"The Overall Evaluation of the Performance of the PEFA Programme is a Resoundingly Positive One"

Posted by Michel Lazare

"The overall evaluation of the performance of the PEFA programme is a resoundingly positive one" is the first sentence in the main findings section of executive summary of the recently published independent evaluation report of the PEFA programme.

In November 2010, the Steering Committee launched an independent evaluation of the  PEFA Program, covering the period 2004 to 2010. The evaluation was undertaken by a team of consultants led by Andrew Lawson, and the final report has now been completed and is available on the PEFA website (www.pefa.org) or clicking on the following link: Download PEFAEvaluationRevisedFinalReportJuly2011[1].

The report notes a number of markedly positive achievements of the PEFA programme. Lets just mention the following three: (a) "Across the world 90 per cent of low income, 75 per cent of middle income and 8 per cent of high income countries had been assessed, were in the process of assessment or were going to be assessed by October 2010;" (b) "The PEFA Programme has succeeded in creating a credible framework for the assessment of PFM functionality, which manages to be comprehensive in its coverage and yet sufficiently simple for the non-technical user to understand;" and (c) "The PEFA assessment framework is now used by all major development agencies working with PFM systems, either as a tool to support the design and monitoring of PFM reforms or as a key element of fiduciary risk assessment processes."


The independent report nevertheless notes some shortcomings or threats to the program. Chief among them is a point about quality:  "The [PEFA] brand remains vulnerable until a more systematic method to guarantee quality can be established. The Secretariat’s data suggest that there has been a significant improvement in quality over time. Yet, a number of stakeholders did identify occasional problems with quality, particularly for assessments not passing through the Secretariat’s QA process. These concerns related only to a small minority of the assessments undertaken to date, but confidence in the quality of the PEFA instrument as a whole may be undermined by the continued presence of this small minority. Steps to move as closely as possible to a full guarantee of quality are therefore recommended [in the evaluation report.]

The PEFA Steering Committee has prepared a Management Response to the final report, which provides comments on the evaluators' main findings and recommendations. The Management Response is also available on the PEFA website (www.pefa.org) or by clicking on the following link: Download EvaluationofthePEFAProgramme2004-2010-ManagementResponse-finalSept22[1].

We are reproducing below a large extract of the Management Response:


"Management Response by the PEFA Steering Committee

September 22nd, 2011

    1.     Introduction

    2.     Main Findings and Conclusions

    3.     Recommendations

[1] PEFA is a partnership program of the World Bank, the European Commission, the UK Department of International Development, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the International Monetary Fund.