Policy Dialogue on Civil Service Reform
On 20th March 2014, BCURE launched its first ever Civil Service Reform Policy Dialogue in Pakistan. It was jointly hosted by CERP; the National School of Public Policy (NSPP); Evidence for Policy Design program at Harvard University, and the Planning Commission in Lahore. The purpose of the Dialogue was to demonstrate the value of policy maker and researcher collaborations and help catalyze such engagements, especially on civil service reforms that can deliver better policy outcomes.
The first day of the dialogue began with a presentation by Dr. Asim I Khwaja, Professor at Harvard University and Director at CERP. Dr. Khwaja introduced the policy maker-researcher engagement model and stressed the importance of using evidence in policy formulation. He underlined that this is the approach increasingly adopted by policy makers internationally; it is therefore less an issue of whether the Government of Pakistan should pursue an evidence-based approach to policy making, but how, when and with whom.
Dr. Benjamin Olken, Professor at MIT, then demonstrated the evidence-based model using the Property Tax Project where CERP collaborated with the Department of Excise and Taxation to increase property tax collection in the Punjab. Dr. Musadik Malik, Advisor to the Government of Pakistan on Energy, then addressed some problems with the Civil Service training system followed by welcome remarks by Mr. Muhammed Ismail Qureshi, Rector, NSPP.
Following the opening addresses, two panel discussions took place on the importance and benefits of collaboration between policy makers and researchers. Secretary Excise and Taxation Department Mr. Khalid Masood Chaudhary was part of one of the panels. The discussions also focused on valuable byproducts that come out of such engagements. The Property Tax research team from CERP took the participants through one such beneficial byproduct, the Urban Immovable Property Tax Performance dashboard that allows tax supervisors to view digitized views of tax circles and compare performance measures. The sessions concluded with a discussion on catalyzing future policy interventions. The second day focused on group discussions on salient policy issues of Pakistan where the participants designed a smart policy solution to address them.
CERP signs MoU with National School of Public Policy and Evidence for Policy Design
CERP signed an MOU with the National School of Public Policy (NSPP) in Pakistan and the Evidence for Policy Design (EPoD) at the Center for International Development at Harvard University. This MOU is aimed to build capacity to foster more evidence-based policy formulation among policy makers and bureaucrats through four main activities. First, a rigorous assessment of training and capacity building needs in the Pakistani civil service. Second, a training platform using cutting edge and scalable online pedagogical tools for strengthening individual capabilities. Third, a mechanism to support and incubate pilot projects that demonstrate the value of data and evidence-based decision making through a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) process. Lastly, policy dialogues to foster a consensus among key stakeholders on the value of using evidence to inform policy.
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