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. 



Promoting a Whole-of-Government Approach

Estonia’s governance structure combines strong vertical silos and formal, legalistic arrangements with many personal and informal networks. Moving to a single government approach is a long-term process founded on political commitment and leadership that transcends party lines and individual electoral terms. In Estonia, both the formal and informal will need to be addressed in order to promote informal co-ordination and co-operation, while some processes and networks will need to become more institutionalised in order to improve sustainability of working methods and information management. In addition, mechanisms to strengthen co-ordination and co-operation in both the political and administrative spheres are needed. A whole-of-government approach also applies to the management of the public administration itself where greater flexibility of staff and structures and improved co-ordination can help promote staff mobility and a whole-of-government understanding of tasks and roles.


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