Friday, July 21, 2006

Decentralising Structural Funds' management to the regional level

Decentralising Structural Funds' management to the regional level

Decentralised programming = Decentralised implementation? Or, Why (further) decentralisation of implementation is a bad idea

Since programming will focus on the NUTS 2 level in the future, there will be a tendency to decentralise management of Structural Funds and Instruments to this level. This paper problematises the management side of this issue, arguing that decentralised programming need not automatically mean decentralised management of the programmes, and indeed that there are many reasons why, particularly in the new Member states, any (further) decentralisation of management is likely to have negative consequences. These conclusions are based on the findings of an institutional capacity measurement recently undertaken at 4 implementing agencies in one new member state (to ensure confidentiality, the results will be presented generically and anonymously). Ten criteria were used to measure capacity at existing institutions; these criteria were adapted for relevance in light of structural funds implementation requirements, and were: Governance; Management practices; Financial resources; Service delivery; Human resources; External resources; Monitoring of projects & programmes; Programme management; Administrative capacity for formulation; Management and Control of Programmes. In addition, an assessment was made of the structures for implementation of structural funds, with comparisons to EU member state institutions, on five criteria: structures for management; structures for programming; structures for implementation; structures for monitoring and evaluation; structures for financial management & control. The presentation concludes with some thoughts and recommendations for future institutional structures for implementation of structural funds.

Derek Barker
Senior Consultant
CEEN Consulting
Pezzlgasse 66/1
1170 Vienna
Phone: +43 19713806

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