The Reform Inventory Initiative (RII) seeks to catalogue public policy reform in Cambodia, where public policy is the principled guide to action taken by the administrative executive branches of the state with regard to a class of issues, in a manner consistent with law and institutional customs. (Wikipedia) RII defines "policy reform" as a process in which changes are made to the formal “rules of the game” – including laws, regulations and institutions – to address a problem or achieve a goal such as economic growth, environmental protection or poverty alleviation. (OECD)

RII takes stock of reforms which were initiated before 2013 national election and includes those that have just been recently implemented or reinforced. The methodology for the top reform selection process was to conduct desk research from online sources, interviews with sectoral experts and key informants from the ministries, and review the reform inventory with advisory groups representing three sectors: economic, social and administrative. Figure 1 provides a summary of the reform selection process.

Reform Selection Process.JPG

1. Ministry Selection

Ministries were included in the reform selection process based on the following criteria: (1) reforms in the ministry had been reported in the news, (2) reforms in the ministry were mentioned in interviews by sectoral experts from the private sector and civil society organisations, and (3) the ministry could provide relevant information to evaluate the reforms.
The selection process started with a preliminary desk review by conducting Google searches for the following news pages: Phnom Penh Post, Cambodia Daily, Khmer Time, Voice of America (VoA), Voice of Democracy (VoD), Radio Free Asia (RFA), and Radio France International (RFI). All reforms published in online new sites were inventoried. Following the desk review, the research team conducted interviews with sectoral experts in social services, public administration, and economic development to provide a macro-level understanding of reforms in the three main sectors and to collect information on the reforms underway in each ministry. When the research team had identified reforms mentioned both in online news forums and by the sectoral experts, they searched for annual reports, policy and legislative documents, and strategic plans on the ministry’s website. If the documents were not available on the website, the team contacted the ministry to request them. Unless the ministry fulfilled all three criteria and the documents were available or provided in time for the reform tracking process, the ministry’s reforms were not considered.

Based on the criteria, twelve out of twenty-seven ministries were included in the reform selection process including the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF), Ministry of Civil Services (MCS), Ministry of Commerce (MoC), Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF), Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport (MoEYS), Ministry of Environment (MoE), Ministry of Health (MoH), Ministry of Industry and Handicraft (MIH), Ministry of Interior (MoI), Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training (MoLVT), Ministry of Mine and Energy (MME), and Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA). The twelve ministries were then divided into three sectors, economic, social, and administrative, based on the nature and focus of their work.
2. Desk Review
A desk review yielded information both in Khmer and English on the reforms in each ministry. The review started with searches of the websites of all twelve selected ministries to look for annual reports, policy and legislative documents, and strategic plans. In addition, the Facebook pages of all selected ministries were checked for any announcements of reforms posted after the 2013 national election. Additional Google searches yielded reports and policy documents that were not available on the ministries’ websites. The searches were conducted periodically during the project and all articles and information published online on or before September 20, 2015 were reviewed. Documents obtained from the desk review include online news, annual reports, achievement reports, presentations by key persons in the ministry, legislative documents (Decree, Sub-decree, Prakas, Circular, Directive, law, guideline, Minister’s remark, and ministry’s announcement), and policy documents (national action plan, ministry’s strategic plan, and ministry’s development policy).

3. Interview with Key Informants
One-on-one interviews with key informants including sectoral experts and representatives from the ministries were conducted to collect more information on reforms. The research team met with representatives from the twelve selected ministries, including seven ministers. During the meetings, the minister appointed a ministry representative with knowledge of the reforms to arrange a follow-up meeting with the research team. In addition, more than twenty local and international experts who are senior representatives from various bilateral agencies, multi-lateral institutions, NGOs, and private sector were also interviewed.

4. Advisory Groups
After consolidating the information from both the desk research and the interviews with the sectoral experts and ministry informants, the comprehensive list of reforms from all ministries was reviewed by three advisory groups: administrative, social, and economic. The senior representatives from local and international non-government organizations and industry leaders were recruited to participate in the advisory group. Advisory group members were selected based on their local knowledge and experience in the sectors concerned. In most cases, members were part of the senior management team of agencies directly affected by or associated with the reforms. The role of each advisory group was to review the reform inventory and identify the reforms that have had, or are most likely to have a significant impact on public policy, which is considered strong when it solves problems efficiently and effectively, serves justice, supports governmental institutions and policies, and encourages active citizenship. (Wikipedia)