History & Background

Background Information

The current Policy Analysis Unit was created at the Office of the President sometime in the 1980s; to provide policy advisory support to the President through the Office of the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service. The Office of the President sought technical assistance from United Nations in 2015 to assess the institutional capacity of PAU as the basis for strengthening its ability to deliver quality services to the sectors (see: UN, 2015) It has been difficult to establish the exact date for the creation of the Unit and its official Terms of Reference (mandate and functions) for lack of documentary evidence, but during the 2015 assessment, most senior government officials interviewed agreed that it was created sometime in the 1980s. Since that period the Unit went through an undulating period of influence when it was at some point at the centre of most policy decision-making processes at the level of the Executive to periods when its influence in this arena dwindled. Among other issues, the assessment noted that the location of PAU at the premises of the Office of the President provides it with recognition and leverage but being at the heart of government this often resulted in the PAU being drawn into taking over other of responsibilities outside the scope of its main mandate and functions. The assessment also reviewed the current management structure of PAU with the Head of the Unit as Director. It noted that, to ensure an attractive career structure for staff, there is the need to reform and restructure the management structure to one that upgrades the position of Director to that of Director General and that way provide room for the creation of technical units to provide professional support to the Director General in the implementation of the activities of PAU. It was noted that the PAU does not have a strong presence with the sectors, giving rise to unfavourable perceptions of the usefulness of the Unit to support policy development, coordination and management generally in the country – which may also have been affected by staffing levels and competences. In addition, without the appropriate operational support in terms of required office space, equipment and materials, PAU’s ability to deliver quality services to stakeholders is seriously constrained. However, the assessment noted the efforts by the Directorate of Development Planning (DPP) of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs at creating or strengthening Planning Units as well as spearheading the development of sector Strategic Plans, which provides an opportunity to seek collaborative partnership with DPP with a view to strengthening its engagement with the sectors – enabling DPP to focus on coordinating the planning, M&E and strategy development functions of the Planning Units while PAU focuses on coordinating sector policy development, analysis and management. 2The assessment also looked at the perception of sectors awareness of the PAU’s mandate, its usefulness to sector needs in policy development as well as expectations of what PAU should do to serve the sectors better. Generally, this understanding and definitions of responsibilities were poor, with even the staff of PAU showing conflicting understanding of the actual mandate and functions are. This lack of proper understanding of the mandate and functions of the PAU was seen as presenting a real opportunity to boost the performance of the Unit, by clarifying and ensuring that it is not involved in other tasks that fall outside of its core mandate. Most stakeholders agreed that the Presidency should be providing advice and support to sectors on policy development and implementation, develop sector policy development capacity, undertake independent monitoring and evaluation of the progress of implementation of sector policies and strategies and use the results to provide feedback to the Executive and development partners. In addition, there was felt a need to provide direct support to the President in his oversight of policy development and implementation, by analyzing policies and reports destined for Cabinet approval.

A body that can provide oversight of the policy development continuum and be well integrated in the process so that its value added/demand’ for its services is not in question and such that it is in regular and systematic engagement with the executive, the cabinet sub- committees and the sector ministries; it can help to:
Ensure a consistent approach for policy proposals, review and reform; identify and tackle gaps in the process and promote collaborative deliberation and development of policies, especially on cross-sectoral or sector-wide issues with a view to ensuring horizontal and vertical coherence.
Propose policy reforms and modernisation initiatives where needed to strengthen the policy development process and linkages with strategy development and implementation;
Provide technical advisory support for policy review and approval processes as well as to key policy fora
Ensure that government policies and resultant strategies are gender and ethnic sensitive