The Learning Government Research Project -Assessing policy making reform in Romania

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Description | Timetable | Policy Paper | Advocacy Plan | Issue Paper | Research Outline | Activity Report | Mentors

Project - Activity Reports

1. Aim of the project and the research problem.

My research project looks at the policy transferal / diffusion patterns in transition countries with particular emphasis on the institutional building and policy making process.

Noticing the lack of clear and integrated evaluation , by using examples and hypotheses drawn from the literature, previously tested in the region and other development countries, I intend to create an integrated and possibly comprehensive image of the strong and weak points of policy reform, especially in relation with the activity of international organizations and development donors (World Bank, DFID, EC, and UNDP).

The results of this research are par excellence practical ones. They are shedding light on previous and current assistance projects and reform initiatives in this area. Firstly the government can use the report as landmark for its committed reform on policy making. The methodology of the research can be used across other levels of government (local, de-concentrated) and it can help identify new areas where the international assistance is needed.

More importantly the report can become a ‘user guide' for designing and implementing democratic and development assistance projects in Romania/ transition countries with a good chance of becoming useful for other countries in the region especially those who share a more recent experience in democratic institutional development (Southeastern Europe, Caucasus and GUUAM). International organizations and donors can add to their own evaluations a better design of their assistance programs and even identify area were their contribution is still necessary. Civil society can benefit from this research by being offered a base of public debate for the policy making reform, a field which is severely under analyzed and discussed. The report can also be used for further scholarly research dedicated to the policy making process in Romania and CEE / SEE.

Interim activity report - Research.


The activity is going as initially planned with some minor exception. The documentation activity has gone well as the majority of the relevant literature is posted on line on various websites. I have assembled my own documentation folder with these open sources which were enough to set the grounds for my efforts. In the next I will purchase some relevant books and magazines. I have managed to reach very useful materials, although not for public use

The contact with the target groups of my research was not going as planned as the activity was intended to start in July when already the holidays were under way. After some failed attempts to schedule interviews I have decided to move them in early fall. However, the background of the research was set with the assistance of my fellow colleagues, experts and consultants with whom I have continuous working relations

1. Inception and review of methodology


1.1. Review of methodology with the mentors

Completed yet to be updated in early fall in the second part of the research period

1.2. Stakeholder analysis in the policy making reform

Completed. Finalized with a donor map for Romanian public institutions still under revision and completion (the approach is qualitative highlighting profiles and areas of intervention)

1.2. Selecting pilot ministries for in-depth research

Completed. Possibly reviewed in the second part of the project in the case the initial planning is not followed by substantial feedback(available personnel and documentation )

1.3. Development of the research instruments(e.g questionnaires and interview guides)

Completed. I have drafted 4 sets of questionnaires for each category envisaged in my research(governance of public institution, governance of donors, expert level public institutions, expert level technical assistance)

2 . Background research


2.1. Background research on policy making reform

Completed. Gathered all the relevant materials on the policymaking reform. Still to be continued by search for documentation on other CEE countries

2.2. Data collection on assistance for institutional development projects

Partially completed and still to be updated during the interview period and while in the research trip at the WB. Data used in drawing a relational map of institutional development assistance

2.3. Review of the institutional literature(e.g. reports )

Completed. Resulted in the identification of literature(still to be detailed as the approaches are very diverse eg. the same issues are framed very differently: aid effectiveness, policy transferal, public sector management)

3. Research development


3.1. Launching a online survey on policy making models transferal

Started but not at the right pace. To be resumed in October

3.2. Conducting interviews with major stakeholder representatives in policy making reform (e.g. EC delegation, WB, DFID, UNDP)

Moved to September October: World Bank, Delegation of the European Commission in Romania, United Nations Development Program,
Department for International Development UK, embassies in Romania delivering targeted assistance

3.3. Research trip to World Bank Hdq.

Scheduled in October and moved to early winter depending on the availability of the contact/host person in WB

3.4. Conducting in-depth interviews with senior foreign consultants

Moved to late September October

3.5. Conducting interviews with senior Romanian experts and officials

Started but to be continued October: General Secretariat of the Government Chancellery of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Education and Research Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Environment


Final activity report Work and Advocacy Plan

Main deliverables


A policy paper presenting findings and recommendations drawn from the research

Finished- currently editing and updating for publication purposes

A book on policy making reform in Romania . The research that I am carrying will provide the background for a book project which will gather contributions from main stakeholders in the policy making process in Romania . I am currently organizing meetings with potential contributors and I am glad that there is a growing number of them becoming interested. Many of them are advising ministers or are involved in policymaking at senior level, having also a consistent academic background. I would mention here only the confirmed contributions (health, culture and religious denominations, transportation, education, policy coordination at central level, public administration). The contributions will also be presenting examples of good practices across public sector. An event will be organized in order to launch the book, which will be also promoted in the academic community in Romania , for possible inclusion in the course syllabi (public policy, public administration public management, political institutions, political economy etc.)

