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Arnošt Veselý, František Ochrana and Martin Nekola

Abstract

The role of evidence in policy-making is one of the most researched topics in public policy and public administration. However, surprisingly little research has been done on how public officials actually use evidence in everyday life practice. Moreover, these studies have been limited to countries that have been influenced by the evidence-based policy movement (EBP). Little is known about how the evidence is conceptualized and utilized in other countries which have not been so strongly influenced by EBP movement. This paper addresses this gap. Using a large-N survey on the Czech ministerial officials and in-depth interviews with them, we explore what is understood under the term of “evidence”, what kind of evidence is used and preferred by public officials and why. In doing so, we use four theoretical perspectives on the use of evidence. We show that despite the long-established tradition of using research in policy-making the importance of research evidence in the Czech Republic is far from being taken for granted. On the contrary, the immediate and personal experience is often preferred over the research findings. The exception to that are census-like statistical data and comparative data published by international organizations. We find some support for the two-communities metaphor, though these communities are not defined by their socio-demographic characteristics, but rather by their internal discourse and understanding of evidence.

Open access

David Špaček

Abstract

Available data on internet use by citizens indicate that participation in social networking represented one of the most common online activities in the EU-28 in 2016. Social media have been perceived as new tools that can enhance participation and inclusion of citizens and other important stakeholders in public decision-making for several years. According to available literature, the use of social media may also drive innovation in public service delivery and government operations. Research on the use of social media by Czech public authorities is rather limited and is still in its beginnings. Th e paper outlines results of web-based analysis that focused on the use of Facebook (FB) by Czech regions. Findings on practices of 13 regions (i.e. all regions in Czechia, excluding Prague for its specifics) are presented. They clearly indicate that FB is used particularly as a one-way communication channel only for some kinds of information, rather than an instrument for including citizens into public deliberations. This is in compliance with research on practices in developed as well as in transition countries. Data also show rather heterogeneous practices related to types of information that are published on FB profiles of Czech regions.

Open access

Peter Pisár and Martin Varga

Abstract

The European Union gives universities an important place to participate in research and development in the country. The basic research and teaching process of higher education institutions is gradually becoming more and more scientific, and the importance of science and research is growing. Th e growing importance of R&D for universities also increases the importance of public support in this area. Slovakia was eligible for support from the structural funds by joining the EU. In the period 2007 - 2013, universities have had the highest increase in science and research spending due to the use of these resources. However, it is a question of the extent to which this form of public support has contributed to the field of research and development of higher education institutions and whether there has been a real increase in their research and development activities. We examine the effectiveness of the support granted to public universities from the European Union Structural Funds on the basis of measurable indicators of granted projects and the impact of outputs on their scientific research potential in the regions of Slovakia. The results of the analysis highlighted the high level of public support for university infrastructure projects at the expense of support with a focus on intellectual property creation and patents. The discussion is focused on whether the funds allocated in this way were effective in relation to the objectives of the Operational Program Research and Development 2007 - 2013 and thus contributed to an increase of scientific and research potential at higher education institutions in the regions in Slovakia.

Open access

Ivan Langr

Abstract

The paper deals with the problem of systemic corruption in public procurement and, on the example of the Czech Republic, defines its risks, the role of informal structures and the way of failure of public institutions. Th e paper proposes the new methodological possibilities of exploration of systemic corruption and empirically verifies its signs on examples of bid rigging, illegal and non-standard ways of tendering by Czech ministries and in some court cases.

Open access

Sean Cromien

Open access

Gulimzhan Suleimenova, Evgeny Kapoguzov, Nurbek Kabizhan and Margarita Kadyrova

Abstract

Performance evaluation of the government agencies seems to be one of the most important issues in modern public administration. The countries with developed economies introduced various performance evaluation models. Th e developing countries also implement instruments to evaluate the government agencies performance. Unlike countries with developed institutional environments, the developing ones very often import evaluation models that have been proven in other countries. In that context, our research aimed to understand how the performance evaluation models work in countries with a developing institutional environment. The fact is that the performance evaluation of the government agencies shows certain results which present it in a positive way to the public. Unfortunately, these survey results do not adequately cover difficulties and obstacles that appear in the performance evaluation introduction process. In this regard, the perception of the evaluation system by the first-hand (civil servants), as well as the end entities (NGO representatives) of how the introduction of the evaluation institute contributes to improving the effectiveness of government agencies need to be analyzed. This article presents an analysis of the impact performance evaluation on performance in government agencies of Kazakhstan through interviews with civil servants (insiders), as they are aware of administrative changes, and representatives of NGO that closely interact with government agencies, so they can really assess the effect of changes. Data collected by quantitative and qualitive methods, such as legislative analysis, mass survey, in-depth interviews of civil servants and NGOs, and focus groups. The authors took into account all the limitations that are typical for surveys of civil servants in countries with a developing institutional environment (e.g. Nemec et al. 2011). In general, the research results provide a wider understanding of the effectiveness of institutional changes when embedding NPM tools into the administrative reforms through a “top-down approach” in emerging economies. The results show that the implementation of a new institution (performance evaluation) into the existing structure of formal institutions of the government agencies was accomplished. It was found that implanting a new institution caused, to some extent, a short-term “shock” to the government agencies, as there since previously there were no objective criteria for evaluating their activity. At the same time, performance evaluation is still not unincorporated into the internal management system in government agencies. It is perceived as a redundant imputed data transfer function for external evaluators. For this reason, top management of government agencies does not involve all staff in the process of evaluating and discussing its results. However, employees show interest in participating in these processes. All this once again confirms that the post-Soviet countries are still in networks of past heritage, namely they preserve a centralized bureaucratic system controlled from above.