Directorate for Public Governance

Public Governance Committee Update - February 2013



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Upcoming Events

Committee meetings:

  • 8th Meeting of the Regulatory Policy Committee, Paris, 22-23 April 2013

  • 47th Session of the Public Governance Committee, Paris, 25-26 April 2013

  • 29th Meeting of the Territorial Development Policy Committee, Paris, 17-18 June 2013

Public Sector Innovation:

  • Meeting of the Associate Group on the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, Paris, 18 March 2013

  • Meeting of the 3rd Task Force of the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation, Paris, 23-24 April 2013

Government at a Glance:

  • Meeting of the Government at a Glance Steering Group, Paris, 25 April 2013

Risk Management:

  • 1st meeting of the Task Force on Charting Illicit Trade (TF-CIT), Paris, 2-3 April 2013

Budgeting and public expenditures:

  • 13th Annual Accruals Symposium, Paris, 7-8 March 2013

  • 2nd Meeting of the Joint Network on Fiscal Sustainability of Health Systems, Paris, 25-26 March 2013

  • 5th Annual Meeting on Public-Private Partnerships, Paris, 15-16 April 2013

The Global Forum on Public Governance - Paris, 21 November 2012



“Let us not forget the context of our work. In the end it boils down to making sure that governments deliver what they are paid for by their citizens: to design and deliver better policies for better lives.”

- OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría

The Global Forum on “Better Governance for Inclusive Growth” was held on 21 November 2012 as part of the OECD "Governance Week". This was the first OECD Global Forum in the area of Public Governance and a concrete contribution of the Public Governance Committee to the OECD Development Strategy.  The Forum was opened by OECD Secretary General, Angel Gurría, and offered a platform for dialogue between OECD and partner countries, with participation of over three hundred policy-makers, academics and civil society organisations from 63 countries around the world.  The Global Forum helped to identify new directions emerging from public sector reforms worldwide and to discuss lessons learned, good practices and innovative solutions for advancing governance reforms to foster inclusive growth.

Discussions showed the value of sharing knowledge and expertise, featuring effective and innovative experiences in both OECD and non-OECD countries. While the scope and significance of the challenges may differ across countries, the Forum underscored that the objectives of building effective, inclusive, transparent and accountable institutions are shared by countries at different stages of development.  This Global Forum provides strong impetus and visibility for governance as part of the OECD development and global relations strategy. All documents for the different sessions and pictures are posted to the Global Forum website.

2nd annual High Level Risk Forum - Paris, 13-14 December 2012

The 2nd annual OECD High Level Risk Forum was attended by over 100 delegates, representing 28 countries, including participation from all G7 countries, the United Nations, the European Commission as well as from major private sector players and the World Economic Forum. Discussions centred around institutional capacity to govern global risks and how to reinforce trust in governments.

No single government can reasonably carry the whole burden of managing global threats such as climate change, the financial crisis and cascade effects of natural disasters. Ms. Margareta Wahlstrom, the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Reduction, noted in her keynote address that  “Multilateral institutions were designed to address a different scale of global challenges”. Contagion effects are now far more prevalent for a broad range of risks due to economic interdependencies, and global institutions need to co-ordinate national efforts to keep pace with these changes.

Deputy Secretary General Yves Leterme underlined that the OECD has a unique role to play, to identify and address global governance gaps in risk management policies, and to analyse how public-private partnerships can contribute to better manage global risks.

The OECD High Level Risk Forum will work with countries and partners to identify good practices to build Country Risk Management Principles, as a way to contribute to the international policy dialogue and support countries' efforts. Thematic discussions were held on National Risk Assessment, which had laid the foundation for the G20/OECD framework for disaster risk assessment and financing. Delegates also discussed the strengthening of capacity for crisis management through international co-operation, to strengthen the governance of so called ‘Black Swan’ events. Special attention was given to the role of the social media in risk and crisis communication, to help governments not only address the potentially disrupting effects of the social media, but also leverage their impact to contribute to crisis communication and management.  The issue of the accountability of public officials was discussed in the context of responsibility to communicate appropriately to the public about risks. Finally, delegates discussed the Review of National Civil Protection in Mexico. Mexico has made much progress since the 1985 Mexico City earthquakes and has been a leader in techniques for financing reconstruction.

For more information on the OECD work on risk management please visit our website:

Workshop on E-Government Indicators: “Measuring e-government: investments, returns and emerging trends” - Paris, 10 December 2012

The work on e-government indicators is critical to strengthen national capacities for evidence-based policy making and to help answering one of the most pressing policy questions currently facing policy makers: are the investments made on e-government yielding the expected benefits in terms of higher public sector performance? The project focuses on developing a methodology and data collection to help countries assess their performance in the use of ICTs to increase public sector efficiency and effectiveness, and to inform decision-making on further investments in ICT and open government data initiatives.

