The country faces great challenges to achieve the necessary quality of administration and administrative services and at the same time, to find its place in the common European process of applying the principles of effectiveness, transparency and accountability of governance.
On the verge of the accession of Bulgaria to the European Union (EU), the pace of the reforms in the state administration is still unsatisfactory.
Bottlenecks in state administration:
1) In the last few weeks electronic and printed media have published new data regarding the continuously increasing growth of the state administration. For the period of the 2000 to the present, the number of employees has increased by 50,000. Currently the central authority employs 136,000 people and half a million are employed in budgetary maintenance. For the first six months of 2006 alone, the state administration increased dramatically.
2)The Ministry of State Administration and Administrative Reform continuously talks about optimizing the state administration to at least 10%. But unfortunately the situation is completely different. In practice it comes as a result that while in 2005 the state administration increased by 10%, through 2006 the ministry will struggle to decrease the state administration by the same amount (10%). This is ridiculous. All attempts by the ministry will lead to a zero consequence.
- In 2005, 35 new structures were established – the major question is what they will do to create a more effective public administration? There is no truthful answer.
3) In 2005, only half of the educational funds were used. This is absolutely insufficient. The qualification of the state administration is one of the major problems of public services. The government should take crucial measures establishing effective administrative structures and attaining high-quality administrative service delivery that focuses on citizens and business. Nevertheless, it is important to mention that there is essential difference between education qualification and working literacy - this is practically, acquired knowledge and skills.
4) With the objective of facilitating the citizens and businesses, the Ministry of State Administration and Administrative Reform offered services by using an “electronic signature”. Electronic signatures and electronic documents have become more widely used. This innovation is both necessary and beneficial to users but unfortunately, at the present moment there are obstacles to its proper implementation and utilization.
5) Only 7% of new employees are hired on a competitive basis. In order to achieve higher transparency and openness, the national authorities should increase hiring on a competitive basis between all prospective applicants.
The major areas of optimization and development:
1) Achieve not a larger, but better organised and effective state administration
2) Avoid overlapping structures and functions
3) Merge or remove structures where possible and appropriate
4) Develop of a user-friendly e-government
5) Enhance transparency and integrity in the state administration
6) Optimisation and overall availability of presented public information via the unification of the Register of Administrative structures and acts of executive authorities with that of civil servants into a single administrative register
7) Implement effective and efficient training programs
Some executive authorities are bodies of the central state administration and some are established to regulate and control. We suggest the implementation of the “requirement of existence” for all of public institutions which are funded by the state budget. This means that all public institutions must prove their existence. Existence must hold up on a report of the activities and represent a clear plan of future activities, methods and ways to achieve them. On the one hand, this is the most efficient way to fulfil the expectations of society for transparency and openness, and on the other, to provide justification of the transferred funds granted by the state budget. Through these actions, wasteful public institutions and programs will be either privatized or broken off.