'Poorly-run c'tees erode public confidence in gov't'

State Comptroller report on ministerial committees says their recommendations are ignored, they waste resources.

Knesset 521 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Knesset 521
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
In a report published on Monday, State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss criticized civil service committees in several ministries as inefficient, poorly-run and failing to implement their own recommendations.
The report deals with those committees established by government, ministers or ministry directors-general to formulate policy advice, including those committees which cover two or more ministries. In an audit undertaken from April - October 2010,
Lindenstrauss examined nine committees established by the Ministry of Construction and Housing, the Health Ministry, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and looked at what actions each took to implement committee recommendations.
Lindenstrauss's office also conducted additional audits of the Environmental Protection, Agriculture, Industry, Trade and Labor, Interior, Justice and Public Security ministries, the Israel Lands Administration, the Civil Service Commission, the Courts Administration and the National Insurance Institute.
While the Health Ministry came under particular fire in the report, the state comptroller highlighted several major problems across many of the committees, in particular that most failed to hold full hearings to discuss their conclusions and
recommendations. Committees also failed to explain their recommendations in writing, failed to complete work on time, and often did not reach agreements.
In some cases, ministries appointed additional committees to examine the same issues as previous committees, without discussing previous recommendations. In many cases, committee recommendations were never implemented.
Lindenstrauss slammed ministries' failure to discuss committee recommendations as "a drain of the committees' work and the resources invested in them," adding that such failures counter the purpose for which the committees were established.
Poorly run government committees are damaging public confidence in government, the state comptroller said, calling on government ministries to improve committee planning and on the Civil Service Commission and attorney-general to regulate committee working practices.