In 2009, Kazakhstan adopted a new Strategic Plan 2020 to enter the world’s 50 most competitive states. One of the primary tasks for the Government under this Strategic Plan is to increase the efficiency of the state planning and execution of public services. Improvement in the sphere of public services is meant to be achieved via increased efficiency of state governance. It is envisaged that following the Presidential Decree dated 19 March 2010, the President’s Administration takes the lead in the development of the methodology of public administration assessment including the preparation of the respective regulations.
As a result, in November 2010 the Administration of the President outlined draft public administration assessment methodology focusing on 6 main focus areas:
- Execution of strategic goals and tasks within the area of responsibility
- Implementation of Presidential decrees and Governmental regulations
- Budget execution
- Public services delivery
- Personnel management
- Use of Information technologies
The main goal of public administration assessment is to evaluate the quality of execution of functions by the state bodies, including their service delivery to citizens, proper management of resources. A special government regulation also specifies how civil society is to be involved in the monitoring of public services and public administration assessment. It regulates a publication of a relevant announcement and involvement of NGOs on a non-commercial basis.
In 2010, the Center for Strategic Development and Analysis of the Presidential Administration and responsible government bodies piloted an assessment in 3 public administration offices: Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, Agency on Regulation of Natural Monopolies and Akimat (local administration) of the Akmola oblast.
In November 2010, the Center for Strategic Development and Analysis of the Presidential Administration approached the UNDP with a request to provide an international expertise to improve the assessment methodology and tools. The mission of two experts representing UNDP/Oslo Governance Centre reviewed the methodology and highlighted that “for many scores although objective data may guide the assessment, the actual scoring is in the end subjective”. Analysis suggested some better ways to assess governance performance by improving its diagnosing capacity as well as increasing public participation in the assessment and giving more account to gender and vulnerable groups’ interests. Expert’s recommendations were taken account when methodology has been finalizing in 2010.
In accordance with the Presidential Decree, starting from 2011 an annual public administration performance assessment is obligatorily introduced for 26 central governing bodies (ministries) and all 16 local executive bodies (administrations) of Kazakhstan. In view of the ambitious development goals of Kazakhstan, further reforms in the governance system and further improvements of public administration assessment become crucial.
In 2011, UNDP in co-operation with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade and Administration of the President initiated a project to improve the public administration assessment methodology and build capacity of state and non-state stakeholders in conducting the evaluation of performance of public administration.
The project's aim was to strengthen responsive governing institutions by assisting the Administration of the President and the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade as the lead institutions to develop and improve new system of public administration performance assessment at central and local levels, including its impact on vulnerable groups; and empower citizens to hold government to account for its performance. The performance assessment helped to identify governance problems, provide means for assessing the effectiveness of policy reforms to address those problems and formulate better policies.