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.

PFM character

Public financial management


Public financial management is a central component of public administration reform. An active strategic framework of reforms needs projections based on realistic finances in order to attain the desired economic and social policy objectives to benefit its citizens and businesses.

Sound management of public finances is essential as the government sets the trends for public and private investments. Cash and debt management, and the reporting of financial data, must be monitored, transparent and based on reliable information, including public procurement, where practices need to be particularly clear and honest to avoid corruption.

Robust public financial management systems need to be implemented in all the elements of the budget cycle, including internal and external audits. A well-functioning internal audit is independent and objective. It provides assurance and advice, which adds value and improves an organisation’s operation. Furthermore, to strengthen the accountability of a government and public sector entities in general, scrutiny from an independent and professional Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) is essential.

Once implemented and visible, these high standards of public financial management create a greater level of trust amongst citizens towards their governments.

Creating a vision and choosing a direction

Strategic framework of public administration reform


In PAR, a strategic framework embodies the vision a government has for the development of an effective public administration in their country. PAR is a critical horizontal reform area because it provides the foundation for all other policies to be built on.

Strategic planning is needed to create an ambitious but achievable roadmap for implementing policies in every sector of government. These policies should translate ideas and priorities into clear objectives. Institutions should be tasked with realising them, the necessary resources allocated for successful implementation and performance indicators established to measure achievements.

An effective strategic framework will allow a government to prioritise within and between different sectors, to make difficult choices in order to forge a citizen-focused administration and a balanced budget for their countries, for years to come.

Citizens want to see a brighter future become a reality. For this to happen, governments need to have clear direction and leadership. Goals must be set and systems transformed so that citizens and businesses can see benefits today, as well as longer-term results.



What is public financial management and a strategic framework in public administration reform?

 Credit to the TEN network and WeBER project

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