Role of Civil Society

Review of the Implementation of the Action Plan for the Development Strategy of the Ministry of Interior of Serbia

Outputs and Outcomes

The mid-term evaluation report delivered by ISSAT was considered very useful, pertinent and objective  by both the mandator and the MoI. Both stakeholders noted nonetheless that the report has yet to produce it’s full impact due to circumstances external to the mission: first, the catastrophic floods that put the country in a status of national emergency for several months; second, the general elections held in March that redrew Serbian political landscape and brought a new party to power. At the MoI, both events took attention and resources away from discussions on strategic management and disrupted ordinary activities. This was compounded by an overriding priority given by the new Government in its first months in office to the revision of the National Programme for the Adoption of theacquis communautaire(NPAA) and the follow-up to the EU screening on Chapter 24 (Serbia recently submitted a new action plan to meet the goals set by Brussels on Justice, Freedom and Security).

Only recently life returned to normal in the Ministry. The action plan for Chapter 24 and the new plan for the Development Strategy provided an opportunity for BSP to use ISSAT’s report within the MoI, at this stage to raise awareness of issues raised in the document and the importance of building capacities in areas like budgeting and strategic analysis. ISSAT findings and recommendations are likely to have a bigger impact long after the mandate finished, into 2015. Indeed, the review seems to be recognised at senior level in the MoI as a reference source to inform planning at the Ministry, in two dimensions that seem interconnected. First, the mandate report is used as a stand-alone document considered for its sensitive analysis and recommendations - even if the latter were not yet or not entirely acted upon. Second, the mandate (report, methodology and ISSAT’s overall approach) left a set of tools and good practice, meaning that ISSAT contribution is clearly understood to have high value beyond the review conducted. New management in the Directorate for Analytics has also enhanced opportunities for the recommendations to actually be taken in consideration in terms of addressing some of the imbalances identified in the report.

The item of capacities for budgetary inputs into strategic planning was not included on the initial Terms of Reference for this review but it was considered relevant during the field mission and included in the report. The resulting remarks and evaluation were credited as being very useful to the MoI, well beyond the new Action Plan recently approved. Adding budgeting to the mandate contributed to raise awareness of the importance of this focus-area at the MoI, as previously mentioned.

Strategic Management - Baseline Study Moldovan MIA

Innovative approaches

  • In recent years, the MIA increased dramatically the level of participation in its activities, which in turn was reflected in substantial gains in transparency, which makes for a unique case in the region. Crucial to civil society participation is the Civil Society Council of the Minister, an informal body made up of key persons from civil society that convenes every three months. The Council provides an avenue for substantive inputs from civil society to the MIA, for instance in undertaking monitoring.
  • The Stefan cel Mare training Academy, one of the administrative authorities subordinated to the MIA, plays an important political role, as many politicians and members of Parliament are former alumni. The Academy, though, is seen as averse to reform and its influence might play against the momentum created under the current leadership.

Audit /assessment of the Inspectorate General of Public Security in Burundi

Main challenges

Concepts and processes– Uneven understanding among different stakeholders, within the IGSP and across the MSP of the role, importance and mechanisms entailed by internal control in a functioning democracy.

Political engagement– As noticed in the AAR, even the most immediate quick-win activities recommended in the report need that IGSP has a legal framework in place, but political commitment from Burundian Government to move forward on this has been vague, in fact compromising IGSP critical role.

Programme support– The audit sets clear directions and suggests an action plan to address fundamental gaps in internal control, but any progress on this depends on a robust and immediate support from SSD to democratic oversight and accountability.

Programme overstretch– SSD is a complex, far-reaching SSR programme spanning for eight years and supporting the main security institutions in Burundi (Police and Defence Forces), but there is the risk that whatever is not included or prioritised and funded under SSD is not purposely sustained by the Burundian counterparts.

Uneven and unused capacity– IGSP badly lacks capacity across the board when it comes to main and secondary/procedural functions of an internal control body, from legal expertise to strategic management, while some of the actual existing capacity among staff is lost by the way IGSP functions.

