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Politics, state building and service delivery

Time (GMT +01) 14:30 18:00


David Booth – ODI Research Fellow and Director of APPP

Session 1: How does politics shape service delivery?


Kunal Sen – Joint Research Director, Effective States & Inclusive Development Research Centre, University of Manchester

Leni Wild – Research Fellow, Politics & Governance, ODI

Claire Mcloughlin – Research Fellow, GSDRC, University of Birmingham


John Plastow – Programme Director, Care International

Session 2: State building, legitimacy and service delivery


Derick Brinkerhoff – Distinguished Fellow, RTI International

Rachel Slater – Research Director, Secure Livelihoods Research Consortium, ODI


Richard Batley – Emeritus Professor of Development Administration, University of Birmingham

Closing remarks and summary:

Marta Foresti – Head of Programme, Politics & Governance, ODI


The recognition that a strong understanding of the political context in which services are delivered can have a powerful effect on the success of interventions has led to a flowering of new thinking and research in recent times. Progress has been made in conceptualising and documenting both how to diagnose and treat bottlenecks and blockages affected by issues of politics and governance, and how service delivery can feedback into, and sometimes alter, the political culture, institutions and processes that they operate in.

This event sought to address these issues by bringing together two broad perspectives, those whose principal focus is service provision, but have an interest in the effect of politics, and those whose principal focus is state building, but see service provision as a contributing factor.

The workshop brought together a mix of researchers and practitioners to take stock of existing knowledge in these fields, identify priorities for future research and to debate the challenges of successfully integrating this approach into future policy and programming.