Peer Review › Who takes part?
As the term peer review implies, the review will be carried out by the committee, working party, or other body which has decided to undertake it; officials in the relevant policy field from other countries will be involved in the evaluation process. Generally a few countries are chosen as lead examiners, while the rest of the group participates actively in the final discussion. The choice of lead examiners is usually based on a system of rotation among member states, although particular knowledge of a country relevant to the review may be taken into account.
The individuals representing the reviewed country may include civil servants from ministries and agencies and at different levels of government, in some cases ministers. The examiners represent the collective body carrying out the review and provide guidance in the collective debate. Their work includes examining documentation, taking part in discussions with the reviewed country and the Secretariat, and taking a lead speaker role in the debate in the collective body. The examiners may also participate in missions to the country. Lead examiners have a duty to be objective and fair, and free from any influence of national interest that would undermine the credibility of the peer review mechanism.
The OECD Secretariat supports the process by producing documentation and analysis, organising meetings and missions, stimulating discussion and maintaining continuity. The independence, transparency, accuracy and analytic quality of the Secretariat’s work are essential to the effectiveness of the process.
How the work is divided up between the Secretariat and the lead examiners, and the degree of interaction between them, varies widely. But as a general rule the Secretariat carries out the most labour-intensive part of the job, particularly if it has the most expertise in the topic under review. Usually all countries that are members of the body undertaking the review will be treated and each implicitly accepts the duty to co-operate with the examiners and the Secretariat.
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