Evaluation of UNDP inter-agency operational services

Report Cover Image
Evaluation Plan:
2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type:
Thematic
Planned End Date:
09/2018
Completion Date:
08/2018
Status:
Completed
Management Response:
Yes
Evaluation Budget(US $):
140,000

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Download document ToR Interagency services.pdf tor English 945.21 KB Posted 49
Download document Annexes Interagency services.pdf related-document English 1309.55 KB Posted 167
Download document Eval_Interagency_Operations-2018.pdf report English 1918.51 KB Posted 299
Download document EB_Paper_Interagency_Operations-2018.pdf related-document English 180.47 KB Posted 100
Download document Brief Inter-agency operational services evaluation.pdf summary English 936.94 KB Posted 169
Title Evaluation of UNDP inter-agency operational services
Atlas Project Number:
Evaluation Plan: 2018-2021, Independent Evaluation Office
Evaluation Type: Thematic
Status: Completed
Completion Date: 08/2018
Planned End Date: 09/2018
Management Response: Yes
Corporate Outcome and Output (UNDP Strategic Plan 2018-2021)
  • 1. Organisational Output 2.2 Cost-sharing agreements and projects ensure full cost recovery
  • 2. Organisational Output 2.3 Quality and efficient management services to support programme delivery
Evaluation Budget(US $): 140,000
Source of Funding:
Evaluation Expenditure(US $): 85,000
Joint Programme: No
Mandatory Evaluation: No
Joint Evaluation: No
Evaluation Team members:
Name Title Email Nationality
Aline Briseno Verdade
Christine Heyting
GEF Evaluation: No
Key Stakeholders:
Countries: GLOBAL
Lessons
Findings
Recommendations
1

UNDP should develop a clear vision refining its role vis-à-vis the UNDS reform to serve United Nations entities with improved customer orientation and quality of services. In developing a clear vision, UNDP should strategically specify boundaries – what services are to its advantage to offer and how – and demonstrate that it wants the business of United Nations agencies with a plan to improve client orientation through proper incentives to improve quality of services. This includes developing SLAs with mandatory reporting of KPIs and establishing a real-time appraisal system with automated feedback channels incorporated into service delivery to ensure quality of services and timeliness of response.

2

The Bureau for Management Services should appropriately price and implement full cost recovery for all services to United Nations entities. It will thus be important to revise current cost-recovery methodologies, reconsider the universal price list and offer tools and capacity-building for country offices to customize costing methods that better capture the process chain behind each service line, including the cost of managing risks and liabilities absorbed by UNDP as a service provider. As it devises a more detailed costing strategy, UNDP should also identify where efficiency gains can be made in processes, compared to other agencies and include the cost of business sustainability enhancements.

3

UNDP should incrementally implement full clustering of non-location dependent services, for all regions and all country offices, on a mandatory basis at least for services to agencies. The Bureau for Management Services will thus need to assess the current capacities available at the GSSUs and develop a strategy to develop adequate structures and professionalize services, adapting locations as needed for languages and time zones. The role of leadership is pivotal to ensure that all regional bureaux adjust to this centralized model needed for further economies of scale and efficiencies. As the UNDS reform establishes new service hubs led by other United Nations agencies, these should be considered to absorb part of the services to be rendered to other United Nations entities, as appropriate.

4

UNDP should promote common shared integrated service arrangements at the country level for location dependent services. The Bureau for Management Services will need to conduct a more critical assessment of what are currently considered location dependent services and identify which services are absolutely necessary to be kept in country and cannot be provided by GSSUs. UNDP should then promote the idea that all location dependent services be provided by local common shared integrated services arrangements, by establishing a well-defined corporate structure to support an improved model for roll-out of United Nations business operations strategies to support these integrated arrangements. At the same time, to strategically position UNDP, the organization should make available tools, such as the business operations strategy automated cost-benefit analysis, to help UNCTs and UNDP country offices make more transparent and data-informed decisions around the cost and efficiencies of local shared integrated service arrangements.

5

UNDP should develop a phased approach to invest in ICT tools and systems improvements over the next five years and ensure that critical staff and an effective strategy are in place to harvest such investments. This includes investing in an upgrade of the ERP to improve its user interfaces and a realtime appraisal system with automated feedback channels to monitor and improve the quality of services. UNDP should also consider partnering with other agencies for e-commerce solutions and explore business partnership solutions to co-develop and pilot innovative and state-of-theart tools and systems, including eventually the replacement of the current ERP, better customized to the needs of all United Nations entities.

