| Helping small project from the distance |
|2. Helping small projects - concepts and steps|
The KPFM-assisted project evaluation described in the previous section always becomes a program evaluation when it covers all supported projects (or at least a representative selection). In this case the individual project evaluations provide informative statements on the overall support to projects. They indicate the rate of success of completed projects, the average quality of liaison and backstopping inputs and the ratio between quality and backstopping.
However, monitoring geared to only a few aspects of project support is not a sufficient precondition for successful fund management. Numerous additional basic statistical data is needed which, although not difficult to collect, requires regular attention if the figures are to be on call at all times. It proved suitable to develop simple six-monthly statistic sheets which count how many project applications were received, how many support contracts were entered into and how many projects were either completed successfully or aborted. The basic statistics also include average figures, the contractually agreed support funds and the scheduled and actual terms of the small projects: they are essential both for reporting purposes and also for providing an orientation for the fund on the implementation status of the support program.
The chief significance of program monitoring, however, is not to provide statistics for an ex-post record of program success, but to observe key indicators and to draw management's attention to deficits in the support procedure. The chief areas involved are the processing period for a project application and the deadlined submission of report. Not only is each individual case to be monitored; fund management should also be provided with averages for larger groups of projects. In this way they take on a "self-critical" dimension in which the weaknesses of the support procedure for which management is responsible (and which it must remedy) become apparent. This is quite obvious for the criterion "processing duration": if the average figure is constantly above the limit the fund management would be advised to disregard "special circumstances" which play a role in each individual case but instead review the support procedure as a whole. Exceeded reasonable delays in interim and final reporting is also a warning signal for the success of the program if they becomes a feature of entire groups of projects. Although responsibility for adhering to reporting deadlines lies mostly with the project executing organization, the more frequently it occurs the greater the shadow which this deficit sheds on the fund itself. If the majority of reports are regularly delayed, or if they are not submitted at all, the fund management should not automatically place responsibility on the project executing organization but firstly look for the error in the "induced" behaviour promoted by its own support procedure. GATE experience has shown that neglect of reporting obligations is mainly caused by erroneous (and therefore correctable) dealings with the project executing organization.
Program monitoring which pays attention to its own program errors is not a by-product from monitoring individual projects. It rather requires continued observation of the critical features of project support. In the GATE procedure regular program reviews are drawn up using the KPFM. The reviews can pinpoint deficits in project support before they have a chance to become an uncontrollable problem. The review does not aim at intervening in individual projects but more at supporting the fund management in further developing the support instruments. It is, therefore, an example of self-critical monitoring which is felt to be essential, particularly for open funds. If funds of this type do not critically analyze their own activity in addition to monitoring the activities of others as well, the chances of success are much lower and there is always a danger that issues will be classified as "objectively unfeasible" which in fact only failed because of avoidable procedural errors.
KPFM: The program automatically evaluates any selected project group and prints out the review. Menu call up: 4.6
STANDARD TEXT: None