Public Service Experts / Authors for International Study (Cat. A : High HDI Rank)

Location : Home-based
Application Deadline :08-Sep-13 (Midnight New York, USA)
Additional Category :Management
Type of Contract :Individual Contract
Post Level :International Consultant
Languages Required :
Starting Date :
(date when the selected candidate is expected to start)
Duration of Initial Contract :5 months
Expected Duration of Assignment :5 months


Since 2008, more than half of the world’s population lives in towns and cities. It has been estimated that by 2030 this number will swell to almost 5 billion, with urban growth concentrated in Africa and Asia. While mega-cities have captured much public attention, most of the new growth will occur in small and medium size towns and cities, which have fewer resources to respond to the magnitude of the change.

The World Economic and Social Survey 2013 puts forth a clear message: “without fresh ideas to address rapid urbanization, the number of people living in slums lacking access to basic infrastructure and services such as sanitation, electricity, and health care may skyrocket from one billion at present to three billion by 2050”.

The 2013 UNDP Human Development Report projects 70 percent of the world’s population would be living in urban settlements by 2050 of which 33 percent would be living in slums. This implies that while the world’s population is still growing, its cities are growing at an even faster rate. Eighty percent of the world’s GDP is generated from cities and coincidentally 80 percent of greenhouse gas emissions as well (World Bank 2012).

There is a systematic and concerted effort by governments in emerging economies to leverage the benefits of urbanization through targeted programs that promote and accelerate domestic growth, prepare the base for structured domestic consumption market, and to regulate the flows of population.

Policies are also in place to support the urbanization of previously rural centers with mass structured and systematic gentrification and/or construction of cities in previously large rural spaces. In China an estimated 250 million people will be transferred from rural residents to urban dwellers by 2030. 

The narrative on income inequality is linked with analysis on the gap between the richest and poorest income groups. In 2010 Credit Suisse  argued that 0.5 percent of global adults hold well over a third of the world’s wealth, which translated into individuals with net worth over US$1 million. While the bottom group composed on 68.4 percent of the population had an individual net worth under US$ 10,000.

Further disaggregation of the data highlighted that the concentration of absolute net worth levels i.e. net worth over US$1 million constituted 35.6 percent of global wealth while only 4.2 percent reflected net worth under US$ 10,000. This reflects the concentration of the global wealth within the confines of the superrich and the share of wealth amongst different income groups remains skewed towards the top.

  • The study will provide and validate a framework explaining the relative significance of public service in reducing inequalities within metropolitan  areas, including the relative importance of (a) an effective alignment of political with administrative leadership, and (b) an internalized motivation of public servants;
  • The study will contain a collection of relevant country case studies documenting public service practice, clustered by their rank in the Human Development Index (HDI), i.e. high, middle and low HDI. The paper will offer intra- and inter-country comparisons that highlight good practice, including in livelihoods and employment creation; education and skills development; primary healthcare delivery; social protection measures; and representation and consultation within multi stakeholder bodies;
  • For the purpose of the study, the authors will analyse income, social and political inequality as well as disparities between cities within countries, constructing a framework that explains relative strengths and weaknesses in the application of public policy at sub-national level;
  • The paper will identify the determinants for success in effective management and responsive policies for public service practitioners to adapt and implement, in reducing economic, social and political inequalities for previously marginalized groups in metropolitan areas;
  • On the basis of the above, the authors will provide strategic policy and programmatic recommendations for UNDP Country Offices and development partners towards promoting public service excellence and addressing inequality. Such recommendations must be practical and politically feasible (i.e. in accordance with legitimate public authority).

Inequality is usually referred to in the context of income gaps. However, income as an indicator remains a product of social and political factors which perpetuate disparity. The post-2015 High Level Panel discussions have focused on reducing inequality as a primary goal.  The roadmap for such an approach requires effective public service institutions, which target and deliver services in functional and informal spaces where it matters most to the urban poor. It is critical that the role of local authorities as this bridge between national governments, communities and citizens is recognised and supported.

Globally, while the number of people living in poverty (US$1.25 per day) has declined from 1.9 billion in 1990 to 1.3 billion in 2008, yet inequality has increased. Inequalities, across income and in key sectors such as education and health, have had a significant negative impact on overall human development especially in developing countries. For example, according to 2013 UNDP Human Development Report, the low human development countries lose 33.5 percent of in HDI value due to inequalities; 35.7 percent due to inequality in life expectancy, 38.7 percent due to education and 25.6 percent due to income inequality.

A slew of global and national reports have highlighted inequality as a critical factor behind slacking poverty reduction and unsustainable economic growth. The 2013 UNDP Human Development Report identifies equity as one of the key enablers to sustain momentum on human development. The Commission on Growth and Development published in 2008 ‘The Growth Report: Strategies for Sustained Growth and Inclusive Development’ opined the need to address inequality through a meaningful and targeted approach, “It is our belief that equity and equality of opportunity are essential ingredients of sustainable growth strategies. The evidence from both high and low cases supports this view.”