1. Recommendation:

UNDP should develop a clear vision refining its role vis-à-vis the UNDS reform to serve United Nations entities with improved customer orientation and quality of services. In developing a clear vision, UNDP should strategically specify boundaries – what services are to its advantage to offer and how – and demonstrate that it wants the business of United Nations agencies with a plan to improve client orientation through proper incentives to improve quality of services. This includes developing SLAs with mandatory reporting of KPIs and establishing a real-time appraisal system with automated feedback channels incorporated into service delivery to ensure quality of services and timeliness of response.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/09/07]

UNDP management agrees with this recommendation and is working actively to ensure that its ability to provide management and operational support services plays a critical role in supporting the growth and positioning of UNDP as the backbone of the United Nations system, and achieves the vision and improved business model reflected in the Strategic Plan, 2018-2021. The completed corporate review of management services is supporting the development of this new corporate business model which focuses on areas where UNDP can deliver the best value to its partners.

UNDP is investing in digital platforms and is streamlining its business processes to enhance the effectiveness and efficiency of its field operations. This will provide opportunities for the broader United Nations system to take advantage of these streamlined processes and systems to enhance their own delivery.

The UNDP Strategic Plan, 2018-2021 clearly defines the vision of UNDP for its role at the country level as:

(a) An integrator across policy, programme and organizational silos that delivers impact at scale and utilizes limited resources efficiently on the 2030 Agenda for Development;

(b) An operational backbone for United Nations and other partners whereby many United Nations agencies utilize the UNDP implementation capacity, including its information technology (IT), finance and human resources infrastructure, to enable them to operate effectively and cost efficiently in difficult and sometimes risky operational contexts.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
1.1. Review and update corporate service-level agreements (SLAs) with United Nations agencies.
[Added: 2018/08/20] [Last Updated: 2018/09/18]
Bureau for Management Services 2019/03 Initiated Some SLAs have already been reviewed and renegotiated (e.g. UN Women: Streamlined SLA regarding field services adding KPIs and flexibility to adjust locally). The rest of SLAs will be reviewed once Full costing methodology is in place.
1.2. Develop a revised set of KPIs, baselines and targets for tracking continuous process improvement and client satisfaction from global shared service units.
[Added: 2018/08/20] [Last Updated: 2018/12/04]
Bureau for Management Services 2019/01 Initiated As part of the Clustering implementation plan KPIs are being redesigned to track quality of service delivery and productivity of employees. A revised business case for clustering is being developed The team has been appointed and a proposal is being prepared including support from an external consulting firm taking into considerations the lessons learned from the RBAP pilot and the OAI audit, anchored in the GSSU. Until end of this year the case and way forward will be presented.
1.3. Establish customer service enhancement structures, mechanisms and focal points at headquarters, regional and country office levels.
[Added: 2018/08/20] [Last Updated: 2018/12/04]
Cross-organization implementation team 2019/01 Initiated Regional Procurement Advisors fully established to channel procurement related requests. Review team working on further areas of optimization in the client support structure. The Business Coordination function at HQ NY provides cross cutting client support at the BMS level. A service quality focal point concept for the GSSU is being developed to manage client relationships for clustered services. Draft specifications for a Global Customer Service Management software application have been developed and sent to OIMT.
1.4. Conduct a detailed baseline analysis on current service quality standards and client needs, including service costing and pricing analysis/review, leading to updated agreements with United Nations agencies on service provision and revised set of KPIs, baselines and targets for tracking continuous process improvement and client satisfaction for country offices.
[Added: 2018/08/20] [Last Updated: 2018/12/04]
Cross-organization implementation team 2019/12 Initiated CO BOS working group established and tool to gather performance data designed. BMS Business Solutions unit is reviewing UN agency agreements.
2. Recommendation:

The Bureau for Management Services should appropriately price and implement full cost recovery for all services to United Nations entities. It will thus be important to revise current cost-recovery methodologies, reconsider the universal price list and offer tools and capacity-building for country offices to customize costing methods that better capture the process chain behind each service line, including the cost of managing risks and liabilities absorbed by UNDP as a service provider. As it devises a more detailed costing strategy, UNDP should also identify where efficiency gains can be made in processes, compared to other agencies and include the cost of business sustainability enhancements.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/08/20]

