Political and Administrative Roles of the Office of the - org.un.

Political and Administrative Roles of the Office of the - org.un.

POLITICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ROLES OF THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN THE POLICY-MAKING PROCESS Martina Jalovecká Government Ad...

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POLITICAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE ROLES OF THE OFFICE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF THE CZECH REPUBLIC IN THE POLICY-MAKING PROCESS Martina Jalovecká

Government Advisor, Office of the Government Prague, Czech Republic

Abstract The Office of the Government of the Czech Republic (GO) has acquired its current structure and statute in the process of institutions’ building and shaping of politico-administrative relations in the early 90´s after the split of Czechoslovak federation and emergence of two new separate states. Its traditional position and relations with other central authorities are laid down in the basic Act on competencies, but actual tasks and requirements show different understanding of its role. One point of view reduces its role only to administrative service to the Government, the second one sees GO as the centre of governance with strong co-ordination power. In addition to that, the GO faces new challenges, namely in relation to EU membership. The current structure of GO indicates both points of view – there are lots of administrative units ensuring mainly a day-to-day agenda for weekly Government sessions and, on the other hand, there is a number of Government committees and councils which usually have an advisory role in the decision-making process and which are responsible for various horizontal agendas such as sustainable development, human rights etc. Moreover, another tendency can be observed consisting of replacing a cross-cutting agenda from a specific sectoral Ministries to the GO, e.g. regulatory reform. This paper describes the different role of the GO with the emphasis on the structure of the GO, its agendas and the position of the Head of the GO. The structure of the paper is based on the Research protocol for the Working Group I. Chapter 1:

The Constitutional order in the Czech Republic

Since the dissolution of the soviet bloc in the end of 1980s, Czechoslovakia as well as other post-communistic countries went through several essential society changes. In the beginning of 90's, it was important to establish democracy through transfer of state powers to democratic institutions and create a free market through implementation of an economic reform programme, rapid privatisation, deregulation and liberalisation of the foreign trade and domestic prices. In the late 90's the attention of the core executive was aimed at EU enlargement, the process of decentralisation and de-concentration, rebuilding of local self-government and other crucial questions. The institutional building process was launched in the 1990 and continued till 1992, when it was interrupted by the split of the federation. The division of the republic was reflected in the Constitution of the Czech Republic, which was adopted in the end of 1992 and came in force in 1st January 1993 (the Constitution Act No.1/1993 Coll.).1 The Constitution continued on the tradition of the first Czechoslovakia Republic (1918 – 1939). The Czech Republic stands on principals of the parliamentary democracy and the politico-administrative power is divided into legislative, executive and judicial power. The Parliament performs legislative power and is consisted of two Chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Senators. Chamber of Deputies is elected on the base of the principle of proportional representation. The Senate is elected according to the system of absolute majority. The Parliament plays the key role in the politico-administrative relations, because it is the only elected authority in the state. Thus, the position of the Government and the President is derived from the relations with the Parliament. The Chamber of Deputies counts 200 Deputies who are elected for a term of four years. The Senate has 81 Senators. They are elected for a term of six years, while one third of Senators is elected every two years. Executive power is divided between the President and the Government. The President is elected by both of the Chambers of the Parliament at their joint meeting. The Government consists of the Prime Minister (PM), Deputy Prime Minister (DPM)2 and Ministers. It is accountable the Chamber of Deputies from its activities. 1

The Chart of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms became a part of the Constitutional order as well. 2 There are not any rules, which would strictly say the number of the DPMs. The DPM is ordinarily the Minister of Finance, the Minister

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The independent courts exercise judicial power in the Czech Republic. There is a hierarchic system of courts, which is formed by district, regional and superior courts. The Constitutional Court is charged with the monitoring of the principles of a constitutional government. How far we talk about the political system, it is based on the free competition of political parties consolidated in the beginning of 1990s. After more than 40 years of a privilege position of the Communist party before 1989, there are 4 stable parties nowadays: Civil Democratic Party (ODS), Czech Social Democratic Party (ČSSD), Christian Democratic Union – Czech Folk Party (KDU-ČSL) and paradoxically the Communist Party of the Czech and the Moravia (KSČM), which has not undergone any major reforms. This brief description of the situation in the Czech Republic shows that the Czech Republic became a modern state standing on the democratic principals. The following text hereunder describes in details politicoadministrative relations at the central level. Chapter 2:

