Midterm Evaluation Governance and Public Administration Reform - Strengthening Capacity and Service Delivery (GPAR SCSD) and National GPAR Programme Secretariat Support Project (NGPAR)

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Evaluation Plan:
2012-2016, Lao
Evaluation Type:
Mid Term Project
Planned End Date:
01/2015
Completion Date:
01/2015
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
42,170

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Title Midterm Evaluation Governance and Public Administration Reform - Strengthening Capacity and Service Delivery (GPAR SCSD) and National GPAR Programme Secretariat Support Project (NGPAR)
Atlas Project Number: 00064630
Evaluation Plan: 2012-2016, Lao
Evaluation Type: Mid Term Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 01/2015
Planned End Date: 01/2015
Management Response: Yes
Focus Area:
  • 1. Others
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2014-2017)
  • 1. Output 3.2. Functions, financing and capacity of sub-national level institutions enabled to deliver improved basic services and respond to priorities voiced by the public
Evaluation Budget(US $): 42,170
Source of Funding: GPAR-SCSD and NGPAR
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Juan Luis LARRABURE Mr.
Souklaty SYSANETH Mr. LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: MoHA
Countries: LAO PEOPLE'S DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC
Comments: Final Evaluation Strengthening Capacity and Service Delivery (GPAR SCSD) and Final Evaluation National GPAR Programme Secretariat (NGPAR) have been removed. The mid-term evaluation was conducted for both GPAR SCSD and NGPS projects in Nov 2014 - Jan 2015. As key recommendations from the mission have been responded in the Concept Note for the next phase of GPAR, the final evaluation planned at the beginning will not be organized.
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1 1: Under National GPAR Programme Secretariat Support Project? (GPAR NGPS) 1.1 The project has enabled the GPAR Secretariat to service various Governance bodies as well as provide, limited but relevant, training and allowed the GPAR Secretariat to draft papers, organize meetings and manage other projects under its responsibility. In the opinion of the Evaluation Mission, a more structured capacity building strategy for GPAR staff should have been envisioned and executed but we recognize the constraints faced. 1.2 Based on the previous GPAR Programme Achievements Report drafted by an external consultant in 2011 recommended scaling ?up/leverage certain initiatives (Civil Service Human Resources Management System: job descriptions, performance evaluation system, skills inventory etc.) that were developed under the previous phase of the GPAR programme, the Evaluation Mission saw no evidence that this has yet been done, but as can be seen below (refer to initiatives under GPAR SCSD), recommends that the Government and its DPs consider supporting more work along these lines.
2 2: Under GPAR Service Delivery of Local Administrations (GPAR SCSD) 2.1 The Capacity Development and Modernization Fund (CADEM) Fund which has very limited resources, was used for very short term training on very basic skills, in a very wide geographic context and covering many subjects. While there seemed to be a reasonable level of satisfaction with CADEM activities on the part of the officials that where behind the EOIs, given all of the above the mission was not convinced that these activities will make a substantial contribution to Governance in Laos. All of this leads to believe training may have limited impact and sustainability. 2.2 None of the One Door Service Centres (ODSCs) are fully operational or provide uniform, coordinated services. They have no budget, no power to approve locally even the most menial of requests, few or no computers, and no trained staff. No standard fee table, valid across the country, exists for the services they are supposed to provide. Therefore, the impact of the ODSCs to date is practically non-existent. The Mission attributes this to a civil service culture of ?compartmentalization? by various Ministries that guard control over their services as well as protects income derived from fees. HOWEVER, the Evaluation Mission coincides fully with the view expressed to it by the Head of the GPAR Secretariat that the concept of the ODSC is a very important one that needs to be piloted again in a more restrained geographic environment. 2.3 The DDF has been and continues to be a very worthwhile investment. Its approach has proven that given a decentralization of untied resources and appropriate training, it is possible to carry out successfully a fully participatory planning model at the district level. However, the Evaluation Mission feels it is time to tie it to other related efforts in the country with a view to ?scaling up? both financially and substantively. To do this, the mission suggests also complementing the model with the introduction of other potential development partners such as local civil society organizations, public/private partnership initiatives and others.
3 3: Cross cutting issues observations 3.1 There is no coherent gender and ethnic equity strategy in the NGPAR program (both NGPA and SCSD). NGPAR should invest in solid technical support on gender and ethnicity mainstreaming to mentor the GPAR secretariat and facilitate gender affirmative actions within CADEM, DDF and ODSC. It should also mobilize partnerships with parallel gender mainstreaming initiatives such as with the Public Administration Research and Training Institute (PARTI) and the MoHA Sub-CAW, which have a conducted a self-assessment survey of gender needs in MoHA, developed a Strategy for Gender in Public Administration, developed a training module and manual on Gender Mainstreaming and validate this in a training of GAD trainers. It should also involve the Department of Ethnic and Religious Affairs of MoHA in developing capacities and tools for ethnic sensitivity, so that field projects can benefit diverse ethnic groups more equitably.
1. Recommendation: 1: Under National GPAR Programme Secretariat Support Project? (GPAR NGPS) 1.1 The project has enabled the GPAR Secretariat to service various Governance bodies as well as provide, limited but relevant, training and allowed the GPAR Secretariat to draft papers, organize meetings and manage other projects under its responsibility. In the opinion of the Evaluation Mission, a more structured capacity building strategy for GPAR staff should have been envisioned and executed but we recognize the constraints faced. 1.2 Based on the previous GPAR Programme Achievements Report drafted by an external consultant in 2011 recommended scaling ?up/leverage certain initiatives (Civil Service Human Resources Management System: job descriptions, performance evaluation system, skills inventory etc.) that were developed under the previous phase of the GPAR programme, the Evaluation Mission saw no evidence that this has yet been done, but as can be seen below (refer to initiatives under GPAR SCSD), recommends that the Government and its DPs consider supporting more work along these lines.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

