‘We Shall Discuss the Key Problems of Public Administration’
On June 28th and 29th an international academic conference ‘Improving the Effectiveness of Public Services’ will take place at the HSE. The co-organizer of the conference is the international Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM) which is holding its annual external conference in Russia for the first time. Alexey Barabashev, Dean of the HSE Faculty of Public Administration, spoke to us about the conference.
— Dr. Barabashev, what is APPAM – the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management? And why was the HSE chosen as the venue for the first APPAM conference in Russia?
— The association was founded in 1978 as a result of an agreement between 15 leading U.S. universities concerning the new contents of public administration itself and its academic guidelines. Today it unites over 1500 departments and institutes of public administration as well as practical and administrative organizations from all over the world. One of the main APPAM tasks is to improve the quality of education, analytical work and research in public administration.
For the first time in its history the Association is holding its conference in Russia, and I believe that the choice of the HSE as the national co-organizer of this forum demonstrates clearly both the professional level of our university and the contribution made by our staff in the development of educational and research projects on different aspects and areas of state and municipal administration.
I would also like to mention that along with the other organizers of annual external APPAM conferences the HSE has been included in the pool of leading regional educational and analytical organizations and universities: in 2009 the APPAM conference was organized by the Singapore University School of Public Policy and in 2010 – by the Maastricht Graduate School of Governance. Both schools are world leaders.
— Please tell us more about the main tasks and the programme of the forthcoming conference.
— The conference will be dedicated to a very timely and relevant topic which was suggested by our faculty for the international discussion: the improvement of the effectiveness of public services. The fact that this topic was supported by the APPAM administration confirms the importance of this problem not only here in Russia but also in other countries. We received over 260 applications for conference participation, all of them went through a strict selection, and as a result 110 participants from 28 countries have confirmed their participation in the conference. The largest number of participants will come from schools of public administration in the USA (32 participants) and Russia (31 participant). 4 editors-in-chief of leading international journals on public administration will come as delegates and/or session moderators (Oxford series of journals, journals published by the Harvard University, APPAM and the Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe), there also will be representatives from the World Bank as well as researchers from some of the largest universities in Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain, Austria and Slovakia. We will have a broad range of participants, from Mexico to The Philippines, from Finland to The United Arab Emirates, from South Africa to the Virgin Islands. And, of course, our colleagues from CIS countries will also participate in the conference.
The conference programme includes two plenary sessions and many different topical sections. We are planning to discuss and analyze new models of administration which serve the interests of citizens, models of interaction between the state, civil society and the business community, issues of evaluation of state programmes, administrative reforms, private-public partnerships, e-government, and leadership in administration. We need to pay some attention to the problems of administration evaluation through results as well as the evaluation of the effectiveness of administration, its transparency and how successfully it is overcoming corruption.
All presentations at the plenary sessions will cover the essential problems of public administration. It is necessary to elaborate some effective approaches to the evaluation of administration quality on the level of governmental bodies and public officers’ work by their results, to evaluate the mechanisms of administrative reforms and implementation of programmes and to analyze various aspects of private-public partnership. I think that the presentation by O-Taeg Shim, Vice Minister for Policy Analysis and Evaluation, Secretary of the Public Service Evaluation Committee, Prime Minister's Office, Republic of Korea, will be very interesting, as well as our colleagues’ reports concerning the mechanisms of interaction between non-commercial organizations and the state in Russia, the forming of the new paradigm of public administration which is outside the concept of the ‘new public administration’ with its strictly managerial approach to the state’s role.
There will be special focus throughout the conference on comparative, cross-national reports, which study the requirements for public administration and ideas for improving public services for Russian citizens. We hope that international experts will give their recommendations on the key problems which will arise during the transition to modern public services.
— Will any important publications appear as a result of the conference?
— Yes, we are planning to issue two collections of papers, in Russia and in the USA. APPAM will be responsible for this in Washington, and here, we will be. Those collections will be different both in terms of the topics and the list of authors.
— What would you list as the most promising plans of the Association and your Faculty in the near future?
— I believe that the next important APPAM event will be the general conference of APPAM members in early November in Washington. This will be an international-scale event: over two thousand participants, a great variety of topics, numerous professional contacts and announcements of new topics for research and new educational initiatives.
During the preparation for the conference, we managed to get support from such well-known Russian companies and organizations as Rostelecom, Eksmo publishing house, The Russian Association for Public Relations (RASO), AGT Communications Group and Skolkovo Moscow School of Management. I believe that we should develop further cooperation and partner relations with them. Both for the faculty and the HSE as a whole, the main thing is not to stop. The more new and promising ideas we have, the closer our international ties and the higher our education quality. And not only in public administration.
Valentina Gruzintseva, HSE News Service