Formal powers and patterns of executive from a politico-administrative perspective

The politico-administrative relations in the Czech Republic we can divide into central and regional level. The system of the regional administration partly differs from the central administration, however, for the purpose of this project it will not be treated separately. On the central level there are following institutional actors: the President, the Government, The Parliament and Central State Administration Authorities. The relations among them are set up in the following documents: the Constitution Act; the Act No. 2/1969 Coll., on Establishment of Ministries and Other Central State Administration Authorities of the Czech Socialist Republic, as amended (so called Act on Competencies); the Government Rules of Procedure and the Legislative Rules of the Government. According the Constitution, relations between the President and the Parliament are following: Chamber of Deputies may be dissolved by the President. The President has also the right to attend meetings of both the Chambers of the Parliament, their Committees and Commissions. He shall be given the floor whenever he asks for it. On the contrary, the President is elected at a joint meeting of both the chambers of the Parliament. In the legislative process the President signs the laws adopted by the Parliament, however, he can apply ”the presidential veto”. The consequence of the presidential veto is the necessity to take a new vote on the returned law in the Chamber of Deputies, where the requirement of absolute majority is applied again. As it was mentioned the President and the Government share the executive power. The role of the President is given by the fact, that the Czech Republic is a parliamentary republic. Competencies of the President are divided into two groups: competencies that require a countersign by the PM or a member of the Government authorised by him (e. g. in Acts related to representation of the State externally, to negotiations and ratification of international treaties) and competencies that not require a countersign. In this case the main competency is to appoint and recall the PM and other members of the Government and accepts their resignation. Further the President has the right to attend meetings of the Government, to ask for reports from the Government and its members, and to discuss with the Government or its members the issues that are in their competence. The relations between the Government and the Parliament are set up by the fact, that the Government is accountable to the Chamber of Deputies from its activities. After being appointed by the President, the Government is obliged to ask for a vote of confidence in the Chamber of Deputies and it needs to have a confidence of the Chamber of Deputies for the whole term of its duration - the Chamber of Deputies may proceed to the vote of no confidence anytime later by absolute majority of Deputies. On the other hand, the Government itself may ask the Chamber of Deputies for a vote of confidence as well, potentially it may happen so when the Government e.g. binds such a proposal with the approval of a Draft law which it considers of Labour and Social Affaires and the Minister of Justice.

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to be the essential one according to Government Policy Statement. The President may enter to the relation between the Government and the Parliament at the moment if a thus appointed Government fails twice to acquire the confidence of the Chamber of Deputies. Then, the President appoints the PM on the basis of the proposal from the Chairman of the Chamber of Deputies. If even then the Government fails to obtain the vote of confidence, the President can dissolve the Chamber of Deputies. From the administrative point of view, there are very important relations between the Government and central state administration authorities on the one hand, and among central state administration authorities themselves. In the Czech Republic, there are altogether 27 central state administration authorities (15 Ministries and 12 Other Central Administration Authorities, including the Office of the Government). The Government stands in the head of the state administration system. The Government controls activities of the Ministries and Other Central State Administration Authorities and is responsible for the quality of approved laws and regulations. Therefore, the Government represents the main co-ordination point. The key document which governs the relations among central state administration authorities is the Act on Competencies. It describes in details the competencies of each Ministry and Other Central State Administration Authorities. In addition it determines co-ordination and co-operation among central state administration authorities and their reference to the Government. The role of central state administration authorities consists in preparation of policy documents and establishment of the general framework for functioning of individual areas of the society. In the head of each Ministry stands a Minister, who is a member of the Government. The appointment of the heads of Other Central State Administration Authorities differs according to a particular authority: some of them are appointed by the President, some of them are appointed by the Government. The heads of Other Central State Administration Authorities are not members of the Government. Concerning the management, the Ministries have usually a 4-level management - a Minister, a Deputy Minister, a Director of department, a Head of unit. Somewhere there is a post of a State Secretary. The structure of Other Central State Administration Authorities differs according to a particular authority. They usually have also 4level management – a Chairman, a Vice-Chairman, a Director of department and a Head of unit. The Civil Service Act which should have unified the structure of central state administration authorities, among others, was adopted in 2002; however it has not come in force yet. Policy making process3 is governed by the Government Rules of Procedure adopted by the Government Resolution. In addition to that, the legislative materials have to be prepared according to the Legislative Rules of the Government. The policy proposals as well as legislative documents are prepared by central state administration authorities or by the Government Assignee. The documents can be also prepared in co-operation among those authorities; however, a designated body is the principal authority responsible for the preparation. The inter-ministerial communication is described both in the Legislative Rules of the Government and Government Rules of Procedure. According to the Government Rules of Procedure, non-legislative documents as well as legislative documents must be sent for comments to all the Ministers, DPMs and the Head of the Office of the Government. The material is also sent to the PM’s Cabinet for information. The Heads of Other Central State Administration Authorities, the Ombudsman and/or heads of regional government will obtain the document for comments only if it relates to their agenda. If the document relates to the EU affairs, the above described inter-ministerial comment procedure can be 3 It includes namely preparation and adoption of strategies, concepts, regulations.

