Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Innovation in Government: Republic of Georgia

A McKinsey report issued in September discusses innovations in government services in transitioning countries.  Focused on Kenya and Georgia, the analysts detail some of the changes in government services in the past few years.  The short report is linked here.

New Batumi Service Hall
Much of the Georgia story discusses the improved services of the National Agency of Public Registry (NAPR), although it is not identified as such in the article.  The agency works under the Ministry of Justice and handles much of the paperwork registration and certification detailed in the story.  What makes this story so remarkable is that this progress did not happen by magic.  The Public Registry was one of a small group of government institutions selected for American donor support in 2006 as an element of the USAID funded Public Administration Reform program.  

M. Mari Novak
The implementing contractor was the consortium team MSI and AED. KNO consultant M. Mari Novak was hired to do the initial performance assessment of the NAPR, define priorities for action, indicators of success, and to design initial interventions to move the agency forward.  At the time, the CRA offices were trading floppy discs with data across the country, and struggling with a tiny budget.

Meanwhile, KNO consultant Steven Kelly was working in Batumi doing a similar assessment with the Autonomous Republic on the Black Sea.  It was winter, and the worn government concrete building was so cold that meetings were held in coats and gloves.  Both Mari and Steven as certified Performance Experts, applied the methods of Human Performance Technology (HPT) to addressing the capacity building challenge.

From these early beginnings, discrete intervals of consultancy and technical assistance were provided during the following years, from both American and other funding sources. The NAPR was fortunate to have a very progressive manager (since promoted within the Ministry of Justice).  

He was able to manage the support made available in the upcoming months - help with strategic planning, capacity development, etc - to build on his agencies strengths toward the "everything in one place" and the "customer is king" vision.  

Meanwhile, other parallel advisory efforts in support of improving business registration, customs processes, and overall administration where underway funded by USAID. Substantial additional funding was made available by the EU and other international donors to support the progress being made.   It was a true example of capacity development - momentum building year-by-year in a sustainable fashion, supported by multiple donors.

Of course, the true credit for the superb results fully rests with the NAPR managers and staff, supported by the Ministry of Justice.  They were able to discern what support they truly needed, not let the donors dictate emphasis based on their own agendas, and engage the staff to upgrade service levels.

It is a great case study of capacity development really working.

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