The meeting provided an opportunity to present and discuss progress on:

  • Review of comparative data on ICT spending by central government collected by the OECD
  • Development of a methodology to build  e-government performance indicators
  • Analysis of “Social media use by governments”,  with a Focus on Twitter
  • Development of a methodology for the empirical analysis of open government data initiatives (implementation and impact)

A number of countries participating in the meeting volunteered for the pilot testing of the methodology for the first generation of e-government performance indicators and of the methodology for the analysis and impact assessment of Open Government Data initiatives. The testing of the methodologies and the related data collection will start in spring 2013, and the preliminary results of the analysis will be ready for sharing by the end of 2013. It is expected that the data will also contribute to the 2013 edition of Government at a Glance.

A summary of the meeting is available online.

Focus On

Public Procurement

Representing 13-20% of GDP on average worldwide, public procurement has a significant impact on public funds allocation and economic growth. For this reason, ensuring an efficient and effective public procurement system is a key reform agenda in many countries. In times of austerity, procurement can help save funds and gain fiscal space for reforms when managed effectively and strategically. It is also increasingly recognised as a potential instrument for achieving social and environmental objectives. Despite its economic significance, public procurement is still often handled as an administrative, compliance-oriented process rather than a strategic function of government.

The launch meeting of the Leading Practitioners on Public Procurement (Paris, 11-12 February 2013) provided a global view of leading procurement practice for strengthening public procurement systems and transforming procurement into a strategic function.

Over 80 senior procurement officials and innovators from 26 countries including leading OECD (e.g. the United States, the United Kingdom, Italy and Korea) and emerging economies (the Russian Federation, South Africa and Indonesia) as well as 7 international organisations, discussed how to implement the priorities set by the OECD Council in June 2012, in particular:

Public procurement brochure cover 
  • Mapping out good practices for using procurement as a policy lever to pursue government objectives, with particular attention to the achievement of environmental goals;
  • Discussing findings of procurement peer reviews in Mexico to draw lessons learned in  the health sector;
  • Contributions to the 2013 Government at a Glance and also shaping future work on procurement performance indicators, including how procurement impacts competitiveness;
  • Defining the roadmap for revising the OECD Recommendation on Enhancing Integrity in Public Procurement.

The meeting helped to develop a roadmap for future co-operation and identified emerging areas of interest, including  how to organise the procurement function to achieve efficiency gains, the professionalisation and training of the procurement workforce and electronic procurement.  The roadmap also identified possible communities (e.g. competition, development co-operation, innovation, green) and stakeholders (e.g. from government, private sector and civil society) who could be involved in this collaborative effort.


Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI)

The Observatory of Public Sector Innovation aims to systematically collect, categorise, analyse and share innovative practices from across the public sector.

In 2012, the Observatory collected over 100 examples of innovations, developed an analytical framework of public sector innovation, and will soon publish a report on innovative service delivery under fiscal pressure. Over 2013 - 14 the Observatory will continue to collect innovations, expand its research agenda, and launch a fully operational interactive platform hosting a database of innovations. 

The database of innovative practices will be accessible via an interactive platform.



The Secretariat general pour la modernisation de l’action publique of France held a workshop on 28 January to test an initial prototype of the platform with potential end users in the French administration. Users’ feedback underscored the platform’s important future role, but also suggested useful improvements. Other countries are invited to undertake similar testing workshops with users over the coming months to help to ensure that the final OPSI platform meets its users’ needs and expectations.

The first meeting of the OPSI Associate Group will take place on 18 March 2013 in Paris. It will be an opportunity to bring together interested parties from academia, research bodies and the private sector to identify ways of working together so that examples of innovation can be further developed and diffused in order to maximise their impact in public administrations.  For more information please contact Mr. Marco Daglio (

MENA Activities

In its first meeting since 2010 and the recent events in the MENA region, the Steering Group of the MENA-OECD Initiative (22 November 2012, Paris), brought together a wide range of stakeholders to take stock of the Initiative’s activities and decide on priorities for future work. In response to increasing pressure to deliver on growth, jobs and better governance, policy makers from MENA and OECD reiterated their support for measures to strengthen the business climate and governance in the region.  In a session on “Strengthening Dialogue with the Private Sector and Civil Society for Better Governance, Growth and Job Creation”, private sector and civil society stakeholders from the MENA region presented their views on how the public-private dialogue can support the implementation of policy reforms necessary to create jobs and growth. 


