Government at a Glance

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2221-4399 (en ligne)
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2221-4380 (imprimé)
http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/22214399
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Published every two years, Government at a Glance provides indicators that compare the political and institutional frameworks of government across OECD countries.

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Government at a Glance 2017

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13 jui 2017
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280
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/gov_glance-2017-en

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Government at a Glance 2017 provides the latest available data on public administrations in OECD countries. Where possible, it also reports data for Brazil, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Indonesia, Lithuania, the Russian Federation, and South Africa. This edition contains new indicators on public sector emploympent, institutions, budgeting practices and procedures, regulatory governance, risk management and communication, open government data and public sector innovation. This edition also includes for the first time a number of scorecards comparing the level of access, responsiveness and quality of services in three key areas: health care, education and justice.

Each indicator in the publication is presented in a user-friendly format, consisting of graphs and/or charts illustrating variations across countries and over time, brief descriptive analyses highlighting the major findings conveyed by the data, and a methodological section on the definition of the indicator and any limitations in data comparability. A database containing qualitative and quantitative indicators on government is available on line. It is updated twice a year as new data are released. The database, countries fact sheets and other online supplements can be found at www.oecd.org/gov/govataglance.htm.

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  • Foreword

    Governments in OECD countries operate in an economic, social and political environment which is increasingly complex and unpredictable. In this context, governments are striving to design and implement reforms that support inclusive growth, improve access to and quality of public services while also ensuring high value for money to address persisting budget constraints. Government at a Glance 2017 provides a wealth of evidence on public practices and procedures to inform public sector reforms in member countries and partner countries. This editions contains the most recent data on public finance and public employment, as well as a number of survey data on public practices and procedures (including for instance budgeting practices and procedures, human resource management, public sector integrity, regulatory governance, open government and risk management and communication) and two chapters on results and outcomes of government operations. In this edition, the opening chapter uses indicators presented in the publication to provide policy insights on how to deal with complexity with a particular focus on integrating systems thinking and new working methods and tools in government, leveraging the wealth of data and evidence available and opening up government processes to stakeholders for better results.

  • Making globalization work for all requires effective public governance

    This fifth anniversary edition of Government at a Glance comes at a time of great political, economic and social uncertainty. Ten years after the global financial crisis, the economic recovery is not robust enough to yield a durable improvement in potential output or to reduce persistent inequalities. Rapid technological change, disruptive innovation and shorter economic cycles are hallmarks of today’s world. They create new opportunities, but also make people’s lives more unpredictable and insecure. There is also a widespread perception among the population that the benefits of global economic liberalisation have been largely reaped by a few. Bridging divides among the winners from globalisation and those left vulnerable, and navigating successfully in uncertain times requires open, fair and effective public governance.

  • Government at a Glance: A Lighthouse for our Public Services

    With the fifth edition of Government at a Glance, it is timely to reflect on the role of the publication, its progress over time and how it is different from other datasets on public governance. It is all the more timely as we witness new developments in the role of evidence in policy making. On the one hand, there is the rational approach, where evidence is used to know where we are and where we want to go. Policies and reforms are – or aspire to be – evidence based. On the other hand, there is a backlash against using scientific evidence, and in some extreme cases fake “evidence” has been created.

  • Executive summary

    Economic growth is slowly picking up in the OECD area but the backlash against globalisation is real and must be addressed by governments. Confidence in public institutions is low, and the perception that public policies favor select interest groups has increased sharply. Shorter economic cycles, technological change and disruptive innovation have led to calls to reforms in national labour markets and social protection systems, while climate change, tax evasion and terrorism demand concerted global action. Political polarisation and citizens’ distrust in public institutions make the success of reforms more unpredictable. Strengthening, establishing dialogue with citizens through open and participative policy-making processes, and enhancing government’s capacity to choose the most appropriate policies among various options - all are key to re-connect governments with their citizenry and foster more inclusive and sustainable growth. Government at a Glance 2017 provides the evidence for such public governance reforms.

  • Reader's guide

    In order to accurately interpret the data included in Government at a Glance 2017, readers need to be familiar with the following methodological considerations that cut across a number of indicators. The standard format for the presentation of indicators is on two pages. The first page contains text that explains the relevance of the topic and highlights some of the major differences observed across OECD countries. It is followed by a “Methodology and definitions” section, which describes the data sources and provides important information necessary to interpret the data. Closing the first page is the “Further reading” section, which lists useful background literature providing context to the data displayed. The second page showcases the data. These figures show current levels and, where possible, trends over time. A glossary of the main definitions of the publication can be found in the final chapter of the book.

  • Introduction

    The Government at a Glance series aims to provide reliable, internationally comparative data on government activities and their results in OECD countries and beyond. In turn, these data can be used by countries to benchmark their governments’ performance, to track domestic and international developments over time and to provide evidence to their public policy making. The indicators in Government at a Glance are becoming themselves a measuring standard in many fields of public governance. In addition to the core indicators that constitute the trademark of the publication, this fifth edition includes a selection of new indicators and additional data sources, allowing for a more complete picture the work and results of public administrations across OECD countries.

  • Embracing continuous change in government

    National governments in OECD countries face a political, economic and social environment that is increasingly unpredictable, complex, and that extends beyond national borders. Many are under pressure to address the impact of globalisation and to respond to a backlash among significant segments of the population. They are being called to lead national economies out of the current low-growth trap by increasing productivity, while ensuring that the fruits of growth – both in terms of jobs and income – are distributed more equally across society. And they are expected to respond to the disruptive effects of technological change. Coupled with an ageing population, high youth unemployment and persistently high levels of public debt, these policy challenges – and the lack of adequate responses – have led to the polarisation and fragmentation of public opinion on a number of societal issues such as economic integration and the control of migration flows.

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    • General government fiscal balance

      The fiscal balance is the difference between general government revenues and expenditures showing how much in a given year government spending is financed by the revenues collected. A surplus occurs if, in a given year, government collects more revenues that it spends. Conversely, when the government spends more than it receives in revenues, there is a deficit. Consecutive deficits will lead to increasing debt levels and consequently to higher interest payments.

    • General government net saving

      Net saving arises, and accrues over time, when revenues exceed expenditures without taking into account capital expenditures, such as public investment, transfers to publicly-owned enterprises or transfers to financial institutions (for instance, rescuing them during the financial crisis).

