Pioneering programme continues to support sustainable governance in Pakistan
A major governance reform programme is helping strengthen provincial-level budgetary and planning systems in Pakistan.
After just two years of operation, the Sub-National Governance (SNG) programme, funded by DFID and managed by Oxford Policy Management, is supporting evidence-based policymaking around the provision of basic public services. The reforms implemented within the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces are laying the groundwork for the targeted delivery of basic services – including health and education – to thousands of households.
Key early results of the programme, which runs until 2017, include budgetary improvements in both provinces which have led to efficiency savings in the order of £12m for the Government of Punjab and £7m for the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The last year has also seen the roll-out of the first phase of a pioneering Challenge Fund mechanism that directly supports the implementation of innovative proposals for education services at the district level.
The Sub-National Governance programme was established in 2013 as a response to the challenge of weak governance in two of Pakistan’s four provinces. The programme aims to support the move towards a stable democracy by improving and strengthening district-level service delivery within the provinces. OPM is providing technical assistance and capacity building support to sub-national governments, empowering them to better harness resources and funding and translate these into effective service delivery based on assessments of need.
Stephen Akroyd, Oxford Policy Management Director and project lead for the SNG programme, said: ‘By working closely with government officials, we have been able to implement sustainable initiatives that are helping strengthen governance within KP and Punjab. Importantly, by focusing on provincial-level planning and budgeting activities such as payroll audits and tax reviews, we are supporting the establishment of a robust base of evidence that can now feed into effective, needs-based planning policymaking where it will have the biggest impact – at the district level.’
Over the longer-term, the programme aims to build a model of governance that can be rolled-put across further provinces, supporting stronger, more transparent and accountable delivery of public services across the country as a whole.