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.