center of government

Delivering on Promises: The Presidential Goals System in the Dominican Republic, 2012–2016

Author
Blair Cameron
Focus Area(s)
Critical Tasks
Core Challenge
Country of Reform
Abstract

At his August 2012 inauguration, Dominican Republic president Danilo Medina announced ambitious plans to increase economic growth and raise living standards—in particular by making health care more readily available, boosting literacy, and extending the school day for more than a million children. But in a country with a history of weak follow-through on policy promises and poor coordination among government institutions, fulfilling those commitments required firm political will and direction from the presidency. Medina and his chief of staff, Gustavo Montalvo, decided to use a management system created by the United Nations Development Programme’s Systems for Managing Governance (SIGOB) initiative in order to track progress on more than a hundred commitments developed in consultation with civil society groups during the campaign and transition. The SIGOB system helped ministries and agencies focus on the president’s priorities, kept the president informed on progress, and facilitated problem solving. At the end of Medina’s first term as president, the government had achieved some important successes, such as the implementation of a 911 emergency response system and expanded classroom time for most of the nation’s schoolchildren. A handful of the president’s commitments, however, had fallen behind schedule.

 

Blair Cameron drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in January and February 2016. Case published June 2016.

A Promise Kept: How Sierra Leone's President Introduced Free Health Care in One of the Poorest Nations on Earth, 2009-2010

Author
Michael Scharff
Country of Reform
Abstract

When Ernest Bai Koroma assumed the presidency of Sierra Leone in 2007, he promised to run his government as efficiently as a private business. A few years earlier, a brutal 11-year civil war had ended, leaving an estimated 50,000 dead and an additional two million displaced. The effects of the war gutted the government’s capacity to deliver basic services. Koroma launched an ambitious agenda that targeted key areas for improvement including energy, agriculture, infrastructure and health. In 2009, he scored a win with the completion of the Bumbuna hydroelectric dam that brought power to the capital, Freetown. At the same time, the president faced mounting pressure to reduce maternal and child death rates, which were the highest in the world. In November, he announced an initiative to provide free health care for pregnant women, lactating mothers and children under five years of age, and set the launch date for April 2010, only six months away. Working with the country’s chief medical officer, Dr. Kisito Daoh, he shuffled key staff at the health ministry, created committees that brought ministries, donors and non-governmental organizations together to move actions forward, and developed systems for monitoring progress. Strong support from the center of government proved critical to enabling the project to launch on schedule. Initial data showed an increase in utilization rates at health centers and a decline in child death rates. 

Michael Scharff drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Freetown, Sierra Leone and London, U.K., in September and October 2011. Case published February 2012. See related cases, “Turning on the Lights in Freetown, Sierra Leone: Completing the Bumbuna Hydroelectric Plant, 2008-2009” and “Delivering on a Presidential Agenda: Sierra Leone’s Strategy and Policy Unit, 2010-2011.”

Moving Beyond Central Planning: Crafting a Modern Policy Management System, Latvia, 2000-2006

Author
Jonathan (Yoni) Friedman
Focus Area(s)
Core Challenge
Country of Reform
Translations
Language
Spanish
Abstract

In 2000, Latvia’s newly appointed state chancellor, Gunta Veismane, took on a daunting task. Since Latvia’s independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, the new government had functioned without a clearly organized policy-planning process. Ministries produced policy papers that lacked input from stakeholders or essential information about costs and objectives, leaving decision makers in the dark when trying to set a course for Latvia’s future. Veismane’s job was to ensure that top officials had the information and analysis they needed to make informed policy decisions. She tapped Una Klapkalne, an experienced government official, to lead an elite unit in the State Chancellery to design and implement a new policy-making system. Between 2000 and 2006, Veismane and Klapkalne introduced rules and procedures that improved the quality of decision making and enhanced coordination across government. The World Bank lauded the system they created as a model for the region. 

Jonathan Friedman drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Riga, Latvia, during February 2012. Case published May 2012.

