Many of the Ministries that form the Government of Myanmar developed Strategic Plans to guide their reform process over the past five years. However, few have taken the trouble to assess how much progress they have made towards their Strategic Goals and Objectives, with many Ministries and Agencies producing a second Strategic Plan without reviewing what success (or setbacks) they had under their prior plan. The Union Attorneys General Office (UAGO) avoided this pitfall with the assistance of UNDP by undergoing a “Self-Assessment of the UAGO Strategic Plan (2015 – 2019)” that was publicly launched by Attorney General U Tun Tun Oo on September 12th at the UAGO Meeting Hall in Nay Pyi Taw.
The Attorney General acknowledged how valuable it was for the UAGO to undergo this process: they are currently drafting their next Strategic Plan, and the findings of the Self-Assessment are now feeding into its development. The Attorney General gave the UNDP Assessment Team wide latitude to interview clients of the UAGO, including the Bills Committees of the upper and lower houses of Parliament to whom they provide legislative drafting advice, and several of the Ministries for which they have recently provided legal advice.
As the country’s “law firm,” the UAGO has the mandate to provide legal services to all government agencies and departments at the Union and State/Regional level. They also are charged with representing Myanmar in all civil and criminal court proceedings and advising the government of the contents of international treaties and covenants. Getting candid feedback from their clients allows the UAGO to adapt its training and human resource allocation to ensure that their services improve, and the Government of Myanmar is well-represented in all legal proceedings.
The Self-Assessment also involved a survey of all 1,200 or so law officers across the country. The survey asked about each aspect of the current Strategic Plan, including administrative matters, continuing legal education, ethics and the provision of legal advice to the police and other government agencies. Notable findings from the internal survey demonstrated that law officers at the UAGO and Advocates General offices around the country feel that the Strategic Plan has helped them improve their performance, but that much work remains. The law officers largely agreed that training by international development partners has been useful, but that it needs to more tailored to domestic laws. A large majority of the law officers also cited the need to have Strategic Plans at the State and Regional Advocates General offices so that they could have guidance on how to improve their performance at the local level.
UNDP was proud to have helped the UAGO conduct this assessment, and we hope that other Ministries take up the example provided by the Attorney General to allow for outside agencies and the people they serve to rate their performance against their own Strategic Plans in the future.