Political Management

Review of the Implementation of the Action Plan for the Development Strategy of the Ministry of Interior of Serbia

Success factors

  • Objectivity: ISSAT mandate was carried out in a way that safeguarded the team and the report against considerations of political bias and confirmed the reputation of the organisation within the MoI as an independent body.
  • Contextual knowledge: previous ISSAT mandate with the MoI and in Serbia, and in the region provided a robust knowledge of the realities and issues at stake in this review.
  • Balance and relevance:  the report was perceived as addressing all the relevant issues against a benchmark that was rational, balanced and that made justice to the current capacities and overall context of the MoI. This meant in turn that recommendations are credible in that they contain attainable outcomes, when the opposite is quite often true in the experience of the MoI: evaluations against  an ideal scenario with no relation to realities on the ground and existing baselines, thus immediately discarded by those to whom they are addressed.
  • Language/Tone: the mandate touched sensitive topics and the report raised sensitive questions, including transparency, stakeholder engagement etc, in a tone that was “diplomatic but straight to the point” to convey the important messages. The subtle but sharp relevant language also contributed to empower without undermining (see below).

Lessons identified for improving the chances of success:

Link-up the review with building the capacity of the institution(s) being assessed:ISSAT team was requested to share its review methodology with the BSP, in order to share additional tools and practices that could provide the Bureau with ideas to inform their role in the context of the Accession process. While the use of such methodology by the Bureau needs further confirmation, the fact that it is perceived as useful to other programmes within the MoI is a relevant ‘collateral’ gain. (See also below).

Review of the Implementation of the Action Plan for the Development Strategy of the Ministry of Interior of Serbia

Outputs and Outcomes

The mid-term evaluation report delivered by ISSAT was considered very useful, pertinent and objective  by both the mandator and the MoI. Both stakeholders noted nonetheless that the report has yet to produce it’s full impact due to circumstances external to the mission: first, the catastrophic floods that put the country in a status of national emergency for several months; second, the general elections held in March that redrew Serbian political landscape and brought a new party to power. At the MoI, both events took attention and resources away from discussions on strategic management and disrupted ordinary activities. This was compounded by an overriding priority given by the new Government in its first months in office to the revision of the National Programme for the Adoption of theacquis communautaire(NPAA) and the follow-up to the EU screening on Chapter 24 (Serbia recently submitted a new action plan to meet the goals set by Brussels on Justice, Freedom and Security).

Only recently life returned to normal in the Ministry. The action plan for Chapter 24 and the new plan for the Development Strategy provided an opportunity for BSP to use ISSAT’s report within the MoI, at this stage to raise awareness of issues raised in the document and the importance of building capacities in areas like budgeting and strategic analysis. ISSAT findings and recommendations are likely to have a bigger impact long after the mandate finished, into 2015. Indeed, the review seems to be recognised at senior level in the MoI as a reference source to inform planning at the Ministry, in two dimensions that seem interconnected. First, the mandate report is used as a stand-alone document considered for its sensitive analysis and recommendations - even if the latter were not yet or not entirely acted upon. Second, the mandate (report, methodology and ISSAT’s overall approach) left a set of tools and good practice, meaning that ISSAT contribution is clearly understood to have high value beyond the review conducted. New management in the Directorate for Analytics has also enhanced opportunities for the recommendations to actually be taken in consideration in terms of addressing some of the imbalances identified in the report.

The item of capacities for budgetary inputs into strategic planning was not included on the initial Terms of Reference for this review but it was considered relevant during the field mission and included in the report. The resulting remarks and evaluation were credited as being very useful to the MoI, well beyond the new Action Plan recently approved. Adding budgeting to the mandate contributed to raise awareness of the importance of this focus-area at the MoI, as previously mentioned.

Strategic Management - Baseline Study Moldovan MIA

Innovative approaches

  • In recent years, the MIA increased dramatically the level of participation in its activities, which in turn was reflected in substantial gains in transparency, which makes for a unique case in the region. Crucial to civil society participation is the Civil Society Council of the Minister, an informal body made up of key persons from civil society that convenes every three months. The Council provides an avenue for substantive inputs from civil society to the MIA, for instance in undertaking monitoring.
  • The Stefan cel Mare training Academy, one of the administrative authorities subordinated to the MIA, plays an important political role, as many politicians and members of Parliament are former alumni. The Academy, though, is seen as averse to reform and its influence might play against the momentum created under the current leadership.

Audit /assessment of the Inspectorate General of Public Security in Burundi

Main challenges

Concepts and processes– Uneven understanding among different stakeholders, within the IGSP and across the MSP of the role, importance and mechanisms entailed by internal control in a functioning democracy.

Political engagement– As noticed in the AAR, even the most immediate quick-win activities recommended in the report need that IGSP has a legal framework in place, but political commitment from Burundian Government to move forward on this has been vague, in fact compromising IGSP critical role.

