The framework below serves as a starting point for evaluating a country's preparedness for comprehensive country-led governance assessment. Applying the framework helps to inform the design of a possible initiative and give an indication of the constraints, opportunities, risks and capacity deficits that a governance self-assessment national programme should seek to address.
Table 1: Framework for evaluating preparedness
Explanation of dimension
Political and development context
The political and development context of the country is important for determining the entry points of a country-led governance assessment, especially ensuring that such an initiative bolsters the country’s national development and governance reform priorities.
Does the country have an open or closed culture of public governance? (Is information in the public domain, is government conducted transparently, is there a vibrant and independent media, a diverse civil society, a multiparty political system, etc.?)
Is the country emerging from conflict?
Is the country highly dependent on external aid?
Is governance reform a priority in national development planning? (What kinds of governance indicators are required in the national development plan, the poverty reduction strategy, or a regional initiative like the Africa Peer Review Mechanism?)
Is governance reform a priority for external donors?
What kinds of governance indicators are readily available and known to a broad range of national actors?
Are NGOs and CSOs active in monitoring governance through established indicators?
Are donors using a range of governance indicators to assess the country ,e.g., for access to Official Development Assistance? Are these indicators disaggregated?
Are there issues related to poor harmonization of governance assessment initiatives?
Is there an international, regional or national event/occasion that provides a catalytic and conducive environment for a governance assessment?
Political leadership is critical for the effective development and use of governance assessments. For assessments to be embedded and used in national policymaking by state and non-state actors, they need to have the backing of the political leadership as well as effective mechanisms in place to facilitate dialogue between state and non-state actors.
Is there interest and demand from key political actors, especially government leaders, in this area?
Are there existing mechanisms in place for state and non-state actors to interact?
Do political leaders have the capacity to manage relations with domestic and external stakeholders inclusively and constructively?
A solid assessment of the institutional capacities within a country is necessary to ensure that the national statistical system is sufficiently able to undertake and sustain data collection activities. The statistical system includes not only the national statistical agency but also statistics producers in line ministries, even though the former is responsible for producing "official statistics." Capacities to coordinate across the state and non-state institutions that produce governance data are extremely important. In addition, capacities of non-state actors in producing non-statistical evidence should be kept in focus.
What are the capacities of the national statistical agency to collect, process and disseminate governance data? Do they have existing experience?
What are the capacities and capabilities of the national statistical agency for protecting the privacy of data and keeping it secure?
Is the national statistical agency de facto independent from government?
Does the national statistical agency have the human resources and technical skills to collect governance data through, for example, household surveys?
What kinds of governance data already exist and are being collected?
What is the current level of disaggregation (geographical, demographic, income-based, etc.) of governance data?
What are the capacities of the national statistical agency to disaggregate data? What is the political will for the agency to do so?
Is there existing coordinated activity amongst statistics producers in relation to governance information?
Is there an IT platform that facilitates information coordination between statistics producers?
What kinds of governance data are already being used actively and are widely disseminated?
Are there existing institutional relationships or networks across statistics producers and universities that can be built on?
What are the capacities of academic institutions and the media to analyze governance data and statistics?
The managerial leadership to implement a comprehensive governance assessment is important. Managerial competencies should combine political as well as administrative skills into a multi-disciplinary team or task force that will lead in designing an inclusive, multi-stakeholder process to develop a set of governance indicators as part of a national governance database.
What are the possibilities for utilizing an existing network of policymakers, CSOs and academia that could lead a governance indicator initiative?
What are the possibilities for establishing a multi-disciplinary team that will work effectively together?
Is there capacity and a willingness to enable a free flow of knowledge and information amongst partners and across networks?
The resources for financing multi-stakeholder consultations and dialogues, as well as the financial resources required for collecting governance data, will be considerable. Assessment should be made of in-country and external resources that are potentially available for implementing and sustaining a national initiative.
How can a governance indicator initiative be resourced through an existing governance programme in the country?
What is the level of resources that the government can commit to an initiative/programme?
Is there a high level of donor interest in supporting an initiative?
What kinds of resources can be mobilized from external sources?