The Government – Civil Society Initiative: Evaluation of the First Stage

The Government-Civil Society Initiative was established in 2012 as a partnership of seven ministries (Education, Health, Social Affairs and Social Services, Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, Finance, Justice and PMO) (“partner ministries”), Diaspora Jewry and the JDC Institute for Leadership and Governance (which is also responsible for the implementation). The overarching goal of the Initiative is to improve the interface between the government and civil society in order to fortify the resilience of Israeli society.

A three-stage strategy was formulated for the Initiative: Stage I : Helping the partner ministries and civil society to separately develop their own intra-sectoral concept of the principles and policies for the inter-sectoral interface; Stage II : Helping both sectors to engage in an inter-sectoral dialogue to develop shared agreed principles and policies; Stage III : Creating inter-sectoral platforms to facilitate the implementation of the agreements, and promote strategic initiatives in their spirit.

MJB conducted an evaluation study of Stage I. The goal was to examine the extent to which the Initiative had achieved its goals, and to help design the next stages. The study examines the activities of the Initiative up to the start of 2015.  This initiative can be viewed as what the literature defines as “complex initiatives” which are characterized by frequent changes in implementation processes and modification of the goals. The evaluation in turn, from the beginning, developed a strategy to enable it to adapt and accommodate these changes.

Main Findings:

  • The Government : A steering committee of the partner ministries was set up. Each ministry was to develop their concept of the interface as a first step towards the formulation of an overall government intra-sectoral policy. This was achieved in two ministries. Furthermore, in all ministries a core of agents of change was created through the Merhav program. In the meantime, there was a change in strategy and it was decided to peruse the inter-sectoral dialogue prior to the completion of the intra-sectoral processes.
  • Civil Society : A steering committee with representatives from the sector was set up. This framework was used to advance the development of a common agenda and conception that can serve as a basis for an inter-sectoral dialogue. These are to be presented in a core document to be published by April 2016. Furthermore, the leaders of the process are interested in widening and diversifying the circle of participation so as to reinforce the visibility of the process and its legitimacy and to enhance the effort to create broad representation mechanisms for the sector.
  • The Inter-Sectoral Interface: Currently, both sectors are interested in the establishment of an inter-sectoral forum and initiating the inter-sectoral dialogue.

In addition to assessing the progress of the initiative and the difficulties that emerged, the report identifies strategic dilemmas and alternative directions for the further development of the Initiative. These are contributing to the current discussion among the partners with respect to the next stage of the Initiative.

The study was commissioned and financed by the Government – Civil Society Initiative.

Not in print, available only on the website

Citing suggestion: Almog, Y., Gorbatsevich, J., & Kadish, L. (2015). The Government – Civil Society Initiative: Evaluation of the First Stage. RR-712-15. Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute. (Hebrew)