The Governance of Service Delivery

How can effective governance institutions support improved service delivery, particularly in post-conflict and fragile situations? How can international cooperation efforts be better aligned to enhance the impact of democratisation and decentralisation initiatives?

With some of these questions in mind, the Governance Team has signed a three year agreement with the Swiss Development Agency (SDC) to support their Democratisation, Decentralisation and Local Governance Network (DLGN). The DLGN is composed of more than 150 individual members in 6 regions and 44 countries and includes SDC staff and others working for partner organisations.

The main goal of this cooperation is to challenge SDC's work
and practices by stimulating learning and exchange among practitioners in three
different realms:

  • Developing and providing access to innovative governance research and new
    analytical approaches to understanding common democratisation and decentralisation dilemmas
  • Supporting the development of capacities of SDC head office,
    country staff and partner institutions through training modules and mirroring activities
  • Strengthening and expanding knowledge sharing, communication and networking platforms across both institutions

Policy research

The ongoing research carried out by the Governance and the Participation teams will feature novel experiences and findings on democracy and decentralisation to analyse and inform relevant SDC policy strategies in this field. To this extent, the research topics will focus around four thematic questions:

  • How to improve the quality of citizen participation, accountability, and
    representation in young democracies?
  • How to ensure the sustainable funding of social inclusion strategies at the
    local level?
  • How to better understand the political economy of decentralisation to ensure
    that it works for the people?
  • How to facilitate non violent transitions towards democracy in conflict

Training and knowledge sharing

In addition to challenging policy practices, the new research will be followed by practical activities to adapt conceptual approaches to country contexts, to elaborate guidance tools and develop training modules in order to institutionalise best policy practices within SDC. Furthermore, IDS will play an active role to support the embedding of learning projects and activities within SDC staff, country officials and other partners within the network.

The range of research, training and knowledge sharing activities was featured during the DLGN'Face to Face meeting' in Egypt in May 2013.

The Project Team

The project team is composed of nearly a dozen researchers from the Governance and Participation teams as well as IDS staff working on multiple areas of thematic expertise, including citizen participation, accountability, and representation, municipal finances and social Inclusion strategies, and support to non violent transitions towards democracy in fragile and post conflict contexts.

The project is led by Anuradha Joshi. Project co-ordination and support is provided by Liz O'Brien.

Key contact

Photo of Anuradha Joshi, IDS researcher

T: +44 (0)1273 915710


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Photo of Alex Shankland, IDS Research Fellow

T: +44 (0)1273 915746


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Photo of Giulia Mascagni

T: +44 (0)1273 915765


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Photo of IDS researcher, Mariz Tadros

T: +44 (0)1273 915829


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Miguel Loureiro photo

T: +44 (0)1273 915707


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T: +44 (0)1273 915616


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Photo of Rosemary McGee

T: +44 (0)1273 915738


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Photo of Shandana Mohmand

T: +44 (0)1273 915720


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Photo of Sohela Nazneen

T: +44 (0)1273 915609


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Photo of Sue Schirmer

T: +44 (0)1273 915801


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Power, Violence, Citizenship and Agency: A Colombian Case Study

IDS Working Paper 474 (2016)
McGee, R. and Flórez López, J.

Integrating Informal Institutions in Local Governance: Does it Matter?

IDS Working Paper 473 (2016)
Khan Mohmand, S. and Misic Mihajlovic, S.

Informal Local Governance Institutions: What They Do and Why They Matter

IDS Working Paper 468 (2016)
Khan Mohmand, S.

Inequality, Social Cooperation and Local Collective Action

IDS Working Paper 457 (2015)
Justino, P.

Extractive Industries, Revenue Allocation and Local Politics

Arellano-Yanguas, J. and Mejía-Acosta, A.

Innovative Thinking and Practice in Local Governance

Mejia Acosta, A. and Collodi, J.
Project Dates:
January 2012 - December 2014
Project Status:
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
Research Themes / Programmes: