Public governance

Public Governance Committee Update




Recent Events



High Level Risk Forum

Paris, 8-9 December 2011


This inaugural meeting of the High Level Risk Forum gathered over 90 Delegates from 25 countries, including all G7 countries, the European Commission, as well as representatives from major global companies, and from the WEF.


It discussed National Risk Assessments: optimizing capabilities to manage risks and build resilience  as well as Risk Communication, including Crisis communication and raising awareness.


Participants also considered strategic orientations for the forum, including the potential usefulness of OECD Principles on country risk management as well as possible options for future work.  Mexico confirmed its commitment to proceed with a national review of its Civil Protection System.

The Forum also included a special seminar on the Great East Japan earthquake, introduced by Mr. Motohide Yoshikawa, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Japan to the OECD, featuring Mr. Makoto Yamazaki, as a Member of the Diet.


The seminar considered the experience of the events in Japan as well as alternative strategies for reconstruction.


Webcast is available at: 



  Delegates at the High Level Risk Forum




7th Meeting of the SBO Network on Performance and Results

Paris, 9-10 November 2011


The meeting was attended by senior budgetary officials responsible for performance budgeting systems from 31 countries as well as from the IMF, the World Bank, and the European Space Agency. Performance information plays an important role for informing decision-making, and for aligning performance expectations The discussions focused on the strengths and limits of such information, at a time when some countries are moving beyond, towards a separation of the performance budgeting and management functions.


Delegates recognised that spending reviews are among the best tools to directly inform budgetary allocation decisions, but that they can also be administratively heavy. The design and timing of reviews therefore need to match their objectives and level of political buy-in.


Participants also discussed the challenges around making performance information public. Balancing accuracy, analysis and utility with timeliness remains a challenge, as is providing transparency in the face of more and more information being generated by government.


Fewer, but more relevant indicators are needed, and cultural change within government to focus on developing performance information that focuses on impact, rather than visibility for individual programmes. The meeting also discussed Performance Budgeting in Poland as well as the SBO Performance Budgeting questionnaire which will be sent out in mid-December.



1st Meeting of the Senior Budget Official (SBO) Network on Health Expenditures
Paris, 21-22 November 2011


This was the first meeting organised jointly by the Senior Budget Officials Working Party and the OECD Health Committee  to discuss the fiscal sustainability of the health sector, the second largest area of public expenditure in OECD countries after social spending. 


The meeting attracted officials  from 24 member countries as well as from the Asian Development Bank, the European Commission, the World Bank, and the World Health Organisation, representing ministries of health, ministries of finance, and social security institutions, Participants identified four main areas of interest for future work:

  • identifying key indicators for monitoring efficiency in the health sector;
  • balancing short- and long-term fiscal policy considerations in the health sector, e.g., the relationship between expenditure forecasting and actual spending; 
  • creating fiscal space for health, including using budget mechanisms to help achieve health targets; 
    analyzing instruments (both budget and sectoral) for cost containment.
  • The meeting highlighted the potential and value for horizontal cooperation across Committees, and participants expressed the wish for such co-operation between the Public Governance Senior Budget Officials and Health Committees to be continued in the future. 


Public Governance Reviews

The Public Governance Review of Slovenia and the Study of France’s central government Révision Générale des Politiques Publiques, for which highlights were presented at the November 2011 PGC meeting, are being finalised and  will be published in 2012. 


Review of Central Government Administration in Greece: The OECD Functional Review of Central Government  was published as an e-book on 6th December and has already generated considerable press interest. The report is based on a detailed mapping of the central administration undertaken by the Greek Ministry of Public Administration Reform and the OECD from February-June 2011, as well as earlier work carried out by the Secretariat in Greece.




The new EU Commission Task Force for Greece (TFGR) has adopted the report’s eight key reform recommendations for taking forward reforms with Greece. The OECD is part of this follow up.  A full discussion is expected to take place at the Spring PGC meeting.



Functional Review of social programmes in Greece
The Secretariat has conducted the first phase of this review which was  to elaborate a report and database containing information about a large selection of social programmes. This entailed developing a methodology for data collection; interacting with a number of institutions in charge of social security programmes in Greece; and gathering corresponding information.


The next phase will seek to draw conclusions and make concrete recommendations for reform, with emphasis on improving governance and efficiency in the system, as a contribution to the search for savings in Greece.


OECD Public Governance Review of Poland
The first stage of the review was completed this autumn, with a report evaluating the performance indicators developed by Poland to check progress with the good governance objectives linked to EU structural funds to Poland.


The report developed a new seven-step methodology for this, which could be valuable for other countries wishing to strengthen their indicators for good governance progress. The OECD also facilitated a one-day ‘hands on’ seminar for the application of this methodology, held in Warsaw on 4 October 2011. 



Women in Government: Engendering Public Policies in MENA
1-2 December 2011, Granada, Spain


Leading policy makers and practitioners from MENA and OECD countries provided an overview on recent trends, key developments, lessons and challenges related to legal and institutional reform for greater gender equality and better governance. 


The 2011 Survey on National Gender Frameworks, Public Employment, Gender Public Policies and Leadership in MENA countries, was launched at the conference. 



The results will feed into the upcoming Report on Gender, Law and Public Policy: Trends in the Middle East and North Africa region.  Participants welcomed this survey, highlighting their appreciation of the role of the OECD in promoting policy dialogue through peer reviews and analytical support.


Territorial Development


Regional Outlook 2011

The 26th Session of the Territorial Development Policy Committee (TDPC), 5-6 December 2011, began with the official launching of the Regional Outlook 2011  by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, in the presence of the Chair, Mr. John Fernandez, Undersecretary of the US Economic Development Agency (DoC).


The Regional Outlook is the first edition in a biennial series which looks at the growth potential of regions and why they matter in a country’s economy. 





Network of Leaders in Water Governance
This network was launched on 26 October during the OECD meeting on “Improving Water Governance: Towards a Network of Leaders", and will gather governance leaders (both do-ers and thinkers).


The Network will be instrumental in designing a roadmap for the next World Water Forum (Marseille, 12-17 March 2012) and will support and monitor the implementation of good governance targets agreed upon at the Forum. 


Hot of the Press


The number and influence of political advisors has become a source of public concern in the last decade across countries. A new OECD report shows that as of 2011, these concerns have not been addressed in most OECD countries.


Minsterial Advisors: Role, Influence and Management builds on the results of two surveys carried out in 27 countries and highlights the lack of institutional and procedural frameworks in place to govern political advisors. It also draws attention to the perspective of advisors who describe the variety of functions they carry out.


The report encourages policy makers to establish a clear governance framework for working with political advisors.  It reflects the findings of the comparative surveys which were discussed among various policy communities, including the OECD Networks on Public Sector Integrity and Public Employment and Management, and also provides additional insights into the specific experiences of Austria, Canada and the United Kingdom.  The report shows how governments can take concrete steps to define advisors’ tasks, set integrity standards for advisors, ensure the transparency of their status and clarify the accountability structure in which they operate.



   Public Servants as Partners for Growth: Towards a Stronger, Leaner and More Equitable Workforce


As a response to the current economic and financial crises, reforming the public service is one of the main items on the political agenda in OECD countries.  Making the management of the public workforce more efficient, more effective and fairer is critical to the success of reforms. 


This report draws on the work of the OECD Public Employment and Management Network, and focuses on key areas which can contribute to the public workforce’s response to current and emerging public sector challenges.  Close attention is given to the quality of people management, strategic workforce planning and restructuring, competency management, and diversity policies. 

The key issue is seeing the public workforce as an asset towards economic recovery and growth, and not as a cost.


For further information visit our website at:


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