The Service Delivery Indicators program is an application of the principles of the 2004 World Development Report Making Services Work for Poor People. The Service Delivery Indicators project is a new Africa-wide initiative that tracks service delivery in education and health across countries and over time.
The project collects nationally representative data that focus mainly on performance and quality of service delivery in primary schools and at frontline health facilities. This partnership between the World Bank, the African Development Bank and the African Economic Research Consortium brings together development economists and sector specialists. The objective is to reposition the dialogue on human development in Africa within the context of effectiveness of public spending and accountability for service delivery. Why such an agenda? Accountability for public resources: developing country governments allocate roughly a third of budgets to education and health. Demands for accountability for the efficient use of public resources—from citizens and tax payers in developed or developing countries alike—are gaining in prominence, in part, because of the global economic situation. Accountability depends upon measurement: without consistent and accurate information on the quality of services, it is difficult for citizens or politicians to assess how service providers are performing, to work towards corrective action, and ultimately bring about improvements. There is little robust and representative evidence of what teachers and health workers do during a typical work-day, their levels of ability, knowledge and skills, how teachers perform their teaching activities and how well health workers diagnose and treat their patients.