Effective and sustainable socio-economic development requires public administrative and governance systems at all levels that are able to handle the challenges posed in today’s complex world. The reform and modernisation of public administration and service provision — coupled with improvements in governance — provides greater accountability and coherence, increased responsiveness to citizens’ needs, adherence to the rule of law, and raises efficiency and expertise.
Associated with effective public administration and governance, the effective use of international aid is vital. With only limited resources available, it is essential to correctly target aid at areas that will provide the greatest benefits. Added to this, donors and other funding bodies rightly demand accountability and want to see results and outcomes being achieved from the provision of assistance.
New and increasingly complex legal issues have emerged as a result of rapid technological change, international economic interaction, and new forms of cross-border and organised crime. The foundational nature of effective and joined-up justice as a precursor for development is increasingly recognised. These developments demand new skills, systems and structures within the justice and home affairs arena. Alternative means of resolving disputes — including arbitration and mediation — are also required in order to ease pressures on the judicial system.
Human Dynamics has helped governments around the world keep pace with change in the ﬁelds of justice and home affairs by designing and implementing public administration reform, legal reform and good governance programmes that have led to more effective, transparent and responsive civil services and criminal justice systems. These initiatives have included both institutional and legislative reform as well as training for members of the public sector, together with associated infrastructure improvements, such as improved IT support.
Public administrative systems need to be sharpened, not just to handle rising demand more efﬁciently but to free up ﬁnancial resources as governments contend with long-term socio-economic challenges. The functioning of departments, their agencies, associated services, and other areas should be reviewed; legislative techniques should be tightened; and, where required, new legislation developed to enhance the performance of the ministries themselves.
HR management and performance appraisal schemes should also be introduced, together with bespoke training programmes for existing and future public service members to raise the level of skills in order to cope with new challenges.
Effective measures to prevent corruption are critical for all public services. This includes appropriate frameworks, legislation, internal controls, ethics and compliance. It includes both systems and behavioural changes, throughout public services at all levels. It needs sufficient resources and expertise to follow up and enforce provisions.
Criminal policies and their supporting systems must be systematically reassessed to accommodate emerging challenges – such as digital offences and the growing involvement of organised crime in ﬁnancial ﬁelds. Appropriate crime prevention strategies and programmes, as well as penalties, should be developed based on international best practice and including stronger links with international authorities. Legal aid should also be reviewed and new forms of court-based mediation and arbitration considered, relieving pressure on the system, resolving bottlenecks, and its ﬁnancial resources.
Opportunities to tighten Home Affairs functions should be explored in order to identify potential threats, prevent legal breaches, and manage incidents more effectively. Issues that need to be taken into account will range from managing and policing border security to maintaining a strong civil registry, including civilians’ identities. Systems should also be in place to manage natural or man-made disasters; scenario planning should be undertaken to develop appropriate responses to any disasters.
As globalisation gathers pace, cross-border judicial issues are becoming both more common and more intricate. Cross-border risks and trends should be reassessed and systems established to add greater transparency and integrity to existing processes. Putting mechanisms in place for closer collaboration with international neighbours, including harmonising cross-border judicial processes and agreeing common standards, should also be developed. Care needs to be taken to balance security with maintaining the free ﬂow of goods and legitimate travellers.
Countries aspiring to EU membership must have the legislation and legal structures in place to facilitate integration, for example in areas such as extradition, while at the same time providing safeguards to protect human rights. Equally critically, all professionals working in the judicial system, from judges through to clerks, will need to be trained in the requisite EU procedures, laws and other matters. This training must be nationwide to ensure that laws are administered consistently across the country, not just to ensure compliance with EU regulations but also to minimise costly and time-consuming appeals in cases where laws are alleged not to have been applied fairly and evenly. Indeed, irrespective of EU accession, all countries should regularly train judicial staff, as well as tutors in judicial academies, both to ensure judicial staff are on top of the latest developments in the legal ﬁeld and to ensure nationwide consistency in the application of the law.
Proﬁles of prospective aid donors, including their strategic priorities and aid criteria, should be developed and potential strategic matches identiﬁed and prioritised. Moreover, capacity and systems need to be developed to plan, programme and distribute aid transparently, not least in order to qualify for ﬁnancial assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors. Central and decentralised authorising and contracting agencies may also have to be established or strengthened. Donor contributions should only be integrated into budgets on the basis of ﬁrm commitments. Speciﬁc relationship-building strategies should be created for each target donor.
Many donors are under public pressure to demonstrate their return on investment and, consequently, expect recipients of their aid to do the same. To sustain funding, recipients of aid must establish systems to track the benefits of any aid investments, as well as create communication channels and capacity to publicise progress, both to donors and the public, both nationally and internationally. As with any other financial information, both advances and setbacks should be systematically reported to ensure transparency, with appropriate measures proposed to rectify problems and build on strengths. Like any financial resource today, aid is increasingly scarce and must be competed for.