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Impact of Devolution on Public Service Delivery
By: SDPI
Partner: Planning Commission

Duration:
 From May 2018 to September 2019
Team Members:
  • Shehryar Khan Toru (PhD)  Team Leader
  • Sajid Amin (PhD)  Impact Assessment Specialist
  • Rubab Syed  Project Assistant
  • Mohsin Ali Kazmi Senior Data Analyst
  • Maryum Waqar  Survey Coordinator
Project Brief/Concept:
This study aims to analyze the impact of devolution on social services. A number of broader themes will be explored through mix methods. The instruments used for this study include structured household survey, Key Informant Interviews (KIIs), and Focus Group Discussions (FGDs). The study, to be administered in eight districts of Pakistan [two from each province] with a sample size of 800, adopts the following assessment criteria.

I. Availability
Availability means that the right type of service is available to those who need a particular service “in the right place at the right time”.
II. Accessibility
Accessibility means how access to public goods is secured by those who rely on the state provision of these services. The actual experience of accessing services and interactions of service users with state officials would be observed at the level of service provision.
III. Affordability
Affordability will be examined by exploring the willingness of service users to bear the cost of a particular service.
IV. Quality 
The quality of service is associated with service outcomes viewed in terms of visible improvement in a particular service. For example, improvement in health status or nutrition of students can significantly contribute to school attendance. Measuring quality entails analyzing pre and post devolution statistics across selected services.

1. Selected Social Services:
To empirically analyze the impact of devolution on service delivery, the following social and collective services are identified for this study.

 

I. Maternal Health care
Improving maternal health is the 3rd Sustainable Development Goal (SDG), which deals with appropriate health care to reduce mortality rates. Access to maternal health care is an essential service especially in rural areas of Pakistan where high mortality rates prevail.
II. Water and Sanitation
Water and sanitation is the 6th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) which deals with water supply to urban and rural dwellings and domestic sanitation systems. As argued by Jones et al., “the effective provision of these services, primary health benefits and prevents the spread of disease”.
III. Solid Waste Management
Solid waste management is linked with the harmful effects of health and environment in an increasingly urbanized context. Providing safe disposal of refuse, processing and recycling is a major challenge for local governments. According to the World Bank (2011), “coverage and effective disposal” of waste varies considerably across urban areas.

Objectives:
The study attempts to shed light on the following broader outcomes:
  1. The examination of theoretical relationship between devolution and service delivery. As mentioned in literature review, decentralisation or devolution leads to better service delivery. This proposition would be explored throughout the study by focusing on the institutional arrangements of devolution and local governance context governing its implementation across select services.
  2. Exploring key governance challenges encountered by service providers in the effective provision of social services in a devolved context.
  3. Evidence-based analysis of devolved services by drawing on the actual provision of services ethnographically and through households’ perception survey.
  4. Deliberating on political economy factors in the realisation of improved service delivery. For instance, the problem of “free riders” and “tragedy of the commons” would be explored.
  5. A detailed analysis of devolution by paying attention to the problems faced by service users such as; access, availability, quality and the rest on the one hand, and reflecting on “institutional” and “governance” dimensions of devolution on the other.
  6. The findings of the study would be disseminated at a national seminar.
Activities:
  • Literature review
  • Development of Questionnaire (Quantitative & Qualitative)
  • Preliminary overview (Literature review, stakeholder mapping, budget review, etc.)
  • Prepare inception report for review and approval by Planning Commission
  • Validation of methodology to be used
  • Pilot testing of the quantitative data
  • Quantitative data collection from KP (Buner & Mardan), Punjab (D.G. Khan & Chakwal), Sindh (Thatta & Hyderabad), Balochistan (Quetta & Ziarat)
  • Qualitative interviews from representatives of relevant governmental and non-governmental departments in KP (Buner & Mardan), Punjab (D.G. Khan & Chakwal), Sindh (Thatta & Hyderabad), Balochistan (Quetta & Ziarat)
  • Report writing and submission