New Tool Increases Focus on Quality Assessment of Technical Cooperation
EuropeAid has developed a new Technical Cooperation Quality Assessment Grid, which must be used by its task managers to self-assess quality of TC. This gives a clear signal that focus on quality has moved up a gear as the European Commission reform of TC enters its second phase.
Since January 2010, the TC Quality Assessment Grid must be attached to Action Fiches sent by Quality Support Groups (QSG) 2 for any project that includes a significant technical cooperation component. "Significant" means a TC operation focusing on capacity development or with a budget of more than 1 million euros.
The Grid is based on five quality criteria as developed in "The Guidelines on Making Technical Cooperation More Effective".
In order to be quality compliant, TC support must:
1) fit the context
2) demonstrate clear commitment and adequate ownership from partners
3) be harmonised and sustainability of benefits considered
4) link to results and expected outcomes
5) have appropriate programme implementation arrangements (PIA)
The first three criteria need to be addressed starting from the first steps of the identification phase and then followed through formulation. Point four, on result orientation, is to be addressed mainly at the formulation phase. While PIAs provide the structures needed to implement a project, by screening accountability, internal organisation, roles and responsibility of local and external staff and so forth.
Over the coming months, real life examples of how the quality assessment grid is being used will be collected. These case studies should enable us to draw the first conclusions on how the five quality criteria on TC and PIUs - as developed in the Guidelines of Making Technical Cooperation More Effective - are shaping the identification and formulation process.
The TC Quality Grid gives EuropeAid staff basic measures to assess if new projects are in line with the principles of the Backbone Strategy.
Even though TC may constitute a relatively minor element of a programme in financial terms, it nevertheless can be critical in achieving the agreed results. It is therefore important that TC is carefully and thoroughly designed, and this new Quality Assessment Grid should help us do that.
The revision is meant to help task managers by simplifying the formulation of some of the questions and by including precise references to the text of the "Guidelines on Making Technical Cooperation More Effective" for each question, for guidance.