Building Capacity: Strengthening Iraqi Public Policy and Civil Services

USAID’s Tarabot project supports Iraq’s administrative development and civil service, from public policy to new governance methods.

USAID’S Iraq Administrative Reform Project, known as “Tarabot,” which is Arabic for “linkages,” takes a whole of government approach, improving connections between all staff levels and across departments of fifteen provinces and a wide range of government agencies.

Implemented by MSI, Tarabot assists the government executive offices, especially the Prime Minister’s Office and the Presidency, to establish effective units to formulate policy communicate policy changes and consult effectively with ministerial, provincial and private stakeholders on the formulation of specific policies. Tarabot’s experts on regulatory reform have streamlined and/or eliminated hundreds of ineffective and outdated laws, decrees, and regulations.

To keep current on Tarabot, their project website has additional information and up-to-date news.

Tarabot supports the Prime Minister’s Agenda for Iraqi Development. MSI’s legal advisors redrafted Iraq’s Civil Service Reform Bill, which was sent to the Council of Ministers by the Prime Minister and will go to Parliament next. These changes and reform support a professional, effective, merit-based, and transparent Iraqi civil service. For instance, the project established guidelines for the Federal Civil Service Commission and set up Provincial Civil Service Commissions all around the nation. Working with the special High Committee for Civil Service, Tarabot directs the progress of creating uniform job descriptions, performance evaluation, and a national Human Resources Management Information System.

MSI assisted with the creation the first-ever Prime Minister’s Office of Policy Development. Tarabot also assisted in the formation of the first Bureau of Public Policy.

MSI’s staff helps the Ministry of Planning in reforming Iraq’s public procurement system. The ministry created a procurement website that is a practical step to promoting transparency and accountability. Tarabot promotes shifting administrative decision-making down to the levels where services are actually delivered, and where investment planning is rooted in practical realities that speed implementation and economic impact.

MSI experts have deployed an automated Social Safety Net system in 21 service centers throughout Iraq. Initial pilot deployment to Baghdad yielded initial savings of $18 million in government payments, due to reduction of duplications and other issues. In support of administrative decentralization, Tarabot improves capital investment planning and implementation through continued capacity building in budgeting, procurement, and project oversight and management.

Tarabot’s regulatory reform program is a cross-ministerial process to reduce regulatory burdens in core economic areas. This “Regulatory GuillotineTM” tool has succeeded in a variety of countries, removing up to 30% of regulations and adding as many as a million new jobs to the country’s economy.

The project works under the leadership of Iraq’s newly mandated high-level committees for Public Administration Reform and Partnership Coordination.