Detailed presentation of the Principles of public administration for EU candidate countries and potential candidates (SIGMA 2014)



Strategic framework of public administration reform


Key requirement: The leadership of public administration reform is established and the strategic framework provides the basis for implementing prioritised and sequenced reform activities aligned with the Government's financial circumstances.

Principle 1: The Government has developed an enacted an effective public administration reform agenda that addresses key challenges.

Principle 2: Public administration reform is purposefully implemented; reform outcome targets are set and regularly monitored.

Principle 3: Financial sustainability of public administration reform is ensured.

Key requirement: Public administration reform management enables guiding and steering reforms, determines the accountability for implementation and ensures the professional administration needed for reform implementation.

Principle 4: Public administration reform has robust and functioning co-ordination structures at both the political and administrative level to steer and manage the reform design and implementation process.

Principle 5: One leading institution has the responsibility and capacity to manage the reform process; involved institutions have clear accountability and reform implementation capacity.


Policy development and co-ordination

Key requirement: Centre of government institutions fulfil all functions critical to a well-organised, consistent and competent policy making system.

Principle 1: Centre of government institutions fulfil all functions critical to a well-organised, consistent and competent policy making system.

Principle 2: Clear horizontal procedures for governing the national European integration process are established and enforced under the co-ordination of the responsible body.

Key requirement: Policy planning is harmonised, aligned with the Government's financial circumstances and ensures the Government is able to achieve its objectives.

Principle 3: Harmonised medium-term policy planning, with clear whole-of-government objectives, exists and is aligned with the financial circumstances of the Government; sector policies meet the Government objectives and are consistent with the medium-term budgetary framework.

Principle 4: A harmonised medium-term planning system for all processes relevant to European integration exists and is integrated into domestic policy planning.

Principle 5: Regular monitoring of the Government’s performance enables public scrutiny and ensures that the Government is able to achieve its objectives.

Key requirement: Government decisions and legislation are transparent, legally compliant and accessible to the public; the work of the Government is scrutinised by the Parliament.

Principle 6: Government decisions are prepared in a transparent manner and based on the administration’s professional judgement; the legal conformity of the decisions is ensured.

Principle 7: The Parliament scrutinises government policy making.

Key requirement: Inclusive, evidence-based policy and legislative development enables the achievement of intended policy objectives.

Principle 8: The organisational structure, procedures and staff allocation of the ministries ensure that developed policies and legislation are implementable and meet Government objectives.

Principle 9: The European integration procedures and institutional set-up form an integral part of the policy development process and ensure systematic and timely transposition of the acquis.

Principle 10: The policy making and legal drafting process is evidence-based and impact assessment is regularly used across ministries.

Principle 11: Policies and legislation are designed in an inclusive manner that enables the active participation of society and allows for co-ordinating perspectives within the Government.

Principle 12: Legislation is consistent in structure, style, and language; legal drafting requirements are applied consistently across ministries; legislation is made publicly available.


Public service and human resource management

Key requirement: The scope of public service is clearly defined and applied in practice so that the policy and legal framework and institutional set-up for professional public service is in place.

Principle 1: The scope of public service is adequate, clearly defined and applied in practice.

Principle 2: The policy and legal framework for a professional and coherent public service is established and applied in practice; the institutional set-up enables consistent and effective human resource management practices across the public service.

Key requirement: Professionalism of public service is ensured by good managerial standards and human resource management practices.

Principle 3: The recruitment of public servants is based on merit and equal treatment in all its phases; the criteria for demotion and termination of public servants are explicit.

Principle 4: Direct or indirect political influence on senior managerial positions in the public service is prevented.

Principle 5: The remuneration system of public servants is based on the job classification; it is fair and transparent.

Principle 6: The professional development of public servants is ensured; this includes regular training, fair performance appraisal, and mobility and promotion based on objective and transparent criteria and merit.

Principle 7: Measures for promoting integrity, and preventing corruption and ensuring discipline in the public service are in place.



Key requirement: Proper mechanisms are in place to ensure accountability of state administration bodies, including liability and transparency.

Principle 1: The overall organisation of central government is rational, follows adequate policies and regulations and provides for appropriate internal, political, judicial, social and independent accountability.

Principle 2: The right to access public information is enacted in legislation and consistently applied in practice.

