Translating Vision into Action: Indonesia's Delivery Unit, 2009-2012

In 2009, Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono began his second term. During the election campaign, he had pledged to develop the country’s infrastructure, strengthen education, and increase business investment. But delivering on his campaign promises would not be easy. Because he presided over a coalition government, he had to convince ministers from competing political parties to go along with his plans. In addition, his own policy office was understaffed. He had few advisers who could help him think strategically about policy decisions, monitor implementation, and keep projects on track. During his first term, Yudhoyono had set up a unit to help him cope with those challenges, but the legislature killed the initiative. At the beginning of his second term, Yudhoyono resurrected the idea by creating the President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight, known by its Indonesian abbreviation, UKP4. To lead the unit, he chose Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, who had earned national respect and international stature for managing reconstruction work in Aceh and Nias provinces after the devastating tsunami of December 2004 and the earthquake in March 2005. The new operation helped set priorities, kept the president informed of ministry progress toward meeting those priorities, and stepped in to resolve bottlenecks. The challenges of managing a coalition government led the president to temper the unit’s scope of responsibilities, and at the end of 2012 there was insufficient evidence to judge whether the system had helped improve interministerial coordination or follow-through.

Michael Scharff drafted this case study based on interviews conducted in Jakarta, Indonesia, in December 2012. Case published April 2013.

citizen complaints mechanism
National Planning Agency
quick wins
Democratic Party
Jusuf Kalla
Kuntoro Mangkusubroto
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono
President’s Delivery Unit for Development Monitoring and Oversight
delivery unit
Focus Area(s)
Centers of Government
Critical Tasks
Adaptive management
Delivery units
Strategic planning
Core Challenge
Principal-agent problem (delegation)
Country of Reform
Case Studies
Michael Scharff