European Association for Public Administration Accreditation

II. Working Group on Public Sector Quality

WG Programme Coordinators:
Leslie Eliason
, Graduate School of International Policy Studies, Monterey Institute of International Studies, USA (2003-4:  Center for Policy Studies, CEU, Budapest)
E-mail: leliason@miis.edu or lceliason@yahoo.com
Katarina Staronova, Open Society Foundation Slovakia
E-mail: katka@osf.sk

NISPAcee Project Manager:

Viera Wallnerova, Email: wallnerova@nispa.org

Theme 2004:
“Public Sector Quality in Policy Making: quality of policy analysis, research, expertise, and citizen consultation in decision-making and implementation.”


The Working Group on Public Sector Quality throughout its existence since 1999 has discussed the basic principles of quality in public administration. Among the issues addressed by this working group have been: the promotion and measurement of quality in public administration;  the role of public consultation and e-government in improving the quality of service delivery, and finally how to assess the quality of public governance.  The working group intends to shift its focus from the quality of service delivery to the policy making processes, notably to the quality of the preparation of policies as a prerequisite for ensuring quality public services.

Call for Papers

Establishing principles, institutions and procedures of good governance is one of the greatest challenges facing both western democracies and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (“CEE”). This challenge includes the development of professional policy making. The concept of ‘good governance’ – not readily translatable in most of the languages in the CEE region – has become increasingly associated with the capacity to develop and deliver public policies based on participatory principles as well as respecting the principles of effectiveness and efficiency. In other words, professional and high quality public policy making is transparent and open to broad societal participation but, at the same time, addresses societal problems timely and with a minimum waste of available resources.

In most countries in Europe, there is not a coherent modernizing agenda in relation to quality policy making and policy capacity development – indeed, sometimes there is not even a clear modernizing agenda at all. However, a number of themes can be identified, each of which is important in a number of European countries. We would, therefore, particularly like to invite papers which combine conceptual and empirical research on the issues described below.

Papers presenting single case studies or comparative, policy-relevant empirical research on how to improve quality of policy making in the good governance perspective in western democracies, CEE and the NIS are sought by this working group. This includes studies that identify significant obstacles to effective policy-making; factors that may help or hinder the development and implementation of effective policies at the national, regional or local level or the contingent conditions that encourage or hinder effective policy implementation. To what extent do policy-makers, including elected officials and civil servants, make use of policy analysis, policy relevant research, experts and consultants, and/or citizen participation or consultation? What impact has EU accession (or the pursuit of EU accession) had on policy-making and public administration at the national, regional or local level?  Has the accession process helped or hindered the improvement of public administration and policy-making in the member states, accession states and states outside of the accession process?  We hope that a range of papers drawing on the empirical experience in a variety of countries and at various levels of government will provide a valuable basis for accumulating our current knowledge about the range of variation and factors contributing to or hindering the improvement of policy-making and implementation.

We are calling for two sorts of papers.  First, we are seeking evaluations/analyses of the quality of the policy making process or one of its stages (policy analysis, public participation in decision making, etc.) that assess the performance or demonstrate progress in policy making. Second, we are seeking studies that provide suggestions for the improvement in how public officials are educated and trained to respond to the challenges of evidence-based and participatory policy making with practical examples and recommendations of how such training and education might be improved.

Discussions of the working group will be organized around five sub-topics:

  1. The impact of  EU accession on the quality of national policy making
  2. Evaluation of the quality of the policy making process and its individual phases
  3. Monitoring the performance of civil servants and other stakeholders in the development and implementation of the policies
  4. Training as a tool to improve the quality of policy making and policy making capacity (assessment of methods, main approaches)
  5. Decentralization and the quality of policy making on local and regional levels
Research guidelines:
 view webpage or  download .doc file