The reorganization of Estonian government ministries, as laid out in the coalition agreement, to adapt to the current circumstances, should bring together most ministries in a single building. According to Estonian State Secretary Taimar Peterkop, the move will create more effective cooperation between ministries and help to avoid siloing.
"These changes are needed in order to achieve policy objectives, such as the Green Turn and the fight against regional inequality, more effectively," Peterkop said.
The Estonian State Secretary stressed, that, at this stage, financial savings are not the aim of the reform. "For the time being, we are redefining each of the areas. After that, each new ministry will look at its own internal organization as well as its new responsibilities and new structure," he said.
The reorganization is, according to Peterkorp, designed to help avoid siloing and make increase the flexibility of ministerial responses to different priority issues. Explaining the notion of siloing, Peterkop pointed out, that currently Estonia's ministries resemble silo towers. They do not communicate very much with each other and deal rather narrowly with their single areas.
The biggest changes resulting from the reorganization affect the new climate ministry and new regional affairs ministry. The official names of the new ministries will be announced once the respective laws have been amended, Peterkop explained.
The climate ministry, led by Kristen Michal (Reform), will absorb responsibilities for the construction, transport and energy sectors from the Ministry of the Environment and Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.
Meanwhile, the new regional affairs ministry will be responsible for all issues related to local government and regional policy, which were previously the domain of the Ministry of Finance. The regional affairs ministry, under minister Madis Kallas (SDE), will also take over responsibility for planning and housing from the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Social Affairs.
The Estonian State Secretary added, that the changes ought to be implemented quickly in order to keep any resulting confusion to a minimum.
The reorganization will happen in several stages., with Peterkop saying the transition had already begun last week with Prime Minister Kaja Kallas' (Reform) assignment of ministerial responsibilities in line with the new structure. The next step involves amending the legislation to formally reorganize the new ministries.
After that, staff will move to those new ministries and the names will change. As for the physical working locations of ministry officials, that will be part of the next phase of the reorganization, Peterkop said.
The relevant legislation is expected to be changed by July 1, with relocations happening in the new year, with the aim of housing the majority of Estonia's government ministries in a single building. "There will also be increased cooperation as a result of being together. So, all the new ministries will also be located there," Peterkop said.
At the moment, no estimate of how much the restructuring will cost is available. According to Peterkop, the costs will become apparent as the work progresses, though transferring people to different posts will not involve any major expenses.
Editor: Michael Cole