UNDP management agrees with this recommendation, recognizing the need for a change in cost pricing from partial to full cost recovery and is committed to improving the predictability of the cost structure to enable United Nations agencies to undertake their planning accordingly. UNDP is currently reviewing the cost recovery levels and agreements (SLAs) for organizational support services that it provides to United Nations agencies.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
2.1. Review cost-recovery levels for global services.
[Added: 2018/08/20] [Last Updated: 2018/09/18]
Bureau for Management Services 2019/03 Initiated In progress. Full Cost Recovery methodology has been designed and is being applied to the GSSU context. OFRM reviewing cost recovery calculation method
2.2. Review (and update) corporate SLAs with United Nations agencies.
[Added: 2018/08/20] [Last Updated: 2018/09/18]
Bureau for Management Services 2019/03 Initiated Costs of service provision are being reviewed to ensure full costing methodology. Corporate SLAs will be reviewed once the costing exercise is finalized, including KPIS where needed).
2.3. Conduct a detailed costing and pricing analysis/review of country office services.
[Added: 2018/08/20] [Last Updated: 2018/12/04]
Cross-organization implementation team 2019/12 Initiated BMS Working group established and tool being designed to gather performance data. The group is working with EXO and work is linked to BOS tool. Draft costing methodology has been developed for internal review.
2.4. Review (and update) country office SLAs with United Nations agencies.
[Added: 2018/08/20] [Last Updated: 2018/09/18]
Cross-organization implementation team 2019/12 Initiated Some SLAs have already been reviewed and renegotiated (e.g. UN Women: streamlined SLA regarding field services adding KPIs and flexibility to adjust locally).
3. Recommendation:

UNDP should incrementally implement full clustering of non-location dependent services, for all regions and all country offices, on a mandatory basis at least for services to agencies. The Bureau for Management Services will thus need to assess the current capacities available at the GSSUs and develop a strategy to develop adequate structures and professionalize services, adapting locations as needed for languages and time zones. The role of leadership is pivotal to ensure that all regional bureaux adjust to this centralized model needed for further economies of scale and efficiencies. As the UNDS reform establishes new service hubs led by other United Nations agencies, these should be considered to absorb part of the services to be rendered to other United Nations entities, as appropriate.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/09/07]

UNDP management agrees with this recommendation. As part of the management response to the recent OAI audit of the UNDP clustering process and the analysis conducted by the review of management services, UNDP has established an action plan that includes the review of the corporate design and principles of clustering. UNDP is committed to the full implementation of clustering of non-location dependent services for all regions and country offices on a mandatory basis. UNDP commits to efficiently provide services to United Nations entities and to actively explore ways to work together with other service providers of the United Nations system.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
3.1. Design and develop the high-level design of the process for clustering of non-location dependent services.
[Added: 2018/09/07] [Last Updated: 2018/12/04]
Cross-organization implementation team including Bureau for Management Services, regional bureaux, Executive Office 2019/01 Initiated The team has been appointed and a proposal is being prepared including support from an external consulting firm taking into considerations the lessons learned from the RBAP pilot and the OAI audit, anchored in the GSSU. Until end of this year the case and way forward will be presented.
3.2. Business cases for clustering implementation of non-location dependent services established.
[Added: 2018/09/07] [Last Updated: 2018/12/04]
Cross-organization implementation team including Bureau for Management Services, regional bureaux, Executive Office 2019/01 Initiated The team has been appointed and a proposal is being prepared including support from an external consulting firm taking into considerations the lessons learned from the RBAP pilot and the OAI audit, anchored in the GSSU. Until end of this year the case and way forward will be presented.
4. Recommendation:

UNDP should promote common shared integrated service arrangements at the country level for location dependent services. The Bureau for Management Services will need to conduct a more critical assessment of what are currently considered location dependent services and identify which services are absolutely necessary to be kept in country and cannot be provided by GSSUs. UNDP should then promote the idea that all location dependent services be provided by local common shared integrated services arrangements, by establishing a well-defined corporate structure to support an improved model for roll-out of United Nations business operations strategies to support these integrated arrangements. At the same time, to strategically position UNDP, the organization should make available tools, such as the business operations strategy automated cost-benefit analysis, to help UNCTs and UNDP country offices make more transparent and data-informed decisions around the cost and efficiencies of local shared integrated service arrangements.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/09/07]