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replaced by the formal procedures set for the Government Committee for EU. This can happen only if any of the Committee members does not ask for standard inter-ministerial consultations. Chapter 3:

Impact of administrative traditions on institutions and patterns of behaviour

The role of state in the Czech Republic has been traditionally understood as an institution that ensures everything, what relates to the basic, sustainable and nationwide meaning. During the formation of the modern Czech history, this role had been particularly changing. In the period of the first Czechoslovakia Republic4 (so called the First Republic), the role of state was perceived as the institution which represents public interests through the different democracy institutions. In this period there was a very strong position of the first Czechoslovak president – T. G. Masaryk. It was caused by the fact, that he was so-called the president liberator and the public perceived him as a symbol of democracy principals. But it is also true, that the state sphere was, to a certain extent, separated from the civil society and state institutions tended to be staffed by civil service elite. But this might be caused by the heritage of Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, which Czechs and Slovaks were part, because the administrative system was nearly completely inherited in the new republic, thus with positive and negative patterns of behaviour too. After the Second World War, the power in the state was taken by the Communistic Party (in 1948) who established the communist regime with a one-party system. Later, the republic was transformed into a federal state of Czechs and Slovaks, namely in 1969. During the forty years of the communist regime, the role of the state was considerably strengthened in contrary to the First Republic. Almost all activities of citizens were directly or indirectly under the control of the state through the system of institutions linked to the communist party or associations linked to it – the existence of ‘autonomous’ (meaning independent from the regime) organizations was suppressed. On the other hand, the state guaranteed a wide spectrum of services – e.g. health care, education, and entertainment. The economy was centrally managed and, at least in statistics, no unemployment officially existed. As a natural consequence of such a system citizens in their everyday life got accustomed to the omnipresence of the state and they continue to perceive the state as a main provider of services. Regarding the heavy transformation of the political system after the fall of the communist regime, the split of the federation and the regional reform of the administration in the late 1990, we can speak about a stabilised politico-administrative system. The different role of the state relates to the left or right political orientations of the citizens. After 1989 the citizens naturally declared rather right-wing orientation within the political spectrum as a long experience from the rule of the only left party. After 1989, they expected changes in the attitudes of politics, in the perception of their life and needs. But the building of a democratic system had not brought immediately changes in all sectors of the society and some kind of disillusion shortly appeared in the beginning of 1990’s as e.g. the results of privatisation were not so successful as it was declared, bankrupts of banks occurred and so on. The citizens showed their discontent with the right-wing policy and political parties responsible for the transformation process in the Czech Republic in 1998 and 2002, when the Czech Social Democratic Party won the parliamentary elections. The state power is emanating from citizens through political parties, the Parliament, the Government as a collective body, lobby groups, non-governmental organisations and other kinds of groups. In this case we talk about participative democracy or decision-making process. But the participation of these groups is not managed by any rules and control. The members of the Government are subordinated to the political will of minister’s party and Government is overtly politicised. Missing transparency in the decision-making process has possible the existence of the dominant clientele groups and creates the fields for corruption. Taking into account egalitarian versus hierarchical tendencies, the Czech Republic applies rather the aspects of egalitarianism. However the Czech history was close connected with aristocracy, thus hierarchy, the Constitution of the First Republic suppressed the use of aristocracy titles which were perceived just as a symbol 4 The First Republic hold from 1918 to 1938.