A range of social protection and safety net programs have been implemented across emerging and developing nations to address the issue of equity. These include conditional cash transfers, universal child allowance, universal health coverage, and employment guarantee schemes that are designed at the national level to target income as the primary indicator and reach predominantly rural households.

In the urban context, public service institutions need to be equipped with adequate governance structures, processes and systems to face the challenge of rapid urbanization and to implement such programs effectively. For this purpose, public servants not only require the right skill set to adapt these programs to the local context and set up implementation systems, but also need to have empathy towards the urban poor and an understanding of their needs.

Gender was identified as a key determinant for inequality and a concern for public services. The Gender Inequality Index (GII) measures three dimensions, reproductive health, empowerment and the labor market. In 2013 the global average was 0.463 reflecting a percentage loss in achievement across three dimensions due to gender inequality of 46.3 percent. The regional average ranged from 28 percent in Europe and Central Asia, to nearly 58 percent in Sub-Saharan Africa. The greatest losses were found in Sub-Saharan Africa with 57.7 percent, South Asia with 56.8 percent and Arab States with 55.5 percent. 

Urban human insecurity disproportionately impacts women’s livelihood opportunities, mobility and negotiation capabilities. This is often reflective of legal and judicial systems, which treat women unequally on property rights, dispense stronger punishment and provide poor access to justice.

There are other bases of inequality, such as differences in the ability of citizens to access basic services which would require multi-pronged approaches. Changes to practices, attitudes and regulation that would lead to greater equity are part of many administrative reform agendas. The enforcement of financial regulations and promotion of equitable economic development are just some examples of actions that Governments have taken. Public services need to be proactive and innovative but depend on collaborative capacities and partnerships with organizations and citizens in all realms of society.

Since the global financial crisis, inequalities in the ownership of economic resources, income, opportunity and access to services have been increasingly catching the attention of governments and citizens. Political concern and unrest threaten to occur because people are questioning the unequal allocation of resources and opportunities as outcomes of their countries’ economic systems. There is a widespread perception that inequality is growing, a problem recently characterized as one of the world’s ‘biggest social, economic and political challenges’.  These are challenges that governments and their public services will have to address. While the income gaps that separate rich and poor nations have started to decrease, the economic disparities within many nations have started to increase.

Much of the urban population growth in developing countries comes from internal rural-urban migration as well as natural growth within urban centers and, to a lesser extent, international migration. A combination of push factors, such as lack of economic opportunities and safety concerns, and pull factors, such as better services and job prospects, account for the burgeoning urban populations. But absorbing the new migrants has always been challenging and remains so in the present and foreseeable future. Many end up in slums and squatter settlements where they endure overcrowding, poor sanitation, low-paying jobs and other deprivations. Such exclusion represents a waste of human potential and severely limits social mobility. This is a particularly disturbing given that one third of the urban population in developing countries lives in substandard slum conditions.

Cities are important and becoming even more important. ‘Getting urbanization right’ is therefore vital for the future of humanity. Generating jobs, providing housing, building infrastructure, encouraging economic development and ensuring adequate services available to all are among the many tasks facing governments and their partners over the coming years.

The World Bank has suggested that sustainable urbanization can be achieved through a judicious combination of planning (charting a course for cities); connecting (making a city’s markets in labour, goods and services accessible both from within and outside the city); and financing (for large capital outlays). Public services will have major responsibilities for undertaking these tasks but they will need to form partnerships with the private sector, citizens and civil society to achieve them.  The tasks must also be performed within frameworks of good governance featuring such things as accountability, transparency, professionalism, the rule of law and efficiency.

Duties and Responsibilities

The research/analysis of the available evidence conducted by several experts (here: consultants) will be coordinated by the Director of the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (GCPSE), Singapore. The expert consultants are expected to:

Develop case studies based on three countries each low, medium and high score in the Human Development Index (HDI).  Analyze the role of public services in reducing social, political and economic inequalities through the following policy areas, reflecting key public service functions in metropolitan areas:
  • Livelihood  and job/employment creation;
  • Education and skills development;
  • Primary healthcare;
  • Social protection measures; and
  • Representation within and consultation with multi-stakeholder planning/decision-making bodies.

The overall study is expected to explore the above mentioned types of inequality through citations to the policy areas above and extrapolate lessons for public policy practitioners in an accurate, innovative and insightful manner.

Collect and analyze quantitative and qualitative research through desk review to support evidence-informed policy analysis. The information/data collected for each country should chart a clear path of the (a) identification of the policy problem, (b) deliberative process to negotiate solutions, (c) decision making process, and (d) implementation process. A clear timeline, impact and budgetary analysis must be highlighted throughout the study.

