This paper addresses the issue of Czech small critically indebted municipalities, which has been neglected in the European discourse after successful European consolidation reforms. The Czech Republic is one of the Central European countries where there is no relevant debate on the mandatory amalgamation of small municipalities that are often faced with a combination of multiple risk factors.
This paper aims to analyze a sample of the Czech municipalities that are threatened by a combination of their small size and critical indebtedness. A research of the sample focuses on a) the identification of the reasons for critical indebtedness, b) the impact of critical indebtedness on the delivery of services and local democracy and c) the options and strategies to overcome the issues related to critical indebtedness.
Methodologically, the paper is a multiple-case study of three small critically indebted municipalities of the Karlovy Vary region, which was considered the worst region in 2012 in terms of the share of critically indebted municipalities, with several long-term critically indebted municipalities on its territory. Based on the media monitoring and economic criteria, the municipalities of Prameny, Bublava and Nebanice have been chosen.
The main finding of our research is the identification of so-called endangered chains: 1) small municipalities with low revenues resulting in 2) limited administrative and expert capacity that contributes to 3) a mistake in a large investment project resulting in 4) the economic collapse of the municipality that endangers the provision of services, and in the case of 5) insufficient social capital this can lead to agony of local self-government and the collapse of the municipality. According to the findings, the examined municipalities of Nebanice and Bublava correspond to the chain link 4, and in the case of Prameny it is possible to speak about the chain link 5.
Nowadays, relatively high attention of public policies, also from the EU point of view, is paid to creative territories and the promotion of the creative class. However, very few published studies have been conducted about the mobility and behaviour of the creative class in the spatial-development context. To contribute to the deeper research of this issue the paper analyses the results of published empirical studies on the behaviour and mobility of the creative class in various types of territories and compares them with the behaviour and location of the creative class in the Slovak Republic. Subsequently, reflecting the key findings it proposes the public policy recommendations that should contribute to attracting and retaining the creative class as an integral driving force of regional or local development.
In the empirical studies, the compared elements were the main research questions / hypotheses and results, the definition of the creative class, used methods, the factors of creative-class migration, and the policy recommendations, if they were proposed. Special attention was devoted to the issues of creative-class behaviour and localisation factors in the Slovak Republic based on the previous research findings as well as our own research results.
All studies confirm that the mobility of the creative class is only a little bit higher than that of non-creatives. Among the key factors playing a dominant role in the selection of the actual place of residence are personal trajectories, followed by good employment opportunities. That is why the strategies of public policy should aim at retaining the creative class, fostering the creative and diverse climate by developing new higher-education institutions, new creative-subject incubators, supporting networks and partnerships; then the economic and social benefits of the creative class for the territories may be expected.
The ambiguous trends in international trade in 2019 and the forecast for 2020 enhance the functional role of the customs bodies in every country. That is because the customs system largely determines the ease of conducting international trade, the security of international supply chains and economic development of the countries. Though many developed countries have been able to form progressive customs systems, there are still countries that are in the process of reforming customs administrations and require a unified conceptual approach to build their customs systems. Given this fact the goal of our study is to analyze current trends in the development of the international customs systems and on the basis of it to identify the main and support functions of customs administration. Based on the principle of the best practices, the countries with the best customs administrations according to WTO data, i.e. France, Germany, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Poland were selected for analysis. We analyzed the positions of these countries in the leading international rankings, the key quantitative indicators of their customs activity and the peculiarities of the organizational construction of the customs authorities by functional principle. As the result, based on the use of systematic, dynamic and topologically substantive approaches and results of research, we developed a unified conceptual structure of the customs administration. In particular, the main functions (i.e. control, security and fiscal) and support functions (i.e. regulatory, administration, communication, service, information and statistical subsystems, resource support subsystem and international cooperation) were proposed. The proposed structure is intended to be used by representatives of the customs authorities in different countries throughout the world.
