Medium-Term Strategic Planning

A workshop by SIGMA and Montenegro’s Ministry of European Affairs, Podgorica 11-12 May 2017

To step up its EU accession preparations, the newly elected government of Montenegro has established a new Ministry of European Affairs (MEP) since November 2016. In May 2017, the Ministry organized a government-wide workshop on the coordination of strategic planning together with SIGMA, the joint program created by the OECD and the EU to strengthen public management.

The purpose of the workshop was to discuss the requirements and coordination of strategic plans, to link strategy documents and medium-term budget planning and to define goals and indicators for monitoring and reporting. Apart from MEP, senior civil servants from the Secretariat of the Government, the Ministry of Finance and key line ministries attended the workshop. SIGMA experts included practitioners from Estonia, Latvia and Hungary.

In my presentations, I identified possible links between strategic planning and the budget process and gave an overview on approaches and options of performance measurement. One outcome of the workshop was a clearer rationale for a sector structure of medium-term strategic policy planning.

Sectors can be viewed as an intermediary level between the institutional setup / organizational design of government and the goal orientation or functional logic of public policies. The definition and delineation of sectors reflects the medium- and longterm policy priorities of the government, while being sufficiently broad to enable a flexible definition and readjustment of policy goals.

Sectors can structure and support inter-ministerial cooperation below the cabinet level. Such a cooperation is particularly important for Montenegro because the current government consists of a relatively large number of ministerial portfolios that is likely to reduce the effectiveness of deliberation within the full cabinet of ministers. Moreover, general administrative capacity limits also strongly suggest inter-ministerial cooperation.

We proposed to define seven sectors taking into account the structures of ministry portfolios and the most important medium-term planning documents: Democracy and governance; financial / fiscal governance; transport and energy infrastructure; economic development and environment; science, education and culture; employment, social inclusion and health; euroatlantic integration.