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Improving Selection Criteria for Awards to Local Leaders Increases Credibility
Improving Selection Criteria for Awards to Local Leaders Increases Credibility
On Monday, December 18, 2017, The Research and Development Center for Local Autonomy, Unity, Political, and General Governance of Research and Development Agency of the Ministry of Home Affairs gave awards to a number of local leaders in Indonesia. The award was called Leadership Award 2017, and was bestowed upon 5 governors, 12 district heads, and 7 mayors considered capable of fulfilling their campaign promises, becoming the beacon of hope for their people, and creating a clean government.

Among the winners are three alumni of the Leadership Training Program held by Transformasi during 2011 – 2013, cooperating with Harvard Kennedy School in the United States of America. They are the District Head of Banyuwangi, Abdullah Azwar Anas, District Head of Kulonprogo, Hasto Wardoyo, and District Head of Agam, Indra Catri.

All winners have gone through a selection process from the evaluating committee, and they were chosen based on the following criteria: the best leaders for a minimum 4 years in office, have never faced legal or moral ethic case, responsive, have strategic vision, and possess high national integrity.

This award, along with many similar ones from Ministries, such as the Top 99 Public Service Innovation by the Ministry of State Apparatus and Bureaucratic Reform, does serve as an excellent way to recognize the achievement of a region, through its local head, while simultaneously encourage other regions to follow suit. It will be better if the criteria and indicator used can be developed in a more sustainable manner, making such award to serve not only as an instant morale booster, but can bring in long term benefits.

Inclusive and Sustainable Criteria and Indicator

Do you remember the case of Banyuasin District Head Yan Anton Ferdian, who was granted the Unqualified Opinion award three times in a row by the Indonesian Audit Board, but then was apprehended for corruption? To prevent history from repeating itself, awards must be given based on merit, not political negotiation. In addition, criteria and indicators that become the basis to select award winners must be set forth beyond mere desk reviews conducted by the assessing team, and more in accordance with the real situation on the ground, and also be created more inclusively and sustainably. How do we go about doing that?

First, criteria and indicators should be aligned with the national development program initiated by the government. In this case, they can refer to the 9 Development Priority Agenda or “Nawacita” from President Joko Widodo, and Long Term Development Plan (RPJP) 2005 – 2025. The resulting alignment will prevent development overlaps. Even more so, from a good governance stand point, criteria and indicators that are in line with the National Development Program indicates good planning and coordination between involved actors, including the government/ministry giving the award, assessing team, and the people.

Then, some of the new developments that have been promulgated deserve to be considered in preparing such criteria and indicators, such as Presidential Instruction Number 10 year 2016 on Actions to Prevent and Eradicate Corruption, which was the embryo to the development of National Action Plan to Prevent and Eradicate Corruption (RAN-PPK), and Presidential Regulation Number 59 Year 2017 on the Implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

Finally, and most importantly, the people must be involved in developing criteria and indicators, selecting local leaders who truly deserve to win the award, and monitoring selection results and post-selection. This has been enshrined in the aforementioned Presidential Regulation, stating that elements of philanthropists, business actors, academics, and CSOs should participate and be engaged in achieving Sustainable Development Goals.

Going forward, sharper, more inclusive and sustainable award selection criteria and indicators will serve as a catalyst towards a more credible, accountable, and long term award giving process.

Wicaksono Prayogie, Policy Analyst, Transformasi, 2018