Indicator: 16.5.1: Proportion of persons who had at least one contact with a public official and who paid a bribe to a public official or were asked for a bribe by those public officials, during the 12 months. 

Data Source: Human-centered survey

With an implementation of the 2030 Agenda by the UN General Assembly, measuring SDG has been very significant and challenging issue. Among these 17 SDGs, SDG 16 requires a special attention in close monitoring and measuring of peaceful, justice and accountable institutions at all levels. Many public institutions and renowned organizations around the globe have been working on bringing technically feasible and politically possible mechanisms to measure and implement SDG 16. However, measuring good governance – and especially corruption – is difficult, since these types of assessments are highly subjective and influenced by recent events. 

The Government of Moldova has been re-engineering public services as an inherent part of its Public Administration Reform Strategy and a critical input of the process is a strong monitoring and evaluation (M&E) function that can help the government to determine the government’s capacity to address citizens’ needs and expectations, challenges in efficiency and effectiveness as well as integration of findings in future services.

In order to address these challenges, UNDP Moldova and MiLab (Moldova Social Innovation Hub) has been working with the National Chamber of Social Insurance (NCSI) and Public Services Agency to design and assess the current public service delivery. The pilot program has been focused on measuring SDG indicator 16.5.1: Proportion of persons who had at least one contact with a public official and who paid a bribe to a public official or were asked for a bribe by those public officials, during the 12 months. Specifically, this project’s objectives are:

To integrate real-time user-generated data into NCSI assessment procedures of public services’ quality, the infrastructure of public institutions, and the mode public services are provided by public servants 
Translate user-generated data into the NCSI policy actions of public institutions on the reform of public services 
To promote real-time user-generated data evaluation mechanism of public services at other public institutions, based on the outcomes and lessons from the NCSI pilot.

The pilot program was carried through both offline and online mechanisms with specific SDG Tier III indicator (16.5.1). Off-line mechanisms involved with the installations of dedicated terminals within public institutions for the evaluation of the public services quality and online mechanism for the evaluation of the digital public services. The off-line pilot study took place in 7 NCSI branches, 3 in Chisinau and the rest in more remote areas. When the data was collected, they were analyzed, disaggregated and presented in a user-friendly way for public servants in order to use the data in the policy documents on the improvement of public services.

The main results of the project were the creation of a sustainable mechanism on data collection for measurement of citizens’ experience of corruption. In contrast with the traditional data based on survey results, the uniqueness of data produced was on measuring the experience of citizens on corruption, not just on perception. The data has the potential to eliminate potential paths for the corruption within public institutions providing public services. Thus, creating evidence for the elaboration data-informed policies to tackle corruption in public services provision and integration of the data collected in the policy-making mechanism at public institutions.

For the case of Moldova, collecting first-hand experiences on corruption has enabled policymakers and public institutions to look in-depth of sources of corruption, citizen-generated perception on transparency and quality of public service delivery, and real-time overall evaluation. With an adaptation of design research method by MiLab, it emphasizes immersive observation and in-depth, semi-structured interviews with individuals to understand the behaviors and rituals of people interacting with each other, with products and services, and with their larger environment. It stresses interactions with respondents in their natural setting, and observing respondents in the day-to-day lives to understand deeper needs, motivations, and constraints. Whereas many of the traditional corruption indices often ask for estimates on the national corruption levels, MiLab’s approach suggests more innovative and user-centric way of assessing good governance.