    • General government structural balance

      General government spending and revenues are highly sensitive to cycles in economic activity. Government revenues (particularly tax revenues) tend to decline during economic downturns, at the same time as public spending may increase given that more people become unemployed and qualify for social assistance or unemployment benefits. On the other hand, during upturns public finances improve, as tax revenues rise and the number of those receiving social benefits usually declines. These fluctuations in revenue and public expenditure –in the absence of any discretionary change in policy– make it difficult to assess whether fiscal policy is expansionary, neutral or restrictive during a given period, and to judge whether fiscal balances are sustainable in the long-run.

    • General government gross debt

      Gross government debt denotes all accrued external financial obligations. Governments accumulate debt to finance expenditures above their revenues. Sovereign debt, in the long-run, can help the accumulation of physical capital, especially when interest rates are low; but it can hinder capital accumulation when interest rates increase. If a large share of current revenues needs to be used to service interest payments on the debt, fiscal policy becomes constrained. Therefore, public debt levels can be critical for the stability of the economy.

    • Financial net worth of general government

      The differences between all assets and outstanding liabilities held by government constitute its financial net worth, which summarises the government’s ability to fully honour its obligations – as assets complement expected future revenues that could be sold and used to pay down outstanding debts (also viewed as a broad description of net government debt). Positive net financial worth means that the health of public finances doesn’t imperil fiscal sustainability, while worsening of financial net worth is a sign of a fragile fiscal position that requires either tax increases, reductions in expenditures, or a combination of both.

    • Fiscal balance and debt by level of government

      Most countries have multiple jurisdictions that jointly determine the overall fiscal balance. Depending on the degree of fiscal decentralisation of both government expenditures and revenues, the fiscal balance of different levels of government need not be the same, even though they all add up to the overall fiscal balance. This can introduce volatility to government liabilities; for instance, if expenditures exceed revenues at the local level for many municipalities, which in turn finance the deficit by issuing additional debt, overall debt levels can rise quickly as more municipalities respond in the same way. For this reason, sub-central governments operate often with more binding debt constraints than central governments.

    • General government revenues

      Government revenues finance the goods and services provided by government and allow the state to carry out its redistributive role, as the two main sources of revenues are taxes and social contributions. Based on historical and current policy choices, as well as fluctuations from business cycles, there are major differences between countries in how and to what extent their governments fulfil these two fundamental functions and, as a result, the amount of government revenues they raise is also very different.

    • Structure of general government revenues

      The structural breakdown of government revenues shows how revenues are raised and helps identify the relative contribution of citizens and/or sectors of the economy to paying for public expenditures.

    • Revenue structure by level of government

      Government revenues are collected by central, state and local governments depending on the degree of fiscal federalism in a country. Together with other types of revenues, tax levying is also carried out by all levels of government depending on the economic nature and type of tax base, administrative advantages and allocation autonomy. However, in many countries there are legislative limits on the ability of sub-central governments to set their own local tax bases, rates and reliefs thereby reducing their power to generate their own revenue sources and, potentially, their ability to provide more tailored public goods and services. At the same time, some of these limits aim to reduce tax competition among regions, thereby reducing further inequalities among them.

    • General government expenditures

      Public expenditures provide the means to implementing the broad array of government objectives and delegated mandates, from the uniquely publicly-provided services, such as justice or voting logistics, to paying for wages of civil servants and transportation infrastructure, among many other government activities. General government expenditures provide an indication for the government size as they finance, for example, the costs of policing, occupational licensing, business registration, the provision of public transportation, health care, pensions, unemployment benefits etc. Although government expenditures are usually less flexible than government revenues, they are also sensitive to the economic cycle and follow from past, as well as current, policy decisions.

    • Structure of general government expenditures by function (COFOG)

      Governments’ expenditures by function reveal how much governments spend on key areas, such as education, health, defence, social protection or public order and safety. These different functions aggregate expenditures according to predefined categories, enabling informative comparisons of national priorities across governments.

    • Structure of general government expenditures by economic transaction

      Public expenditures can also be classified by the economic nature of the transaction they entail, from wage compensations of the civil service, one-time capital expenditures, the financing of a subsidy or a cash transfer such as pensions or unemployment benefits, to the procurement of goods or services from the private sector that are used as inputs in the government production (i.e. intermediate consumption). This classification is ancillary to government expenditures by function, as it distinguishes broader categories of the government’s production function and its relationship with the economy.

    • Expenditures structure by level of government

      The degree of fiscal decentralisation determines the types of expenditures carried out at each level of government. All levels of government are connected by overlapping responsibilities in financing the goods and services provided by them, setting up quality guidelines for their provision, etc. How much overlap there is in responsibilities among levels of government depends on the constitutional set-up of countries, the uniformity of the public goods and services they provide and the needs of the population, as well as redistributive objectives they pursue. Even though decentralised expenditures respond to the variety in local preferences, and can lead to better political accountability for results, they can also limit the extent to which economies of scale can be exploited in service provision, can create inefficiencies and can exacerbate geographical inequalities.

    • Government investment spending

      Public expenditures have different time horizons, which makes distinguishing consumption from investment spending relevant, given that additions to the stock of physical capital, through expenditures in transportation infrastructure for instance, are key to long-term economic growth and productivity. This has been reflected in recent calls for increases in public investment spending as a way to improve slacking productivity.

    • Production costs and outsourcing of general government

      Government expenditures distinguish between what government pays to its personnel and what it purchases from the private sector, which together with other costs – such as depreciation of capital – make the total production costs of government. This distinction helps identify the extent to which government outsources production, either by directly purchasing inputs from the private sector or by delegating to the private sector (for instance to a non-profit organisation) the delivery of goods or services to the users.

    • Special feature: Structure of general government expenditures by functions of social protection and health (COFOG)

      One of the key objectives of governments is to protect the vulnerable and share the risks that could arise in communities from ill health, job loss and ageing. This is reflected in governments spending on social protection (i.e. pensions, unemployment insurance, etc.) and health care, which often constitute the largest public expenditure programmes. The demand and supply of social protection and health care services are subject to demographic dynamics, economic fluctuations as well as technological changes, and the complexity arising from their interaction can have a major impact on the long-term sustainability of public finances.

