SIGMA provides assistance in five key areas: Civil Service Management and Administrative Legal Framework; Public finance and Audit; Public procurement; Policy making and coordination; and Public Governance Strategy and Reform. Activities are undertaken on both an individual and multi-country basis, and in response to specific needs and priorities.
|SIGMA's support for the establishment of professional civil services focuses on structural elements, such as civil service legislation, salary systems, and human resources management. Assistance in drafting and passing civil service legislation is based on a comparative approach using expertise from EU Member States. SIGMA also assists partner countries in developing their civil service management systems and tools.Support in this area includes assistance in developing the administrative legal framework. SIGMA promotes an exchange of professional expertise and offers advice on the organisation and functioning of the public administration. SIGMA also advises on improving the quality of administrative performance and on methods for the delivery of public services.|
SIGMA assists partner countries in strengthening policy making and strategic capacities and in setting up coordination mechanisms at the centre of government. Activities in this area aim to ensure coherence among sectoral policies of ministries and consistency of government policy making and policy implementation.
Regulatory policy and better regulation: SIGMA acts as advisor to countries on better regulation issues as well as undertaking its role as an assessor of regulatory management capacities in the framework of the yearly assessment process.
SIGMA supports partner countries in building and strengthening their supreme audit institutions (SAIs) to enable them to progress towards full compliance with good European audit practice and with international standards for public external audit. Following a peer assistance review process, SIGMA supports the development of a Strategic Development Plan (SDP) which sets out prerequisites for the establishment of a well functioning external audit body.
At the multi-country level, SIGMA has since 1998 and in co-ordination with the European Court of Auditors, provided assistance to the meetings, working groups, expert groups, audit activities (both joint and pilot audits), and technical workshops of the networks of partner country SAIs. This support includes joint activities of the SAI network of EU candidate and potential candidate countries and the SAI network of EU Member States.
SIGMA activities in financial control focus on two main areas: public internal financial control (PIFC), including internal audit, and the development of anti-fraud structures to protect EU financial interests.
In supporting the development of public internal financial control (PIFC) systems and procedures, including internal audit arrangements, SIGMA applies the same processes used to strengthen audit institutions: peer reviews and peer assistance. The peer review assesses the strengths and weaknesses in PIFC, with a view to addressing the gap between current practices of control and audit in spending-units and existing, or newly adopted, laws (or other framework documents).
At the request of the EC's Directorate General Enlargement and the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF), SIGMA carried out in-depth assessments of anti-fraud systems and structures - in particular the Anti-Fraud Co-ordinating Service (AFCOS) - in EU candidate countries.
As a follow-up to the multi-country project to assess anti-fraud systems, SIGMA has assisted partner countries in drafting anti-fraud strategies and project fiches and in improving legal frameworks to strengthen their AFCOS. The strengthening of anti-fraud structures represents a follow-up to SIGMA work in support of the process of decentralising the management of EU pre-accession funds.
An important element in the anti-fraud chain of measures to project EU funds, the recovery of assets was the focus of SIGMA work in Bulgaria and Romania.To further strengthen capacity in this area, SIGMA prepared a policy paper "Recovery of Unduly and Wrongly Paid Sums" that focused on the recovery of debts in cases of fraud concerning the state budget and EU funds from various points of view (administrative recovery, civil actions for freezing and confiscating assets, and criminal procedures).
|In EU candidate and potential candidate countries, SIGMA supports governments in designing and implementing public administration reform strategies and programmes. As Public Administration Reform (PAR) is a process that cuts across all spheres of government and is closely interlinked with EU accession and association, Sigma helps partner countries to establish the institutions and strengthen the capacities required to implement and monitor reform progress. Typical SIGMA support includes analysis of the current state of public institutions, assessment of development needs, advice on strengthening policy formulation capacities, and assistance in applying principles and meeting standards set in the European Administrative Space.|
|Support in the area of public procurement constitutes an important component of SIGMA’s operations, involving the analysis of national public procurement systems and the maintenance of an open, ongoing dialogue with partner countries on the reform of their public procurement systems. As accession to the European Union is a priority for all partner countries, SIGMA’s efforts have been, and continue to be, devoted to the task of facilitating the accession process by helping countries comply with EU requirements and enabling them to operate effectively within the context of the internal market.|