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Solomon Islands Support to Parliament Project (Solomon Islands)
Commissioning Unit: Fiji
Evaluation Plan: 2003-2007
Evaluation Type: Project
Completion Date: 07/2007
Unit Responsible for providing Management Response: Fiji
Documents Related to overall Management Response:
 
1. Recommendation: Recommendation 1: The statement of the Project goals and supporting outcomes should clarify how the Project activities will affect Parliament's capacity to contribute to the Government of Solomon Islands poverty reduction goals.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/19]

Project stakeholders disagree with this recommendation, on the following grounds: - The wording of this recommendation does not align with statement in the Executive Summary that the report in accordance with the evaluation terms of reference. 'reflects on the proposals for Phase Two developed by the project team and suggests some ideas for consideration when the Phase Two design. developed' - i.e. it is directive; - It is not appropriate for the project evaluation to make recommendations about specific features of the project design, as this can only be agreed on the basis of stakeholder feedback during the formulation process. In particular, the Parliament of the Solomon Islands needs to feel included, and needs to be supportive of the overarching project goal; and - The recommendation, as it is currently stated, reflects a misunderstanding of the difference between the Government and the Parliament. The statement that the Parliament 'contributes to government's poverty reduction

Key Actions:

2. Recommendation: Recommendation 2: Ensure that the future designs reflect a human rights based approach to development and properly consider the integration of gender, MDGs and conflict sensitive programming options.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/19]

Agree in principle. Project stakeholders agree on capacity of the project to address cross cutting issues in a positive way and believe that the most traction that can be gained in this respect is by supporting the parliament to create good laws, including annual budgets, oversee the actions of the Executive, and represent their constituents.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Integrate cross-cutting issues into the design of phase two.
[Added: 2008/03/20]
Design team. 2008/04 Completed Timeframe: Prior to Phase 2 approval
3. Recommendation: Recommendation 3: All project documents must properly identify all key risks and strategies must be developed and integrated into the project design.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/20]

Agree - however it is a motherhood statement rather than a recommendation.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Identify key risks and risk management strategies in the design of phase two.
[Added: 2008/03/20]
Design Team 2008/04 Overdue-Initiated Timeframe: Prior to phase two approval
4. Recommendation: Recommendation 4: Include indicators in the Phase Two Project Design which are qualitative, quantitative and/or timebound (QQT) and capable of being monitored and include guidance in the Project Design regarding the method(s) for assessing indicators.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/20]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Include QQT indicators in design of phase two, and method for monitoring progress against them.
[Added: 2008/03/20]
Design team 2008/04 Overdue-Initiated Timefame: Prior to phase two approval.
5. Recommendation: Recommendation 5: Given the Project Manager's broad responsibilities in training, advising, recruiting, and deploying staff assistance, the relevant Terms of Reference in the Project Document should be designed to ensure that such positions will be recruited at a senior enough level to ensure the experience and connections necessary to perform as expected. The responsibilities of the Project Manager should also be clearly spelled out.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/20]

Agree

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Ensure the Project Manager Terms of Reference in the Project Document require experience at a senior level.
[Added: 2008/03/20]
Design team 2008/04 Overdue-Initiated Timeframe: Prior to phase two approval.
6. Recommendation: Recommendation 6: If any further graduate recruitment is undertaken by the Project, it should be undertaken within an agreed corporate framework, including a proposed organizational structure for the Secretariat.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/20]

Agree. The development of a corporate plan for the National Parliament is well-underway.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Undertake recruitment of staff within an agreed corporate framework.
[Added: 2008/03/20]
National Parliament Office. No due date No deadline established
7. Recommendation: Recommendation 7: Provide comprehensive induction training for incoming Project Managers on budget planning and financial management processes before they arrive in-country.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/20]

Agree in part. Induction training will be provided to new project managers, but it will not be feasible to do so prior to their arrival in country. This feedback was provided on earlier drafts of the evaluation report, but was ignored by the evaluation team.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Provide induction training to new project managers.
[Added: 2008/03/20]
UNDP office 2008/12 Overdue-Initiated Timeframe: when required
8. Recommendation: Recommendation 8: Require that reporting templates include a requirement to report on risk identification and management and ensure that such information is inputted into the internal UNDP ATLAS system, as required.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/20]

