinants of Transparency of Slovak Municipalities<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>This paper focuses on the transparency of Slovak municipalities. It identifies the main trends in the transparency of the 100 largest Slovak municipalities between 2010 and 2014. It shows that there are different degrees of transparency in Slovak municipalities, and it applies regressions to explore correlates and identify the main factors behind this state. This research is descriptive and explanatory and adds to literature by examining political, structural factors related to the political supply of the transparency of the municipalities and the convergence effect. The regression analysis identifies the convergence effect, according to which the transparency of municipalities improves inversely to their initial score. It also finds a negative incumbency effect that indicates lower improvement for incumbent mayors than for new ones. The size of a municipality is also one of the factors that determine the transparency level of that municipality. This relationship is positive – greater size of a municipality increases the level of its transparency.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue Governments and Local Waste Management in the Czech Republic: Producers or Providers?<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Local governments are responsible for the delivery of a large variety of very different public services. The article is focused on two issues: 1) we try to discover whether the local governments in the Czech Republic prefer to be “producers” or “providers” of the waste-collection services; 2) we test and compare the efficiency of “production” and the efficiency of “provision”, and for this purpose we take into account various factors, inter alia inter-municipal cooperation, the existence of hybrid organizations, economies of scale etc. A main goal is to find out what the local governments in the Czech Republic prefer if they decide on the delivery of local services linked to waste management and what factors are the most important ones from the perspective of their potential influence on efficiency. Concerning the data, we analyse linked open data on municipal solid waste expenditure collected by the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic and data relating to features of waste collection obtained via a questionnaire-based survey which was carried out at the turn of 2015 – 2016. The results of the presented analysis show a clear relationship of dependence between the inter-municipal cooperation and the relevant costs, and it confirms the assumption that the Czech local governments undoubtedly prefer the position of “providers” in the field of the local waste management. Paradoxically, the results show that neither internal nor external provision of waste-collection services is a key factor of cost-efficiency.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue and Transparency in (Slovene) Administrative Procedures as Fundamental European Principles<abstract><title style='display:none'>Abstract</title><p>Openness and transparency are general administrative principles, closely related to lawfulness, accountability, responsiveness, participation and other elements of good administration. Despite their long existence in theory and legal documents, both at the European and national levels, the content and the relation of and among the respective principles is blurred. This applies even in single-case administrative procedures through the classic rights of defense, such as the right to access to information or the right to be heard. The paper explores these dimensions based on comparative analyses of the EU Charter, the OECD principles on good administration and governance and the Slovene law on administrative procedures, proving compliance between Slovene and European regulation. Furthermore, a consistent definition is proposed. Transparency is thus understood as parallel to participation. Both are seen as subcategories of openness which, as the sum of the rights of defense, is based on lawfulness and leads to accountability and ethics. However, as revealed by an empirical survey in 2015, the Slovene public administration sees these issues in a rather formal way. Finally, suggestions are made for future legislation and its implementation in terms of open and good administration.</p></abstract>ARTICLEtrue