(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2013-08)
A grand design attempt at public
administration reform can be thought of as any centrally
designed, multiple agency reform program or process designed
to modernize or improve the performance of administrative
structures at the center of Government, usually with a focus
on addressing persistent underlying inefficiencies.
International practice shows that reforming selected central
institutions (especially those that hold the purse strings)
is a different matter altogether from addressing performance
issues in large ministries with a service delivery mandate.
Therefore, it is of critical importance to ‘unpack’ these
particular reforms and uncover the persistent issues that
arise in countries attempting to pursue such reforms. The
four grand design cases highlighted here were selected for
their comparability in terms of size and economy, and as
examples of reforms from different regions. The cases
presented here are Brazil, Nigeria, Russia and Tanzania.
Each of these cases has specific characteristics, based on a
unique country or reform context, but they share the
features of a broad, across-the-board reform approach (in
three of the four cases with a clear sub-national dimension
that is distinct from the national one). This note focuses
on the three critical design aspects of such reforms: a)
reform coherence, b) effective anchorage and, c) blending
technocratic solutions with substantive service delivery improvements.