Increasing the efficiency of public administration: goals not met because of insufficient coordination; errors amounted to CZK 226 million

PRESS RELEASE on Audit No. 14/15 – June 29, 2015

The Supreme Audit Office scrutinized funds, which were used to improve the efficiency of the public administration. For that purpose, Smart Administration Strategy was developed, which also aimed at improving the socioeconomic development and quality of life in the Czech Republic. Auditors scrutinized the Strategy´s adjustment and management processes as well as its achievements. Auditors scrutinized the Human Resources and Employment Operational Programme and selected eight individual projects worth CZK 230 million in total, which were implemented within the period 2007-2014. Audited projects intended to establish project offices and an informational system about projects included into Smart Administration Strategy. The projects were supposed to help achieve a working strategic management of projects in public administration. Instead, various methodologies were issued, which had no or only little positive impact on the public administration´s effectiveness. The auditing operation was carried out at the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, and the Office of the Government of the Czech Republic.

The Ministry of the Interior was the first guarantor of Smart Administration Strategy but failed to specify target objectives and the state of the public administration, which should have been achieved by 2015. This is why it was not possible to sufficiently evaluate the Strategy´s achievements. Auditors selected eight individual projects and scrutinized which objectives had been met. Seven out of the eight selected projects did not help improve the efficiency or decrease the costs of the public administration as they did not meet their objectives at all. The SAO concluded that the funds in the amount of CZK 226.6 million were not utilized purposefully, which violated the budgetary regulations.

The Ministry of the Interior did not provide sufficient information about projects that aimed at making the public administration more effective, and failed to create an informational system, which would contain all data about the projects including the evaluation of partial achievements related to Smart Administration Strategy. As a result, the Ministry lacked a reliable evidential basis for the Strategy´s supervision and evaluation. The SAO emphasized the seriousness of the fact that projects did not aim at particular goals before their implementation started as their individual objectives were defined retroactively. It is obvious that strong connections between projects and the Strategy´s goals need to be established.

The inter-ministerial coordination of Smart Administration Strategy was not working. Several supervisory authorities were1 successively designated, but their competences varied during the programming period and no supervising functions were performed. In 2014, the supervisory authority was disbanded and two fresh committees were established by the Government for the up-coming programming period2. The SAO recommends that further efforts into making the public administration more effective should involve improved communication between the newly assigned governmental authorities and better coordination of all interested subjects.

Making the public administration more effective is necessary in order to increase the competitiveness of the Czech economy. According to 2013 Global Competitiveness Report elaborated by the World Economic Forum, the Czech Republic ranked 47th among 148 countries in the assessment of competitiveness, which means a drop by 18 positions since 2006. The Forum pointed out that the institutional environment was among the weakest evaluated areas. When compared with other countries, the Czech Republic placed 86th in this area and dropped by 26 positions since 2006. The World Economic Forum particularly detects the existing corruption and highly ineffective bureaucracy of the government as problematic factors.

Communication Department

Supreme Audit Office

1) The Association for Public Administration; the Government Council for Competitiveness and Informational Society

2) The Government Council for Public Administration; the Government Council for Competitiveness and Informational Society

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