Public service delivery in today’s Georgia

Authored by: Giorgi Vashakidze

The Routledge Handbook of International Local Government

Print publication date:  September  2018
Online publication date:  September  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138234727
eBook ISBN: 9781315306278
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315306278-16

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Abstract

Traditionally the decentralisation of authority and resources from the central government to local governments is considered to be an essential element for effective public service delivery. In recent years, this notion has been challenged by the evolution of a new types of public service delivery models. One such model is to be found in Georgia as the one-stop-shop where integration and centralisation of resources and responsibilities is the main ingredient for the central authorities to effectively deliver public services nationwide. Undoubtedly, transparency and accountability is often easier to accomplish at the local level where many citizens are more likely to interact with governments and government agencies on a frequent basis. However, for local officials to respond more effectively and faster to the demands of their constituents, they need to have the appropriate knowledge and skills. This is often not the case in developing countries. Therefore, the decentralisation of power and resources may trigger wide-spread corruption and can lead to dysfunctional public service delivery at the local level. This has the potential of damaging intra-governmental cooperation and making central as well as local authorities less responsive, less transparent and less accountable to the population. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, a decentralisation policy prevailed in Georgia. Since 2004, however, the government has reversed the trend of decentralisation by reducing the autonomy of local authorities in delivering services and by embarking on the creation of a centralised service delivery model based on the one-stop-shop principle.

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