Duncan Leitch

The Contribution of International Technical Assistance to Public Administrative Reform in Ukraine: the Case of Regional Policy 2000-2012

Supervisor: Kataryna Wolczuk

Duncan Leitch’s PhD research examines the role of international donor advice or ‘technical assistance’ in the reform of public administration (PAR) in Ukraine, taking as a case study the evolution of state regional policy from 2000 and comparing the experience of three regions of the country. The central research question is whether and in what way technical assistance to these regions has influenced the progress and direction of reform. The research is cross-disciplinary, embracing public administration, political economy and development studies.

While the literature on the influence of external advice or incentives to PAR is extensive in relation to the EU accession states of central and eastern Europe, there has been little comparable research on post-Soviet states in the EU ‘neighbourhood’ some of which, like Ukraine, have membership aspirations. There is still less research on the interface between donors and beneficiaries, which is the focus of the study.


After working for 15 years in inner London local government as a manager of social and economic development programmes, Duncan Leitch completed an MSocSci at CREES in 1993. This included research in the central Russian city of Voronezh on relations between the city administration and an emerging NGO sector. Subsequently he was invited to work in several countries of Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union as an adviser on the reform of local and regional government. Since 2000 he has managed major programmes of international technical assistance to Russia and Ukraine for the European Union and for the governments of both the United Kingdom and Canada. Duncan Leitch’s PhD topic draws on his experience over this period and examines the process and impact of international advice on the process of reforming the machinery of government in a post-communist state.


  • MA (Social Science), University of St Andrews
  • MSocSci (Russian Studies) University of Birmingham

Research Interests

  • Europeanisation in the EU Neighbourhood
  • Reform of Regional and Local Government in Ukraine 
  • Process and Impact of International Donor Advice: Donor-Beneficiary Relations


Leitch, D., 1997. Society in Motion: Russia’s Emerging Voluntary Sector. Non-Profit Management & Leadership, 7, (4).


Email: DJL803@adf.bham.ac.uk