Annual Review of DFID Sierra Leone Access to Security and Justice Programme

17/02/2014 - 07/03/2014

Target country

Mandator

The objective of this mission is to assess the progress of the DFID Sierra Leone funded Access to Security and Justice Programme; complete a DFID Annual Review for the programme; and provide recommendations to DFID for its approach to engagement in the sector in the future

Mandating organisation / agency / department / ministry

Mandate outputs / products

  1. The key outputs to be delivered are:
    1. An exit presentation to DFID and ASJP staff to be completed on, or close to the final day of in-country work, setting out the key findings of the review.
    1. A completed DFID annual review report       (as per attached template)
    2. A report of no more than 25 pages       (excluding annexes) with an executive summary covering the issues raised       in “scope” above.

Outcome objectives of mandate

This annual review is intended to improve the programmes performance and to scope continued DFID support in the S&J sector. It will assess the programme's performance against the objectives and specific outputs in the logframe, assess its value for money, its risks and improve its M&E strategy. It will look at thematic priorities such as violence against women, as well as cross government coordination.

Start date

17/02/2014

End date

07/03/2014

Summary

Lessons identified for improving the chances of implementing the recommendations:

  • The “exit” presentation of the review team at the end of the field mission should be longer than two hours. Ideally, it should take the form of a workshop/brainstorming of one day with the main recipients of the Annual Review and the review team.  It should focus on the recommendations and concrete options for implementing them.
     
  • The recommendations should be more specific and actionable.
     
  • The review team should work more closely with the implementation team so that they can learn from the review team’s experience and expertise.
     
  • (from ISSAT’s own experience: if possible, plan a follow-up field mission one or two months after the submission of the (draft) report to work specifically on the recommendations with the implementation team).

Lessons identified for improving the chances of success of a mandate:

  • Have a mixed team with:
    • strong and relevant thematic expertise;
    • knowledge of the country and programme context;
    • knowledge of mandator’s methods and procedures; and
    • who knows each other.
  • Circulate and provide comments on the ToR before hand.
     
  • Ensure strong support from mandator’s field office/Embassy and programme implementers.

Lessons identified for tackling main challenges of the mandate:

  • Provide enough time for such mandate,especially in the field.
     
  • Provide enough time for organising the field mission and especially for sending formal letters for meetings with senior level staff from beneficiary country.
     
  • Make sure, to the extent possible, that all team members are in the field during the entire duration of the field mission.

Specific Lessons Identified

Outputs and Outcomes

The outputs of the mandate (Annual Review narrative report and report as per DFID template) were delivered in time and with quality. Considering the very short time allocated to this mandate, the mandator (DFID SL) and the main recipient of the review (the implementing partner) were satisfied with the reports.

In terms of outcomes, they were not explicitly mentioned in the ToR. However, the AAR discussion moved towards looking at whether the recommendations already had an effect on the main recipients of the Annual Review. Looking at the outcomes in those terms, it was a bit too early to assess them, but DFID SL already reported a positive shift in the relationship between the implementing partners and senior level staff from the government of SL (which was one of the recommendation made by the review team).

Lessons identified for improving the chances of implementing the recommendations:

  • The “exit” presentation of the review team at the end of the field mission should be longer than two hours. Ideally, it should take the form of a workshop/brainstorming of one day with the main recipients of the Annual Review and the review team.  It should focus on the recommendations and concrete options for implementing them.
     
  • The recommendations should be more specific and actionable.
     
  • The review team should work more closely with the implementation team so that they can learn from the review team’s experience and expertise.
     
  • (from ISSAT’s own experience: if possible, plan a follow-up field mission one or two months after the submission of the (draft) report to work specifically on the recommendations with the implementation team).

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Success factors

  • Great team work,  good division of labour between members of the team due to:
    • Very good expertise in terms of thematic (justice and security) and context (SL and DFID working methods);
    • Team members knowing each other well;and
    • Good ToR, discussed beforehand and circulated to all team members.
  • Great support from DFID SL and the implementing partner.

Lessons identified for improving the chances of success:

  • Have a mixed team with:
    • strong and relevant thematic expertise;
    • knowledge of the country and programme context;
    • knowledge of mandator’s methods and procedures;and
    • who knows each other.
  • Circulate and provide comments on the ToR before hand.
     
  • Ensure strong support from mandator’s field office/Embassy and programme implementers.

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Main challenges

  • Time allocated for this mandate was too short. No specific reason mentioned during the discussion on why such little time was allocated.
  • The need to write two reports (narrative and as per DFID Annual Review template). This was a requirement in the ToR. The review team decided to first write the narrative report then complete the template, which was considered to be the most efficient use of time and resources.
  • Only two out of four team members were in the field for the entire field mission. One other team member was in the field for the first few days only, due to other commitments. Another team member was not at all in the field (as foreseen in the ToR).
  • Limited access to senior level staff from the government of SL due to the fact that the implementation partner did not have themselves such access, and to the need to send formal letters to obtain meetings with these senior staff.

Lessons identified for tackling these main challenges:

  • Provide enough time for such mandate,especially in the field.
  • Provide enough time for organising the field mission and especially for sending formal letters for meetings with senior level staff from beneficiary country.
  • Make sure, to the extent possible, that all team members are in the field during the entire duration of the field mission.

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Innovative approaches

Three main interesting approaches regarding support to S&J were discussed during the AAR (the following reflects the main points discussed and, unfortunately, do not explore in depth these approaches because of the limited time allocated for the AAR discussion):

  • The ASJP has a balanced approach to central institution capacity building and local level service delivery. This is not an innovative approach in itself, as it has already been applied in various DFID S&J programmes, BUT, the extent to which the balance has been incorporated in the design and the implementation of the programme is rather unique.
    • A key factor was the search for such “equal” balance during the design phase. Indeed, local actors and better service delivery to the local population were not just side aspects of the programme but considered as important as, or even more important than, building the capacity of state institutions. The ASJP support is directed to central administration, local districts, NGO, para legal / legal aid providers, traditional leaders / chiefs, etc.
    • The implementation of this support is also well managed by the programme thanks to the committed team who has technical advisors, a district coordinator and local support staff. This combination of staff enhances the implementation of such an approach.
  • The ASJP uses public financial management (PFM) tools to increase S&J effectiveness and accountability.This has mainly been taken forward by an ASJP advisor with a PFM background. The ASJP has then been able to bring on board the Ministry of Finance, which was a great achievement.  Awareness on PFM is growing within security and justice ministries, which facilitates discussions for budget increases. It also enhances the accountability (at least on the financial side) of security and justice actors/institutions, even though this aspect has to be further developed by the ASJP. The involvement of the ASJP with various actors / ministries is considered by the participants in the AAR as a good practice for future support.
  • The ASJP has a strong M&E component for measuring the programme performance and developing local partners M&E capacity. This has mainly been taken forward by the M&E advisor within ASJP. The M&E tasks are not only aimed at measuring the progress of the programme according to the logframe, but also have a strong focus on building the M&E capacity of local partners. This last point is crucial because without good data from the partners, it is harder to have a good M&E system for the programme itself. Although the approach is very sound, a lot of challenges are still present. For example, a lot of time is still invested in the programme logframe and indicators, which detracts from the time spent on building local M&E capacity; good data are still very difficult to collect which hinders the measurement of the progress; there is a need for more M&E advisors who understand the S&J sector, but they are difficult to find. 

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