In 2018 PAI successfully won a bid to undertake training and consultation to the public policy units of the Ministries of the Government of Georgia. This was part of a broader process of Public Administration Reform (PAR) that was being undertaken by the central Administration of the Government of Georgia (AoG). The project was funded and supported by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The main goal of the Training and Consultation Support (TCS) provided by PAI was to increase the capacity of Ministries to undertake public policy analysis and thus improve the policy making process in the country. This involved strengthening the link between policy planning and budgeting, enhancing the nexus between policy planning and implementation and building strong mechanisms for monitoring, evaluation and accountability.
Activities and outcomes
Working in partnership with the Georgian business consulting company GEC, based in Tbilisi, PAI conducted a needs assessment of the policy units in all in the Ministries of the Government of Georgia. This consisted of an initial self-assessment process by key personnel in each Ministry of the existing strengths and weaknesses in policy development and implementation, and what training and professional development was needed to improve these skills and competencies. This was then followed by an external and independent assessment by PAI’s consultants of the capacity of each Ministry to undertake effective policy development and implementation. This latter assessment was undertaken using face-to-face interviews with relevant personnel in each Ministry. Detailed analysis of official policy documents, including the AoG’s Public Administration Reform (PAR) Roadmap 2020 and its Policy Planning Manual of the Government of Georgia, was also undertaken.
The needs assessment indicated a considerable willingness of policy makers in all of the Ministries to improve the procedures and processes of policy development and implementation, as well as the monitoring and evaluation of policies, programmes and projects. There was also a need to develop an understanding of the role of evidence and analysis in policy making and service delivery, and the capacity to undertake such analysis. To this end a programme of training in public policy analysis was developed by PAI’s consultants and local trainers who delivered the training in partnership with GEC.
The training programme consisted of nine modules covering the policy-making process, data management, policy options analysis, technical aspects of monitoring and evaluation, economic appraisal and implementation and delivery mechanisms. The training included didactic teaching as well as participatory learning based on problem-solving using case studies from Georgia and other countries. The first and subsequent phases of the programme were delivered for parallel groups of twenty-five participants. The evaluation of the training programme strongly indicated that it not only satisfied the needs of participants but also that they could use the knowledge and skills gained from the training in their everyday professional activities.
In addition to the training programme, PAI’s consultants and local trainers developed a Handbook of Public Policy Analysis. This provides a resource to which training participants and Ministries can refer as they go about their professional policy-making activities. It also offers guidance on resources that support public policy analysis from academic and international organisations such as the European Union, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) of the World Bank.
This training and consultation project with the Government of Georgia underlined the importance of having a well-developed infrastructure to support high quality public policy analysis. This includes policy units having access to statistical support and analysis, electronic libraries and databases of evidence, good oversight of the quality of analytical products and the capacity to integrate analysis with the experience, expertise and judgement of policy makers and service providers. Such infrastructural capacity for good policy making is often lacking in governments across the world. PAI can provide the knowledge, skills and opportunities to develop this infrastructure and to make good policy making and service delivery a real possibility.