State reform: 20 state authorities to be merged into six agencies ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

The so-called
The so-called "Superministry" building in Central Tallinn. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

Should the Cabinet approve the plan to be submitted by Minister of Public Administration Jaak Aab (Centre) on Thursday, 20 state authorities and ministry departments will be replaced with six joint agencies.

The biggest number of authorities to be merged under Aab's plan fall under the field of education.

The joint education authority slated to begin work on Sept. 1, 2020, will bring together Foundation Innove, the Archimedes Foundation, the Estonian Research Council, the Information Technology Foundation for Education (HITSA), the Estonian Qualifications Authority, the Estonian Youth Work Centre (ENTK), the Language Inspectorate, the Institute of the Estonian Language (EKI) and the Estonian Foundation of Sports Education and Information. One possible name for the future authority would be the Education Authority.

In the course of the Education Authority project, the functions of the implementation units of two authorities, Foundation Innove and the Archimedes Foundation, will be transferred to the State Shared Service Centre by April 1, 2020 at the latest. Likewise to be reassigned to the State Shared Service Centre are the accounting services of all of the agencies being consolidated.

Another planned new joint agency would combine the Land Board, the Regional Administration Department of the Ministry of Finance, and the Construction Works Register Division of the Construction and Housing Department of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications. The merged land and planning agency is planned to start work in 2021.

Transport agencies, agriculture and food agency

Two new joint agencies would be established in the transport field — a transport planning and investments agency and a transport supervision agency.

The formation of these two agencies would involve the Road Administration, the Maritime Administration, the Civil Aviation Administration and the Consumer Protection and Technical Regulatory Authority. The two agencies to be established are expected to begin work in 2021. According to an analysis, this particular merger of four agencies into two isn't expected to entail significant financial gains, however it should result in increased capability for general transport planning and supervision.

A fifth joint agency responsible for the fields of agriculture and food would be established by the merger of the Agricultural Board and the Veterinary and Food Board (VTA). The new agency, to be headquartered in Saku Municipality, should begin work in January 2021.

Merger to reduce administrative burden

The sixth new joint agency would be established in the environmental field, merging the Environment Agency and the Environmental Inspectorate, the functions of which overlap significantly according to an analysis. The merger of these two authorities is expected to significantly reduce administrative burden as well as help avoid the current fragmentation of functions. The merged environmental agency is slated to begin work in January 2021.

According to the analysis to be discussed by the government on Thursday, as a result of the reform, the quality of public services has to improve or remain at the current level, and the quality of the work environment and employers' terms at the institutions in question must likewise either improve or at least remain at current levels.

The aforementioned changes are to be implemented by designated central project managers to be appointed at each coordinating agency or ministry. These managers will be responsible for the focus and deadlines of the analysis as well as the resulting decisions and development of solutions.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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