First meeting of the COST Project Working Group Local Public Sector Reforms: An International Comparison, Zagreb, 27 - 28 June 2016

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As part of the COST international network (European Cooperation in Science and Technology), a two-day meeting of the first working group (WG1 External (Post) NPM) operating under the Project Local Public sector Reforms: An International Comparison (ISCH COST Action IS1207) was held on 27 and 28 June 2016 at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb. Before this workshop in Zagreb, the authors have honed their papers according to the guidelines for their standardization, previously compiled by professors Koprić, Marcou and Wollmann in preparation of a new book on the evaluation of local and regional public services reforms.

During the opening of the Zagreb workshop prof. Koprić presented the guidelines prepared in accordance with the theoretical and methodological framework and considerations in the previous book, which was also prepared within the COST project (Wollmann, Koprić, Marcou (eds.) Public and Social Services in Europe: From Public and Municipal to Private Sector Provision, Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

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Guidelines relate to the structuring of the papers and include a brief overview of the institutional structure of local and regional levels of government, a clear distinction of institutional evaluation, evaluation of implementation and evaluation of outcomes, identification of the goals of local public services reform goals, policy recommendations based on the lessons learned, and the relevance of the evaluation studies in the country in which the research was conducted or at least the reasons why the evaluation studies could be relevant. The forthcoming book titled Evaluating Reforms of Local Public and Social Services in Europe: More Evidence for Better Results (Koprić, Wollmann, Marcou, eds.) has 21 chapters, together with an introduction and a conclusion.

In terms of its content, the following local services are evaluated in its chapters: waste management, water supply, public transportation, health care, education and personal social services. The territorial span of the book chapters includes seventeen countries-representatives of those group of countries that share similar national traditions: the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia and Turkey.

During the Zagreb workshop fifteen exhibitors presented the results of their research, conducted independently or in domestic/international coauthorship with their colleagues, as part of the new share of COST research project concerning the systematic evaluation of changes and more comprehensive reforms in the provision of local public and social services in countries of Europe.

On the first day of the workshop, after the introductory words of professors Ivan Koprić (University of Zagreb), Gérard Marcou (University Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne) and prof. emeritus Hellmut Wollmann (Humboldt University in Berlin), Germà Bel presented the evidence-based main methodologies approaches to the evaluation of local services and reforms. Vedran Đulabić exhibited his research with prof. Koprić on problems caused by insufficient decentralization and consequently lack of customer satisfaction in Croatia. Theodore N. Tsekos presented on problems in the use of policy evaluation in Greek local government., Yeşeren Elicin on recentralisation of local service provision in Turkey.

Tamás M. Horváth evaluated the re-intervenening role of the central government in public utilities provision in Hungary, and Andrea Lippi evaluated actions and effects of the introduction of regulatory management at higher and lower levels of government in terms of water supply , waste management and public transport services in Italy. Anamaria Musa presented her research study with Gerard Marcou on central and local aspects of the regulatory impact Assessment and environmental assessment as forms of evaluation studies. Jasmina Džinić elaborated her evaluative research with Romea Manojlović on the effects of decentralization on local public management in Croatia.

The second day of the workshop began with a presentation of Hellmut Wollmann on approaches to evaluation of personal social services in Germany, a study with Frank Bönker. Łukasz Mikuła presented his study with Marzena Walaszek on the evaluation of outsourcing in local education system in Poland. Pierre Bauby spoke about the changes in the model of water services in France and the effects on the management, organization and provision of other public services in that country (research with Michael Similia). Primož Pevcin communication presented his work with Iztok Rakar- the evaluation of different modalities of water services provision in Slovenia. Harald Torsteinsen presented an international comparative study with Marieke van Genugten, Łukasz Mikuła, Carla Puiggros Mussons and Esther Pano Pueyo on the effects of local government agencification on local waste management.

At the end of the workshop, the editors of the forthcoming book paved the way for fruitful discussions on possible conclusions that could be drawn from the comparative studies on evaluation of successful and less successful reforms in the delivery of local public and social services in Europe.

*Daria Dubajić

(Daria Dubajić, Research Assistant at the Department of Administrative Science, Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb, e-mail: ddubajic@pravo.hr)