Final project evaluation of STAR 2 project

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Evaluation Plan:
2017-2021, Albania
Evaluation Type:
Final Project
Planned End Date:
10/2019
Completion Date:
09/2019
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
15,000

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Title Final project evaluation of STAR 2 project
Atlas Project Number: 00092590
Evaluation Plan: 2017-2021, Albania
Evaluation Type: Final Project
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 09/2019
Planned End Date: 10/2019
Management Response: Yes
UNDP Signature Solution:
  • 1. Governance
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Output 1.1.1 Capacities developed across the whole of government to integrate the 2030 Agenda, the Paris Agreement and other international agreements in development plans and budgets, and to analyse progress towards the SDGs, using innovative and data-driven solutions
SDG Goal
  • Goal 16. Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels
SDG Target
  • 16.6 Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels
Evaluation Budget(US $): 15,000
Source of Funding: Project Budget
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 9,300
Joint Programme: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Dr. Diana Papleka Senior Monitoring and Evaluation Expert
Dr. Blerjana Bino Monitoring and Evaluation Expert
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders: Ministry of Local Issues
Countries: ALBANIA
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

In general, the Project needs to plan a better-focused final phase to ensure the sustainability of its main interventions. In this regard, all systems and standards established are in need for continuous monitoring, further expansion as needed (scope, territory), and more in-depth, on-the-job assistance to ensure their overall execution, functionality and sustainability.

2

In case of future support, the Project needs to focus on the few key components with an entire national coverage and introduce more lobbying at central government level for structural / legislative changes affecting LGUs. Also, the Project should intensify efforts to strengthen capacities of central level institutions in charge of LG, (ASLG) to take the ownership of LG national systems and standards. 

3

The Project needs to further incorporate gender perspective in all project interventions in order to contribute to women’s empowerment. Gender perspective should be considered in the following dimensions: representation and involvement within the administration, incorporation of women and vulnerable groups in LG service delivery and standards, public engagement and participation, as well as in data gatherings and statistics. 

4

The Project needs to continue to enhance collaboration with key stakeholders and partners. ASPA in cooperation with MoI/ASLG might be a close collaborator to identify LG administration training needs in order to design and deliver the capacity building assistance.  Also, ASPA might be a close collaborator in order to design and deliver the orientation course to the Mayors without prior experience. The Project needs to keep coordination and consultation with public institutions to ensure sustainability by applying integrated approaches: ASPA, DoPA, ADISA and others affecting LG. 

5

The Project needs to continue investing in institutional development and capacity building of human resources at LG. In this regard, it is necessary to systemize and standardize sustainable training programs for municipal staff, and to strategize and invest in motivating, cultivating, and sustaining human resources - especially for small and medium-sized municipalities. It is recommended to maximize and share best experiences (Standard Operating Procedures) and follow up on challenges identified during STAR 2. This will be a good way to identify progress and replicate best practice (peer to peer exchange, twining, internship) and continue to learn from each other.

6

The Project needs to continue consolidating “One Stop Shop” model of service provision in all municipalities, including the administrative units.  OSS model of service provision should be functional in all municipalities and should be extended to all administrative units. There is a need to identify the required resources, best method and adequate infrastructure for effective service delivery. Digitalization of services is needed in order to increase the efficiency, quality and coverage of services. Continuous cooperation with ADISA is also highly suggested.

7

The Project needs to continue finalize and consolidate the “Benchmarking system” initiative.  The Benchmarking system must be used to create a platform based on integrated indicators that will be used to contrast and compare standards within and among municipalities, as well as monitor and evaluate the service delivery process and overall municipality performance for municipality employees, citizens and partners.

8

The Project needs to continue building capacities to strengthen local democracy. It is recommended to contribute to the further consolidation of democratic governance practices at local level including transparency and openness, public engagement and consultation in local decision-making and most importantly the expansion of anti-corruption instruments such as integrity plans and codes of conducts.

