Case study: State Partnership for Accountability, Responsiveness and Capability

Research reports and studies
February 2015
Victoria Chambers, Clare Cummings and Hamish Nixon
There is growing consensus that, to be effective, public sector reform (PSR) programmes, and indeed development interventions generally, need to move away from an international ‘best practice’ model towards one more attuned to ‘best fit’. This shift has major implications for PSR assistance, including the need for detailed political analysis in its design, implementation and monitoring; the adoption of problem-driven approaches; drawing on local knowledge; and allowing for flexibility and experimentation throughout.

Nigeria is one of the UK Department for International Development’s (DFID’s) largest governance portfolios, and the State Partnership, Accountability, Responsiveness and Capability (SPARC) programme is one of its central components. This study assesses how the SPARC programme functions in light of recent shifts in PSR thinking and practice, and considers lessons for future governance reform programmes.