Associated Interview(s):  Una Klapkalne, Baiba Petersone

Focusing on Priority Goals: Strategic Planning in Lithuania, 2000-2004

Author
Jonathan (Yoni) Friedman
Focus Area(s)
Core Challenge
Country of Reform
Abstract

When Andrius Kubilius became prime minister of Lithuania in November 1999, he faced dual crises. Russia’s economic crash a year earlier had thrown Lithuania’s economy into a tailspin, and the government was in danger of losing its ability to borrow on international financial markets after running a large deficit the previous year. Furthermore, the European Commission had informed Lithuania that the country was falling short in its efforts to join the European Union (EU)—a key element in the Baltic state’s economic and political future. Kubilius’ government devised a plan to manage those crises, but systemic weaknesses in the center of government made it difficult to execute the agenda. The government was unable to ensure that line ministries set aside pet projects, was focused on supporting the goal of EU accession, and was unable to channel the government’s diminished resources to the most important projects. To address these challenges, Kubilius instructed State Chancellor Petras Auštrevi?ius and Government Secretary Algirdas Šemeta to reform the policy planning process to focus ministries on EU accession and other strategic goals, and to synchronize the budget and policy planning processes so that government spending flowed more reliably to where it was most needed. With less than a year until elections that were widely expected to bring in new leadership, Auštrevi?ius and Šemeta implemented reforms that put Lithuania back on track in negotiations to join the EU and back on its feet financially. Successive governments led by Lithuania’s other major political parties helped sustain and institutionalize the early gains.

 
Jonathan Friedman drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Vilnius, Lithuania, during January and February 2012. Case published May 2012.  A separate case study, "Improving the Quality of Decision Making: Fighting Reform Fatigue in Lithuania, 2006-2012," deals with later efforts to engage ministries in strengthening strategic planning.
 
Associated Interview(s):  Gord Evans, Kestutis Rekerta

Improving the Quality of Decision Making: Fighting Reform Fatigue in Lithuania, 2006-2012

Author
Jonathan (Yoni) Friedman
Core Challenge
Country of Reform
Abstract
In 2006, Lithuania was in the midst of its most robust period of economic growth and political stability since independence. The Baltic nation was a model of administrative capacity among new European Union members. But after years of energetic reform, weaknesses started to emerge in the strategic planning system the government had developed to meet the requirements for European Union accession. Civil servants increasingly viewed planning procedures as technical requirements rather than useful tools. And although planning documents proliferated, the system did not provide decision makers with the information required to assess policy impacts and performance. Officials from the prime minister’s office and the Ministry of Finance engaged other ministries in an effort to strengthen the strategic planning system. They refocused government on priority policies and improved the quality of information that decision makers needed. They improved the data management systems, reduced the number of policy priorities and impact assessments required, and empowered ministers in their sectors. In 2008, when a global financial crisis hit, new leaders endorsed and expanded the reform effort. 
 

Jonathan (Yoni) Friedman drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Vilnius, Lithuania, during January and February 2012. Case published June 2012.  A separate case study, Focusing on Priority Goals: Strategic Planning in Lithuania, 2000-2004,” deals with the initial implementation of the strategic planning system in Lithuania.

Associated Interview(s):  Giedrius Kazakevicius, Kestutis Rekerta

Improving Decision Making at the Center of Government: Liberia's Cabinet Secretariat, 2009-2012

Author
Michael Scharff
Focus Area(s)
Country of Reform
Abstract
When Momo Rogers became director general of Liberia’s Cabinet Secretariat in June 2009, he thought the office could begin to support President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and her team of ministers much more effectively than it had done previously. Cabinet offices generally aimed to improve the quality of decision making and coordination at the center of government. That function was especially important in Liberia, where President Sirleaf wanted to advance an ambitious development agenda—six years after the end of a protracted civil war—yet before Rogers stepped into his role, many Cabinet meetings were long and unfocused and often yielded few tangible results. For example, policy decisions reached in the Cabinet meetings were not often communicated to the people responsible for implementing policy. Moreover, the relevance of decisions about the government’s priorities was sometimes unclear even to those who had participated in the meetings. Recognizing those challenges, Sirleaf tasked Rogers with responsibility for making the office—and the Cabinet itself—work better. Rogers built a team at the Secretariat and introduced procedural changes like circulating agendas and policy papers in advance of Cabinet meetings. By 2012, the Cabinet was functioning more effectively: agendas circulated in advance, discussions were more focused, and the Secretariat followed up on action items agreed to in the meetings. But shortcomings remained, including a persistent need to improve the quality of policy proposals submitted to Cabinet.
 

