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Submitted by Grace Morgan on
Let me make an initial observation about the use of the word "risk". The document underscores the importance of risk management in PSM design, selection, and implementation. My concern is that this focus is somewhat imbalanced – emphasizing managing risks, without giving equal weight to assessing returns. The constant reference to risk management and mitigation suggests a more contained, rigid, and proscriptive approach to PSM reform. It does not promote a sense of experimentation or innovation that may be needed in this kind of work. Thus, my suggestion would be to deemphasize the use of the term risk, and to balance it out with a focus on both risks and returns. By focusing on both risk and return, the proposed Approach would indicate that it is important to acknowledge and accept risk, in light of anticipated returns. Second, I welcome the focus on using data and indicators to improve country level tracking of institutions and their functions. But I also believe this approach can be taken a step further to enhance PSM results. While the Bank has a high level of comfort collecting data for purposes of cross country comparison, less emphasis has been placed on collecting and providing data to promote government-based performance management in the PSM area. The wealth of PSM data available in the PSM area creates great opportunity to create tools for government to monitor their progress in a range of PSM areas. Thus, I was pleased to see that the new Approach recognizes the opportunity to conduct country-level tracking. However, publicly available PSM data also creates the opportunity for demand-side actors to track government progress in areas of PSM. In other words, this same data can be used to support demand side efforts which promote increased government accountability and transparency. I realize that demand side activity creates some risk -- challenging Bank-led efforts to collect PSM data from governments (i.e. PEFA data) which could then be used to to press government to improve performance. Many governments would be uncomfortable with this possibility. However, a notable amount of PSM data is collected by non-Bank actors and is already in the public domain. Global Integrity and the Open Budget Index are two good examples, and both are included in the Actionable Governance Indicators dataset. This data is useful evidence-based PSM data, collected consistently and frequently for a broad range of countries, focusing on fairly specific PSM functions. Just as government can use this data to track its performance, demand-side actors can use this PSM data to monitor government, and to push for results. Thus, I see no reason why the new Approach cannot promote both supply and demand side efforts to monitor country PSM performance. Let's take a risk!(If you want a real world example, I will provide you information on a project I have worked on with Tony Verheijen and Barbara Magezi in Uganda.) Lastly, an organizational comment. As someone who always looks for summary information, I found myself looking for a brief, comprehensive list of “action strategies” (you may have a better term) that would result from using the new PSM Approach. While bits and pieces of these strategies are scattered throughout the document, they are not listed in one place. To minimize the risk (yes, risk again!)of a reader missing one of your eloquent points, I would suggest inserting a comprehensive list of action strategies which would result from the Approach. I came up with a starting list that included the following: • Develop funding streams to support more continuity in PSM reform support • Develop a diagnostic tool to weigh risks and returns of PSM reforms, and promote bank-wide • Conduct joint Public Sector Management Clinics (HD and PREM) • Design and implement PSM and DFGG pilot to create “reform space” • Improve country level tracking by… • Develop an open source of PSM data • Develop and implement a multi-donor PSM research agenda • Relaunch Thematic Groups and combine Communities of Practice in the PSM area • Establish a Country Systems Monitoring Process As you can see, it all relates to risk! Many thanks for your thinking and artistry as evidenced in this document.