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Supporting better decision making at the centre of government

The organisation and functions of prime minister's/ president's offices

What do prime minister's/ president's offices do?

The centres of government are the support structure serving the highest level of the executive branch of government (presidents, prime ministers and their equivalents). They help the head of government and ministers to make good decisions by ensuring they receive evidence-informed, co-ordinated and coherent advice. They also co-ordinate the various players in the policy process, and to help ensure the quality and capability of the policy system.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed gaps in co-ordination and leadership from the centre, and has highlighted the need for better decision-making processes and tools for policymakers. The OECD is bringing together lessons learned from the pandemic and the initial recovery efforts and developing a set of measurable indicators to help support better decision making from the centre of government.

Our work on “Deciding better from the centre” has three main components: 

1. Effective decision-making from the centre
Assessing the roles and functioning of centres of government. Key reports:

 
2. Setting government priorities
Developing good practice in setting strategic priorities. Key reports:


3. Policy co-ordination and coherence
Developing effective whole-of-government approaches for co-ordination and coherence. Key reports:

The Network of Senior Officials from Centres of Government

The Network constitutes a forum for informal discussion and remains one of the OECD’s highest-level policy networks. Its meetings began in the 1980s, and were consolidated into an annual event in the 1990s. Hosted by one of the members of the Network, the meetings serve three main purposes:

  • To review issues of how to make the centre of national government work more effectively;
  • To achieve a more in-depth understanding of decision and policymaking systems in the host country.
  • To work on broad governance issues fundamental to achieving economic and social public policy objectives.

 

Latest event
39th Annual Meeting of Senior Officials from Centres of Government, Luxembourg, 2020


Past hosts include:

  • 2019 Reykjavik, Iceland
  • 2018 Dublin, Ireland
  • 2017 Tokyo, Japan
  • 2016 Stockholm, Sweden
  • 2015 Helsinki, Finland


Meeting documents from past events

Centre Stage 2

OECD report focusing on the centre of government - the support structure serving the highest level of the executive branch of government (presidents, prime ministers and their equivalents).

The report finds that despite differences among countries in terms of constitutional forms and administrative traditions – even the extent to which the centre is led and staffed by political appointees rather than career civil servants – there are strong similarities in the functions the centre performs.

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Covid-19 responses

Centres of government (CoGs) have played an important role in tackling the crisis caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

This paper discusses the high-level institutional arrangements put in place by governments to manage policy responses to the pandemic, with a special focus on CoG’s leading or supporting roles.

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