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Cross-sectoral cooperation in youth policy is subject to the overall system of policy planning and delivery in Estonia.
At the structural level the drafting and adopting of sectoral development plans and strategies, as well as implementation of them, is framed by the State Budget Act.
Paragraph 19 in the State Budget Act defines the strategic development documents and its aspects. The strategic development documents include the general principles of policy (a development document which determines the vision, national objective and priorities for one or several interrelated policy areas), sectoral development plan (a development document which comprehensively determines the general objective and sub-objectives for one or several policy areas and the indicators providing an opportunity to measure these, and the policy instruments through which it is planned to achieve the established objectives), development plan of the area of government (a development document which records the contributions by a ministry and the authorities in its area of government to the achievement of the general objectives of the performance areas) and programme (a development document which determines the measures, indicators, activities and financing scheme targeted at the achievement of a sub-objective of a policy area). It also states that the strategic development documents shall be mutually consistent and the constitutional institutions are not required to prepare the strategic development documents.
Paragraph 20 in the State Budget Act describes the preparation and implementation of strategic development documents and amendments thereto. All of the general principles of policy-making have to be approved by the Estonian parliament Riigikogu and that can happen either on its own initiative or on the proposal from the Government of the Republic. The development plan has to be prepared for the budget strategy period and approved by the minister. The programme has to be prepared in compliance with the budget strategy period and approved by the minister.
As development plans and policy programmes make claims to the state budget, all development plans are reviewed by the Ministry of Finance, which has the final word in deciding exact costs of a development plan or a programme.
The State Budget Act creates an organizational environment that implies collaboration between ministries and ministerial departments. The need to collaborate in the process of developing a sectoral development plan is stipulated also in the by-law “Types of strategic development plans. The order of drafting, updating, implementing, evaluation and reporting on development plans”. The by-law clarifies the strategic documents which need to be taken into account when drafting a development plan - national development plans aimed at increasing competitiveness of Estonia and the action plan of the Government of the Republic. These documents must be taken into account in the development plans and policy programmes targeting young people.
Consistent with the State Budget Act, the collaboration between ministries occurs in two contexts:
- drafting development plans and strategies;
- implementing the development plans, divided into two strands:
- implementing policy programmes;
- carrying out other activities.
For drafting a development plan or a strategy, the ministry responsible for a particular plan sets up a working group which has the task to lead the whole drafting process. In practical terms, this includes the exchange of information between departments and ministries using generally recognized practices of organizational work, including:
- exchange of official correspondence between ministries and offices;
- participation in working group meetings;
- expression of opinions and feedback on the draft of a development plan;
- informal exchanges of ideas.
In addition to inter-ministerial working groups, other working groups may be set up to involve other partners outside ministries.
All development plans and strategies contain a section, which explains the drafting process and gives the names and institutions that were involved in the process. Each development plan or strategy refers to a range of other strategic documents which influenced its goals and contents and to a number of representatives of other organizations participated in drafting the document.
Activities for achieving goals and objectives outlined in the development plans and strategies as well as responsible institutions are described in the implementation plans where concrete activities are linked to implementing agencies and budget.
The leading role in all implementation plans is carried by the ministry responsible for a concrete development plan, but a considerable number of activities are carried out by other ministries or by several ministries or organizations jointly. Implementation plans indicate a considerable amount of inter-ministerial collaboration.
Below is a list of some activities and programmes that are implemented in collaboration between two or more ministries.
- The programme “Youth Guarantee” is a programme tackling youth unemployment which ensures that all young people under 25 – whether registered with employment services or not – get a good-quality, concrete offer within 4 months of them leaving formal education or becoming unemployed. The programme was initiated by the European Commission and in Estonia, it is implemented in the collaboration of the Ministry of Education and Research and the Ministry of Social Affairs. (Ministry of Social Affairs, 2016)
- Development of cross-sectoral policymaking in the youth field, in cooperation of the Ministry of Social Affairs, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Justice, and Education and Youth Board (governmental organization under the administration of the Ministry of Education and Research).
- Support to learning Estonian, cultural integration, and provision of opportunities for youth participation, social activism and also labor market services to young people in cooperation of the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Education and Research.
- Prevention of school bullying is carried out in the collaboration of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Education and Research, and the Ministry of Social Affairs.
- Activities aimed to decrease close relationship violence are carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice and the Ministry of Social Affairs.
- Activities aimed to increase the internet security of children is carried out in the collaboration of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Interior.
- Projects supporting the development of integration among young people with different background are carried out in cooperation with the Ministry of Culture.
- The programme "Children and Youth at Risk" was implemented by Estonian Youth Work Centre in cooperation of the Ministry of Education and Research, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and the Ministry of Justice. The programme is aimed to improve the well-being of children and young people (aged up to 26 in Estonia) through prevention and cross-sectoral cooperation.
For carrying out sectoral programmes and activities, the ministries rely on organizations within their area of administrative power. For instance, inside and outside the youth field, the ministries are in close cooperation with (some examples):
- Ministry of Interior:
- Ministry of Social Affairs:
- Ministry of Education and Research:
- Ministry of Culture: