What is the Results Oriented Monitoring?
The Results-Oriented Monitoring (ROM) is the external monitoring system of DG DEVCO and DG NEAR, aimed at enhancing the European Commission's internal control, accountability and management capacity with a strong focus on results.
It supports operational units in HQ and EU Delegations in their internal monitoring and reporting functions, complementing their work with an independent and external monitoring service provided along the different phases of the intervention cycle.
It exists since 2001 but has been evolving with needs undergoing several reforms. In 2020 the ROM system was enlarged to include additional services, and improved in methodologies and procedures.
A new Handbook for the 2020 edition contains all needed information on the rules, modalities, specifications and quality standards for all ROM services. Check its new contents in the available languages in the library.
In the 2020 edition, the ROM system provides three main types of services and different supports in relation to each stage of the intervention cycle.
- Support to design of logframes and M&E systems
The latest service to enter the ROM system is the Support to Design of Logframes and/or monitoring, evaluation and reporting systems. It offers support at the end of the design phase, shortly before contracting implementation to partners or exceptionally during implementation. It is a fast track service, that can be requested by Operational Managers in EU Headquarters or Delegations for interventions of more than 1 million Euros. It is provided by dedicated ROM experts from remote, through phone calls or video conferences.
ROM experts can help reviewing the formulation of the intervention logic, related logframe, and/or the design of monitoring and reporting systems at intervention level, as proposed or established by the implementing partners. The revision may focus on the logframe design only, or on the M&E and reporting system, or on both.
2. Support to data collection for results reporting
Launched in 2015 in conjunction with the EU Result Framework, this is an annual support offered to operational managers and HQ to collect and quality control data to monitor and report on results at intervention and corporate level.
During a field or remote mission, ROM experts provide support for the collection, encoding, storing and quality controlling of results data for a large sample of ongoing and recently closed interventions. As a second step, the information gathered on selected matching indicators is used to feed the annual corporate results reporting for the EURF.
This year's sample counts approximately 3000 interventions.
3. Results-Oriented Monitoring (ROM) Reviews
ROM reviews are short-term monitoring missions on ongoing interventions, organised on a need basis and usually at least once during the intervention’s lifetime. They are different from evaluations missions.
A ROM review is an external and impartial assessment of an ongoing intervention, aimed at enhancing results-based management. Following a standard methodology, building on documentary analyses and on-site visits, the ROM Expert assesses the intervention design, set-up, progress and achievements, provides recommendations and highlights good practices / lessons learnt. A set of standard monitoring questions are used to structure the analysis of documentation and empirical data gathered through desk and field activities. The revised Monitoring Questions and guidance are found in the library in Annexes 1-3 of the ROM Handbook.
Four different types of ROM reviews can now take place in the new ROM system with slightly different working modalities:
- ROM Reviews at early stage (1st year of implementation) take place for a representative sample of interventions, to tackle as early as possible potential design weaknesses and implementation delays.
- Standard ROM Reviews are organised when operational managers flag implementation issues or need external advice on interventions. The flagging system is now through the EAMR but soon will be take place through OPSYS.
- ROM reviews at closing stage (last 8 months), take place following a justified request, when the operational manager needs an external support in drawing lessons for a follow-up phase or future interventions.
- ROM reviews of blending operations are organised for a selection of interventions following similar need flagging by operational managers and consultations with the blending units in HQ. Blending operations are managed by delegated Financial Institutions and have specific features that are now catered through a slightly adapted ROM methodology. This includes an additional step to visit the implementing financial institution and a preliminary assessment to accurately define the ROM mission scope. While the monitoring questions are the same as for the standard reviews, the guidance to answer them is tailored to blending interventions.
ROM reviews deliver three main outputs: (i) the Monitoring Questions, (ii) the ROM Report; (iii) an annex detailing lessons learnt and good practices from the intervention (new feature).
Who does what in the ROM system?
DG DEVCO Unit 04 - Evaluation and Results and DG NEAR A4 - MFF are in charge of the overall coordination of the ROM system, including the drafting of the ROM Handbook, the management of the ROM Contractors and the quality assurance contract. The other main actors who play a role in the ROM system are:
- Operational Managers (OMs) staff members, in EUD or HQ , managing and monitoring interventions. They are the direct beneficiaries of ROM, they request the service in most cases, offer guidance and insight for the missions, facilitate the contact with the Implementing Partners, provide feedback on the results of the services.
M&E Focal Points appointed in each EUD and HQ operational service. They ensure appropriate information flows and good coordination among all actors; can play the OM’s role in the ROM system in case of absence; ensure the smooth implementation of grouped missions.
ROM blending focal points staff members in the units in charge of blending in DG DEVCO and NEAR. They have an advisory role for all blending ROM reviews for their DG and facilitate the communication with the Lead Financial Institution (LFI) implementing the blending operations.
Implementing partners (IPs) in charge of implementing the EU-funded interventions. The IPs' monitoring systems are the main source of information and data on interventions' progress and results. Involved in the ROM services to the extent required by the OM, the IPs benefit from ROM services to enhance the results-focus of their interventions' design, implementation, monitoring and reporting.
ROM Contractors ensure the overall management of the implementation of ROM services through selected ROM Experts. They provide internal quality control and continuous support to ROM Experts. In the 2020 edition there 4 ROM Contractors, two under the supervision of DG DEVCO (Lot 1: Asia and Pacific, Latin America, Caribbean, and Centrally Managed Thematic Interventions; and Lot 2: Sub-Saharan Africa) and DG NEAR (Lot 3: Neighbourhood region; and Lot 4: Enlargement region).
ROM Experts are assigned for the implementation of the 3 ROM services. Only ROM Experts for ROM reviews and support to data collection do missions in EUDs/HQ-Units. Their normal place of posting is their home or office in the place of residence.
Lead Financial Institutions (LFI) include both European LFIs and Member States’ LFIs with a long history of collaboration with the EU as well as LFIs from other continents with less or no structural links with the EU. They have a role in the planning and scoping of the ROM missions as well as in facilitating its implementation and providing feedback on findings.
Quality Assurance Contractor (QA) an independent technical assistance aimed at ensuring the level of quality of the ROM reviews products as well as obtaining feedback on the ROM process from the Operational Managers. The findings and recommendations are shared with the ROM Coordination Units and lead to a continuous enhancement of the ROM methodology.