Signed the contact with the publisher, one of the largest Romanian Publishing Houses Polirom.

The publication date is tentatively scheduled for late February 2007

A series of lectures in the Romanian National Institute for Administration on policymaking reform in Romania . The lectures will present overview of the literature, main findings of the research and an introduction in the issues of institutional assistance for development to senior officials in Romanian public services, one of the target users of the policy paper. The lectures will be offered also in my home university, National School of Political Studies and Administration, to the interested faculty and students.

Completed. The lectures were given during the summer and were included in the course on public policy. There are good prospect the cooperation with INA to continue

A seminar on policymaking reform organized in Bucharest , together with the IPF colleagues.

Completed (see below for details)

An article on the same topic in the prestigious Journal Public Administration and Development, edited by Prof Dr, Paul Collins who is also contributing in the book

Drafting. The cooperation with Mr. Collins and his Journal exceeded my expectations. In fact, a whole number of PAD will be dedicated to policymaking reform and the contributions will be selected from the book we are co-editing as part of my advocacy activity

I have applied for support to attend and present a paper in the World Congress of International Political Science Association that will take place in Fukuoka , Japan in 2006. This will be a good chance to promote IPF and my project, as the topic proposed is relatively the same with the one of my research.

Completed with success. With the gracious help of Leslie Pal we had a select and encouraging audience. Me and my colleague Lucian Ciolan became members of the IPSA RC on public policy

The OSI International Policy Fellowships Program

Cordially invites you to a special conference

Policy making at the crossroads: making a difference for better governance

Bucharest, May 3rd 2006

MARIOTT Grand Hotel

Argument and topics

After a decade of institutional reform and on the eve of European accession, Romania is in the position to assess its administrative and policy development capacity in regard to its future EU membership. The conference will map out the reform of the policy process in general; and explore the education sector as a particular policy field where strategic coordination and vision should play a crucial role.

The first panel will address issues including key challenges and reasonable expectations in policy management reform and focus on lessons from international, regional, and Romanian experience; the market for policy analysis and evaluation outside government; means for creating widespread demand for better policy making; and the role of policy stakeholders (think tanks, media, and foreign assistance) in improving the output of the policy-making process.

The second panel will move towards a key policy sector that offers relevant lessons about the ways in which public institutions should be reformed and staffed with capable people holding key competencies for a modern public administration. The issues addressed in the panel include the quality of public policy training in Romania , the quality of policy making in the education sector and what is Romania 's vision for its education system as a future EU member country.

Each panel starts with three or four brief presentations intended to serve as a basis for the substantial discussions to follow, which are meant to be the core of this policy debate.

Participant's profile

The conference will gather policy practitioners and analysts from all levels of government, academia, think tanks and the private sector. Current and former IPF fellows will also take part.


13:30 Opening remarks

Lucian CIOLAN, Lecturer - Bucharest University , IPF Fellow

Renate WEBER, President, Open Society Foundation-Romania

Pamela KILPADI, Program Manager, IPF Program, Open Society Institute- Budapest

13:45 Panel 1. Reforming policy management: can there be rules for government decision-making? Moderator : Sorin IONITA , SAR Research Director, IPF Fellow

Victor GIOSAN , Deputy Minister, Romanian General Secretariat of the Government,

Leslie PAL , Professor of Public Policy – Carleton University, Senior Advisor to the IPF Policymaking in Transition working group

Claudiu CRACIUN , Teaching Assistant SNSPA and GSG Expert, IPF Fellow

Pamela KILPADI , Program Manager, International Policy Fellowships, Open Society Institute and Central European University Center for Policy Studies, Budapest

Goran BUILIOSKI , Program Officer, Think Tank Fund, OSI Human Rights and Governance Grants Program

15:45 Coffee break

16:00 Panel 2. Education and Policy Making: bridging competency gaps

Moderator: Claudiu CRACIUN , Teaching Assistant SNSPA, IPF Fellow

Adrian MIROIU , Professor of Political Theory and Public Policy, SNSPA

Lucian CIOLAN , Lecturer, University of Bucharest , IPF Fellow

Madlen SERBAN , National Centre for Development of Vocational Education and Training, member of Advisory Committee for Vocational Training (European Commission)

17.45. Conclusions
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