This case study is not a success story in PHE per se. Instead, it describes the implementation of an online tool which can help PHE providers to align to national, regional and local development strategies and priorities. The tool, called “The State of the Nation data aggregator” is implemented though the EU-funded project “State of the Nation – designing an innovative instrument for supporting public policies“. More specifically, the project aims to create an aggregator of multidisciplinary statistical data (since 1990 until now), which can be used to produce strategic documents and support decision-making processes. Despite various organizations collecting disparate and unsynchronised data from various fields, at this moment in Romania the central administration does not have access to a database integrating all public data which would be relevant for supporting public decisions. The beneficiary is the General Secretariat of the Romanian Government (SGG)/ Center for Analysis and Strategy, in partnership with the National University for Political Studies and Public Administration, Bucharest, Romania.
The project, currently under implementation, will facilitate the identification of areas where public administration officials could collaborate with the academia and the establishment of strategic partners and networks for information and best practices exchange, and will establish a structure coordinated by the Prime Minister, with tasks in monitoring and appraising the performance in public services through its main objective, developing a multi-dimensional system of indicators which will allow an accurate radiography of Romania’s situation and its regions, and the evaluation of public perception.
During the first year of implementation, the project developed a Methodological design and the Design of the socio-economic indicators system to provide a dashboard of Romania’s level of development. The system covers twelve main domains, each with 10-12 main indicators, as well as secondary indicators. The domains are: Demography, labor market and quality of life, Education and culture, Energy and
natural resources, Economic development and infrastructure, Agriculture, food and food security, Governance and social capital, Environment and sustainable development, Health, Research, technology,innovation, Finances and financial capital, National security, and European and global development context.
In its final stage, the project will use the research data gathered to elaborate a public policy project for supporting decision-making processes in central administration.
PHE institutions can use the online tool (the data aggregator), as well as the public policy project, to ground their educational policies, mission, vision, and curricula in factual data on Romania’s progress and priorities for development. In order for the PHE sector to serve through its educational offer, the actors in the field must first become acquainted with the priorities for development (local, regional and national). Once finalized, the aggregator will become one of the main instruments for supporting decisions and evidence-based policies used by governmental actors for designing and evaluating public policies in Romania. For PHE institutions, the aggregator will be a valuable statistical data provider, as well as a tool for benchmarking.
Furthermore, one of the domains within the system of relevant indicators for measuring Romania’s level of development is Education. The state of the education system is of greatest concern for all stakeholders, and especially providers of PHE. They will be able to consult relevant data regarding: the financing of education, human resources and their financial earnings, participation in education, the internal efficiency and results of education (i.e. early leavers from education and training, tertiary educational attainment), and lifelong learning, mobility and integration on the labor market.
What was the challenge intended to be addressed? Why? What did work well? What did not work well? What have been the main achievements? How did you evaluate its success? What has been the change brought by this good practice?
The project has the following impact:
- it creates a coherent system of 100 relevant indicators for measuring Romania’s level of development
- it builds the online data aggregator The State of the Nation – an online data base which will integrate statistical data collected since 1990 by various institutions (public data available for 1990-2015 and afterwards)
- it generates periodical sociological data on public perception (barometers of opinion)
- it strenghtens the applicant’s institutional capacity
- it trains future users (local and central administration staff) in using the online tool at their disposal.
- for PHE institutions, the project will create a vast source of information on the national and regional priorities for development and an in-depth radiography of the state of the education system
What are the enabling conditions (e.g. institutional, economic, social/cultural, regulatory) that needed to be in place or played a facilitating role for the good practice to be successful?
For an exploratory project this large, the project management skills of the team are essential. Furthermore, support from the National Government is essential in establishing collaboration protocols with various national and European statistical offices & think thanks. Lastly, there is a need for good practice exchanges with experienced institutions in data gathering and representation, such as Globalstat, Eurostat etc.
What are the challenges, barriers or limiting factors encountered? How have they been addressed?
The main challenge is associated to the complexity of resuming Romania's level of development in only 100 relevant indicators. The selection and hierarchy of these indicators posed difficulties to the team.
Financially, the total project value is 16,475,774 RONi (approx. 3,554,797 EUR), out of which ESF funding: 13,844,922 RON (approx 2,987,167 EUR) (84,032%).
Feasibility & Sustainability
What are the elements that need to be put into place for the good practice to be sustainable (institutionally, socially, economically, etc.)? If applicable, indicate the total costs incurred for the implementation of the practice. What are the benefits compared to total costs?
For ensuring sustainability, automatic technical processes to update the statistical series of data need to be put in place.
Replicability & Upscaling
What are the possibilities of extending the good practice more widely? What are the conditions that need to be in place for the good practice to be successfully replicated in a similar context? What are the steps that should be taken/respected to ensure that the good practice is replicated / up-scaled, but adapted to the new context?
The project can be implemeted in other national contexts. Upscailing is not necessarily useful, as it would duplicate the role of Eurostat.
Please provide some information about the context and initial situation that can help in fully understanding the action (e.g. information about the national system, applying regulations, etc.)
There are significant theoretical and empirical challenges related to defining and measuring development, progress, and the national performance. The Romanian public administration faces a sort of paradox: although there is a tremendous amount of available statistical data, it lacks the access to a database containing all the relevant public data needed for the foundation of the decisional processes.
This project comes from a sensitive need and it aims at filling the current gap identified at the level of Romanian central administration system.
The State of the Nation project is complementary to a series of initiatives of the General Secretariat of the Government (SGG), and is part of a strategic projects portfolio, meant to consolidate the institutional capacity of public administration on decision support and public policies design.