SIGMA 25 years


Creating Change Together - In my Lifetime

Celebrating 25 years


2017 sees the 25th anniversary of SIGMA, the result of a successful long-term partnership between the OECD and the European Union (EU). In that period, SIGMA has developed into a recognised centre of excellence of public administration reform (PAR) and has worked with more than 30 partner countries to help them to establish professional public administrations, effective financial management and economic development.

SIGMA assists countries in planning and delivering their priority reforms through bi-lateral technical assistance projects, regional events and horizontal initiatives to support the European Commission (EC) in further developing its focus on PAR, including public financial management. Drawing on all of its experience and with senior advisors who have all worked in their own national public administration, SIGMA worked closely with the EC in 2014 to develop the Principles of Public Administration, to provide countries with a tangible framework for what a good public administration should look like and what they should strive for, to better serve their citizens and businesses.

Throughout SIGMA’s 25th year we will be showcasing the Principles and how they impact on people’s lives. The characters above represent people at different stages of their lives and they each will explain the relevance of a good public administration for them.




An accountable government explains the reasons for its activities, accepts responsibility for them and reports on results in a transparent manner. It uses websites to proactively disclose information and if citizens or businesses want to know more, they may access the relevant information easily and at no cost. Any exemptions to this transparency should be rare and based in law; a designated authority oversees whether information is provided when requested.  

An effective and efficient public administration is organised in a rational way. Ministries and agencies need well-defined roles, easily understandable by all, with simple lines of responsibility in place within and between institutions. In addition, clear objectives and reporting obligations help managers focus on results.

To ensure an effective system of checks and balances, independent institutions actively help citizens and businesses to exercise their right to hold the administration accountable: the Ombudsman protects their human rights, the Supreme Audit Institution makes sure their taxes are spent wisely, while administrative judges ensure that they are treated fairly in administrative disputes.

Finally, if public authorities act unlawfully or in cases of wrongdoing, citizens or businesses who have suffered damages are able to seek a fair solution or ultimately can go to court and obtain compensation. 


For more characters, please click here.

 What is accountability?

Credit to the TEN network and WeBER project

Wall of quotes


 For the complete wall of quotes, click here.

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