The research initiative will employ a theory of change applying different filters to understand the key drivers related to the demand and supply side of public services. These shall include the following filters (N.B. research questions provided as samples): Political Geography:
  • e.g.: What is the political context in which public service is addressing inequalities and how does it impact outcomes? What is the historical context for the treatment of inequality as an issue? Are there observable differences in how the issue is treated in different cities? If so, how and why?;
  • e.g.: What criteria (if any) are used to target public services or entitlements to select groups? Are different sub-groups (by income) of the population covered by non-state service delivery systems (e.g. private, religious institutions, etc.) and do these differ in terms of their cost and quality?;
Socio-cultural barriers:
  • e.g.: How do different ethnic, religious and regional divides affect the uptake of public services? What types of initiatives have shown results in ameliorating differences between such groups?;
  • e.g.: What variation can be observed when applying a gender lens? How does gender factor within each type of inequality (social, political and economic)?;
Political Influence and Leadership:
  • e.g. To what extent is quality and quantity of service delivery a factor of political ‘voice’, influence and leadership? How effectively does the political process direct reform, or does the public service need to create room for manoeuvre (with limited poltical influence/interference)?;
Capacity for Change:
  • e.g.: How do local authorities ameliorate spatial disparities in public service delivery? What process innovations have governments introduced to address issues (e.g. plugging of fiscal gaps)?;
  • Motivation for the Public Sector to Pursue Change:
  • What types of incentives (monetary/non-monetary) have been able to genuinely and sustainably change attitudes and behaviour? What other drivers have impacted success/failure? Are these drivers susceptible to external influence?.
Draw strategic policy and programmatic recommendations with a robust and practical implementing strategy, informed by on-the-ground experience in the case studies, desk research and own experience. The recommendations will distinguish between horizontal and vertical inequalities to address all three types of inequalities (i.e. social, political and economic). With respect to vertical inequalities economic differences between different sub groups and the approach undertaken to reduce this gap will be taken into account. Approaches to tackle existing or emerging social issues, which perpetuate inequity through structural factors, will be proposed to address horizontal inequalities. Since political inequality directly reflects a combination of the policy maker’s ability to respond to public grievances as well as the existing consultation processes and collaborative capacity, recommendations towards this end will be included. The study should utilize the following matrix to highlight key points on each in respect to the three types of inequality. Offer insight from the case studies on the relevance and validity of the Centre’s working assumption that public service excellence is primarily rooted in two key determinants: an effective alignment of political and administrative leadership and an internalized motivation of public servants. Provide recommendations for the typology of countries studied:
Country type (high, medium, low HDI): (Category -Coverage of Recommendations (indicative))
  • Policy Design "Both for National and Sub-national Level";
  • Implementation Arrangements "Institutions, Performance Incentives, Monitoring";
  • Finance "Fiscal Space Required for Implementation";
  • Collaborative Capacities "Engagement with Stakeholders, Collaborative Solution-Seeking".
Key deliverables:

The GCPSE will contract three experts to write separate papers and will offer one of the experts the additional assignment of writing the introductory and concluding chapters.

The following is expected from each consultant:
Well-researched analytical paper (with executive summary), including:
  • A brief analytical chapter that will contribute to the introductory chapter of the publication (combining the findings of all authors) and which extracts the findings of the country case studies as a cross-comparison within the respective HDI typology. This cross-comparison will elaborate the significance of variation by the specific context of each metropolitan setting;
  • Three country case studies within one of the above mentioned HDI typologies, covering the five largest metropolitan areas as a search roster for the analysis;
  • Recommendations that will contribute to the concluding chapter of the publication (combining the recommendation of all authors);
    The expected length of each paper should be no less than 15,000 and no more than 20,000 words, excluding annexes, footnotes and bibliography.
Timely provision of delivery milestones (see below) and cooperation with the author of the introductory and concluding chapters.
  • Production of a stand-alone briefing note of key findings and recommendations of around 500 words;
  • Production of a MS PowerPoint presentation (10-20 slides, min. font size of 14 pts.) of the above individual paper, summarising the key points;
  • Presentation at a knowledge sharing event organised by the Global Centre for Public Service Excellence. This event may be organised either while the research is post peer review or after the completion of the work.

In addition to the individual paper, the consultant selected as the editor/author for the introductory and concluding chapters is expected to deliver the following:

  • The introductory chapter to the study, integrating the findings of the other authors, providing a context for the study and the introduction to the subject matter;
  • A concluding chapter that (a) synthesizes findings from all three sections; (b) aggregates recommendations by all authors; (c) proposes pending research questions and (d) concludes with a forward looking conclusion.
Delivery milestones and reporting:

The sections marked with "special assignment" only apply for the expert contracted to supply the additional deliverables (see previous section for details). 

