Executive summary

Despite recent efforts, the Lithuanian government still faces difficulties in generating the type of evidence and evaluation needed at the right time and in the right format, and in connecting supply of evidence to demand.

Lithuania has recently invested in capacities to supply evidence to support Evidence Informed Decision Making (EIDM), especially in data infrastructure. However, significant capacity gaps remain, particularly in public servants’ ability to generate and use robust and credible evidence. Attracting and retaining talent with the necessary analytical skills is a considerable challenge for the civil service. Currently, there is no analytical job category common to all parts of the government and the existing definition of analytical skills is too broad. Therefore, it is hard to identify, measure and manage the government’s analytical capacities. This is compounded by tertiary education system’s limited capacity to produce a sufficient number of graduates with these skills, and by public sector salary conditions. Moreover, existing analytical capacities are scattered across different ministerial units or agencies, making it hard to achieve a “critical mass”.

This report recommends creating a separate track within the civil service for policy analysts and evaluators, as part of a broader reform of the civil service. These analysts could be hired centrally but work across different ministries, and benefit from clear career progression and more competitive salaries. In addition, the civil service would benefit from a new, more granular definition and mapping of analytical skills.

In Lithuania, data management is largely determined by the official statistics programme, which, despite its many virtues, can be too rigid to provide timely analysis for policy making. Statistics Lithuania has the necessary infrastructure to open up its data for EIDM but lacks an adequate legal framework to do so.

Merely having a supply of evidence is not a sufficient condition for its use: building effective connections to support the use of evidence is also necessary. Decision makers need to have the skills to read and interpret evidence as well as the motivation and incentives to use it. The institutionalisation of evidence-generating mechanisms and their links to decision-making processes can help create a marketplace for evidence for policy. The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the importance of data and evidence for decision making. Lithuania has created a new data-gathering and sharing infrastructure and demonstrated its ability to commission scientific studies in a short period of time. However, systematically embedding evidence in decision-making processes remains a challenge. Some examples exist, such as the evaluations of EU structural funds and strategic planning, but a more structural approach is needed. As in most OECD countries, low demand for evidence can also be related to policy makers’ lack of ability to analyse and interpret evidence.

Training could be provided to increase senior civil servants’ and decision makers’ capacity to analyse, assess and use data, scientific studies and other sources of evidence. The creation of a user-friendly evaluation portal and more innovative and tailored dissemination strategies could increase the uptake of evidence. Discussions at the highest political level in the government and parliament on public sector analytical products could be organised to raise awareness. Finally, Lithuania could benefit from a whole-of-government policy framework for evaluation.

Legislative inflation is a serious challenge in Lithuania, undermining compliance with laws and creating excessive regulatory burdens. Effective legislative planning and the application of regulatory management tools can help to address this challenge. Lithuania has put in place a comprehensive regulatory impact assessment (hereafter, RIA) framework since 2003 and is currently developing a framework for ex post regulatory reviews. Recently, there has been an attempt to strengthen the proportionality process, by developing a list of “Higher Impact Legislation” which has to undergo more in-depth RIA.

However, most RIAs are conducted as a formality, with limited impact. Recently introduced quality assurance mechanisms are applied to a limited extent, with responsibilities dispersed across the government. Civil servants drafting RIAs have little internal support and often lack training. Members of Parliament are particularly active in initiating legislation and legislative amendments. The process for transposing EU directives is well established, although with its current setting in the executive, it lacks capacity for oversight and for reducing the scope for ‘gold-plating’. The overall lack of planning of high-impact legislation that has prevailed until recently, leaves insufficient time to conduct effective RIA or consultation for proposed laws.

In order to mitigate legislative inflation, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Government and the Parliament could help create a shared understanding for impact assessment at Parliamentary level. Lithuania could also establish a Strategic Task Force to examine the future of the legislative framework.

Regular training for civil servants could strengthen the RIA process and a “community of practice” should be established to facilitate exchanges of best practice across ministries. In the longer term, a “Regulatory Oversight Board” could provide an independent opinion on the quality of high-impact RIAs and the overall regulatory process. A forward-planning system should also be implemented with a clear 18-month rolling calendar of upcoming legislation, which would identify the time implications for adequate stakeholder consultation and RIA.

Capacities at the Ministry of Justice should be reviewed against the need for undertaking quality control of transposed EU directives. The co-ordination mandate for the nascent ex post regulatory review process should be transferred to the Office of the Government, which has a broader role to play in co-ordinating policy evaluation. To simplify the statute book and increase capacity for compliance, the government should initiate a codification process. Finally, Lithuania could consider an integral Government Resolution on Better Regulation.

The new Government Strategic Analysis Centre (STRATA) has received an extensive mandate to foster an evidence-informed decision-making culture, which encompasses conducting strategic foresight, monitoring and evaluating planning documents, improving the quality of ex ante and ex post evaluations of regulations, acting as a key government advisory body and managing a network of public sector analysts. While STRATA has realigned its organisational structure and established a board to increase its legitimacy, its capacities and ongoing projects still require further adjustment.


This activity on strengthening decision making and policy evaluation in Lithuania was co-funded by the European Union via the Structural Reform Support Programme (REFORM/IM2020/004).

This publication was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area.

The statistical data for Israel are supplied by and under the responsibility of the relevant Israeli authorities. The use of such data by the OECD is without prejudice to the status of the Golan Heights, East Jerusalem and Israeli settlements in the West Bank under the terms of international law.

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