1. Recommendation:

In general, the Project needs to plan a better-focused final phase to ensure the sustainability of its main interventions. In this regard, all systems and standards established are in need for continuous monitoring, further expansion as needed (scope, territory), and more in-depth, on-the-job assistance to ensure their overall execution, functionality and sustainability.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/09/04]

This is a valid recommendation. STAR 2 has worked out to develop a series of tools, products and methodologies necessary for enhancement of capacities at local level, improvement of services and consolidation of local governance and democracy, i.e. adopting of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), development of Local Revenue Action Plans, One Stop Shop Information System (OSSIS), assessment and reorganization of public services, benchmarking, participatory development of Transparency Plans, etc. However, due to a prolonged inception phase that caused implementation delays, delivery of some of the aforementioned products coincides with the project completion, and not enough time is dedicated to ensuring their proper internalizing, functionality and sustainability. 

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
For the ongoing activities, design a detailed plan to parallel support their implementation by offering on-the-job assistance until project closure.
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO Management 2019/12 Initiated
Organize a workshop to wrap up all best practices and experiences established. Make use of PR and communication means to ensure information and knowledge sharing.
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO Management 2019/12 Initiated
2. Recommendation:

In case of future support, the Project needs to focus on the few key components with an entire national coverage and introduce more lobbying at central government level for structural / legislative changes affecting LGUs. Also, the Project should intensify efforts to strengthen capacities of central level institutions in charge of LG, (ASLG) to take the ownership of LG national systems and standards. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/09/04]

STAR 2 has been a very complex project, applying a multi-dimensional approach and designed to introduce and implement innovative approaches. Although STAR 2 has been successful in improvement of service delivery modernization, institutional and capacity development for municipal administrations, and promoting civic participation, the need is still to continue the support for deepening, expanding and sustaining the developed models and practices for a more efficient local governance. The next phase of STAR2 will provide due care to some of the unfinished activities and focus on few components that ensure national coverage and scaling up, such as OSSIS, benchmarking and standardization of public services and further consolidation of local democracy through participatory and integrity practices. The new project will be developed following a participatory approach and will be actively consulted with both local and central governments and agencies, partners, donors, ongoing projects, and CSOs active in this field.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a project proposal that will deepen, expand and sustain the key processes started during STAR 2, aiming to ensure effective and efficient institutional capacities, systems and processes for local government.
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO Management MoI 2019/12 Initiated To commence upon new Project commencement.
3. Recommendation:

The Project needs to further incorporate gender perspective in all project interventions in order to contribute to women’s empowerment. Gender perspective should be considered in the following dimensions: representation and involvement within the administration, incorporation of women and vulnerable groups in LG service delivery and standards, public engagement and participation, as well as in data gatherings and statistics. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/09/04]

Relevance of this recommendation is recognized. Although for STAR 2 it has been important to achieve equal opportunities for women and men in public life and governance, especially regarding the female participation in capacity building activities, there is still need and opportunities to extend assistance to more gender mainstreaming in planning, public engagement aiming equality and women empowerment.   

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure gender mainstreaming in the ongoing processes as the piloting of integrity planning processes; roll out of OSSIS in the remaining municipalities; benchmarking system as well as the LG Mapping process.
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO Management 2019/12 Initiated
Mainstream gender since the initial phase of new project concept, ensuring equal opportunities for capacity building through on-line access to capacity building resources, as well as conceptualizing activities facilitating participation of vulnerable groups and women in local decision-making.
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO Management 2020/12 Not Initiated To start upon new project commencement
4. Recommendation:

The Project needs to continue to enhance collaboration with key stakeholders and partners. ASPA in cooperation with MoI/ASLG might be a close collaborator to identify LG administration training needs in order to design and deliver the capacity building assistance.  Also, ASPA might be a close collaborator in order to design and deliver the orientation course to the Mayors without prior experience. The Project needs to keep coordination and consultation with public institutions to ensure sustainability by applying integrated approaches: ASPA, DoPA, ADISA and others affecting LG. 

Management Response: [Added: 2019/09/04]

Relevance of recommendation to enhance coordination and collaboration with key stakeholders and partners is acknowledged. STAR2 project, reflecting STAR1 recommendations, has intensified and structured cooperation and collaboration with main stakeholders and partners that play a role in local governance.  Following this experience, the new project concept is developed in close consultations with the key national institutions in charge of local government, i.e., the Ministry of Interior and the Agency of Support for Local Government, and in complementarity with the ongoing assistance provided by other development partners.  Public agencies such as ASPA, DoPA, Associations of Municipalities will be involved not only during project development phase, but also in implementing activities together, exploring innovative ways of knowledge transfer and sustaining developed systems at these institutions