  • Detailed approach and outline (including working table of contents) - 2 weeks from the contract start date;
  • First draft of the thematic paper (including 3 country case studies and policy recommendations) - 6 weeks from the contract start date;
  • [Special Assignment: first draft of introductory chapter] - 7 weeks from contract start date;
  •  Revision and finalization: final submission of individual papers - 3 weeks after the peer review is completed;
  • [Special Assignment: first draft of concluding chapter] - 2 weeks after final submissions of all individual papers;
  • [Special Assignment: revision and finalisation of introductory and concluding chapters] - 1 week after receiving feedback on concluding chapter (introductory chapter feedback would have been provided earlier);
  • Submission of Briefing Note and Powerpoint Presentation - 2 weeks after submission of final submissions;
  • Presentation at Knowledge Sharing Event - tbd.

Each expert/consultant will report and submit deliverables to the GCPSE Director who will ensure quality control (peer review), editing and publishing of the study. As the overall coordinator of the study he will periodically convene virtual meetings to ensure quality and timeliness of the research work.

The GCPSE will organise a consultation for peer review and feedback on the draft deliverables within two weeks (maximum) after submission.

The total duration of the assignment is approximately 24 weeks from the date of contracting. The intended date of publication of the study is end February 2014.

Operational matters:

Bidding Process: Each bidder is expected to submit a technical proposal and curriculum vitae in response to the ToR. The technical proposal shall demonstrate competency and qualifications as per the below and needs to indicate which of the three country categories  he/she is applying for (bidders may apply for several categories):

  • Cat. A: High Human Development Index Rank;
  • Cat. B: Medium Human Development Index Rank;
  • Cat. C: Low Human Development Index Rank.

For the proposed category (or categories, if bidding for several), the bidder shall propose a selection of five countries for which he/she can demonstrate subject knowledge and is confident in producing country case studies. Since the authors are producing a cross-comparison between countries a cohesive selection with wide geographic representation is preferred. For more details on the categories, please see for the 2012 HDI rankings, published in the 2013 HDR.

If the bidder is keen to take on the responsibility of authoring the introductory and concluding chapters, he/she is requested to indicate this in the technical proposal and describe his/her qualifications and planned approach for the same.


In the financial proposal each bidder will provide a lump-sum costing for the completion of the work. This shall exclude costs that may be incurred for the participation in workshops/seminars to which he/she may be invited for presentation. In case the bidder has indicated an interest in authoring the introductory and concluding chapters, the additional cost shall be separately indicated in the financial proposal. Please download this financial template via this link:

Please scan and upload all the documents into one PDF file. 

Any request for clarification must be send in writing to Please write the Project reference "MyIC/2013/017" in your e-mail heading. The deadline for submitting requests for clarification/questions is 27 August 2013 at 12 noon.


Remuneration will be as per the agreed financial proposal, in line with the policies and norms established by UNDP.  Payment would be made on a lump sum basis on the following schedule:

  • 20 % payment upon receipt & approval of the detailed approach/outline;
  • 30 % payment upon receipt & approval of the first draft; and
  • 50 % payment upon receipt & approval of the final draft, following a peer review.

The assignment is home-based. If travel to selected countries for consultations (e.g. with national and local partners and experts, and data collection) is deemed necessary, prior approval from the Director, GCPSE is required. (N.B.: travel and allowances will be covered as per UNDP standard rules and procedures).

For the introductory and concluding chapters, the following payment schedule applies:
  • 30 % payment upon receipt and approval of the first draft; and
  • 70 % payment upon receipt and approval of the final draft, following a peer review.

For more details on the categories, please see for the 2012 HDI rankings, published in the 2013 HDR.


Functional and technical competencies:
  • Robust knowledge of the latest theories and concepts in public service delivery, urban management/development and sustainable cities;
  • Background in research on issues relating to different forms of inequality;
  • Strong analytical and research skills;
  • Familiarity with the urban sector and public service sector in the proposed countries.
Corporate competencies:
  • Demonstrates commitment to UNDP’s mission, vision and values;
  • Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
  • Highest standards of integrity, discretion and loyalty.

Required Skills and Experience

  • Advanced degree, preferably in urban studies or in a relevant subject, a PhD is preferred.
  • Strong track record of English language publications in the following academic fields: public administration/service reform, urban development, urban management and inequality;
  • At least 15 years of in-depth international experience in analysing public administration/service reforms, urbanization, urban development trends and economic development patterns.
Language requirements:
  • Fluency in English;
  • Proficiency in at least one other UN official language;
  • Proficiency in the language(s) of the country under research is an added advantage.

UNDP is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality and culture. Individuals from minority groups, indigenous groups and persons with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply. All applications will be treated with the strictest confidence.

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