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of hierarchy of society. In the Constitution of 1921 it was also included the general voting right which should ensure the equality of citizens in the decision-making process. The features of egalitarianism were misinterpreted during the communistic period, because the working class were preferred and glorified at the expense of another classes. The political parties’ pluralism was also broken. The Communistic Party had an extraordinary position and powers in the state and her members had a lot of advantages contrary the rest of society. These unequal conditions were laid down in the Constitution. Nowadays, in the Czech Republic, the egalitarianism assumes equal starting positions and does not accept any formal advantage. The key aspects of egalitarianism are included in the Chart of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms. Moreover, e.g. in the case of the protection of the free market competition, there is the Office for Security of Economic Competition which is in charge of monitoring and controlling. Other example is the aspect of equal opportunities for men and women. In the Czech Republic, there is the Government Council for equal opportunities on the one hand and, on the other there is the obligation to assess the impact to equal opportunities for men and women in the proposal of legislative and non-legislative documents. According the Constitution, the Czech Republic is based on the will of the majority. But the rights of minority must be respected and protected in common with the values of solidarity. Generally, the community achieves synergy in the questions of health care and ensuring of old people. The solidarity also appears regarding e.g. nature catastrophes as floods. According the brief description, we can say that the Czech Republic belongs among countries with the individualist attitudes and state centred administrative traditions. At last, but not least, it will be mentioned how and if is the Czech Republic affected by the features of (New) Public Management. It can be demonstrated on the example of central state administration reform the best. In 2002 – 2003 there was realised the twinning project Modernisation of the Central State Administration in the Czech Republic financed by the EU Phare Fund in which Finish and French experts participated. The general aim of the project was to increase efficiency and performance of the central state administration through the performance management and performance budgeting, strategic management, project management, Total Quality Management and other tools and methods, building of strategic capacity of central state administration authorities etc. The recommendations were reflected in the Government concept of central state administration reform (the Government Resolution No. 237 of 17th March 2004). Nowadays the citizens, the experts and politics require from the public administration and its authorities higher quality of providing public services, to be more flexible and cheaper. In this connection the public administration of the Czech Republic faces new challenges. The inspiration in private sector is very popular and it very often appears as the issue in the conferences. On the other hand side there are experts which do not agree with the implementation of methods from the private sector to the public administration. Their key argument is that public administration is a particular system because of its mission and practice applied from the private sector would jeopardize the public interests. At least, in the Czech Republic the state power is divided between central and local level. The local selfgovernment has been re-created within the local public administration reform in the late 90s´. In the Czech Republic is applied the so-called join model of public administration. It means that municipalities and regions exercise in addition to their own competences also the state administration in delegated competence5. In the last few years the powers of the local self-government grow up. It is supported by the fact that the Government delegated a lot of important competencies to local public authorities. Moreover the local self-government has better tools for defending the citizens’ interests and it is easier to find out the attitudes of its habitants. Chapter 4:

Politico-administrative role of the Centre of the Government in the Czech Republic

The centre of the Government in the Czech Republic can be identified within ”The Office of the Government” (hereinafter the abbreviations ”GO”). From the institutional point of view the GO belongs to the Other Central 5 In the Czech Republic there are 14 regions and about 6244 municipalities.