Agree in part. Project risks will be considered, and addressed on a regular basis, as a core component of project monitoring activities.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Regularly report on project risks and manage as appropriate.
[Added: 2008/03/20]
UNDP/Project Managment No due date No deadline established Timeframe: on a regular basis
9. Recommendation: Recommendation 9: Provide proper briefings to Project Managers regarding their reporting requirements and provide reporting templates to Project Managers (for annual reports and quarterly reports).
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Brief project managers on reporting requirements and the format for reporting.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
UNDP No due date No deadline established Timframe: When required
10. Recommendation: Recommendation 10: The UNDP representative to the TPR should be fully briefed on approaching "decision points", options for action, and the views of other key stakeholders in sufficient time to prepare an effective and acceptable course of action.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree -as paragraph 34 recognizes, the UNDP representative is well-briefed, and preparations for action agreed prior to TPR meetings as a core component of UNDP's project management practices. As was highlighted in previous feedback, which was ignored, recommendations should not generally be made in relation to areas where the project is recognised to be performing well, but rather in order to address deficiencies identified in the management of project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Brief UNDP representatives on project issues prior to TPRs.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
UNDP and Project Management. No due date No deadline established Timeframe: Prior to TPRs
11. Recommendation: Recommendation 11: The UNDP should recognize that the development or deepening of a sense of ownership on the part of parliamentary and other host government partners is an important goal of Project activities and should be treated accordingly in support, monitoring, and planning.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree-UNDP does recognize that Government ownership of development projects is a critical pre-condition for success, and the evaluation recognises that Government ownership and support for the project is strong. As was highlighted in previous feedback, which was ignored, recommendations should not generally be made in relation to areas where the project is recognised to be performing well, but rather in order to address deficiencies identified in the management of project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Continue to facilitate strengthened government ownership of projects.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
UNDP and Project Management. No due date No deadline established
12. Recommendation: Recommendation 12: The Project Office and the UNDP maintain project based records files to be used to quickly brief new participants on what has preceded their involvement
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

The Project Office and the UNDP maintain project based records files to be used to quickly brief new participants on what has preceded their involvement

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Maintain good records.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
UNDP and Project Management. No due date No deadline established
13. Recommendation: Recommendation 13: Ensure that a "signature activity" is identified early on in project implementation and energies be focused on getting it underway quickly.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree. As was highlighted in previous feedback, which was ignored, recommendations should not generally be made in relation to areas where the project is recognised to be performing well, but rather in order to address deficiencies identified in the management of project. The evaluation identifies that this was done with the parliamentary induction programme which was implemented following the 2006 election (and has been used as a model for the design of other parliamentary strengthening projects) and the graduate trainee program. A post election induction programme will be a component of phase two.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Implement signature activities at appropriate times.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
UNDP and Project Management. No due date No deadline established
14. Recommendation: Recommendation 14: Continue to upgrade the parliamentary service skills of the graduate trainees and put them into positions of increasing responsibility where their efforts have a good chance to yield visible improvements in parliamentary effectiveness.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree-capacity development of parliamentary staff has been, and will continue to be a core focus of the project.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop capacity of parliamentary staff.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
Project Management. No due date No deadline established
15. Recommendation: Recommendation 15: Include in the Phase Two Project Design explicit reference to the role of the Project in assisting Parliament to support and promote national development and poverty reduction goals.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Disagree. Parliament is not government, and therefore it is not its role to promote national development and poverty reduction goals. The role of Parliament is to oversee the executive, and in so doing, ensure that the laws that are passed are likely to reduce poverty, and are being implemented effectively. The recommendation should reflect more clearly parliament's role vis-à-vis the role of the executive.

Key Actions:

16. Recommendation: Recommendation 16: Assist the Parliament Secretariat to develop a long term Corporate Plan, supported by a clear organizational structure which clarifies management responsibilities and lines of staff accountability, and outlines how management staff will be supported with training.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree-this process commenced prior to the inception of the evaluation and is ongoing.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Develop a long-term corporate plan.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
National Parliament Office, with assistance from Project Management. 2007/12 Completed
17. Recommendation: Recommendation 17: Explore sustainability options for the Project ICT components, including recruiting a permanent ICT Officer to the parliamentary secretariat and/or exploring cost-sharing across UNDP Projects or across Pacific parliaments.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree in part. The project is considering and pursuing a range of options for ensuring sustainable ICT development in the National Parliament.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Consider sustainability of parliamentary ICT.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
Design team, UNDP, and Project Management. No due date No deadline established Timeframe: During phase two design process and ongoing.
18. Recommendation: Recommendation 18: Address sustainability planning options to minimize reliance on the Project Manager over time, including for example, identifying a Parliamentary Officer who can be trained in management and mentoring.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree in part. The project is continuing to explore and pursue a range of options for minimising reliance on the project manager and ensuring the long term sustainability of project outcomes particularly through extensive capacity building of secretariat staff.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Explore options for minimising reliance on the project manager.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
UNDP and Project Management. No due date No deadline established
19. Recommendation: Recommendation 19: Formulate Phase Two committee strengthening goals on the basis that subsequent capacity-building efforts could prove more difficult.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree in part. The project will continue to focus on strengthening support for the operations of all committees, including broadening the focus of committees and the methods they use in conducting investigations. Realistic targets will be set for this objective in the design of phase two.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Identify realistic targets for strengthening committee operations.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
Design team, UNDP, and Project Management. No due date No deadline established Timeframe: During phase two design process and ongoing.
20. Recommendation: Recommendation 20: Encourage the interaction between Committee Members and secretariat staff and senior Government officials through the promotion of workshops and study groups in relevant policy areas.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree in part. The project will continue to support interaction between committee members, secretariat staff and government officials, as well as business leaders, civil society groups, subject matter experts, and members of the public. The mechanisms through which it will do so will be identified through the formulation process for phase two, and as part of the project's annual work planning process.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support increased interaction between committees, secretariat staff and government officials.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
Project Management. No due date No deadline established
21. Recommendation: Recommendation 21: Broaden out support to committees, so that a variety of committees are proactively supported by the Secretariat to inquire into contemporary political, economic, social and development issues.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Disagree. There is not currently any inconsistency in the support provided to parliamentary committees, and no evidence has provided to support this conclusion. The project will continue to focus on strengthening support for the operations of all parliamentary committees.

