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A compass for public administrators

Published by Valor Econômico in 20/04/2021

A mayor of an average-sized city has just taken office and soon finds a problem that can define their mandate. Several families have been buried alive under a landslide on a hillside, bringing about an urgent demand for municipal management. There is no registry of residents. Playing it by ear, the city organizes a queue to assist people looking for housing aid. There is no manual ready to guide the government at this time. The absence of data impairs the work of social assistance and generates discontent among the victims of the disaster.

This account is fictional, but very close to reality in some parts of Brazil. The lack of information, systematization, monitoring and improvisation in policy choices are still present with some regularity in public management. The demands of the media and of society for the implementation of rapid solutions often generate short-sighted decisions, which end up proving counterproductive.

To increase the motivation of public administrators in the use of evidence-based decisions, citizens and civil society must demand transparency and monitoring and evaluation of public policies adopted in all levels of  government. Public leaders who evaluate their programs and ultimately adapt them to include the results of the evaluation, or who make the decision to discontinue them responsibly, must be recognized. In this context, it is very important to strengthen the culture of monitoring and evaluating public policies. For this reason, the Institute for Mobility and Social Development (IMDS), FGV Clear and the National School of Public Administration (Enap) have come together to create the Evidence Award and the IMDS Social Mobility Trophy (eventos.fgv.br/premioevidencia), initiatives to value public policies based on evidence and with relevant social impact

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