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Ivan Koprić, Polonca Kovač and Anamarija Musa

Abstract

Agencies are an organisational form with regulatory, expert or executive tasks that may ensure better usage of expertise compared to traditional administrative organisations. However, there are certain unintentional effects of the agency model, which are more obvious in transitional countries. Coordination and policy coherence gaps may raise the question of political accountability, provoke robust political interventions, and undermine the level of autonomy and expertise, especially where a firm legal framework does not limit the influence of politics. Another problem is the effective legal control over agencies. Traditional, bureaucratic legal procedures of internal control and courts’ supervision in certain transition countries, like those researched in the paper (Slovenia, Croatia and Montenegro), are not fully suitable and effective for agencies, opening significant room for politicisation hidden behind expertise. The recent proliferation of agencies in those countries causes many new problems of public administration and enhances old ones. Interview-based research conducted in three countries in January 2012 has the purpose to establish the main problems and issues in the functioning of agencies, especially with regard to the legal aspect of agency and politics / policy relations. Basic findings confirm the hypothesis that the agency model in those countries has not been stabilised yet. Professionalism, autonomy and expertise of the agencies are in a precarious position. The legal framework for agencies should be fine-tuned and strengthened, to ensure proper steering within the agency model.