The two pillars of the MENA-OECD Initiative – Governance and Investment– also held parallel sessions to present key achievements and to validate the future programme of work. The need for policy reforms which build institutions that are responsive to citizens and the business community was also expressed.  Accordingly, the MENA-OECD Governance Programme has created an informal reflection group whose key objective will be to strengthen mechanisms for effective delivery on policy priorities in view of the changes in the region.


The Steering Group is the governing body of the MENA-OECD Initiative and meets every two to three years at ministerial level. It comprises representatives of government, business and civil society from 18 MENA and 34 OECD economies as well as international partner organisations who provide guidance to the Initiative.

Upcoming reports

In line with citizen demands for greater inclusiveness and equality, as well as for more transparency, integrity, and accountability, the MENA Initiative’s work will continue to focus on fostering policy reforms in these areas. In particular, the MENA Programme will support Tunisia in its reform efforts to enhance integrity and budget transparency and two related reports will be published in June, respectively:  Developing a code of conduct and an asset declaration mechanism for public agents and Budgeting and transparent public governance in Tunisia. The OECD is supporting Morocco and Tunisia in enhancing open and participative governance and in becoming full members of the Open Government Partnership. Two OECD reports on Open Government policies in Morocco and Tunisia will be published in Q3 2013. Regulatory Reform is also a key lever to foster inclusive growth. The OECD Report on Regulatory Reform in the Middle East and North Africa will assess the implementation of regulatory policy principles to foster inclusive growth in the region. E-Government is recognised as a tool to improve citizen participation, public service delivery, transparency, and the fight against corruption. The OECD E-Government Review of Egypt supports Egypt in building a more effective and inclusive e-government system. Sustaining gender equality and the equal participation of women and men in all aspects of social and public life is key to reinforce inclusive policies and ensure social cohesion. The Report on Gender, Law and Public Policy: Trends in the Middle East and North Africa, will provide an overview of key trends in gender policies from across the region and selected OECD countries, comparing existing institutions, structures, and practices which enable gender equality.

Task Force on Charting Illicit Trade

The Task force on Charting Illicit Trade (TF-CIT) was created following an exploratory workshop in October 2012 where countries recognised the need to build partnerships and policy tools to combat illicit trade and transnational criminal networks in key regions worldwide.  The objective of the Task Force will be to further international efforts and co-ordinate forces to quantify and map the illegal economy, with the aim of exposing trends in the harms, consequences and costs to strategic markets, and to increase societal and economic resilience to this threat through collective action and partnerships across the public and private sectors.


The first meeting of the Task Force on Charting Illicit Trade (TF-CIT) will take place on 2-3 April 2013 in Paris.  In co-operation with UNODC, EUROPOL, INTERPOL, OSCE, WCO and the WEF, the meeting will begin with a focus on establishing a common methodology to compare the flows of various sectors of illicit trade (e.g. drugs, arms, human trafficking, counterfeits and other contraband, etc. ). Country experts will be requested to contribute data in break-out sessions focusing on specific sectors of the illegal economy to be named. A policy roundtable will be held on the second day to identify what public policies have been attempted to combat illicit trade at the level of production, transit and consumption. The policy round table will also invite participants to identify policies that inadvertently push commerce into smuggling and black markets as well as identify government and private sector capacities that could be more effectively leveraged to limit illicit trade. For more information please contact Jack Radisch (

Joint Network on Fiscal Sustainability of Health Systems

The growth in expenditures on health and long-term care is one of the main causes of government fiscal deficits in OECD countries. As pressures for fiscal consolidation and the need to create fiscal space remain strong, most countries face the challenging task of financing more health expenditure while trying to achieve overall fiscal sustainability.

In order to identify appropriate solutions for controlling health expenditure, the OECD has set up a Joint Network on the Fiscal Sustainability of Health Systems, involving the OECD Working Party of Senior Budget Officials (SBO) and the OECD Health Committee. The network which will hold its 2nd annual meeting in Paris on 25-26 March 2013,  aims to bring officials from both central budget offices and health ministries together to find ways of ensuring the financial sustainability of health systems while maintaining or improving access to quality service.

The meeting will address the issues of: forecasting health expenditure, with a particular emphasis on their key drivers and their policy implications; the institutional and financial framework of health; expenditure management tools; and securing sufficient revenues for health. For more information please contact Ms. Camila Vammalle (

Update on the Public Governance Reviews

The Public Governance Review of Colombia was officially launched in May 2012. The Review covers the themes of centre-of-government co-ordination, evidence-based decision making, multi-level governance, and the issue clusters of human resource management, e-government, and public procurement. A preliminary assessment and recommendations workshop was organised in Bogotá on 5 February, 2013 with the Colombian authorities. The findings will be presented at the Spring meeting of the Public Governance Committee in 2013.