Principle 3:Functioning mechanisms are in place to protect both the rights of the individual to good administration and the public interest.

Principle 4: Fair treatment in administrative disputes is guaranteed by internal administrative appeals and judicial reviews.

Principle 5: The public authorities assume liability in cases of wrongdoing and guarantee redress and/or adequate compensation.


Service delivery

Key requirement: Administration is citizen-oriented; the quality and accessibility of public services is ensured.

Principle 1: Policy for citizen-oriented state administration is in place and applied.

Principle 2: Good administration is a key policy objective underpinning the delivery of public service, enacted in legislation and applied consistently in practice.

Principle 3: Mechanisms for ensuring the quality of public service are in place.

Principle 4: The accessibility of public services is ensured.


Public financial management, external audit and public procurement

Key requirement: The budget is formulated in compliance with transparent legal provisions and within an overall multi-annual framework, ensuring that the general government budget balance and the debt-to-gross domestic product ratio are on a sustainable path.

Principle 1: The Government publishes a medium-term budgetary framework on a general government basis that is founded on credible forecasts and covers a minimum time horizon of three years; all budget organisations operate within it.

Principle 2: The Budget is formulated in line with the national legal framework, with comprehensive spending appropriations that are consistent with the medium-term budgetary framework and are observed.

Key requirement: Accounting and reporting practices ensure transparency and public scrutiny over public finances; both cash and debt are managed centrally, in line with legal provisions.

Principle 3: The Ministry of Finance or authorised central treasury authority centrally controls disbursement of funds from the treasury single account and ensures cash liquidity.

Principle 4: A clear debt management strategy is in place and implemented so that the country’s overall debt target is respected and debt servicing costs are kept under control.

Principle 5: Budget transparency and scrutiny are ensured.

Key requirement: National financial management and control policy is in line with the requirements of Chapter 32 of EU accession negotiations and is systematically implemented throughout the public sector.

Principle 6: The operational framework for financial management and control defines responsibilities and powers; its application by the budget organisations is consistent with the legislation governing public financial management and public administration in general.

Principle 7: Each public organisation implements financial management and control in line with the overall financial management and control policy documents.

Key requirement: The internal audit function is established throughout the public sector and internal audit work is carried out according to international standards.

Principle 8: The operational framework for internal audit reflects international standards and its application by the budget organisations is consistent with the legislation governing public administration and public financial management in general.

Principle 9: Each public organisation implements internal audit in line with the overall internal audit policy documents, as appropriate for the organisation.

Key requirement: Public procurement is regulated by duly enforced policies and procedures that reflect the principles of the Treaty on the functioning of the EU and the EU acquis, and are supported by suitably competent and adequately resourced institutions.

Principle 10: Public procurement regulations (including public-private partnerships and concessions) are aligned with the acquis, include additional areas not covered by the acquis, are harmonised with corresponding regulations in other fields, and are duly enforced.

Principle 11: There is central institutional and administrative capacity to develop, implement and monitor procurement policy effectively and efficiently.

Key requirement: In case of alleged breaches of procurement rules, aggrieved parties have access to justice through an independent, transparent, effective and efficient remedies system.

Principle 12: The remedies system is aligned with acquis standards of independence, probity and transparency and provides for rapid and competent handling of complaints and sanctions.

Key requirement: Contracting authorities are adequately staffed and resourced and carry out their work in accordance with applicable regulations and recognised good practice, interacting with an open and competitive supply market.

Principle 13: Public procurement operations comply with basic principles of equal treatment, non-discrimination, proportionality and transparency, while ensuring the most efficient use of public funds and making the best use of modern procurement techniques and methods.

Principle 14: Contracting authorities and entities have the appropriate capacities and practical guidelines and tools to ensure professional management of the full procurement cycle.

Key requirement: The constitutional and legal framework guarantees the independence, mandate and organisation of the Supreme Audit Institution to perform its mandate autonomously according to the standards applied for its audit work, allowing for high-quality audits that impact on public sector functioning.

Principle 15: The independence, mandate and organisation of the Supreme Audit Institution are established and protected by the constitutional and legal framework and are respected in practice.

Principle 16: The Supreme Audit Institution applies standards neutrally and objectively to ensure high-quality audits that positively impact on the functioning of the public sector.