Ministry of Finance of the Slovak republic, Štefanovičova 5, 817 82 Bratislava, IČO: 00151742.

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We opened an expert debate on how to improve impact assessment of public policies

Based on the analyses and evaluation of the Value for Money (VfM) Unit, the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic today discussed with the expert public the possible proposals to improve the impact assessment of public policies. The aim is to help politicians make more informed decisions. 

Together with representatives of the public and private sector, representatives of the Ministry of Finance of the Slovak Republic discussed today what systemic changes could be made to increase the awareness and quality of politicians' decisions. 

“Proposals tabled in government and parliament often also have an impact on the general government budget, which is not always carefully considered. For the sake of citizens and for the sake of the budget, we need to improve the process of evaluating public policies before proposals are adopted. I am pleased that we have been able to open an expert debate on how to strengthen data-driven decision-making. This is an important topic, which is also among the priorities of the Government's Programme Statement,” said the acting Minister of Finance Michal Horváth.

The quality of the legal environment in Slovakia is declining and legislation changes frequently. For example, the Social Insurance Act has been amended 33 times in the last 3 years. 

“We also see many changes in health laws and tax legislation. In addition to the quality of the legislative environment, this also reduces the stability and predictability of the entire system,” explains Martin Haluš, Director of the Value for Money Unit.

The current impact assessment system in government is formalistic and often fails to answer the really important questions, experts said. Those who make the proposals do not sufficiently demonstrate the selection of the best alternative and do not identify specific objectives or risks of implementation.

Another problem is the frequent circumvention of standard commenting processes and bringing materials directly to government meetings. This leaves departments, the public and advisory bodies with no space to comment, which can lead to flawed material being approved.

Similar problems arise in the parliament. Parliamentary proposals are routinely adopted without adequate impact assessment, which may increase the cost to the public of complying with the law and lead to uncovered budgetary impacts. The scope of amendments is also extended, but individual Members have the same time to decide.

One option that has been discussed is to carry out a more detailed cost-benefit analysis for so-called “big reforms” such as changes to the pension system or family policy. It would include a real evaluation of alternatives. For other, smaller proposals, the impact analysis would be considerably simplified. Experts also agreed on the need for adding an independent impact assessment, the outcome of which will be publicly available.

Martin Haluš points out that the success of any reform will depend on the will of politicians: “Above all, it will require an interest on the part of politicians to do things professionally and to thoroughly evaluate each idea before deciding to implement it. We have seen with pension indexation how the original intent can ultimately backfire. I believe that we are heading in the right direction with this discussion study and that its final form will contribute to better decisions on public policy changes in Slovakia.”   

The conclusions of the expert discussion will form part of the final draft of the reform, which will be presented to the public in the coming weeks. 

Press Department
Ministry of Finance of the SR

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Ministry of Finance
of the Slovak republic

Štefanovičova 5
P. O. BOX 82
IČO: 00151742

+421 2 5958 1111


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