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    • Employment in general government

      Governments across the OECD perform a wide range of functions, all of which depend on a dedicated and skilled public sector workforce. The large differences in the relative sizes of public sector employment across the OECD reflect the equally large variety of activities undertaken by governments and the ways they deliver public services. Services can be delivered in large part by government employees or through a range of partnerships with the private or not-for-profit sectors. In some countries, the large majority of health care providers, teachers and emergency workers, for example, are directly employed by the government. In other countries, alternative delivery mechanisms mean that many of these professionals are employed by organisations that are not state-owned, or by private contractors. The use of outsourcing, the relative size and structure of the voluntary, charitable and/or not-for-profit sectors and the availability of private sector providers all determine their use of public sector employment.

    • General government employment across levels of government

      The proportion of staff employed at sub-central levels of government is an indicator of the level of decentralisation of public administrations. In general, larger shares of government employees at the sub-central level indicate that more responsibilities are delegated to regional and local governments for providing public services. Although decentralisation can increase the responsiveness of government to local needs and priorities, it can also result in variations in service delivery within countries.

    • Ageing central government workforce

      An ageing workforce presents challenges and opportunities for governments, as they need to ensure that high rates of retirement will not affect the quality and capacity of the public service. Retirements also create the opportunity to bring in new talent and insights into an organisation. A small share of young employees is a risk factor associated with limited capacity for administrations to create opportunities for renewal. It may also be a sign of low attractiveness of the public sector as an employer. While proper workforce planning is required to avoid the loss of knowledge and experience, the departure of staff can also provide an opportunity to restructure the workforce. For example, administrations can promote horizontal mobility to reallocate resources according to policy priorities or create learning opportunities. Retirements at senior levels could also provide opportunities to rethink the leadership model in terms of gender balance or accountability.

    • Women in public sector employment

      Equal representation of women in public employment is an important indicator of progress towards building a more diverse and inclusive workforce. When managed effectively, diversity helps expand the pool of talent available to contribute to organisational performance. A diversity of views and experiences in public sector organisations can lead to policies and services that better reflect citizens’ needs. At the most senior levels, gender balance is an important indicator of the role that women play in decision-making processes and policy making.

    • Women in politics

      Cabinets and parliaments are at the centre of public and political life. Achieving gender equality there is a crucial first step to ensure that public policies and budgets reflect perspectives and interests of both women and men. In adopting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), countries have committed to achieve gender equality in political leadership. Yet, increases in women’s political representation have been small over the past 15 years, women are still under-represented among government ministers and hardly fill one-third of parliamentary seats in lower houses across OECD legislatures on average. Enhancing women’s full participation in political leadership requires a comprehensive and co-ordinated policy response beyond measures targeting women as underrepresented groups in politics. Increasing gender-responsiveness of legislatures and public administrations as workplaces as well as establishing sound accountability and monitoring mechanisms are essential steps to sustain progress in gender equality.

    • Women in the judiciary

      Ensuring gender balance in judicial leadership has been increasingly highlighted by OECD countries as a key governance issue related to fairness, transparency and the effective rule of law. Female judicial appointments, particularly at senior levels, can help shift gender stereotypes and increase women’s willingness to enforce their rights.

    • Compensation of senior managers

      Senior managers in central public administrations are expected to be politically responsive, have a deep understanding of the citizens they serve, and be effective managers capable of steering healthy and high-performing public sector organisations. Their compensation is an indicator of the degree of value placed on these positions, and impacts the attraction and retention of highly skilled individuals, along with intrinsic motivation related to the nature of the work.

    • Compensation of middle managers

      Middle managers play a key role in the workforce hierarchy, translating the strategic vision of senior managers into actions implemented by the broader public workforce under their management. Hence, middle management has a direct impact on workplace climate, the effectiveness of public management systems and reforms, and ultimately, organisational capacity to deliver results to citizens.

    • Compensation of professionals in central government

      Professionals, such as policy analysts, bring crucial skills to conduct evidence-based analysis required to develop effective policies and programmes that respond to citizens’ needs and expectations. The level of compensation for professional positions reflects how the public administration values and remunerates these skills. Some professionals have skill sets that are sought after by both the public and private sectors; therefore the level of compensation for these skills may be one indicator of a public administration’s ability to compete for talent. For the public administration, it is crucial to retain those employees in order to improve public policy making and service delivery. Differences in compensation levels among countries can result from various factors that are not controlled for here, such as differences in qualification requirements and gender representation in these professions, as well as differences in the location of workplaces.

    • Compensation of secretarial staff

      Secretarial staff represent the lowest level of hierarchy of the professions for which compensation data is collected by the OECD. They are generally positions that require lower skill levels, less education, and are more often occupied by women. On average, secretaries’ compensation amounts to USD 52 748 PPP, including USD 9 823 PPP employer’s contributions and USD 9 445 PPP for working time correction. Employer’s social contributions and the correction for working time each amount to around 18% of total compensation. Compensation may vary depending on working conditions and local environment, but also working hours. The data displayed here is corrected for those differences in working time and holidays. In Chile, the number of working hours is the highest.

    • Compensation in selected service occupations

      Front-line service delivery agents are the face of the public administration for the majority of citizens, and therefore their behaviour and competence has a direct impact on the public’s perception of public institutions. Police officers and inspectors interact with the users of public services to co-produce efficient and effective public services. Hence, their commitment and motivation is critical to enhance both the quality of public service delivery and the trust of public employees and users in their government

    • Teachers' salaries

      Teachers’ salaries represent the largest share of expenditure and investment in formal education and can have a great impact on the structure of the teacher workforce and the quality of teaching. The education sector competes with other sectors for the best-qualified employees. Teachers’ salaries may strongly influence graduates’ choice to join the teaching profession, and teachers’ choice to stay in their job. Attractive teachers’ salaries hence help sustain the supply of highly-skilled teachers in the face of an ageing teacher workforce and/or a growing school-age population, and thus ensure that those with the greatest competencies for teaching choose their career path accordingly (OECD, 2016).

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    • Special feature: Institutions and practices for protecting regulators from undue influence

      Regulators ensure access to key markets and sectors that deliver essential services to citizens and businesses. They monitor quality, facilitate infrastructure management and enhance market efficiency. Whether trains run on time, there is clean water in the tap, lights switch on or the broadband is working hinges also on the work of these bodies operating at the interface between public authorities, the private sector and end-users. These different stakeholders have powerful incentives to influence regulatory policies. The fundamental question is how to limit undue influence, allowing the regulator to act objectively, impartially, and consistently, without conflict of interest or bias.

