what you get here

This is not a blog which opinionates on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers to muse about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

The Bucegi mountains - the range I see from the front balcony of my mountain house - are almost 120 kms from Bucharest and cannot normally be seen from the capital but some extraordinary weather conditions allowed this pic to be taken from the top of the Intercontinental Hotel in late Feb 2020

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Scribbling – the professional writings since 1990

I thought my HEALTH WARNING would discourage readers – but, curiously, it seems to have had the opposite effect with daily clicks hitting the 400 mark today after the last post on the central Asian experience…

This post is a record of my professional writing over the past 30 years and included largely to ensure that I have easy access to such source material

It does not include the material about my travels in places such as Bulgaria, Germany and Romania and other material you can find listed in the top right corner of the blog…

In Transit – notes on good governance

1999 book

in which I tried to capture for my new colleagues in ex-communist countries what I felt we in the West had learned, between 1970 and 2000, about managing change in the public sector

My initial projects in CzechoSlavaki, Romania, Hungary and Latvia were all a bit scrappy and it was the 3 Central Asia projects of 1999-2007 which gave me the real satisfaction

Transfer of Functions – European Experience 1970-2000.

Uzbekistan 2002

The experience of transferring functions in Europe to different levels of government in the latter part of the 20th century


Policy analysis for Slovakian senior civil servants - a manual


One of my least successful efforts

I need to add a bibliography and update it a bit eg Paul Cairney


Public Admin Review in Azerbaijan as at 2005


This was the first project since I had left Scotland whose results left me totally satisfied – what seemed a hopeless situation when I arrived in 2002 started slowly to give hope, culminating in the setting up of a Civil Service Agency

“Missionaries, Mercenaries or Witchdoctors?Paper presented to 2006 NISPAcee Conference

A fairly biting analysis of the shortcomings of Eiropean Technical Assistance in its efforts to develop the capacity of Ministries and state bodies in ex-communist countries


Road Map for Local Government under threat 2007

I had experience of helping run a municipal authority – but not designing a local government system. Romania, CzechoSlovakia, Hungary and Latvia gave me certain insights about this in the 1990s but it was a 2year project in Kyrgyzstan which helped me produce this detailed RoadMap

Administrative Reform with Chinese Characeristics


China still haunts me – 11 years later. I was invited to lead a 4 year EC project in the country but had culture shock very quickly…I produced 17 reasons for my resignation – but still learned enough to write this piece….

The Long Game – not the Logframepaper presented to 2011 NISPAcee Conference at Varna

critique of EC technical assistance to PAR – presented to NISPAcee Annual Conferences of 2007 and 2011


Training that Works 2011

100 page paper based on what I felt I had learned in the last decade particularly in Kyrgyzstan and Bulgaria. It challenges a few myths

Blog 2009-2021


See the annual collection of posts for the last 2 years – as well as E-books on administrative reform, Bulgarian art, Romanian culture, Germany etc

No Man’s Land; journeys across disputed territories (2018)

A first effort at my personal story

Just Words -  a Sceptic’s glossary


EC reports always gave an opportunity for provocative writing and I started this habit of caustic definitions early in my career with them

Change for the Better? A Life in Reform; (2021)

the present version of my effort to make sense of the challenge of admin reform in a variety of countries

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