Although three decades have passed since the fall of communism in Poland, the observed level of social activity in the country is relatively low. Participatory budget emerged as an idea to increase the involvement of citizens in decision-making processes concerning their immediate surroundings. In addition to their inclusion in the activity of local government, this form of citizen participation is expected to have a positive impact on residents’ involvement in activities for the benefit of the local community. The aim of this article is to indicate the conditions that influenced the implementation of the idea of the first participatory budget in Poland and emphasizing the importance of the civic budget in managing public administration through partial decentralization involving local communities in social dialogue for local investment initiatives, especially in large provincial cities in Poland. The following research question was adopted in the paper: has the introduction of a participatory budget in Poland increased social activity and has it been conducive to the development of civil society. In Poland, the initiative to create a civic budget met good political conditions in the relatively small city of Sopot, which had the resources to implement the project. After successful implementation, this initiative was relatively quickly adopted by other Polish local governments, which then on their own introduced social consultations called the civic budget. Not all poviats introduced the civic budget of their own volition. The government, seeing the possibility of political discounting of this new solution, decided to introduce a mandatory participatory budget in town counties and ordered the allocation of funds from their budgets, no less than 1 % of budget expenditure. The article relies on the case-study method, comparative analysis and trend analysis, qualitative and quantitative methods of description, document analysis and statistical data. The analysis focuses on the town of Sopot and provincial capitals. Local conditions are important for understanding the processes of shaping active civic attitudes in Poland, because cities are the poles of development of civil society and give impetus to innovative changes in the entire socio-economic system. The materials used in the article include reports, documents and legal acts regarding the functioning of the town of Sopot.
The study showed that the participatory budget indeed activates the local community around various projects. At the same time, the question of directly translating this activity into an increase in the number of organizations, associations and foundations remains debatable. The introduction of the participatory budget to administrative management practice in local-government units in Poland should be considered in terms of the soft power impact of administration on the shaping and development of civil society, which is still in the development stage in Poland.
In recent years many important developments have been observed in the Ukrainian public administration: reforms in the public-administration system and civil service, improvements in the regulatory framework for their functioning, extension of the rights and powers of local self-government, bringing their activities into compliance with the EU requirements as well as the transformation of civil service according to the European standards.
However, reforming public administration in a post-socialist transition country is hampered by the lack of resources and by public mistrust. The Ukrainian state faces these challenges, as well, and it attempts to find the ways to leave behind the situation formed by decades of uncertain public policy and a flapping development vector.
Since 2014 key events have taken place that dramatically affected the public administration in Ukraine, i.e.: the elections of a new president instead of the one who fled, the snap parliamentary elections, establishing new civil and military administrations, launching approximately 60 reforms aiming to give the nation a modern shape corresponding to world-wide trends. Special importance must be granted to the public administration (PA) reform because it plays a crucial role in securing the nation’s success in global competition.
The goal of this study is reviewing the most important PA reforms occurring in Ukraine (decentralization, civil-service reform, anti-corruption measures, transparency, reviewing the functions of the central executive bodies). The research questions embrace the following: (a) what main directions in PA reforming are perceived by the Ukrainian government; (b) how are the national governmental body’s functions reviewed; (c) what are the obstacles and risks for PA reforming at the national level ? To address these questions, the respective legislation has been analyzed along with some practical steps applied by the government towards the improvement of public institutions’ operation.
Our study demonstrates that Ukraine has moved quite a distance from the soviet legacy as concerns public administration; however, the country has not reached the point of no return yet: the positive reform achievements must be supported by steady efforts in order to make them irreversible and to significantly raise public administration’s efficiency.
This paper presents findings of a pilot research study that focused on a selected area of e-government – digitalization of core government services to citizens (G2C) in selected Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries – namely in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania. Taking into account the literature available to date, it is a first attempt of its kind, even if mainly a qualitative study. The findings clearly indicate that the level of digitalization of the administrative services for citizens is rather low. All three countries are roughly at the same level of electronic government development (with the Czech Republic slightly ahead), despite vastly different strategies and levels of centralization. This could change in the future, after the results of their respective national strategies become visible, and we are also interested in applying our method to other CEE countries, with the clear aim of refining it.
