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Impact Lead: Dr Karl O’Connor

Underpinning research

Dr O’Connor’s research to date has focused on contextualising and framing the overall reform process in the region. To this end he has written a research article on ‘Narratives of Administrative Reform in Eurasia’ with Professor Carmichael, which will be sent for peer review in 2017. In addition, he has authored a report for the United Nations Development Programme entitled Getting the public administration right in the public policy process. Traditions of Administrative Reform: Mixed Messages and Epistemic Communities in Eurasia”. The final report was submitted to UNDP April, 2017.

Partners and initiatives

Dr O’Connor has been building a network of key actors integral to future impact in public administration reform in the region. The partners for the project are located in Kazakhstan, Kyrgystan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Mongolia and Ukraine

Key partners include the UNDP Regional Hub of Public Administration in Astana and the Academy of Public Administration, Nazarbayev University. The project has also benefited from funding support from the British Academy (30K) and further support has been sought from the British Council and H2020, where decisions will be made in June/July 2017.

Impact to date

The expected impact of this project will be seen in the changed administrative practices and behaviours of civil servants in the participating countries. Thus far, the UNDP have welcomed the initial report and are preparing it for formal publication. In addition they have orally committed to implementing the findings. These are:

(i) Encourage the development of common training norms, standards and tools. Generate learning about the key aspects of administrative reform across countries – establish what administrative reform means to the elite level bureaucrats of Eurasia. Can a common understanding be developed?

(ii) Ensure meetings are held regularly, encouraging repeat participation from the same personnel. The scope of the Hub needs to be focused, allowing participants to develop a professional attachment to the key concepts over a period of time.

(iii) Support a Peer-to-Peer learning exercise. This may be the beginning of an ‘organic’ epistemic community that would emerge from the hub’s structures.

(iv) a series of hub meetings entitled ‘interpretations and perspectives of administrative reform in Eurasia’ should be convened.

It is expected that implementation of these findings will be a starting point for changing civil service practices in the participating countries.

Auditable evidence to date

  • UNDP report (copy available).
  • UNDP confirmation of adopting and implementing report findings (to be received once implemented)