    • Special feature: Policy advisory systems at arm's length from government

      Governments and policy makers face increasingly complex and interrelated policy challenges that require fit-for-purpose solutions. There is a need for a trusted evidence-based knowledge infrastructure that underpins policy making with advice to resolve these challenges and bridge isolated silo approaches. Policy advisory systems-networks or clusters of bodies-are an important pillar of this knowledge infrastructure. They provide governments with comprehensive evidence-based analysis throughout the policy cycle, particularly at the design and inception stage. These systems may include permanent and ad hoc policy advisory bodies, which differ in lifespan, structure and mandate, and may be placed within, separate from or at arm’s length of government.

    • Special feature: The centre of government's readiness to implement the UN Sustainable Development Goals

      The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were adopted in September 2015. They encompass social, environmental and economic goals and call on all countries – upper, middle or low income – to make improvements to the lives of their citizens. Given the breadth and complexity as well as the long-term nature of the SDGs, achieving progress on their implementation requires governments to work across policy areas and levels of government to co-ordinate long-term strategies and implementation actions, and overcome obstacles such as immediate economic and social pressures crowding out longer-term strategic policy initiatives.

    • Special feature: The role of international organisations in international regulatory co-operation

      The greatest challenges countries face today transcend national borders. The threats posed by climate change, health epidemics, terrorism, tax evasion, illicit financial flows, as well as social and economic crises all have global causes and effects. Countries, more than ever, need to co-ordinate their approaches to address common challenges, manage global goods and ensure shared prosperity and security. OECD countries have recognised international regulatory co-operation (IRC) as an essential ingredient of domestic regulatory quality in Principle 12 of the Recommendation of the Council on Regulatory Policy and Governance.

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    • Performance budgeting

      The OECD Principles of Budgetary Governance call on countries to “ensure that performance, evaluation and value for money are integral to the budget process”. Within the OECD, the evolution of performance budgeting spans decades with governments using performance information to inform allocation and prioritisation of resources, promote accountability and transparency, and build a culture of performance to increase administrative efficiency and improve public services.

    • Special feature: Gender budgeting

      Today, many disparities and inequalities between the sexes appear to have become embedded, to a greater or lesser extent, in public policies and the allocation of public resources. Several international organisations and others have pioneered work to promote gender mainstreaming, i.e. including in the design and review of public policies an assessment of the differential impact of gender with the aim to progressively remove gender inequalities in the public sector and the wider economy. Gender budgeting is an application of gender mainstreaming in the budgetary process. It involves the integration of a clear gender perspective within the budget process, through the use of special processes and analytical tools, to promote gender-responsive policies with the aim of addressing gender inequalities and disparities.

    • Spending review

      Since the global financial crisis, the use of spending review has risen dramatically across the OECD. Spending review has two main purposes: to give the government improved control over the level of aggregate expenditure, and to improve expenditure prioritisation. Countries with a longer experience of using spending review have demonstrated that it can focus governments to improve expenditure prioritisation and to find fiscal space for new spending priorities. Given the difficult fiscal context facing many OECD governments, such a tool could prove invaluable, particularly if it becomes a more permanent feature of the budget process.

    • Infrastructure governance

      High-quality infrastructure is one of the backbones for achieving long-term inclusive development. Nevertheless, infrastructure projects can sometimes fail to meet their time frame, budget and service delivery objectives. This is often due to shortcomings in the country’s governance framework for infrastructure.

    • Quality of governments' financial reporting

      Financial reporting is one of the foundations of good fiscal management. High-quality financial reports are essential to ensure that government’s fiscal decisions are based on the most up-to-date and accurate understanding of its financial position. Financial reports are also the mechanism through which legislators, auditors and the public at large hold governments accountable for their financial performance. Finally, financial reports are a critical source of information for markets and other stakeholders to understand the government’s financial operations and their implications for their own economic decisions.

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    • Delegation in human resources management

      Human resources management (HRM) decisions, regarding for example employee selection, recruitment, remuneration, working conditions and dismissal, may be taken by central HRM authorities or delegated to line ministries, departments or agencies. Delegation, under appropriate framework conditions and minimum standards, empowers and enables public managers to better direct their staff, allowing them to consider in their HRM decisions both the unique requirements of their own organisations and the merits of individual employees. This could lead to a better alignment of human resources (HR) planning and business strategy. However, delegation without some level of common HRM standards and central oversight often result in uneven pay scales, limits opportunities for government-wide strategic HR planning, and opens the door to nepotism and political interference in staffing decisions.

    • Staff performance management

      Improving public service quality, accessibility and responsiveness, while carefully managing limited resources, requires effective performance management in the public sector. Defining appropriate performance indicators for policies and services can inform the performance objectives of employees. Such practices help to clarify organisational goals for staff so that they gain a better understanding of their role within the organisation and how to best contribute towards strategic organisational objectives. Performance assessments also strengthen incentives to improve performance by allowing for the recognition of individual and collective efforts in a consistent and transparent manner. Performance assessments can help to identify gaps in skills and can feed into strategic HR planning and training.

    • Use of separate human resources management practices for senior civil servants

      Senior civil servants (SCS) are located at a critical junction between policy making and delivery. They must display leadership capabilities to execute challenging policy agendas quickly and draw from institutional expertise and the experience of the civil service to contribute to evidence-based decision making. SCS are expected to be politically responsive, have a deep understanding of the citizens they serve, and be effective managers capable of steering high-performing public sector organisations. Improving governmental performance, agility and efficiency therefore rests partly on the quality and capacity of the senior civil service.

    • Political influence in senior staffing

      A professional and politically impartial civil service ensures a high level of competence, integrity and continuity in developing policy advice and implementation that serves the public interest. Exerting political influence in senior staffing decisions can stem from a government’s desire to ensure responsiveness from the civil service by staffing the management with people who share their political views. However, without appropriate levels of transparency and accountability (e.g. open confirmation and vetting by elected officials), high levels of political influence can also result in the spread of patronage and favouritism that may undermine the professionalisation of the civil service. Political influence can also result in higher levels of turnover at senior management levels, which contributes to a lack of management stability and continuity required to oversee long-term improvement and reforms. Furthermore, political influence in civil service staffing decisions may result in a preference for political agents rather than public managers with the skills and competencies necessary to be effective leaders. This can ultimately result in a loss of trust in public institutions if citizens perceive public managers to be appointed based on political affiliation rather than leadership and policy competence.

