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February 01, 2013

PEFA Newsflash: Taking the Magnifying Glass to the PEFA Assessment Report Preparation Documents

Posted by the PEFA Secretariat

The PEFA Secretariat recently finalized the Monitoring Report 2012 (MR-12), the fifth report of this nature to be produced by the Secretariat. The report was designed to assess (a) the extent to which the PEFA assessment report preparation documents, referred to as Concept Notes or Terms of References (CN/TORs) reach the Secretariat for review (b) the quality of the CN/TORs at the draft stage when the Secretariat provides their peer-review, (c) the extent to which the PEFA Secretariat comments are integrated into the final CN/TORs, and (d) examine possible correlations between the quality of a PEFA assessment report and their respective CN/TOR; however, this last question had to be dropped due to the multitude of variables that exist in producing a quality assessment report.

The report considers the 129 reviews conducted of CN/TORs between September 2005 and June 2012, of which a sample of 39 are used for an in-depth analysis of their quality and the extent to which the PEFA Secretariat comments are considered. The sample contains those CN/TORs for which the Secretariat was able to obtain the final version, having already reviewed the draft.

The Secretariat found that over the last seven years it had on average received and reviewed 40% of the CN/TORs for assessment reports. This is much lower than the 70%-80% of the assessment reports it received and reviewed over the same period. 

In considering the quality of the CN/TORs at the draft stage when the Secretariat provides their initial peer-review, the Secretariat found that on average the CN/TORs adequately addressed the components listed in the CN & TOR Checklist and the discussion on CN/TORs section in the Good Practice in Applying the PEFA Framework – 61% of the time. The comments provided by the PEFA Secretariat to the assessment managers were either positively received and revised or ignored without revisions. The revised CN/TORs rarely worsened (only 1% of the time).

The findings suggest that to improve the quality of the draft CN/TORs the Secretariat should provide examples of good CN/TORs (with country references removed) on the PEFA website for assessment managers to use for guidance. Similarly, increased communication efforts about the importance of the PEFA CHECK mechanism, the new comprehensive process review tool, may assist lead agencies and Governments to be better informed in advance of submitting CN/TORs for review and therefore increase the rate at which the CN/TORs are received.

Of the 39 CN/TORs used for the in-depth analysis of their quality, the Secretariat found the weakest areas to be those sections that described the involvement of other stakeholders (e.g. government and other development agencies); providing sufficient information regarding the previous assessment; and, a detailed timetable and description of the means for collecting information and data.

The study may be found on our website, www.pefa.org.

Note: The posts on the IMF PFM Blog should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy. 

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