Improved Communications in Public Administration Serving the Citizens 

Improved communications in public institutions is one of the objectives of the public administration reform, and the Revised Action Plan 1 dedicates one of the six reform areas to this issue (Institutional Communication). Goals set in this strategic action plan serve as a basis for work in the thematic area of Communications and Knowledge Management. Strategic positioning of communications within public institutions, improvement of the profession, capacity development, change in approach to communications (e.g., from mere informing to two-way communication with citizens) and introduction of new methods, ideas, and tools is what is seen as the basis for activities of the Programme for Strengthening of Public Institutions in the area of communications.Knowledge management is a new topic for the beneficiary institutions, and introduction of knowledge management practice in public institutions aims at better use of the existing knowledge in decision making, communications, and in improvement of public service delivery.

Methodology

Key institutions for activities in this particular area are the Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office as the main partner of the Programme and as a coordinating body for the reform area of institutional communication, and Information Service of the Council of Ministers of BiH, as a body that coordinates communication efforts of state level institutions. Needs assessment, development of initiatives, plans, and measures in the field of communications and knowledge management occur within the inter-institutional group that gathers, as fulltime members, communication experts from the four beneficiary institutions (PARCO, Directorate for European Integration, Statistics Agency, and the Agency for Development of Higher Education and Quality Assurance), as well as adjoined members from other institutions.Besides the Public Administration Reform Strategy and the Revised Action Plan 1, activities in this area will be based in the Communication Strategy of the Council of Ministers of BiH and international initiatives and best practices, such as the Open Government Partnership.Key expected changes in the area of communications primarily refer to the approach to communications, particularly, establishing of the environment in public institution that fosters strategic approach and higher and more concrete expectations from communications. Civil servants managing communications should also be provided with sufficient capacities and decision-making influence, as well as resources for achieving goals of communications. These basic changes lead towards changes in the service offer of institutions – through the use of new technology, modern tools and methodologies, as well as by involving civil society in communication processes. In this way, citizens would be provided with timely, reliable information, and direct communication channels to public institutions. Special focus has been put on improving proactive communication for the purpose of increased transparency, as in line with the principle of publicity of the work according to which public institution have to operate.Changes concerning knowledge management primarily include development of capacities for knowledge management within beneficiary institutions, clearly defined current situation and assessed needs for knowledge management, raised awareness of the management about the significance of knowledge management and established procedures, standards, and practices for knowledge management within institutions.Main results: Results of efforts in the thematic area of communication and knowledge management expected in this stage of implementation (by the end of 2016) are:

  • Improved capacities of communications experts for proactive communication, cooperation with civil society and use of modern technology and communication methods.
  • Importance of communication recognised in institutions, and communication strategically used to achieve organisation goals.
  • Communication is planned, implemented and strategically and comprehensively monitored in line with the best professional practices.
  • Increased proactive communication of public institutions, publishing of important and useful information on the activities of the institution is regular and reliable and significantly improves transparency.
  • Mutually beneficial cooperation with civil society actors improved and institutionalised (through communication activities).
  • New communication technology actively used to ensure as direct communication with citizens as possible.
  • Communication experts in public institutions create a basis for open government according to the principles of the Open Government Partnership, and advocate for openness of data.
  • Key findings, products and best practices developed during the implementation of the Programme are regularly disseminated towards the other institutions, integrated in strategic frameworks and exchanged with communication experts from other sectors.
  • Knowledge management capacities developed in beneficiary institutions.
  • Awareness about the needs for and the signficance of the knowledge management is raised, and the management recognises the benefits for the organisation’s operations resulting from the knowledge management.
  • Knowledge management systems introduced in beneficiary institutions in a sustainable way that guarantees they suit actual needs and capacities