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State Administration Authorities. Its competencies are set up in the Act on Competencies mentioned above. It means, among others, that GO is not subordinated to any member of the Government. The GO was promoted to its capacity of the central state administration authority only recently, namely through the Civil Service Act (Act No. 218/2002 Coll., on the Service of Civil Servants in the Authorities and on the Remuneration for the Servants and Other Employees in the Authorities). However, this Act still has not come into force yet (the date of efficiency has been shifted repeatedly, now the date is set for the 1st January 2007). The main reason for promoting the GO was the proposed establishment of the General Directorate of Civil Service at the GO which should manage State Secretaries in all the administrative authorities as the highest non-politically appointed civil service’s rank. Concerning the Act of Competencies the GO is responsible mainly for administrative-technical tasks in support of the Government as a whole. In context of the Act, the GO is very often perceived only as an administrative authority responsible for organisation of the work of the Government and its sessions. Unfortunately, this perception of the GO does not differ from the fact which refers mainly to its function of the secretariat of the Government. Nevertheless, the current position of GO, at least in some regards, has partly evaluated since the communistic period. In spite of the fact that the co-ordination role of the GO is not primary emphasised in the Act on Competencies, it has been laid down in several Government Resolutions. There has been also an increasing need of existence of the centre responsible for co-ordination and monitoring of all government policies in order to make the diverse policy activity of individual ministries and agencies effective and coherent. The current trends in agendas which the GO must ensure (e. g. Better Regulation, EU) serve as an example of this evolution. In details they are treated below. The Research project point of view, the GO of the Czech Republic has the features of the collegial, politically and administratively segmented cabinet. The Government of the Czech Republic, as mentioned above, is the collegial body. It means that Ministers participate as equals and focus primarily on making co-ordinated policy decisions at the name of the whole cabinet. They are acting de facto as a coherent team. However, Ministers usually do not intervene into the each other’s areas. This proves e. g. the Government Programme Declaration, which has to be presented to the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament when a newly formed government asks for vote of confidence. The document is more or less a compilation of submissions presented by individual Ministries. But the final wording of the document is prepared by the PM’s Department of Advisors. This can, and in many cases it did, jeopardize the consistence and coherence of the Government Programme Declaration. Simultaneously we can speak about politically segmented Cabinet. The division of posts in the Government results from a coalition treaty signed by parties which decided to form a Government after parliamentary elections. The political party’s results in the election understandably provide for its relative ‘strength’ within the coalition Government and what subsequently influence the ‘attractiveness’ of Ministries that the party obtains. Concerning the management of Ministries, the orientation of a particular Ministry is considerably influenced by the political orientation and preferences of a concrete person charged with its leading. In order to provide for some ‘balance’, the experience shows that the posts of Deputy Ministers in a particular Ministry are quite often assigned to other representatives of coalition parties – mainly belonging to the strongest party within the coalition government who tends by this measure to guarantee at least some control over Ministries ‘distributed’ to its weaker coalition partners. The GO of the Czech Republic has partly the feature of administratively segmented cabinet, because Ministers started to develop their own support structures and internal hierarchies of decision-making. The PM has rather weak real powers in co-ordination administratively and politically, because his position is equal to position of other member of the Government. In the decision making process it depends on the personality of PM, thus on her informal power. However, the system of decision-making process in the Czech Republic shows some weaknesses, it has also

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a number of important positive features that can form a solid basis for building a modern, efficient system of collective decision-making process. In the beginning of this paper, it was mentioned that the Government represents the main co-ordination point. The basic instrument which helps the Government to fulfil this role is the Government Rules of Procedure and the Legislative Rules of the Government. These rules set out a method of preparation of materials for the Government by Ministries and Other Central Administration Authorities. The GO is leaded by the Head of the GO who is politically appointed on condition of the consent expressed by the Government. The political and administrative influence of the Head of the GO can be compared to that one of the heads of Other Central Administrative Authorities. However, there are some considerable differences. Firstly, her position and powers are affected by her relation to the PM. The Head of the GO is usually chosen from the close collaborators of the PM.6 On the other hand, as the recent historical event shows, it is impossible to appoint anyone as the Head of the GO - in 2004 the PM Stanislav Gross choose for the position of the Head of the GO Mr. Přibyl, who served in police brigades participating before 1989 in repressions of civilian population taking part in demonstration against the communist regime. Despite the fact the Government approved his appointment (what can be used as an evidence of the decisive role of PM in this choice), the public started almost immediately to protest against this appointment. It shows that the GO is perceived as the centre of Government in the Czech Republic and the Head of GO as rather a political position and, therefore, a sensitive issue. Secondly, as opposed to the heads of Other Central Administrative Authorities the Head of the GO is responsible for Government sessions. She provides a support to the Government, particularly to PM, which is the Chair of the meetings. The details will be mentioned concerning the description of the Government Agenda department. The Head of GO also participates in informal consultation meetings with PM before the Government session. These meetings (so-called ”Preparation of the Government session”) are called by PM and in order to discus the current programme and to summarize policy proposals which the Head of the GO submits. The submission of policy proposals enables the Head of the GO to participate in the policy making process. But there are some factors which reduce this power in comparison with the members of the Government: she has no right to vote and the support for her policy proposals from PM is not always guaranteed. It means, the Head of the GO can submit policy proposals to the Government and present them during Government sessions, yet she does not take part in decision-making. It was only once when the position of the Head of GO was strengthened. During the government of the PM Miloš Zeman (1998 – 2002) the position of the Head of the GO was affiliated to the position of the Minister without Portfolio - it means this position was identified with all the powers which the Minister position amounts - and with the strong support of the PM Zeman, as well. The support structure of the GO demonstrates several things: 1) The GO provides the Government as a collective body with the service. 2) Simultaneously, the GO partly serves as the office for the PM, because he has not an own office. 3) The GO also serves to some members of the Government, especially DPMs. Regarding the agenda of the GO, it is necessary to distinguish agendas directly subordinated under the Head of the GO and members of the Government whose seat is at the GO. Nowadays, the Head of the GO is responsible for the administrative and technical agenda, regulatory reform, central state administration reform and management of human resources. Units that perform functions of internal management and administration (e. g. internal audit, personal questions, and budget) of the GO are also subordinated to the Head of the GO. The administrative and technical agenda is ensured by the Department for Government Agenda. Its mission is to provide service to the Government regarding the Government session: create the plan of non-legislative tasks, control the filling tasks, and distribute documents that are going to be discussed during the particular session 6 In the current election period is evident that the stability on the position of the head of the GO is directly proportional of the stability of the Government. The Czech Government has been changed for three times during regular 4 years election period. Each Government appointed itself head of the GO. During the PM Stanislav Gross govern it was even twice.