Key Actions:

22. Recommendation: Recommendation 22: Consider working more closely with the Cabinet Office and/or Attorney General's Department to facilitate the timely submission of legislation to Parliament.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree. There is currently very close relations between these offices and the National Parliament.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Consider working more closely with Attorney Generals Department.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
Project Management. No due date No deadline established
23. Recommendation: Recommendation 23: Designate and train a staff member to be responsible for developing and coordinating the implementation of an annual training plan for Members of Parliament (and Parliamentary staff).
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree. As has been noted in feedback on previous versions of the report, an officer was appointed in 2006 (prior to the conduct of the evaluation) for this purpose. As such, and consistent with previous feedback, the recommendation adds no value to the project, and it is not clear why it has been made.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Designate and train staff member to provide implement training programme for members
[Added: 2008/03/31]
Project Management. 2005/12 Completed Timeframe: Completed 2005.
24. Recommendation: Recommendation 24: Consider roundtables with civil society groups (including women's groups) and government experts (in health, education and other areas).
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree in part. The convening of roundtables is not considered to be a core component of parliamentary business, and are unlikely to be supported by phase two of the project. Instead, phase two of the project will seek to improve the level of engagement of parliament and its committees with the community, including by supporting civil society groups and members of the public to provide evidence before parliamentary committees, and engaging experts to brief the parliament and its committees on matters of national importance.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Improve level of parliamentary engagement with civil society and the community
[Added: 2008/03/31]
Project Management No due date No deadline established
25. Recommendation: Recommendation 25: Train committee staff along with civil society organizations in budget analysis in areas such as gender budgeting, analyzing the regional distribution of government spending, the health budget and poverty reduction measures.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree in part. Training and support will be provided to parliamentary committees to improve their capacity to scrutinise government spending, and performance in a range of sectors. The specific training that will be provided will be identified on the basis of a training needs assessment of members of parliament. While the project is supportive of efforts to build the capacity of civil society organisations this is not considered to be within the scope of the second phase of the project, other than that the project will work to ensure that parliament engages with, and is responsive to inputs from civil society.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Train parliamentary committees according to training needs assessment.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
Project Managment No due date No deadline established Timeframe: Completion of needs assessment by June 2008. Training will be provided on an ongoing basis.
26. Recommendation: Recommendation 26: Support better and more accurate reporting of parliamentary activities by creating the means to provide accurate information to the media and facilitating coverage of parliamentary proceedings.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree-The project has clearly performed well in the area mentioned by the recommendation, through activities such as: - Facilitating broadcast of parliamentary proceedings through contracting one-news; - Establishing a parliamentary web-site; - Improving the parliamentary library; - Improving the recording and secure storage of parliamentary proceedings. For this reason, and consistent with previous feedback, it is not clear why this recommendation was considered necessary.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Improve availability and accuracy of information about parliament and its proceedings.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
Project Management. No due date No deadline established Timeframe: Mostly completed, but will continue to be pursued on an ongoing basis.
27. Recommendation: Recommendation 27: Consider incorporating into the Phase Two design activities focusing on the constructive role that Members of Parliament can play in mitigating conflict in Solomon Islands and in dealing with some of its causes.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree in part. The focus of the second phase of the project, which has been agreed by key project stakeholders, is to strengthen the functioning of the parliament, rather than to seek to direct the substance of parliamentary decisions. The basis for this approach is the assumption that by improving the performance of parliament so that it can better represent its constituents, supervise the actions of the executive and make sound law, conditions are created that facilitate greater equity and minimise the risk of violent conflict, amongst other things

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Support improved functioning of parliament.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
UNDP and Project Management. No due date No deadline established
28. Recommendation: Recommendation 28: Consider incorporating into the Phase Two design activities aimed at increasing awareness and supporting Parliament's capacity to engage with issues related to the Millennium Development Goals, human rights and gender.
Management Response: [Added: 2008/03/31]

Agree in principle, keeping in mind the need to ensure issues-based activities are grounded in national agendas so that they are viewed as neutral and not donor-driven, are well-timed, and take into account the need to avoid overburdening developing legislatures with multiple activities and issues areas.

Key Actions:

Key Action Responsible DueDate Status Comments Documents
Improve parliamentary capacity to engage with issues such as MDG's, Human Rights and gender, by grounding them in national agendas, and ensuring they are appropriately timed.
[Added: 2008/03/31]
Project Management. No due date No deadline established

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