Performance Measures for Israel’s Attorney General
Policy paper 108
- Written By: Dr. Guy Lurie
- Publication Date:
- Cover Type: Softcover
- Number Of Pages: 205 Pages
- Center: Center for Democratic Values and Institutions
- Price: 45 NIS
A policy paper by Dr. Guy Lurie that proposes criteria for evaluating the policy and performance of Israel's Attorney General.
Israel's Attorney General heads the state prosecution system, represents the state and the public interest in legal proceedings, and serves as the chief legal advisor to government authorities. However, despite the fact that the Attorney General plays one of the most important and significant roles in Israel, there is insufficient oversight and supervision of his work and he is less accountable than one would expect. Unlike his counterparts in other countries, Israel’s Attorney General is not required to publish an annual report of his own, and his activities are only reported in brief in the annual report issued by the Justice Ministry.
Why doesn’t the Israeli Attorney General publicly define his objectives and the criteria by which to evaluate whether they have been fulfilled? Should he not be required to act with the same levels of transparency and accountability as his counterparts in other countries? In order to assess his performance, the Israeli public needs information based on known criteria; however, they do not currently receive that kind of information.
This policy paper by Dr. Guy Lurie proposes a set of criteria for evaluating the policy and performance of Israel's Attorney General. It presents three main recommendations:
- The Attorney General will publish a multi-year work plan and a detailed annual report.
- The performance measures that will serve as the basis of the Attorney General’s report of his activity and the activity of the departments under his responsibility will be defined in advance, according to metrics of output, effectiveness, and quality of management.
- The full set of indicators will be developed jointly by the Attorney General and the Israeli public (including non-governmental organizations and academic experts).
The Attorney General heads Israel’s prosecution system, represents the State and the public interest in legal proceedings, and serves as the chief legal advisor to government authorities. In all of these roles, he (so far only men have served in the position) is responsible for defending the rule of law. It is his duty to enforce the law; protect the country’s constitutional principles, including human and civil rights; and help the government authorities implement their policies within the constraints of the law.
Although the Attorney General occupies one of the most important and powerful positions in Israel, there is insufficient oversight and supervision of his work. He is not required to publish an annual report and the Justice Ministry provides only a terse summary of his activities in its yearly report. His counterparts in other countries, including the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia, and Ireland, have been publishing annual reports for years, including detailed information according to specific performance measures.
Why doesn’t the Israeli Attorney General provide the public with a definition of his objectives and the indicators to assess their fulfillment? Isn’t the Attorney General obliged to act with transparency, accountability, and public responsibility like his counterparts in the world? To assess his performance, we need information based on known criteria—but the Israeli public does not currently receive this information.
The aim of this policy paper is to fill in the gaps and propose criteria for evaluating the Attorney General’s policy and performance. I present three main recommendations:
1. The Attorney General will publish a multi-year work plan and a detailed annual report.
2. The criteria for the Attorney General’s report on his activity and the activity of the departments under his responsibility will be defined in advance, according to three types of indicators:
- Outputs: in part to increase the transparency of his activity
- Outcomes (or effectiveness): to what extent the Attorney General fulfills the objectives of his roles
- Quality of management.
In his annual report, the Attorney General will explain what the indicators reveal, highlight his accomplishments, and explain any perceived failures.
3. The full set of indicators will be developed in conjunction with the system under review—that is, the Attorney General and the units under his responsibility. To reflect the Attorney General’s accountability to the citizens he serves, the public (including nongovernmental organizations and academic experts) will participate in the final selection of the indicators.
The public has a supreme interest in ensuring that the Attorney General performs his many tasks in the best manner possible. All of us want Israel to have a good Attorney General.