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to the members of the Government, recording the Government session and public the Government Resolution on the web site of the GO. Further the department is responsible for methodical leading of central state administration authorities and co-ordinating creation of the plan of non-legislative tasks. Since 2005 the policy making process is supported by an electronically system, so-called eKLEP and eVláda. This system has an ambitious goal – to unify and make more effective the policy making process in the Czech Republic. That is why, it is laid down in the Governments Rules of Procedures and the Legislative Rules of the Government. The Administrative Section is charged with this agenda and it is directly subordinated to the Head of the GO. The agenda of central state administration reform was approved by the Government Resolution in 2004. Regarding this resolution, on its basis the Government decided that this cross cutting agenda exceeds the competences of sectoral Ministries and it should be under direction and co-ordination of the GO. In this case, there was established the Department for Regulatory Reform and Central State Administration Reform in 2004. This department also co-ordinates activities related to the regulatory reform in the Czech Republic. This agenda was originally in charge of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The PM´s Cabinet is a part of the GO. It consists of the Unit of Protocol, the Department of Advisors, the Department of Public Relations and the National Security Council of the Czech Republic. The capacity for policy advice is in the Department of Advisors of PM. The staff of the Department are experts in various fields of policy who are chosen on the basis of both knowledge and political sympathy, and they will leave their posts when the government changes. The Advisors control especially the fulfilment of Government Programme Declaration, prepare PM on the Government sessions, make policy analyses etc. But they do not provide substantive policy co-ordination for the Government as a whole. Moreover, they are political appointees with limited function period that is why they are not able to guarantee the continuity of the policy making process. According to the SIGMA review (2000), the size and variety of policy advisers at the PM´s Cabinet seems to be adequate. The main task of the Department of Public Relations is to mediate information about activities of the Government to the public, media etc. Despite the fact it should serve to inform about the policy of the Government as a whole, it is currently subordinated to PM. At present, the GO provides an administrative support to four members of the Government – 3 DPMs and the Minister without Portfolio. Two of DPMs are administratively assisted by their own ”home” ministries – the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Labour and Social Affaires. In case of the last one – DPM for economic - the whole administration under his management is located at the GO, as in the case of the Minister without Portfolio and the Chair of Legislative Council. As the last few years have shown, the configuration of members of the Government assisted in administrative affairs by the GO can change over time, and every such a change has placed new requirements for changes in the structure of the GO. Generally, the DPMs have the responsibility for co-ordination among Ministers within their respective sectors – usually economic and social affairs. Their second role consists of responsibility for one or more Councils or Commissions. Paradoxically, DPMs very often are provided with an administrative support only from the GO for their tasks relating to chairmanship of Councils and Commissions, but almost without support for their coordination responsibilities. The Government Committees and Councils usually have an advisory role in the policy-making process. These bodies were created mostly ad hoc in the past until 2002 when general rules unifying structure and rules of procedures were created7. The Legislative Council of the Government and the Economic Council of the Government deserve a special attention. 7 These rules should be improved in the framework of the Central State Administration Reform

