Restoration of the state independence of the Republic of Azerbaijan on 18 October 1991 faced with the extension of the Armenian occupation with hidden and open support of foreign countries, tension of public relations and hard social economic situation. In spite of all these obstacles, our state could confirm itself as a competent member of the international unity and correct policy implemented following years leaded the republic to sustainable development. In result of such development, Azerbaijan turned into active participant of the processes taking place in region and world. Along with the development in our Republic, also required reforms were conducts in the public administration. One of significant actions undertaken in this direction was adoption of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On Civil Service” on 21 July 2000. Adoption of this Law became a foundation of formation of the single state policy in the civil service field.
Nowadays, the Republic continues reforms in direction of the national political system meeting public administration systems adopted in modern world. Main objective of such reforms are formalization of flexible public administration system, achievement of the highest state provision of rights and freedoms of human and citizens, acceleration of integration process of Azerbaijan into international world. In order to better organize and manage civil service in the Republic, the Civil Service Commission under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan was established under Decree of Ilham Aliyev, the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, No 180 dated of 19 January 2005 and the Regulations of the Commission were approved by Decree No 247 dated of 03 June 2005.
Main activity of the Commission was related to the civil service recruitment based on equality, transparency and competition for implementation of right of citizens to participate in administration of the state in accordance with article 55 of the Constitution of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The Civil Service Commission was a central executive power body organizing enforcement of the standard legal acts adopted in the Republic of Azerbaijan in the area of civil service, providing implementation of the policy stipulated by legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the field of recruitment, placement of the personnel to the civil service on the competitive basis, control over observance of the ethics conduct rules of civil servants, professional development of civil servants, their certification and social protection, as well as other issues related to the civil service.
In 2016, President Ilham Aliyev has signed a decree on establishment of the State Exam Center public legal person of the Republic of Azerbaijan. The Civil Service Commission under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan was abolished and their state property was transferred to the balance of the State Exam Center. The State Exam Center is considered to organize admission of personnel to civil service on a competitive basis, the final assessment of students at the secondary schools, centralized admission exams to bachelor and master decrees at the higher schools, and master decree at the Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences. The decree notes that executive body of the State Exam Center is consisting of the 7-member board of directors. The appointment and firing of the chairman of the board of directors, deputies and members will be carried out by the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan State Exam Center has given the right to organize paid tests as well as training courses under contract in order to provide assistance to the applicants to prepare for exams under test method. The Center has also a right to prepare various teaching aids and test collections on the content and essence of test exams as well as to submit or publish these materials.
“ASAN service” center under the State Agency for Public Service and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan was established by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan No.685 dated 13 July 2012. “ASAN service” centers are the bodies to ensure the realization of the services to be rendered by the state entities in a uniformed and coordinated manner. And these centers are designed to form up a new approach towards ensuring the citizens’ satisfaction in functioning of the state servants in relation to the population and to enrich the quality of relations between state servants and citizens.
The agency’s goal is to make services more easily accessible to citizens using modern technology. The acronym “ASAN” stands for “Azerbaijan Service and Assessment Network”. The word “asan” means “easy” in Azerbaijani. ASAN service has a “one-stop-shop” principle at its center, where 10 government entities and about 30 private companies provide services in a public-private partnership. More than 230 services are provided, including birth, death and marriage registration; identity cards; passports; driver licenses; real estate records; immigrant status and other civic services. Subsidiary services include banking and insurance, legal, medical, tourism and air travel.
Services in the centers are rendered based on the “single space” approach. Thus, a citizen can benefit from various public and private services in one center (single administrative building) at the same time entering through only one door. While the State Agency (State Agency on Public Services and Social Innovations under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan) manages the “space”, government agencies are directly responsible for rendering their own services. The State Agency is responsible setting standards and principles and overseeing day-to-day functioning of the ASAN service centers, whereas the governmental agencies are responsible for providing quality service. Thus, there is neither duplication of functions, nor a conflict of interest between a standard setter and those applying these standards. The State Agency is an entirely new and neutral body that, in accordance with its status, sets standards, optimizes services, monitors and assesses service-providing entities.
ASAN service centers function on Monday – Friday from 10:00 am to 08:00 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 am to 05:00 pm (without break). About 3,000 citizens visit each ASAN service center daily. ASAN service ensures access to public services based on the 5 key principles. These are efficiency, transparency, comfort, politeness and innovativeness.
Until today, over 19 million applications by people have been received by ASAN services since its inception. Mobile ASAN service began in 2013 and helps provide universal access for citizens. It uses buses that travel to deliver services in remote and hard-to-reach areas that do not have ASAN service centers. The agency also established intra-city mobile services in the capital city of Baku. By paying an additional fee, citizens can receive services at work, home or another location they choose. Public satisfaction rate is close to 100 percent.
Monitoring report by OECD in 2016 praised Azerbaijan “for advancing Azerbaijani Service and Assessment Network (ASAN) centres, which has contributed to eliminating the conditions that are conducive to corruption when delivering various administrative services to the public”. Azerbaijan 2016 report by EEAS acknowledged ASAN services for eliminating corruption and removing bureaucracy in public service delivery.
From beginning to end, the overall aims of public administration reform are to improve governance, financial discipline and transparency; resource allocation and use, and the efficiency of programs and services. Furthermore, the “Civil Service Development Strategy for 2019-2025” will be arranged in Azerbaijan. This is stipulated by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s decree on application of the law “On Amending the Law on Civil Service”. When preparing the draft strategy, the following issues will be taken into account: institutional reforms in the civil service; personnel policy in the civil service; rotation in the civil service; application of the model of experience (competence) in the civil service to enhance the professionalism and effectiveness of civil servants; ensuring continuous professional development of civil servants; information support for the civil service, including the development of an electronic public service; creation of a progressive incentive (motivational) system for civil servants. The high level of service that previously provided by The Civil Service Commission and now State Exam Center and ASAN Service and reforms based on continuous development are the evidence of these aims.
Murteza Hasanoğlu, The Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan
Associate Professor PhD
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