    • Data-informed human resources management

      The digital transformation is touching all aspects of the public sector and human resources management (HRM) is no exception. Data helps decision makers understand their current context, identify trends, plan for the future and manage risks. Data on the civil service workforce can help to provide insights on the composition of the workforce, and on the civil service’s ability to recruit, retain and manage the performance of civil servants. It is a fundamental input into effective strategic human resource (HR) planning and management, and, when collected and held centrally, can be a powerful tool for benchmarking organisations and informing reform. Furthermore, workforce data can be a potent mechanism to ensure transparency and accountability with regards to the diversity of the workforce and effective HRM practices.

    • Employee surveys

      Employee surveys allow public organisations to measure and monitor employee perceptions of their work and work environment, which can provide useful input to performance-related indicators such as employees’ engagement to their work and their employers, their well-being at work, and their perceptions of management and leadership. Employee surveys can also measure and assess important indicators related to diversity and inclusion, such as employees’ perceptions of harassment and discrimination in the workplace. When common surveys are run across many government entities, results can be used to benchmark performance, identify areas of high and low engagement, and undertake informed and appropriate management responses and civil service reforms. When surveys are run at regular intervals, they can be used to track changes over time, including the impacts of reform measures.

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    • Institutional arrangements for public sector integrity systems

      Given the many elements that make up coherent and comprehensive public sector integrity systems, adequate institutional arrangements should be in place to support system design, implementation, and ongoing monitoring and evaluation. As such, countries should clearly delineate institutional mandates as well as ensure organisations are equipped with the sufficient resources and capacities to effectively carry out their responsibilities.

    • Co-ordination mechanisms for implementing integrity policies

      Public integrity systems are composed of a multitude of actors responsible for various specific policy areas. Furthermore, these actors span both central and sub-national (i.e. regional and local) levels of government. Mechanisms for vertical and horizontal inter-institutional co-ordination are therefore crucial to ensure effective implementation throughout the whole of government, as well as to prevent duplication or fragmentation which can lead to waste of public resources and/or ineffective policies.

    • Monitoring and evaluating public integrity systems

      As with any other public policy, performance measurement provides evidence for the design of more effective public integrity policies. It also supports implementation by helping policymakers to monitor compliance with integrity policies, detect potential bottlenecks and identify unaddressed integrity risks.

    • Internal control and risk management

      All organisations, including those in the public sector, are susceptible to external and internal integrity risks, such as fraud and corruption. In the absence of mechanisms to identify, analyse and respond to such risks, they can lead to negative consequences like economic losses, security breaches and reputational damage. In turn, these impacts can erode citizens’ confidence in public services and trust in government.

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    • Stakeholder engagement for developing regulations

      Stakeholder engagement is a crucial element of regulatory policy. It helps to ensure that regulations are in the public interest by involving those that are affected by regulations, including citizens, businesses, civil society and other community members. Stakeholder engagement improves the quality of rule making by collecting ideas, expertise and evidence from stakeholders about policy problems to be solved and possible solutions to address them. It also ensures that regulation is user-centred and responds to the needs of those governed. By consulting all affected parties, stakeholder engagement enhances the inclusiveness of policies and supports the development of a sense of ownership of regulations. This in turn strengthens trust in government, social cohesion and compliance with regulations.

    • Regulatory Impact Assessment

      Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) is both a document and process for supporting decision makers on whether and how to regulate to achieve public policy goals. RIA helps to improve the design of regulations by assisting policy makers in identifying the best solution to address a policy problem. RIA examines the costs and benefits of regulation and non-regulatory alternatives of achieving policy goals, in order to identify the approach that is likely to deliver the greatest net benefit to society. RIA can assist in promoting policy coherence by pointing to the trade-offs inherent in regulatory proposals, and identifying who is likely to benefit from a regulation and who will bear the costs. RIA can also improve the use of evidence in policy making and help avoid regulatory failure arising from unnecessary regulation, or failing to regulate when regulation is needed. Finally, RIA documents the evidence and increases accountability of policy decisions.

    • Ex post evaluation of regulation

      The evaluation of regulations is essential to ensure that they are relevant and fit for purpose. Only after implementation can the effects and impacts of regulations be fully assessed, including direct, indirect and unintended consequences. Regulations may become outdated as the result of changes, such as in societal preferences or technological advancement. Without review or evaluation processes, red tape and regulatory costs tend to organically grow over time. This complicates the daily life of citizens and impedes the efficient functioning of business. Ex post evaluation should not be considered as the final stage in the life of regulations, but as a deliberate and responsible loop back into the regulatory cycle that provides an understanding of areas for potential improvement and a tool for regulatory planning. Ex post evaluation is also instrumental to increase transparency and accountability of regulatory performance, and hence trust in government action.

    • Applying behavioural insights to policy design and delivery

      Behavioural insights (BI) aim to improve the welfare of citizens and consumers through policies and regulations that are formed based on studies, derived using experiments and observation. BI is about taking an evidence-based approach to policy making, empirically testing different approaches to solving issues and problems before considering their implementation. By using a mix of traditional economic strategies and insights from psychology, cognitive science and other social sciences, it identifies patterns of behaviour that replace and challenge established assumptions on what is thought to be rational behaviour.

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  • Ouvrir / Fermer Cacher / Voir les résumés Public Procurement

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    • Size of public procurement

      Public procurement, the purchase of goods, services and works by governments and state-owned enterprises, is increasingly used by governments as a strategic tool to deliver their mandates and achieve broader policy objectives. In addition to conforming to standard principles and existing rules, governments are devoting efforts to increase efficiency and effectiveness of this key government function. From identifying the needs, determining the person or organisation to supply them; to ensuring delivery of purchases, within the agreed timeframe and to the expected quality, public procurement has implications for public sector performance and citizen’s satisfaction. In fact, it is relevant not only for central governments, but also for sub-central governments, as the majority of public procurement spending in the OECD countries (63%) is carried out at this level.

