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Public Administration and Non-governmental Organisations - Opportunities for Cooperation

Year: 2004
Financed by:  The Soros Foundation-Latvia; Open Society Institute Justice Initiative Program; JI; Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative; LGI
The study has been prepared as part of PROVIDUS Public Policy Fellowship Program
Language:  English, Latvian

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Year: 2004
Financed by:  The Soros Foundation-Latvia; Open Society Institute Justice Initiative Program; JI; Local Government and Public Service Reform Initiative; LGI
The study has been prepared as part of PROVIDUS Public Policy Fellowship Program
Language:  English, Latvian

The goals of the study are:

1)     to analyze current practice and cooperation models for cooperation between government ministries and public organizations;

2)     to recommend policy initiatives aimed at implementation of an effective and fair participation mechanism.

Policy toward public participation is in its development stage in Latvia.  There is reason to be concerned that policy is being made without consideration of all legitimate interests.  The result is that many policy decisions do not enjoy the support of the parts of society which they affect. Their trust in government has declined, and as a result, some refuse to participate in the implementation of government decisions.  If nothing is done to secure a balance of influence in policymaking, the scales could systematically tip in favor of the better-organized interest groups.  

The legal basis and policy documents that deal with participation indicate that Latvia's policymakers are well aware of the need for involvement of the public and non-governmental organizations.  Legal provisions urge ministry officials to consider different views on a subject.  However, a few amendments to Cabinet regulations and instructions would clarify the duties of public officials and reduce the number of cases where there are no consultations during the drafting of policy. 

An analysis of ministry practice shows that

  • ministries have had different experience with cooperation
  • cooperation is frequently dependent on the good will of a concrete official,
  • there are problems connected with communication
  • responsibility for consultations is not clearly defined.
  • resources are limited and
  • Experience with how to consult civil society is in its first stages of development. 

The study recommends measures that would help to improve current practice. These include: solutions such as clear determination of departmental responsibility for consultation procedures, coordination of information among ministries, choice of adequate communication channels for cooperation with public organizations. When analyzing forms or public participation during the drafting of various types of policy documents, special emphasis is placed on achieving maximum effect with expedient use of ministry and NGO resources.  The study also recommends a number of solutions that should be considered in an e-administration context.  Databases, mailing lists and consultation management programs would make it possible for ministry officials to save time and improve communication with non-governmental organizations.

 Public Administration and NGOs - Opportunities for Cooperation (637.16 KB)

 Public Administration and Non-governmental Organisations - Opportunities for Cooperation (in Latvian) (637.50 KB)

 

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