Public services is a term usually used to mean services provided by government to its citizens, either directly (through the public sector) or by financing private provision of services. The term is associated with a social consensus (usually expressed through democratic elections) that certain services should be available to all, regardless of income. Even where public services are neither publicly provided nor publicly financed, for social and political reasons they are usually subject to regulation going beyond that applying to most economic sectors.
One of the main features of the economic development in Lithuania in the last five years has been the growing importance of the services sector. There has been a rapid growth in the number of enterprises promoting services and gross value added of total economy has increased rapidly. In 1992 gross value added of services constituted 40%, in 1997 constituted more than 56% and 51% of total employees were engaged in services sector.
1. PUBLIC SERVICE
In 1999 the current Law on Public Service was accredited. The current legal set up for civil service is in the main in line with EU Member States, but implementation is slow and sometimes half-hearted. The reasons for this are chiefly short-lived governments and only slowly improving administrative capacity. Civil Service is being reduced, but petty corruption is still a problem. Measures to address these problems have been taken and implementation is proceeding, though at a slow pace. Mechanisms to ensure that common civil service management standards are applied across the administration are developing, but are not fully operational yet. Salaries are low and the discretion awarded for managers to determine individual salaries is too wide, which may adversely affect the development of civil service professionalism. The Institute of Public Administration has a central role on training, which it is approaching systematically. Improvements are already visible.
In modern, developed countries the term public services often includes:
• Housing and construction;
• Families and social services;
• Health and nutrition;
• Law and legal protection;
• Public safety and order;
• Transport and travel;
• Teaching and education;
• Library and information services;
• Culture and communications;
• Work and pensions;
• Taxation and financing;
• Sports and outdoor activities.
1.1. HOUSING AND CONSTRUCTION
Society provides financial support to help with living expenses so that even those on small incomes, students and pensioners can live in homes of a reasonable standard. Applicants may receive housing allowance for part of their housing costs for rented accommodation, right-of-occupancy housing and even for owner-occupied housing. Allowances are granted collectively for the entire household, and are available on application from the Social Insurance Institution.
The national population information system contains population data and information on where people live. In addition to personal data, the system can also provide information on buildings, flats and real estate. The system is maintained by the local register offices and the Population Register Centre.
1.2. FAMILIES AND SOCIAL SERVICES
Families and children
Local authorities and organizations provide advice and support services for many different family situations. Child welfare clinics support parents during the different stages of pregnancy and monitor children’s health. Local authorities are responsible for providing day care. Child guidance and family counseling clinics can help with problems concerning families and children. Young people can seek help from school nurses or telephone