Michael Scharff drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Monrovia, Liberia, and the United States in April and May 2012. Case published in September 2012. 

Associated Interview(s):  Momo Rogers

A New Approach to Managing at the Center of Government: Governor Mitch Daniels and Indiana, 2005-2012

Author
Michael Scharff
Country of Reform
Internal Notes
Case published 11/16/2012 by SM.
Case updated 02/13/2013 by SM.
Case minorly updated 03/06/2013 by SM.
Abstract
When Indiana governor Mitch Daniels took office in January 2005, he sought to change the performance and culture of state government. The state’s economy was stagnant, and the accumulated budget deficit was topping $600 million on a total budget of $22.7 billion for 2003–05. (The state legislature passed a new budget every other year.) State agencies received funding without having to show results, and when funds were available, state workers received pay raises in some years regardless of performance. Daniels recognized that the delivery of bold reforms, including the promise to close the deficit and improve economic growth, required changing the way state government worked. A former corporate executive, Daniels had served as director of the Office of Management and Budget, which, among other responsibilities, helps the US government’s executive branch prepare its version of the federal budget, but he had never held elected office. To implement his agenda, Daniels needed new systems and new processes in his office, the center of Indiana state government. He created an Indiana office of management and budget and established a new group within that office to set goals, monitor performance, and link budgets to outcomes. Policy teams in Daniels’s office reported progress on agency-level reforms and helped unclog bottlenecks. And Daniels created a performance-based pay system to encourage state workers to focus on results. Daniels’s reforms were not without controversy. For example, he scrapped state workers’ rights to collective bargaining, and he privatized services previously delivered by government, which led to employee layoffs. By 2012, the final year of his second term, Daniels’s reforms had produced marked changes, including a budget surplus every year from 2006 to 2012, and he won praise from both his own Republican Party and opposition Democrats.
 
Michael Scharff drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Indianapolis, Indiana in July 2012. Rick Messick—formerly of the World Bank, and chief counsel and research director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee from 1983-84 when Governor Daniels was executive director—provided guidance, editorial suggestions, and interview support. Case originally published November 2012. Case revised to clarify budgetary results and republished in February 2013. 
 
Associated Interview(s):  Mitch Daniels, Governor, Cristopher Johnston

Mitch Daniels, Governor

Ref Batch
H
Focus Area(s)
Ref Batch Number
2
Country of Reform
Interviewers
Michael Scharff and Richard Messick
Name
Mitch Daniels, Governor
Interviewee's Position
Governor,
Interviewee's Organization
State of Indiana
Language
English
Nationality of Interviewee
American
Place (Building/Street)
Office of the Governor
Town/City
Indianapolis, Indiana
Country
Date of Interview
Reform Profile
No
Abstract

Mitch Daniels discusses the changes he implemented in his office, the center of Indiana state government, during his two terms as governor of Indiana. He begins by explaining the importance of enacting reforms quickly once in office. On his first day in office, he issued an executive order creating an Office of Management and Budget, which oriented the various state agencies that dealt with fiscal issues around a common set of goals. And he created an efficiency unit in the Office of Management and Budget that identified cost saving opportunities and measured and tracked agency performance. Also on his first day in office, despite concerns that the political fall-out would distract from other reforms, he scrapped public employees’ rights to collective bargaining with the unions, thus paving the way for sweeping organizational changes. He implemented a new performance management program and tied employees’ pay to their performance. Governor Daniels discusses how he built his reform team by recruiting talented people who were excited about the transitions he sought. He describes the process for conducting fair employee evaluations to monitor performance. He notes the advantages and difficulties of applying business skills to public sector work. Finally, he considers the durability of his reforms.

Case Study:  A New Approach to Managing at the Center of Government: Governor Mitch Daniels and Indiana, 2005-2012

In 2012, Mitch Daniels spoke at Princeton University about his reform efforts while governor of Indiana. Video of his speech is posted online.

Profile

Mitch Daniels is the 49th Governor of the State of Indiana and the author of the best-selling book, “Keeping the Republic: Saving America by Trusting Americans.” Although he had served as Chief of Staff to Senator Richard Lugar, Senior Advisor to President Ronald Reagan and Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush, his approach was molded in the private sector.

Before his service to Indiana, he had a successful career in business, holding numerous top management positions. And his work as CEO of the Hudson Institute and President of Eli Lilly and Company's North American Pharmaceutical Operations taught him the business skills he brought to state government.

And with those skills he led Indiana to its first balanced budget in eight years and, without a tax increase, transformed a $700 million deficit into an annual surplus of $370 million. He also repaid millions of dollars the state had borrowed from its public schools, universities and local units of government in previous administrations, while presiding over record-breaking investment and job growth. Today, Indiana has a AAA credit rating (the first in state history) and ranks near the top of every national ranking of business attractiveness.

His other groundbreaking accomplishments include the 2006 lease of the Indiana Toll Road, the largest privatization of public infrastructure in the United States to date, generating nearly $4 billion for reinvestment in the state’s record breaking 10-year transportation and infrastructure program; the creation of the Healthy Indiana Plan to provide healthcare coverage for uninsured Hoosier adults; a sweeping property tax reform in 2008 resulted in the biggest tax cut in Indiana history; and an emphasis on government efficiency that has led to many state agencies, including the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, Department of Child Services, and Department of Correction winning national performance awards.  Indiana now has the fewest state employees per capita in the nation, and the fewest the state has had since 1975.

He was re-elected in 2008 to a second and final term, receiving more votes than any candidate for public office in the state’s history. Unsurprisingly, his second term has been as innovative as his first. In fact, earlier this year, under his guidance Indiana passed the most expansive education reforms in the country.  In 2012 Indiana became the first industrial northern state to adopt a Right to Work law. 

His tenure as Indiana's governor comes to an end in January 2013, when he begins the next chapter in his career as the 12th president of Purdue University. 
Full Audio File Size
61 MB
Full Audio Title
Mitch Daniels Interview

Improving Coordination and Prioritization: Streamlining Rwanda's National Leadership Retreat, 2008-2011

Author
Deepa Iyer
Focus Area(s)
Critical Tasks
Country of Reform
Abstract
In 2008, President Paul Kagame was deeply frustrated with his government’s inability to move Rwanda forward after civil war and genocide decimated the African nation in the early 1990s. Four years earlier, concerned about his government’s lack of progress in improving services, he had launched yearly retreats to help Rwanda’s top leaders develop ministerial priorities and shape plans for service delivery. While the concept seemed simple, implementation was not. Early national leadership retreats, some a week long, failed to meet expectations. Poor planning and fast-changing agendas left ministers uncertain about their roles. Reflecting the disorder, retreat participants set hundreds of objectives, and post-retreat implementation lagged. In 2008, frustrated by service delivery failures, public sector inertia and duplication across ministries, Kagame took steps to enhance coordination at the top levels of government. He created two units, a Strategy and Policy Unit within his own office and a Coordination Unit in the prime minister’s office. These actions helped improve the retreat planning process. The two units worked with a retreat steering committee headed by Minister of Cabinet Affairs Protais Musoni. A reallocation of roles at the center of government and a concerted effort to build planning capacity further streamlined the retreat process. By 2011, the retreats had become high-level forums for government planning, coordination and accountability. Participants at the 2011 event developed six priorities, compared with 174 at the retreat two years earlier.
 

Deepa Iyer drafted this case study on the basis of interviews conducted in Kigali, Rwanda, in September 2011. Case published March 2012. Two separate case studies, “The Promise of Imihigo: Decentralized Service Delivery in Rwanda and "Rebuilding the Civil Service After War” provide additional insight into the processes of restoring and restructuring governance in insecure areas.  .

Associated Interview(s):  Fabien Majoro, Protais Musoni, Leonard Rugwabiza