Results Based Management In The Development Co-Operation Agencies: A Review Of Experience Background Report

(OECD report, circa 2000)

The development co-operation (or donor) agencies whose experiences are reviewed include USAID,
DFID, AusAID, CIDA, Danida, the UNDP and the World Bank. These seven agencies made presentations on
their performance management systems at the October 1998 workshop and have considerable documentation concerning their experiences. (During the second phase of work, the relevant experiences of other donor agencies will also be taken into consideration).

This paper synthesizes the experiences of these seven donor agencies with establishing and

implementing their results based management systems, comparing similarities and contrasting differences in approach. Illustrations drawn from individual donor approaches are used throughout the paper. Key features of results based management are addressed, beginning with the phases of performance measurement — e.g., clarifying objectives and strategies, selecting indicators and targets for measuring progress, collecting data, and analyzing and reporting results achieved. Performance measurement systems are examined at three key organizational levels — the traditional project level, the country program level, and the agency-wide (corporate or global) level. Next, the role of evaluation vis-à-vis performance measurement is addressed. Then the paper examines how the donor agencies use performance information — for external reporting, and for internal management learning and decision-making processes. It also reviews some of the organizational mechanisms, processes and incentives used to help ensure effective use of performance information, e.g., devolution of authority and accountability, participation of stakeholders and partners, focus on beneficiary needs and preferences, creation of a learning culture, etc. The final section outlines some conclusions and remaining challenges, offers preliminary lessons, and reviews next steps being taken by the Working Party on Aid Evaluation to elaborate good practices for results based management in development co-operation agencies.

Some of the key topics discussed in this paper include:
• Using analytical frameworks for formulating objectives and for structuring performance measurement systems.
• Developing performance indicators — types of measures, selection criteria, etc.
• Using targets and benchmarks for judging performance.
• Balancing the respective roles of implementation and results monitoring.
• Collecting data — methods, responsibilities, harmonization, and capacity building issues.
• Aggregating performance (results) to the agency level.
• Attributing outcomes and impacts to a specific project, program, or agency.
• Integrating evaluation within the broader performance management system.
• Using performance information — for external performance reporting to stakeholders and for internal management learning and decision-making processes.
• Stimulating demand for performance information via various organizational reforms, mechanisms, and incentives.

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