1.1 While MOHA and UNDP agree with the evaluation team on introducing a more structure capacity building strategy for GPAR staff, we believe that the NGPAR Secretariat housed at MOHA, whose roles and responsibilities are to facilitate all NGPAR activities, including the Governance Sector Working Group on behalf of the Lao Government must receive the priority to show a strong sense of ownership. The two key below actions have been taken seriously as to respond to this particular recommendation. 1.2 MOHA and UNDP take note of the importance of Civil Service Human Resources Management System as said by a consultant in 2011 and used again by this evaluation team. However, the scope of work under the NGPS cannot expand to Modernized civil service management systems and practices as it focuses on National Programme Secretariat and sector partnerships. Future support to Civil Service Human Resources Management System can be discussed when time permits between the Government and its DPs.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Identify additional MOHA officials to respond to NGPAR Secretariat work.
[Added: 2016/01/12]
MoHA 2015/06 Completed One additional MOHA official under the Department of Planning and Cooperation was appointed to the NGPAR Secretariat to support the team in responding to the overall NGPAR and GSWG activities. This appointment was announced at the NGPAR Programme monthly meeting held on 3 July, 2015 with UNDP representative attending.
1.2. Bring in an International volunteer, who has strong experience in communicating and reporting. He/she will assist MOHA, NGPAR Secretariat in particular, in developing a strategic communication activities to enhance awareness, convergence of understanding on the potential, role and scope of the GSWG and governance reforms. GPAR staff supporting NGPAR Secretariat will benefit from this recruitment as well.
[Added: 2016/01/12] [Last Updated: 2016/05/09]
MoHA and UNDP 2015/12 Completed UNV on board since Q4 2015 for 9 months. History
2. Recommendation: 2: Under GPAR Service Delivery of Local Administrations (GPAR SCSD) 2.1 The Capacity Development and Modernization Fund (CADEM) Fund which has very limited resources, was used for very short term training on very basic skills, in a very wide geographic context and covering many subjects. While there seemed to be a reasonable level of satisfaction with CADEM activities on the part of the officials that where behind the EOIs, given all of the above the mission was not convinced that these activities will make a substantial contribution to Governance in Laos. All of this leads to believe training may have limited impact and sustainability. 2.2 None of the One Door Service Centres (ODSCs) are fully operational or provide uniform, coordinated services. They have no budget, no power to approve locally even the most menial of requests, few or no computers, and no trained staff. No standard fee table, valid across the country, exists for the services they are supposed to provide. Therefore, the impact of the ODSCs to date is practically non-existent. The Mission attributes this to a civil service culture of ?compartmentalization? by various Ministries that guard control over their services as well as protects income derived from fees. HOWEVER, the Evaluation Mission coincides fully with the view expressed to it by the Head of the GPAR Secretariat that the concept of the ODSC is a very important one that needs to be piloted again in a more restrained geographic environment. 2.3 The DDF has been and continues to be a very worthwhile investment. Its approach has proven that given a decentralization of untied resources and appropriate training, it is possible to carry out successfully a fully participatory planning model at the district level. However, the Evaluation Mission feels it is time to tie it to other related efforts in the country with a view to ?scaling up? both financially and substantively. To do this, the mission suggests also complementing the model with the introduction of other potential development partners such as local civil society organizations, public/private partnership initiatives and others.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