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The Legislative Council of the Government is chaired by the Minister without Portfolio which is responsible for legislation and deals with and co-ordinates legislative activities of the Government. The Economic Council of the Government has been established quite recently. It is chaired by the DPM for Economic. Its members are the economic Ministers (Minister of Finance, Minister of Industry and Trade) as well as economic advisors of the Prime Minister; there are also observers, such as the Governor of the Czech National Bank, Head of the Czech Statistical Office, etc., and guests from both chambers of the Parliament. The main role of the Council is in co-ordination of the Government Economic Policy and important policies and tools supporting this Policy. There are many other councils and committees responsible for various horizontal agendas such as sustainable development, human rights, Roma community affairs, minorities, business environment simplification etc. Some of them have their official ”seat” and secretariat in the GO, others are placed in the Ministries (those chaired by a specific sectoral Minister). Even though their function should be co-ordinating in some cases, they are more or less used for preparation of concrete measures or policies as a part of their agenda and not for co-ordination of others. At present, there are 11 Councils and 2 Committee in the GO. Finally, it will be briefly mentioned the situation about civil servants and carrier system. In the Czech Republic on the central level there is an absence of legal distinction between political appointments and civil servants. This absence undermines professionalism of the staff and encourages civil servants to be politically focused and discourages them from being responsive to cross-cutting and medium term objectives. It was also mentioned above, that the Civil Service Act has not come in force yet. It is important to remark that the Act should stabilize the staff, create conditions for their neutrality, define their rights and duties and create a comprehensive education system. The new elected Government and the Parliament, among the others, should make a decision about the future of the Civil Service Act, particularly when it should come in force in 1st January of 2007. Conclusion The system of decision-making in the Czech Republic has a number of important positive features that can form a solid basis for building a modern, efficient system of collective decision-making. There are basic rules for horizontal co-ordination of inter-ministerial activities within preparation of legislative and non-legislative proposals for the Government (the Government Rules of Procedure, the Legislative Rules of the Government). Furthermore, the Government is supported by an orderly process of preparation of its meetings by the Government Agenda Department. There is also the support to PM, especially advisors who can brief and prepare PM for Government sessions as well as for many other PM activities. Some positive trends we can notice in the co-ordination role of the GO too. Nowadays the GO is responsible for co-ordination of the regulatory reform in the Czech Republic, central state administration reform and co-ordination, implementation and monitoring of some activities within EU agenda (e. g. Lisbon strategy). But generally, in the context of the ongoing central state administration reform in the Czech Republic, it is noticeable, in the light of various criteria, that the GO in its present form rather performs administrative functions while its co-ordination role lacks any systemic basis. The transformation of position and powers of the GO has not been done yet. But challenges related to EU membership, new agendas etc. are opportunities for strengthening the co-ordination role of the GO, and thus bring the GO closer to standard government offices in developed democracies. References Act No. 2/1969 Coll., on Establishment of Ministries and Other Central State Administration Authorities of the Czech Socialist Republic, as amended (so called Act on Competencies) Brusis, M. and Dimitrov, V. (2001) ”Executive configuration and fiscal performance in post-communist central and eastern Europe”, In: Journal of European Public Policy, 8:6 December, pp. 888 - 910 Constitution Act No.1/1993 Coll.

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Goetz, K. H. and Wollmann, H. (2001) ”Governmentalizing central executives in post-communist Europe: a four-country comparison”, In: Journal of European Public Policy, 8:6 December, pp. 864 – 887 Government Resolution No. 237/2004, Process and the Main Directions of the Modernisation and Reform of the Central State Administration, including Settlement of Responsibility and Organisational Arrangement Government Resolution No. 610/1998, Government Rules of Procedure Government Resolution No. 188/1998, Legislative Rules of the Government OECD (2001) Government capacity for high quality regulation in the Czech Republic. OECD, Paris. OECD (2003) Public Sector Modernisation: A New Agenda. OECD, Paris. OECD (2004) Public Sector Modernisation: Changing role of the centre. OECD, Paris. OECD (2004a) A Comparative Analysis of Government Offices in OECD Countries. OECD, Paris. Pomahač, R. and Vidláková, O. (2002) Veřejná správa. C.H.Beck. Praha. Potůček, M. a kol. (2005). Veřejná politika. Sociologické nakladatelství (SLON). Praha Public administration in the Czech Republic (2004). Ministry of Interior of the Czech Republic, Prague SIGMA (2004) Coordination at the Centre of Government: The Functions and Organization of the Government Office. SIGMA Paper No. 35 2004 [cit:2005-02-15] SIGMA (2004a) Policy-making & Co-ordination at the centre of Government. Update. No. 5 [cit:2005-03-02] Sedláček, V. (2005). The role of government offices in selected OECD countries – An analysis of central state administration coordination models. Office of the Government. Prague Zubek, R. (2001) ”A core in check: the transformation of the Polish core executive”, In: Journal of European Public Policy, 8:6 December, pp. 911 – 932.

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