Dynamic perspectives from systems theory and cybernetics are used in this paper to introduce the self-adaptable legal regulation or individual decision-making based on Bayes networks. The latter, by using similar elements as systems theory or cybernetics can help decision-makers not only to quantify the evidential strengths of hypotheses but also to take the most probable decision. Nowadays legal science and the public administration with it that prepares the majority of draft legal rules, do not sufficiently address legal forms from which rules’ content derives. The increasing speed of change and the consequent shortness of operative rules should force decision-makers to consider the new forms of legal norms and decisions that would still respect the objectivity and impartiality of decision-making.
Non-governmental non-profit organizations can strive to gain the confidence of the general public in various ways, one of which is the meeting of basic legal requirements for transparency – the disclosure of financial statements. Based on a set of 528 Czech foundations, the article illustrates how the organizations approach their legal obligations and look for features that contribute to the long-term fulfillment of this obligation. On average, 51.32 % of entities do not fulfill their obligations across the years. The organizations with a website (35.58 % of entities do not fulfill their legal obligations to disclose financial statements) and organizations that received public support in the form of a contribution from the Foundation Investment Fund (25.62 % of subjects do not fulfill) are better off. Statistical testing has revealed that younger organizations (14 years or less) are more responsible (continuous performance). They usually have a functioning website, are headquartered in the capital, and have a single founder (natural or legal). With the help of an expert panel composed of both academics and representatives of the non-governmental non-profit sector, the conclusions are set in an overall context. In its approach and results, the article builds on previous Czech (the description of the conditions of fulfillment of duties) and foreign (the search for signs contributing to the fulfillment of duties) findings and complements them appropriately.
The aim of this research is examining governmental turnover and its impact on the sustainability of public policy in the Palestinian context. We argue that the absence of a clear political program of governments and the absence of clear rules in professional and independent civil service allows Palestinian ministers to politicize the ministries they run, in addition to imposing their personal visions on different administrative levels, which makes the frequent turnover of governments and ministerial faces a challenge to the administrative level’s capability to create and implement sustainable public policies. We examined and compared through in-depth interviews the relationship between the political dimension of government formation and its surrounding considerations with the administrative executive dimension in Palestinian conditions. We concluded that professionals from most ministries think that frequent ministerial turnover usually has a negative impact on the sustainability of public policy while only respondents from three ministries stated that turnover could have a positive impact.
The current research explores the influence of multiple factors (such as class attendance, previous academic performance, in-class involvement and attention, class schedule, gender and other control variables) on the academic performance of public-administration undergraduate students. The regression models developed based on the academic literature were tested on a sample of 1st-year students (N = 115) enrolled in the Public Administration bachelor program of Babeș-Bolyai University (Cluj-Napoca) in order to explain their performance (grade) in a final examination. Since none of the variables included in the model are self-reported (i.e. classic self-administered questionnaires) we have reduced the potential that social desirability bias could influence our results, thus strengthening the reliability and robustness of our findings.
Our results show that the main factors which can influence students’ academic performance are attendance at seminars and in-class involvement. All other factors which were included in the regression model (age, gender, distance between class site and their home, residence in urban or rural environment, attention and motivation, class schedule and four proxies / measures for previous performance) were either not statistically significant in any of the models or showed an inconsistent / unstable influence on academic performance.
These results can be of interest not only for Public Administration scholars, but also for university decision makers. As such, starting from the aforementioned findings and the literature, we also propose and discuss specific measures, which can be adopted by faculty-level decision makers in order to help students improve their academic performance and ensure better educational outcomes, especially in regard to the admission criteria currently in place.
Points for practitioners
The research investigates, among other potential factors, whether class attendance influences performance regardless of other individual characteristics. In doing so, the research tries to provide an answer to the ongoing debate on the usefulness of compulsory attendance at lectures and seminars in higher education. Furthermore, by observing the influence of previous performance (during high school) on current academic performance, the research can identify more adequate admission criteria, which can be used by university decision makers to ensure a better selection of candidates, thus potentially decreasing dropout rates.