2.1 MOHA and UNDP acknowledge that CADEM Fund has very limited resources, was used for very short term training on very basic skills, in a very wide geographic context and covering many subjects. However, this small fund has helped to reduce the burden of the Government in responding to many of administrative practices for local and village level and has helped to increase project management skills. Hence, MOHA and UNDP do not fully agree with the evaluation team on their comment that they are not convinced CADEM will make a substantial contribution to Governance in Laos. MOHA and UNDP view that the fund does provide a useful mechanism to support demand driven innovation designed to strengthen public services. Hence, both organizations will continue this concept of local development in their future collaboration BUT to provide a clearer focus rather than make it available in a very wide geographic context. 2.2 We partly agree with the evaluation team finding that the ODSCs are not fully operational due to some constraints, such as no budget, no power to approve locally. GPAR SCSD as well as the previous GPAR has helped to raise these issues, especially capacity development to those providing services at the ODSCs. Thus, the ?no trained staff? as claimed by the evaluators are not correct. However, both MOHA and UNDP have agreed to conduct an analysis of implementation and operations of ODCS and then identify an Action Plan. 2.3 We fully agree with the evaluation team suggestion.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Re-design the CADEM fund into a more focus areas in the new Project Concept and Project Document
[Added: 2016/01/12] [Last Updated: 2016/05/09]
MoHA and UNDP 2015/12 Completed History
2.2. Develop a TOR to bring in International/regional expert to conduct an analysis of implementation and operations of ODCS, identifying strength and weak points, and core issues that affect the operation of ODSCs.
[Added: 2016/01/12]
MoHA and UNDP 2015/09 Completed Advertisement was put on local UNDP website and newspaper. Also it was put up on UNDP global website. The deadline for EOI was 7 Oct 2015.
2.3 Design the new Project concept/Project document with more involvement of Civil Society/Citizen Engagement and try to establish the private sector collaboration.
[Added: 2016/01/12]
MoHA and UNDP 2015/12 Completed The new initiative is designed to unlock the flow of domestic capital to finance small and medium-sized infrastructure projects needed to accelerate local economic and private sector development.
3. Recommendation: 3: Cross cutting issues observations 3.1 There is no coherent gender and ethnic equity strategy in the NGPAR program (both NGPA and SCSD). NGPAR should invest in solid technical support on gender and ethnicity mainstreaming to mentor the GPAR secretariat and facilitate gender affirmative actions within CADEM, DDF and ODSC. It should also mobilize partnerships with parallel gender mainstreaming initiatives such as with the Public Administration Research and Training Institute (PARTI) and the MoHA Sub-CAW, which have a conducted a self-assessment survey of gender needs in MoHA, developed a Strategy for Gender in Public Administration, developed a training module and manual on Gender Mainstreaming and validate this in a training of GAD trainers. It should also involve the Department of Ethnic and Religious Affairs of MoHA in developing capacities and tools for ethnic sensitivity, so that field projects can benefit diverse ethnic groups more equitably.
Management Response: [Added: 2016/01/12]

3.1. Although GPAR NGPS and SCSD were not designed to be gender focused initiatives, women and ethnic groups are automatically be co-participants and co-beneficiaries of infrastructure projects (e.g. health centers, school buildings, irrigation projects, drinking water supply, roads) that are set-up in their respective villages. MOHA and UNDP very much like to take into account this observation and will try our best in addressing gender and ethnic equity in the upcoming design.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1 Develop a more gender and ethnic equity into the new project concept note and Project Document. The involvement of women and ethnic population in consultation forum should be clearly explicit.
[Added: 2016/01/12] [Last Updated: 2018/09/26]
MOHA and UNDP 2017/06 Completed this will be further developed during the inception phase of the new GID project to be conducted in the beginning of 2017 History

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