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Submitted by Alice Poole on
Thanks Nick, Jurgen and team for sharing a provocative PSM approach which at least steers us in a more results-driven and operational direction. To add two ha'penny worth of remarks on a few of the insightful comments above: i) In response to Sanjay's comment... as a facilitator of the Bank's 200-strong Community of Practice (CoP) on PE, I wryly nodded my head in agreement with his statement that we can prove that most failed reforms lacked a proper political economy analysis but we are missing the evidence of successful reforms preceded by careful analysis of political economy. Nevertheless, the CoP is trying to develop this evidence base - at least at the early stages of project design - by working on a set of 'impact stories' to show how PE analysis is being incorporated into project design by teams ... whether the projects deliver better outcomes is a question a couple of years too early (at least)for us to begin to answer but it's a start. Another start would be having more robust PE analyses of public sector work in the first place - there are surprisingly few of these in either the Bank or in other donors, especially compared with other sectors. ii) In response to Mark Robinson's multi-pronged comment, it may be worth noting that a team in the Public Sector & Governance group at the Bank (PRMPS) is working on a research project aiming to provide better operational guidance to colleagues working in the field developing governance and public sector programming in fragile and conflict-affected states. The idea is set out a coherent analytical and diagnostic framework which identifies the fundamental causes of fragility and conflict, and which uses a state-building ‘template’ against which governance and public sector investment options can be assessed. This is likely to be out in the summer. And, thinking about results - is it worth us thinking more about the incremental wins that can be made through process re-engineering? The bread and butter of management consultancy firms working on public sector engagement, there's a lot of successful reform that can be built up in such a way, and it can weave in strengthening governance, accountability and, perhaps, even e-governance (Warren's point) or e-government along the way. Finally, the gauntlet... I know some of the reasons why the Bank has historically done little on justice sector reform, and note that we still do pockets of it in regions (e.g. ECA) but, given the emphasis on justice in the recent WDR, isn't it time to think again about its place in our work? I don't imply that we should start dealing with police forces, but broader (criminal) justice reform, including supporting court building and efficiency ( management systems) or, for example, prison infrastructure etc. could all be areas where the Bank, along with country governments and other donors, could play a vital role in improving justice, and hence the legitimacy of new state-building efforts. Especially in fragile and post-conflict states. So what about it? Alice Poole, PRMPS and ECA