    • Strategic public procurement

      Governments continue to use public procurement to pursue secondary policy objectives while delivering goods and services necessary to accomplish their missions in a timely, economical and efficient manner. The high relevance of public procurement for economic outcomes and sound public governance, as implied by its large volume, makes governments use public procurement as a strategic policy lever for achieving additional policy goals, which aim to address environmental, economic and social challenges according to national priorities.

    • E-procurement

      The use of digital technology in the public sector is a driver of efficiency and supports effective implementation and monitoring of policies by enabling more open, innovative and trustworthy government. In particular, e-procurement enables cost and time savings through automation and standardisation of the procurement process and improves transparency and accountability of the public procurement system.

    • Central purchasing bodies

      There are numerous benefits resulting from centralised purchasing activities, including better prices through economies of scale, lower transaction costs and improved capacity and expertise. OECD countries reap the benefits of aggregation of demands and outputs of procurement activities through establishment of central purchasing bodies (CPBs), which are defined as contracting authorities (CAs) providing centralised purchasing activities and, possibly, ancillary purchasing activities.

    • Procurement and the delivery of infrastructure projects

      Infrastructure projects constitute a major mandate of governments in the delivery of key public services and have high and direct implications on a country’s economic capacity, human development, social inclusion and environmental sustainability. Once a project is planned and financing schemes have been defined, it is critical that governments deliver infrastructure projects in a cost-efficient way that is trusted by users and citizens to fulfil their mandate.

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  • Ouvrir / Fermer Cacher / Voir les résumés Open Government

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    • Open government strategies and objectives

      Countries are acknowledging the role of open government reforms as catalysts for democracy, inclusive growth and more efficient public governance. The open government principles of transparency, accountability and participation have the potential to change the relationship between public officials and citizens, making it more dynamic, mutually beneficial and based on reciprocal trust. If implemented in a well co-ordinated manner, open government reforms can provide a tool to achieve broader policy objectives, rather than being an end in themselves. In the Report Open Government: The Global Context and the Way Forward, the OECD has updated its definition of open government as “a culture of governance based on innovative and sustainable public policies and practices inspired by the principles of transparency, accountability, and participation that fosters democracy and inclusive growth.”

    • Open government co-ordination and human resource management

      The effective implementation of an overarching open government strategy highly depends on the enabling environment in which the envisioned reforms are embedded. The cross-cutting nature of such strategy requires strong co-ordination and leadership from the centre of government (CoG), coupled with adequate human and financial resources. Effective governance of open government reforms moreover requires strong capacities of civil servants to design and implement public consultations; respond to citizens, journalists or civil society requesting access to public information; and implement open government related policies such as on open data.

    • Monitoring and evaluation of open government strategies

      The monitoring and evaluation mechanisms that a government has at its disposal are crucial to improve policy design and implementation in the areas of transparency, accountability and citizen participation. The OECD defines monitoring as “a continuing function that uses systematic collection of data on specified indicators to provide management and the main stakeholders of an ongoing […] intervention with indications of the extent of progress and achievement of objectives and progress in the use of allocated funds” (OECD, 2009). Evaluation is defined as “the systematic and objective assessment of an ongoing or completed project, programme or policy, its design, implementation and results. The aim is to determine the relevance and fulfilment of objectives, […] efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability. An evaluation should provide information that is credible and useful, enabling the incorporation of lessons learned into the decision-making process of both recipients and donors.” (OECD, 2009).

    • Citizen participation in policy making

      Effective participation of citizens in policy making is at the heart of open government reforms and has the potential to renew the relationship between policy makers and citizens. In times of declining rates of voter turnout, and low levels of trust in public institutions and membership in political parties, governments acknowledge the need to move from the role of simple provider of services towards the development of closer partnerships with all relevant stakeholders.

    • Open Government Data

      Open government data (OGD) can be a powerful lever for social and economic development. It can also be used to strenghten public governance by improving the design of public services with a citizen-driven approach, by enhancing public sector efficiency and by spurring public sector integrity and accountability.. By ensuring OGD availability, accessibility and reuse by public, private and civic actors, governments can design more evidence-based and inclusive policies, stimulate innovation inside and outside the public sector, and empower citizens to take better-informed personal decisions.

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  • Ouvrir / Fermer Cacher / Voir les résumés Public Sector Innovation and Digital Government

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    • Innovation in human resource management strategies and programmes

      Governments are facing fiscal constraints, technological and demographic changes, and rising citizen expectations that demand innovative responses from the public sector. As a result, many governments are experimenting with ways to foster innovation. Civil servants need the ability, motivation and opportunities to contribute to innovation. Therefore, human resource management (HRM) is an important lever for supporting public sector innovation by enabling managers and front-line staff to formulate ideas that result in new and improved ways to deliver public services. HRM practices that can enhance capacity for innovation include incentive structures and awards; managerial and leadership approaches; organisational practices related to recruitment, training, mobility and compensation of employees; and job design factors such as autonomy and ways of working.

    • Supporting structures for public sector innovation

      Achieving innovation in the public sector can be difficult and require additional, targeted support and resources. In recent years, there has been a significant growth in the type and number of organisations and structures dedicated to supporting innovation in the public sector (OECD, 2017). These are known as teams, units, labs, networks to name a few. Among these, innovation-focused networks and innovation labs have attracted most of the attention. Networks can support and motivate public sector innovation by creating a space where innovators can share ideas, practices and challenges for implementing innovations. Dedicated innovation units/labs can help address some of the barriers to innovation: e.g. compensate for the lack of innovative leaders and champions, and help overcome rigidities in the reward and incentive systems that can often hinder innovative performance in the public sector. They can foster the creation of organisational knowledge about how to apply innovation processes and methods, and support more collaborative and harmonious approaches in problem solving. This can help address departmental silo thinking by adopting cross-cutting, inter-disciplinary approaches, bringing together different or new tools, methods and skills.

    • Funding mechanisms for public sector innovation

      Financial incentives can play an important role in promoting innovation in the public sector. Even in a context of tight budget constraints in most OECD countries, the strategic use of budget tools and flexibility combined with outcome goals can support innovation in the public sector. Financial incentives, such as central innovation funds or efficiency dividends, can spur on innovation and support and impact public organisations’ capacity to support innovation along its life cycle, in particular to source ideas and to replicate results at a larger scale.

    • Digital transformation of public service delivery

      The digital transformation of the society and economy is radically changing service delivery practices. New approaches to offer services in the private sector have raised citizens’ expectations regarding the delivery of public services. The shift from reactive to proactive service delivery mechanisms, enabled by a transition from e-government to digital government, where the use of digital technologies is assumed as an integrated part of governments’ modernisation and innovation strategies, creating public value through the engagement of a broad ecosystem of stakeholders, offers the chance to better respond to user demand. Yet, to achieve this, governments need to better map, understand and integrate citizens’ demands and needs in the design and delivery of public service strategies. Public data is a powerful asset to move from citizen-centred to citizen-driven approaches, allowing governments to better design and tailor public service delivery processes.

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  • Ouvrir / Fermer Cacher / Voir les résumés Risk Management and Communication

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    • Socio-economic impacts of disasters in OECD countries

      OECD member countries have been significantly affected by disasters over the past decades, with increasing economic impacts. Disasters may arise from natural hazards, pandemics, major industrial or technological accidents, and malicious acts. In the last 30 years, the number of disasters has increased from around 100 to more than 300 each year across OECD member countries, causing hundreds of billions of US dollars in annual losses. The immediate consequences are visible in terms of human lives lost and destruction of capital stock, and longer term impacts accrue due to disruptions in economic flows. Large critical infrastructure can also be at risk, with devastating impacts as witnessed in the aftermath of the great east japan earthquake in 2011. Such large-scale disasters have led countries to strengthen risk governance policies by including a broader set of stakeholders and communities in the identification and assessment of risks as well as the implementation of measures that increase resilience at national and sub-national levels.

    • Governance of critical risks

      The 2014 OECD Recommendation on the Governance of Critical Risks recommends that countries “engage all government actors at national and sub-national levels, to co-ordinate a range of stakeholders in inclusive policy making” in the governance of critical risks. The aim of a whole-of-society approach to security and safety of citizens and their property is to defend territorial integrity, and help sustain critical infrastructure and well-functioning markets. OECD countries have shown commitment to achieving a high quality of risk governance, which supports strong implementation of risk management policies. Citizens and businesses expect governments to be prepared for a wide range of possible crises and global shocks, and to handle them effectively should they arise.

    • Trends in communicating risks

      Risk communication is fundamental to governments’ risk management strategies that aim to reduce future losses and damages from disasters. It increases awareness in households, businesses and communities about exposure to hazards and specific vulnerabilities, and informs what prevention, mitigation and preparation measures to take. Public debates on investments in these measures are thus better informed.

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  • Ouvrir / Fermer Cacher / Voir les résumés Core Government Results

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    • Trust in government

      Trust can be understood as a positive perception about the actions of an individual or an organisation. This positive perception can be grounded in actual experience, but is determined to a large extent by the subjective assessment of individuals. Trust in government is both a driver of government effectiveness and economic development, and an outcome measure for government action. Trust in government leads to greater compliance with regulations and the tax system, facilitates social and political consensus, enhances the acceptance of policies that call for short-term sacrifices by citizens, and mobilises citizen engagement to enable open and inclusive governance processes. Trust in government also supports economic growth by stimulating investment and consumption. Levels of trust in government are influenced by whether citizens consider government as reliable, responsive and fair as well as capable of protecting citizens from risks and delivering public services effectively.

    • Redistribution of income

      Income inequality has been growing over the past decades in many OECD countries and remains at a historical high in a number of OECD economies. The redistribution of incomes through taxes and public transfers helps to reduce poverty and inequality, thereby strengthening the economy and fostering social well-being. Income inequality has profound impacts not only on individuals’ and families’ living conditions but also their health status, as well as the equality of life chances, social cohesion and trust in institutions. It also hampers long-term economic growth, as it restricts in particular the opportunities of lower- income households to invest in their education and skills. This in turn hampers their employability, less during economic booms but more so during and in the aftermath of economic crises (OECD, 2015).

    • Rule of law

      The rule of law refers to the idea that the same rules, standards and principles need to apply to all individuals and organisations, including to government itself. The concept is implemented in practice through a range of laws, codes and procedures that provide equal access to law and justice, and guarantee predictability, reliability and accountability of the legal system. It is considered a key element of good public governance as it is an essential prerequisite for maintaining peace and order, the provision of public goods and services, the effective control of corruption and economic development.

    • Public sector efficiency

      Budget constraints have increased pressures on governments and public organisations to achieve efficiency gains. From an economic standpoint, efficiency is the relationship between one or more inputs (or factors of production) and one or more outputs.

    • Public sector cost effectiveness

      Public sector cost-effectiveness can be measured by looking at the relationship between inputs (human or financial) and some of the main outcomes in each sector. In general, outcomes refer to the results of public programmes and services in terms of health gains, learning gains, satisfaction gains and confidence gains. In a context of tight budget constraints, improving the cost-effectiveness of public services matters because the outcomes are ultimately what citizens care the most about and governments also need to demonstrate that expenditures are put to good use. However, while part of the ultimate outcomes can be attributed to public services, there is often an issue of attribution since many other factors can also have an impact on these outcomes in health, education and other aspects of people’s lives.

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  • Ouvrir / Fermer Cacher / Voir les résumés Serving Citizens

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    • Serving Citizens Scorecards

      This chapter presents, for the first time, a set of scorecards which are designed to shed light on how OECD countries fare in promoting access, responsiveness and quality of services to citizens. These scorecards do not identify which countries have the best public services overall. They summarise key features of countries’ systems on a selected set of indicators based on the OECD Serving Citizens Framework to help identify possible priority areas for actions. These scorecards, which take the form of summary tables, focus on three sectors: health care, education and justice. For each of these three dimensions, a selected set of key indicators are presented. The selection of these indicators is based on three main criteria: 1) policy relevance; 2) data availability; and 3) data interpretability (i.e., no ambiguity that a higher/lower value means a better/worse performance).

    • Citizen satisfaction with public services and institutions

      In an environment of fiscal restraint, public service organisations depend more and more on feedback from their clients to make effective and sound decisions about their services. In most OECD countries, public sector organisations, departments and agencies regularly monitor user and citizen satisfaction with public services to evaluate the impact of reforms and identify areas calling for further actions. Comparisons of citizen satisfaction with public services are currently limited by the absence of standardization of survey instruments and methodologies both at the national level (between ministries and agencies of a same country) and across countries.

