Evaluation report 2011:2 Results-Based Approach in Finnish Development Cooperation
By: Derek Poate ja Ann Bartholomew
ISBN 978-951-724-941-6 (printed)
ISBN 978-951-724-942-3 (pdf)
This evaluation looks at the implementation of a results-based approach in Finland’s development cooperation. Results-based management uses performance information for improved decision-making. Although widely referred to in the documents of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA), there is no formal policy and strategy for working in this way. The nearest is guidelines for project design and planning which follow a logical framework approach.
Review of a sample of projects and other documents shows that there is no strategic framework of development results. A little over half of all projects achieve good standards of results-oriented design. All MFA units and embassies have annual plans and there is a score-card system of reporting. Arrangements for monitoring concentrate on individual projects and programmes. Evaluations are carried out both by the regional department and centrally by development evaluation.
Evidence from interviews and a questionnaire to staff indicates that the institutional culture of the MFA does not support results-based management. Project design guidelines are of a good quality but standards of practice are uneven. Procedures to assure the quality of projects are not effective; access to documentation and performance information is hampered by inadequate information systems; and staff reviews and salary schemes do not provide a strong incentive to reward staff for project performance. A significant gap in results orientation exists between those staff employed as advisors and the desk officers, team leaders and senior managers in MFA.
There is a strong need to establish a formal policy for results-based management, create a strategic results framework, revitalise procedures to assure good quality design and report results in a way that conveys the contribution to development cooperation arising from Finland’s considerable financial commitment.
Key words: results-based management, monitoring and evaluation, accountability, learning, Finland, development cooperation