The purpose of this paper is to compare the systems of fire and rescue services (FRS) in Estonia and Georgia with respect to recent centralization reforms, especially with performance measurement and management in mind, and analyse their prospects for successful implementations.
A desk study, covering all the main publicly available strategic plans of both countries relevant to FRS was conducted by the author. In addition, a meeting with the Georgian officials from the Emergency Management Agency was held in May 2016 and follow-up inquiries to specify certain aspects were made in the following two months.
This study demonstrates that Estonia is using performance indicators widely to set the target levels and manage the fire and rescue system, whereas Georgia is still under the process of introducing performance indicators. Therefore, since the systems of both countries are under centralized management in contrast to the typical European system, it would be suitable to learn from the reforms of each country to further understand the best practices.
Since Georgia was in the process of reform in 2016, it does not have many performance indicators or impact evaluations of the reform readily available, which makes the possibilities of comparison limited.
The last reform of the FRS in Estonia and Georgia was similar: the centralization of services to increase the potential of cooperation and standardize the level of service provision. Estonia’s FRS system is eager to implement the reforms based on a data-driven analysis, whereas Georgia, still in the process of reform, does not have many performance indicators. As a result, Georgia and other countries aiming to centralize their FRS system in the near future would have the perfect opportunity to learn from Estonia’s reforms as well as predict and adapt to the possible bottlenecks of the reforms. For a wider audience, an analysis of the possible challenges of centralizing public agencies in transitional countries are of interest.
The public service provision is not widely analysed in the context of transition countries. As the reforms are to some extent the result of the accession process of joining the EU, it is crucial to understand whether the reforms have the planned impact on public services. The current paper analysed the reforms and implementations of public management techniques in the FRS, based on two transitional countries: Estonia and Georgia. FRS has seen relatively few studies analysing and comparing the reforms of different countries.
The author acknowledges the two anonymous reviewers and the editor for their suggestions and comments. Following their suggestions, several improvements have been to the article. The author also acknowledges Kerly Espenberg for commenting on an earlier version of the article and Irakli Saneblidze for providing information on Georgian FRS system. This article was prepared in the context of the program Marie Curie Action, EU-PREACC – “Possibilities and limits, challenges and obstacles of transferring CEE EU pre-accession best practices and experience to Moldova’s and Georgia’s pre-accession process (2013-2017)”.
Puolokainen, T. (2017), "Reforming fire and rescue services: a comparative study of Estonia and Georgia", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 30 No. 3, pp. 227-240. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPSM-08-2016-0127Download as .RIS
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