    • Financial and geographic access to care

      There are important variations across OECD health systems in the degree of coverage for health services and goods. In most countries, public coverage is higher for hospital care and doctor consultations, while direct OOP payments are higher for pharmaceuticals, dental care and eye care (glasses) resulting in a relatively greater proportion of people reporting unmet care needs for the latter group of health services and goods.

    • Financial access to education

      In OECD countries, education systems provide universal access to primary and secondary schools for children aged 5-14 years old although some parents may decide to send their children to private schools for various reasons. Access to early childhood education and tertiary education depends to a greater extent on the capacity of households to afford the higher cost of education at these levels, the successful completion of secondary education in the case of tertiary education and other reasons.

    • Access to legal and justice services

      Enabling equal access to legal and justice services for all is an essential component of the proper functioning of the rule of law. It is also included in the list of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG Goal 16) to be achieved by 2030. People-focused, effective and efficient legal and justice services, including access to financial legal aid, to information on laws and legal procedures, legal and administrative literacy and capability are key to enable equal treatment before the law for all citizens and strengthen equity in OECD member countries.

    • Responsiveness of health systems to patient needs

      Delivering health care that is responsive and patient-centered is playing a greater role in health care policy across OECD countries. An increasing number of countries collect Patient-Reported Experience Measures (PREMs) and Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) to support a shift from a volume-based to a value-based model of health system resource management (Canadian Institute for Health Information, 2015).

    • Responsiveness of education systems to student needs

      In all OECD countries, education systems strive to meet the needs of students with different backgrounds, income levels and living conditions. The responsiveness of education systems can be assessed at three different levels: at the education system level, school level and teachers’ level.

    • Timeliness of civil justice services

      The inability to resolve legal needs in an effective and timely manner may diminish access to economic opportunity, reinforce the poverty trap, and undermine human potential. Reducing the length of civil justice proceedings is a key policy issue in a number of OECD and partner countries. Failures to deliver timely judicial decisions may deter citizens, and especially vulnerable groups of citizens, with legitimate legal problems from entering and using the system and can result in higher costs for society.

    • Quality of health care

      Every day, health care providers have to deal with an array of health problems, including infectious diseases, chronic diseases, and life-threatening diseases and injuries. Some of the most frequent and serious health problems in OECD countries are cardiovascular diseases (including heart attacks, strokes and other diseases) and different types of cancer. These are, by far, the two main causes of death in OECD countries, with all cardiovascular diseases accounting for about one-third of all deaths and all types of cancer for about one-fourth of all deaths. While the occurrence of cardiovascular problems and cancers might be reduced through greater prevention efforts (e.g., reductions in tobacco smoking), health care systems have a major role to play in the early detection of these health problems and providing effective and timely treatments when these problems are diagnosed.

    • Student performance and equity in education

      The main goal of education systems in OECD and partner countries is to equip students and adults with the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their full potential. The PISA survey, conducted every three years, measures the learning outcomes of 15 years old students in reading, mathematics and science. It allows a comparison not only of national averages but also of the differences in scores across various student groups and across schools. The focus of PISA 2015 was on science. The assessment measured three key abilities: to explain scientific phenomena, to design and evaluate scientific enquiry, and to interpret data and evidence scientifically.

    • Effectiveness and fairness of judicial systems

      An essential component of the rule of law is based on effective and fair justice systems to ensure that laws are respected, legal needs are met and appropriate sanctions are taken when they are violated. Effective justice systems protect the rights of all citizens against infringement of the law by others, including by powerful parties and governments. The impact of well-functioning justice systems and services on a wide range of well-being outcomes is nevertheless difficult to isolate from the involvement of other stakeholders such as the police, the prison system and other justice and social actors.

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  • Ouvrir / Fermer Cacher / Voir les résumés Annexes

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    • Reporting systems and sources of the countries for government in the National Accounts statistics
    • Methodology for revenue aggregates

      The following table provides detailed information about how the aggregates of taxes, net social contributions, sales, and grants and other revenues presented in “Public finance and economics” were constructed from the OECD National Accounts data.

    • Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG)

      Developed by the OECD, the Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG) classifies government expenditure data from the System of National Accounts by the purpose for which the funds are used. As Table C.1 illustrates, first-level COFOG splits expenditure data into ten “functional” groups or sub-sectors of expenditures (such as economic affairs, education and social protection), and second-level COFOG further splits each first-level group into up to nine sub-groups. While first-level COFOG data are available for 32 out of the 35 OECD member countries (according to time-series availability), second-level COFOG data are currently only available for 25 OECD European member countries plus Israel.First-level COFOG expenditures data are not available for Canada, Chile and Mexico. Until recently, second level COFOG data were available in some national statistical offices, but were not collected by international organisations. Moreover, the second-level COFOG data were not always fully comparable among countries because the SNA/UN guide and the International Monetary Fund Manual on Government Finance Statistics did not provide much practical information on the application of COFOG concepts. However, in 2005, Eurostat established a task force on guidance on the application of COFOG to national account expenditure data and to discuss the collection of second-level COFOG data for European countries. Second-level COFOG data are not available for Turkey and all non-European member countries of the OECD, except Israel. In addition, these data are available only for selected COFOG divisions in some members of the EU. Efforts are underway to reach agreement with these countries about the submission of these data to the OECD.

    • Methodology and Additional Notes on Compensation of Government Employees

      In 2010, the OECD launched a database, updated first in 2012, and again in 2016, on compensation levels for typical occupations in central government in core ministries, which contributes to a better understanding of the salary structures and pay levels in the public sector. Since there is no common definition of managerial positions and the number of managerial levels varies across countries and ministries, this compensation survey offers a common typology for specific occupations in central government. Comparing average compensation in the public sector can be misleading because the public sector in different countries includes various and heterogeneous occupations. However, this survey provides compensation data for comparable occupations, hence improving our knowledge of the public sector.

    • Methodology for composite indexes on public practices and procedures

      The narrowly defined composite indexes presented in Government at a Glance represent the best way of summarising discrete, qualitative information. “Composite indexes are much easier to interpret than trying to find a common trend in many separate indicators” (Nardo et al., 2004). However, their development and use can be controversial. These indexes are easily and often misinterpreted by users due to a lack of transparency as to how they are generated and the resulting difficulty to truly unpack what they are actually measuring.

    • Additional figures accessible online
    • Members of the steering group
    • Glossary

      Terms

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