Short Guide to Country-Led Indicator Development in Justice and Safety

Foreign support for the design and use of indicators that advance domestic ambitions for justice and safety has its own set of challenges. One special challenge is that leaders of justice institutions in developing countries may be reluctant to express grand ambitions for change. Their expertise and authority may rest in law, not policy. They know that leaders and operations in other agencies will be affected by any changes they propose. They also may be believe that foreign practices are superior and prefer to respond to visitors’ advice. 

You can help leaders identify meaningful goals and indicators for their own justice systems by asking some of the questions listed below:

  1. What would success in the justice and safety sector look like if you are successful? How might safety and justice be different in your country, especially for people currently living in poverty, one, two or five years from now?
  2. What kinds of measures of this success would make sense to the public and also resonate with staff in your organization? Would these indicators resemble or be distinct from the use of justice and safety indicators today in other countries?
  3. How will you use this indicator to drive change? What management processes will be strengthened by the indicator? Will other management tools compete with or be compromised by this indicator? What other agencies across the justice sector are actively developing new measures of performance? 
  4. What existing capacity are you building from, both in government and civil society? What is the process through which you hope to grow this capacity to new and more sophisticated levels?
  5. How can this project draw on the experience of building national capacity with indicators in other sectors – healthy, security, education - and with the MDGs? 
  6. How can individuals and organizations outside of the participating countries follow and learn from your progress during the next three to five years? What will national governments, domestic NGOs, and international development agencies actually do with these indicators?