 In 2013 the OECD is conducting a public governance review of Chile’s supreme audit institution to understand how it can enhance its positive impact on government decision making and accountability processes more generally as part of the New Approaches to Economic Challenges. The review will benchmark practices in Chile with other supreme audit institutions, including Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Israel, Korea, Mexico,  Portugal, South Africa, Spain – as well as the European Court of Auditors. The review will be launched in the third quarter of 2013.

The current Review of social programmes in Greece follows on the review of the Greek central administration, published at the end of 2012. This follow up review is co-ordinated with the Greek Ministry of Labour, Social Security and Welfare, and identifies a roadmap for reforming the Greek social welfare system. Early drafts of the review already provided significant inputs into the discussions between Greece and the Troika. The diagnostic and strategic directions proposed in the review are being used to provide the baseline for the design and implementation of reforms. The review will be finalised and formally launched in the first quarter of 2013.

The OECD-Hungary Strategic Partnership for Public Administration Reform supports reforms to put in place some of the key building blocks of a strategic state. Through an innovative action-oriented approach that builds on extensive peer participation, the Partnership includes a preliminary diagnostic of public administration reform, a series of workshops aimed at identifying implementation bottlenecks and emerging good practices, and a review of selected public governance issues. Following several workshops in 2012, it is expected that workshops in 2013 will focus on one stop shops and on raising awareness of corruption. This work will result into a review of selected public governance issues.

The Public Governance Review of Poland is expected to be published in early 2013, in partnership with the Ministry of Regional Development. Discussions are also currently under way with the Ministry to finalise a strategy for implementation, which will be rolled out under a Poland-OECD partnership over the course of 2013.  In the spirit of the recommendations contained in the Public Governance Review, the Chancellery of the Prime Minister will be intimately engaged in leading the implementation of the advice in the PGR.

A paper which considers the broad strategic insights and lessons from the eight comprehensive Public Governance Reviews carried out by the OECD since 2007, was circulated to PGC Delegates following the Fall 2012 session of the PGC.  The paper considers how the reviews themselves might evolve, in order to servce the broader public governance community as well as the reviewed countries.  It is also a contribution to the analysis on the Strategic State, a key initiative of the current work programme.


 Brazil’s Supreme Audit Institution: The Audit of the Consolidated Year-End Government Report




On 4 December 2012 the OECD launched the Public Governance Review of Brazil’s supreme audit institution —  the Federal Court of Accounts — at an international workshop in Brasilia on financial audit. The launch was attended by ministers and senior officials from Brazil’s Supreme Audit Institution, the federal executive and National Congress, as well as senior officials from the supreme audit institutions of Australia, France, South Africa, Sweden, United States – and the European Court of Auditors. The launch followed a presentation of the review’s assessment and recommendations at the annual meeting of the Latin American Network of Supreme Audit Institutions (OLACEFS) on 6 November in Gramado, Brazil.

“This peer review of Brazil’s Federal Court of Accounts clearly demonstrates that SAIs are paying increasing attention to accountability and decision-making processes.”- Secretary General Angel Gurría

“This assessment will not only enable the improvements of the Brazilian Federal Court of Accounts work, through the adoption of best practices and international standards, but also provide a dynamic and contemporary view of the role of supreme audit institutions in supporting public accountability and governance, generating results for Brazil and the international community.” – Benjamin Zymler, Brazilian Federal Court of Accounts President

The report is part of the contribution to the OECD New Approaches to Economic Challenges, enhancing the relevance and positive impact of supreme audit institutions on accountability and decision making within the public administration. The report benchmarks Brazil’s practices with Australia, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.


Public Sector Compensation in Times of Austerity





Austerity drives are leading governments to reduce operational expenditures through cuts to the wage bill and staffing levels.


Past experience suggests that when pay cuts and freezes are necessary, organisations should assess the savings relative to the costs. These costs can include the loss of institutional knowledge if key contributors retire or resign; the time lost by managers and employees in managing vacancies and reorganisations; the lost productivity while staff acquire new skills and learn new jobs; and the decrease in performance among employees who become discouraged or dissatisfied.


Recent policies affecting public sector wages do not appear to have included such an assessment of the relative costs and benefits.

This book argues that any new approaches to public sector pay must help to: enhance external competitiveness of salaries; promote internal equity throughout the public sector; reflect the values of public organisations; and align compensation with government’s core strategic objectives.

Public Sector Compensation in Times of Austerity offers an evidence-based contribution to new thinking about human capital, government’s most valuable asset and the most difficult to replace.


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