UNDP management agrees with this recommendation and in implementing its Strategic Plan and recommendations stemming from the analysis of management services, will continue to seek efficiencies in its operations as informed by performance metrics, business intelligence and other quantitative and qualitative measures, including value for money and the benefits delivered. As noted above, a key area of action emerging from the management services review focuses specifically on country office business operations. In addition, improving efficiency and streamlining compliance processes will be critical, taking into account factors such as risk management, accountability, empowerment and the need for differentiated country office capacities. Additionally, as part of the implementation of the management action plan for the recommendations of the OAI audit of the UNDP clustering process, UNDP management will assess those services that are currently provided in-country but have potential to be clustered.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
4.1. As part of the process of completing the business case on the design of the clustering of non-location dependent services, UNDP will propose principles and criteria for the assessment of clustered services.
[Added: 2018/09/07] [Last Updated: 2018/12/04]
Bureau for Management Services 2019/01 Initiated The team has been appointed and a proposal is being prepared including support from an external consulting firm taking into considerations the lessons learned from the RBAP pilot and the OAI audit, anchored in the GSSU. Until end of this year the case and way forward will be presented.
4.2. Develop a support structure and tools to contribute to the roll-out of the United Nations business operations strategies.
[Added: 2018/09/07] [Last Updated: 2018/12/04]
Cross-organization implementation team including Bureau for Management Services, regional bureaux, Executive Office 2019/06 Initiated Costing tool has been made available for agencies to use. BIG Project Team to advise on how tool will be used in new BOS methodology. Dedicated resources to support the BIG have been identified.
5. Recommendation:

UNDP should develop a phased approach to invest in ICT tools and systems improvements over the next five years and ensure that critical staff and an effective strategy are in place to harvest such investments. This includes investing in an upgrade of the ERP to improve its user interfaces and a realtime appraisal system with automated feedback channels to monitor and improve the quality of services. UNDP should also consider partnering with other agencies for e-commerce solutions and explore business partnership solutions to co-develop and pilot innovative and state-of-theart tools and systems, including eventually the replacement of the current ERP, better customized to the needs of all United Nations entities.

Management Response: [Added: 2018/08/15] [Last Updated: 2018/09/07]

UNDP management agrees with this recommendation and would like to highlight that it is working on a new digital transformation strategy that will focus on new technologies that can drive innovation and efficiency gains in operational service delivery, and more critically is establishing the proper enablers such as policy, processes and staff capacities that will allow such to occur. In addition, the current UNDP ICT governance structure is aligned to ISO 38500, which is the international standard for organizational IT governance and is considered a best practice globally.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
5.1. Develop a digital strategy outlining the vision for the UNDP IT capabilities, in line with the UNDP Strategic Plan, 2018-2021.
[Added: 2018/09/07] [Last Updated: 2018/12/04]
Cross-organization implementation team including Bureau for Management Services, regional bureaux, Executive Office 2019/01 Initiated Per advice of the Audit and Evaluation Advisory Committee, a digital strategy is being developed outlining the vision for UNDP IT capabilities moving forward. A draft has been developed with inputs from across UNDP but also with collaboration from an MIT innovation professor and Airbus’ Chief Digital Officer. UNDP is also collaborating on this effort with Ernst Young to benchmark the strategy against industry experience. The digital strategy is being developed in cooperation with representatives of bureaux and business units of UNDP. It has been so far vetted with high external organisations such as MIT, NASA, European Space Agency and Airbus and has been shared for feedback with several member states. An external consultant been recruited for additional quality control purposes.
5.2. Initiation of Atlas upgrade to version 9.2.
[Added: 2018/09/07] [Last Updated: 2018/12/04]
Bureau for Management Services 2019/12 Initiated The ATLAS upgrade to the finance module has been approved by the OPG. The upgrade must be ratified by the ATLAS Executive Steering Group and a detailed implementation plan with all cost and major milestones developed. Different workstreams are generating needs in terms of technology changes required to implement some of the management services review project. Based on that, the project will need to produce a prioritized set of implementation items in a sequenced manner. The Atlas upgrade will be influenced by this. Inputs from the workstreams are expected by January 2019 ; thus, the steering committee meeting can potentially be schedued by February 2019.
5.3. Establishment of digital innovations platform.
[Added: 2018/09/07] [Last Updated: 2018/12/04]
Cross-organization implementation team including Bureau for Management Services, regional bureaux, Executive Office 2018/12 Completed The innovation platform was announced at the OIMT ICT workshop in Istanbul in October. The platform is on an Azure platform and is accessible by developers in COs, regional bureaux and developers across UNDP. The applications developed on the platform will be vetted for security and interoperability with UNDP's infrastructure and made available for use across UNDP.

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