Governance in emerging countries is the cornerstone of reform
Public administration reform helps governments to achieve their economic and social aims by enhancing the efficiency and focus of government. Governance in emerging countries are the cornerstone of reform.
If those institutions are not professional, efficient, flexible and transparent, reform and development efforts will seldom succeed.
Governance and public administration institutions are the cornerstone of reform
Areas of expertise
Policy Development & Delivery
Government policy is the tool that translates political objectives into concrete outcomes. Countries with weak policy development and delivery mechanisms often fail to translate political objectives into effective outcomes, resulting in wasted resources and poor service delivery. Strong policy across the whole of government flows from institutions at the centre of government.
For more than 20 years, we have been working with new, conflict-affected, or transitional countries to support the structures required to enable effective development and delivery of policy, leading to better service delivery and value for money for citizens.
Civil Service Reform
The civil service is responsible for development and delivery of government programmes, but it is susceptible to corrupt practices that are often linked to the attainment or retention of political power. Corruption is detrimental to the general functioning of government and can sometimes actively work against it, further reducing capacity and depriving government of precious resources.
As part of our public administration reform work over the past two decades, we have developed extensive expertise and understanding of the often contentious matter of civil service reform. Modernisation of the civil service is often fiercely resisted by highly conservative institutions. Restoration of the values of public service – rather than commands – are vital to improving service delivery and ensuring that resources reach the most vulnerable in society rather than enriching a privileged few. We have successfully implemented civil service reform programmes in many countries, including in Liberia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Burundi and Palestine.
Heavily centralised state functions are a feature of poor, conflict-affected and transitional countries. They often mirror the centralisation of power that allows resources to be diverted for personal or political gain. The absence of effective, empowered sub-national governance processes damages policy development, resulting in poor service delivery and potential conflict.
Our work in this area includes building effective, transparent and accountable sub-national governance mechanisms as a core facet of public administration reform. We have enabled local government to listen and respond to local needs, within a framework of a well-developed overarching national policy in some of the world’s most challenging countries, such as Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq.
Acts of corruption are particularly corrosive in developing and emerging economies where robust and accountable public institutions are often in their infancy and resources are scarce. Corruption adversely affects entire societies: resources are misallocated, authorities mistrusted, and in order to succeed, businesses rely on political favour rather than economic efficiency.
Anti-corruption strategies and frameworks are an essential component of efforts to enhance economic and social development in countries where corruption is prevalent. Our experience in anti-corruption includes work on transparency and accountability, public information and citizen’s charters, design of procurement rules, and simplified organisational structures.
Sector Level Administration Reform
While considerable attention is paid to higher-level institutions, sector-level administration, such as ministries of health or education, often receive programme resources without technical assistance to spend resources effectively. Sector-level administrations often hold vast amounts of sector-specific knowledge, but there is often limited capability to translate this experience into policy submissions that best mobilise resources. This leaves low levels of service delivery, ineffective advocacy and poor value for money, which can have a demoralising effect on staff and the institution.
We recognise the importance of effective sector-level administration in designing strong public administration.
Social protection relates to stopping, managing and dealing with situations that jeopardize people’s well-being. In poor, conflict-affected, and transitional countries comprehensive social protection is often lacking. Effective social protection includes the design and implementation of policies and activities that reduce vulnerability and poverty. This is achieved by promoting enabling factors such as more efficient labour markets, reduced exposure to risks, and community and individual resilience to cope with economic and social hazards such as unemployment, exclusion, sickness, disability and old age.
We design effective capacity for sustainable social protection as well as specific reforms – from youth employment promotion in Iraq and the review of social protection strategies in the Mekong, to implementing conditional transfer schemes in Pakistan.
Civil Society & Demand-Side Accountability
Strong healthy societies have the ability to hold their governments accountable for delivering services. That requires building the capacity of civil society, the media, parliaments and trade associations to define their priorities and concerns, to voice them persuasively to government, and to monitor the government’s performance in delivering those priorities.