Programme support– The audit sets clear directions and suggests an action plan to address fundamental gaps in internal control, but any progress on this depends on a robust and immediate support from SSD to democratic oversight and accountability.

Programme overstretch– SSD is a complex, far-reaching SSR programme spanning for eight years and supporting the main security institutions in Burundi (Police and Defence Forces), but there is the risk that whatever is not included or prioritised and funded under SSD is not purposely sustained by the Burundian counterparts.

Uneven and unused capacity– IGSP badly lacks capacity across the board when it comes to main and secondary/procedural functions of an internal control body, from legal expertise to strategic management, while some of the actual existing capacity among staff is lost by the way IGSP functions.

Lessons identified:

  • Civil society organisations are usually keen to engage in discussions about internal control mechanisms of police services. Such occasions offer entry-points to bring-in external stakeholders, otherwise kept fairly outside relevant processes and activities, as it happened this time, in spite of clear demands from ISSAT for such opening from the Burundian authorities.
  • Training in internal control and democratic oversight, linking up internal audit bodies with the role of external stakeholders (Parliament, Ombudsman, etc.), are the natural and crucial follow-up of this mandate. These activities can be a contribution from ISSAT to pursue support in areas identified as major capacity gaps, and keeping the momentum for a reinforcement of the SSD Governance pillar. It’s worth reminding that “Internal Control” goes on being  one of the focus areas under the action plan for ‘Police’ pillar of SDD Phase III.
  • Dedicate the first day of the team in the field to set up interviews and organise agenda, since gaps in pre-arranging interviews are recurrent and almost unavoidable in such contexts.

Assessment to inform potential options for future international support on Police reform in DRC

Renforcement du dialogue politique

L’équipe a constaté en RDC, mais également en général, un certain malaise de la part du middle management au sein de DFID sur la question de l’engagement politique avec les partenaires locaux. Ce middle management n’a pas réellement l’expérience ni le calibre pour mener à bien ce dialogue politique. Ils se concentrent donc plutôt sur le micro management de programme. Leur rôle entre les partenaires locaux et les contractants mettant en œuvre les programmes n’est pas clair et problématique. Le niveau supérieur du management/diplomatique au sein de DFID et de l’Ambassade mène un réel dialogue politique mais est limité en termes de temps et de capacité. Ce niveau supérieur doit gérer plus d’une dizaine de programmes dans des thématiques diverses et variées.

L’UE mène sont dialogue politique au sein d’une structure très formelle, lié à l’Accord de Cotonou. L’UE rencontre les partenaires locaux au sein de cette structure et semble être très satisfaite de ce mécanisme. L’UE ne semble pas vouloir s’investir de manière plus intense et efficace via d’autres moyens.

L’équipe a rédigé une recommandation sur une stratégie politique conjointe DFID et UE. Elle a également détaillé cette recommandation dans une annexe du rapport afin de proposer des rôles et tâches par rapport aux fonctions du staff au sein de DFID et de la Délégation de l’UE. Il serait intéressant d’explorer ceci lors du prochain AAR avec les mandataires afin de voir si la recommandation sera suivie ou pas.  

 Leçons identifiées (à suivre lors du prochain AAR avec les mandataires):

-         Clarifier le rôle de chaque partie prenante d’un programme pour mener à bien un dialogue politique constructif et efficace(bailleurs de fond, contractants, partenaires locaux).

-          Mener une mission de restitution pour présenter le rapport aux partenaires locaux et tester leur engagement politique. Ou en tout cas, pousser les mandataires à inclure les partenaires locaux dans un processus de restitution du rapport. Cette étape doit être gérée de manière adéquate car elle peut être très sensible au vue du fait que les partenaires n’ont pas été inclus dans le processus depuis le début. Il serait alors intéressant de clarifier le fait que les partenaires locaux puissent modifier le rapport et apporter leurs contributions au processus.

Assessment to inform potential options for future international support on Police reform in DRC

Mandat et équipe conjointe DFID et UE

From Internal AAR:

Officiellement dans les TdR, le mandat était un mandat conjoint DFID et UE. Mais les TdR ne clarifiaient pas du tout les vrais besoins de chaque mandataire. Officieusement, ce mandat était demandé par DFID pour leur donner des éléments pour la conception de leur business case pour leur prochain programme. L’UE n’était impliquée que pour des raisons de visibilité et de coordination. L’UE a ses propres procédures pour l’identification et la conception de leur programme. Heureusement que l’équipe ISSAT/SU était flexible et avait les compétences pour répondre aux objectifs officieux et s’adapter aux besoins des mandataires.

Leçons identifiées:

-          Clarifier au maximum dans les TdR les objectifs de tous les mandataires lors de mandat conjoint.Connaître le rôle de chaque mandataire et les raisons officieuses de leur demande de soutien. Soyez attentif au fait que ceci peut apparaitre petit à petit au cours du mandat.

-          Les mandats conjoints sont habituellement plus compliqués que les mandats provenant d’un seul mandataire. Il faut donc s’assurer que l’équipe soit flexible et très compétente.