Estonia: Towards a Single Government Approach

image of Estonia: Towards a Single Government Approach

These OECD country reviews examine governance and public management issues from a comprehensive perspective, helping countries to identify how reforms can better reinforce each other in support of overall government objectives.  They also examine reform strategies that have worked in other countries and provide advice as to which reforms can be appropriately adapted to a given country.    

Since the restoration of independence in 1991, Estonia has met the challenge of establishing a fully functional, stable, and modern state.  This review looks at how, building on its significant accomplishments to date, the Estonian public administration can work together as a single government to improve and sustain service delivery to citizens and to meet new challenges on the horizon. 


Delivering Public Services Effectively

Estonia faces a series of inter-connected challenges to delivering high-quality public services. At the central level, the government has begun to consolidate “back-office” operations for county governments, and to experiment with rationalising “frontoffice” activity by merging all local State representation into one physical working environment. At the local level, however, the lack of standards and performance measures, and the mismatch between fiscal capacity and devolved responsibilities put pressure on local government service capacity. Estonia needs to take an integrated and innovative perspective in developing solutions to meet service delivery challenges. This would entail tailoring service delivery requirements to population needs, matching service sets to municipal capacity, building scale, and linking action at the municipal level with a broader vision for territorial development and regional policy. Given the many elements involved, the central/sub-national relationship will need to be strengthened through greater institutional co-ordination and collaboration.


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