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Clear roles and responsibilities of ASPA, ASLG, Associations of Municipalities are well defined in the new project
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO management 2020/12 Not Initiated
5. Recommendation:

The Project needs to continue investing in institutional development and capacity building of human resources at LG. In this regard, it is necessary to systemize and standardize sustainable training programs for municipal staff, and to strategize and invest in motivating, cultivating, and sustaining human resources - especially for small and medium-sized municipalities. It is recommended to maximize and share best experiences (Standard Operating Procedures) and follow up on challenges identified during STAR 2. This will be a good way to identify progress and replicate best practice (peer to peer exchange, twining, internship) and continue to learn from each other.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/09/04]

Institutional development and capacity building will continue to be supported beyond finalization of STAR 2 project. The new STAR3 project will build upon successful experience and created models and extend to new themes and institutions. Different from STAR 2, an integrated and structured approach will be followed, addressing both individual and institutional needs. ASPA will be an actor and factor in this process.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Development of a tailored curricula including e-learning platform on local government matters, promoting the dissemination and development among different levels of local government officials.
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO Management 2020/12 Not Initiated Start with the commencement of the new project
6. Recommendation:

The Project needs to continue consolidating “One Stop Shop” model of service provision in all municipalities, including the administrative units.  OSS model of service provision should be functional in all municipalities and should be extended to all administrative units. There is a need to identify the required resources, best method and adequate infrastructure for effective service delivery. Digitalization of services is needed in order to increase the efficiency, quality and coverage of services. Continuous cooperation with ADISA is also highly suggested.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/09/04]

Development and deployment of OSSIS in 49 municipalities has been one of the major activities of STAR 2.  The rollout started in 2018 and will be concluded by the end of 2019, an implementation timeline which is extremely tight, conditioned by various circumstances, especially the lack of local infrastructure. Considering this activity as of significant importance for improvement of administrative service delivery at local level, advancing support to ensure functional OSSIS in all administrative units is foreseen under the new project (STAR 3), including equipment with the necessary infrastructure. Consolidating the cooperation with National Agency for Information Society (NAIS) in its capacity of national ownership of IT databases and with ADISA, already initiated under STAR2, will be a priority throughout the intervention.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Prepare and implement a roll out plan of OSSIS deployment in all administrative units.
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO Management 2019/12 Initiated
Action plan for integration of local OSSIS with other central government delivery service platform led by ADISA and in cooperation with NAIS is prepared as part of new project
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO Management 2020/12 Not Initiated Start upon new project commencement
7. Recommendation:

The Project needs to continue finalize and consolidate the “Benchmarking system” initiative.  The Benchmarking system must be used to create a platform based on integrated indicators that will be used to contrast and compare standards within and among municipalities, as well as monitor and evaluate the service delivery process and overall municipality performance for municipality employees, citizens and partners.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/09/04]

This is a valid recommendation and corresponds with the commitment of the Ministry of Interior to advance decentralization process based on evidence of performance, During STAR 2, a thorough assessment of the municipal performance measurement systems is undertaken, through consultation with various stakeholders, but especially with senior level executives at the Ministry of Interior and Agency for Support Self-Local Governance about development of future approaches for performance measurement at local level. The information gathered is crucial to develop the performance indicators and the measurement system.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Following the identification of performance indicators, a platform will be developed within the current phase of the project including initial capacity building of municipal staff.
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO Management 2019/12 Initiated
The platform and capacities on municipalities to manage their performance will be further consolidated in the subsequent phase of the project
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO Management 2020/12 Not Initiated Start with the new project History
8. Recommendation:

The Project needs to continue building capacities to strengthen local democracy. It is recommended to contribute to the further consolidation of democratic governance practices at local level including transparency and openness, public engagement and consultation in local decision-making and most importantly the expansion of anti-corruption instruments such as integrity plans and codes of conducts.

Management Response: [Added: 2019/09/04]

Carrying forward the work regarding improvement and consolidation of local governance practices initiated by STAR2 (transparency, public consultation and engagement, integrity and fight against corruption), the new project will focus on implementation of effective processes of planning and running public consultations and expanding integrity and anticorruption measures to majority of municipalities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Design an integrated package of activities improving local democracy through consolidation of participatory decision-making practices and expansion and monitoring of integrity instruments.
[Added: 2019/09/04]
UNDP CO Management 2020/12 Not Initiated New project document

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