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State bodies performance assessment as an institutional reforming tool of the state sector in Kazakhstan
Almost 10 years ago, Kazakhstan started to work on developing its national evaluation system aimed to measure performance of the state bodies. This evaluation system was designed in light of the New Public Management ideas of running government more businesslike and breaking the notion of ‘effective governmental organization’ down to discrete criteria (often adapted from the business management practices too). Initially, the Kazakhstani state bodies’ evaluation system was only supposed to annually measure performance of the central ministries and regional authorities, contrast and compare them across the state apparatus, and drive them to greater efforts to improve their organizational results. However, over the time with more and more data accumulated, this evaluation system turned out to be a great tool to comprehend and advance the governance reforms on a larger scale. For instance, the evaluation practices supported several crucial administrative reforms in Kazakhstan – state services delivery reform, introduction of strategic planning and results-oriented budgeting, digitalization of the government functions and operations, as well as number of new approaches to the civil service. The evaluation system was used both to assess and to enforce implementation of those reforms. For instance, evaluation data demonstrated that late hours working was a very common practice and one of the major factors deteriorating use of human capital across the state sector. The evaluation system set very harsh criteria on overworking and promoted use of IT-tools and internal changes within the state bodies. The problem was successfully tackled within 3 years. In 2016, 55-60% of civil servants worked late hours; in 2018 the share of over-working civil servants drops to less that 20%. The Kazakhstani national evaluation system demonstrates that consistent use of evaluation tools lets not only assess and facilitate reforming of the state sector, but also helps formulate an updated agenda for those reforms.
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