Lessons identified:

  • Civil society organisations are usually keen to engage in discussions about internal control mechanisms of police services. Such occasions offer entry-points to bring-in external stakeholders, otherwise kept fairly outside relevant processes and activities, as it happened this time, in spite of clear demands from ISSAT for such opening from the Burundian authorities.
  • Training in internal control and democratic oversight, linking up internal audit bodies with the role of external stakeholders (Parliament, Ombudsman, etc.), are the natural and crucial follow-up of this mandate. These activities can be a contribution from ISSAT to pursue support in areas identified as major capacity gaps, and keeping the momentum for a reinforcement of the SSD Governance pillar. It’s worth reminding that “Internal Control” goes on being  one of the focus areas under the action plan for ‘Police’ pillar of SDD Phase III.
  • Dedicate the first day of the team in the field to set up interviews and organise agenda, since gaps in pre-arranging interviews are recurrent and almost unavoidable in such contexts.

Audit /assessment of the Inspectorate General of Public Security in Burundi

Success factors

  • A good preparation of the mandate, starting with a one-day meeting in Geneva aligning approaches and planning work among Polfed and ISSAT experts on team, starting from scratch and designing the mission.
  • Scoping visit from the team leader to Burundi.
  • Wealth of local/contextual knowledge in the team.
  • Mixed team composition bringing complementary skills and approaches to democratic control mechanisms: technical/Polfed and SSR/ISSAT.
  • Trust build over time between ISSAT and SSD in Burundi.
  • Good local interaction between SSD, CTB (Belgian development agency) and GIZ (German aid agency).
  • ISSAT methodology.
  • Facilitation from IGSP staff.

Lessons identified for improving the chances of success:

    • Recommendations can be discussed with local stakeholders in a way that allows for some knowledge transfer on programme design, in the case restricted to the elaboration of an action plan for ‘quick-wins’. Such an exercise can bridge recommendations with whichever projects that SSD decides to carry forward following the review.
    • SSD needs to act on the audit in terms of pushing to have some of the recommendations followed on; this implies that the Programme has to keep representing to the Burundian authorities that crucial decisions have to be taken and operationalised soon to have IGSP fulfilling its important role.

Audit /assessment of the Inspectorate General of Public Security in Burundi

Outputs and Outcomes

This mandate fully delivered the expected outputs, including an audit report with recommendations in accordance to the mandator’s needs. The recommendations were taken already in consideration and two subsequent missions from Polfed to Burundi worked on how to implement some of them. The reaction to the recommendations was immediate and positive also from the IGSP, which already took suggested points of action in consideration and welcomes the clarification of roles and responsibilities between the Inspectorate and SSD. During the mandate, the position of Inspector-general was vacant but the new head of IGSP took office in the same day of the end of the field mission. A working group was set up just after the restitution session to discuss a set of activities aimed at obtaining quick-wins on the recommendations and that ISSAT proposed to be carried out until Q4 2014.

To this date, the IGSP still didn’t act on most of these actions and further steps depend on the completion of the new legal framework for the IGSP. The Organic Law and the Internal Statute of the IGSP have been drafted and provide finally a legal framework for organising  the work of the Inspectorate, although a decree on the function of internal audit is still to be drafted. Until the legal framework is approved and fully in effect, the scope of activities of IGSP  is nonetheless very limited, specially when it comes to investigations and filing of cases.

The extent to which recommendations are fully implemented will need to be checked in one or two years, since a previous audit to IGSP was basically left in the drawer in terms of acting on suggested points. The review report delivered by the team provides a strong base for the design of SSD projects in support of the IGSP but it also implies and needs that the mandator follows up on the results by pushing for tangible actions (see below).

Throughout the report, attention is given to technical and procedural notions that help unpack the concept of internal control and that lay out a comprehensive set of principles, mechanisms and tools. This corpus can be easily taken as part of training materials for IGSP staff and the PNB overall, as acknowledged by the SSD/MSP coach visiting ISSAT in October to discuss further areas of collaboration related to training in police integrity.

As part of the second/main field mission, in March 2014, a one-day workshop was organised by the team in Bujumbura to conduct a SWOT analysis of the IGSP with a group of fifteen staff of the Inspectorate. The SWOT exercise was considered to provide simple yet powerful analytical tools, with gains in terms of ownership of the review itself.

The evaluation team was assisted in Burundi by two members from IGSP that facilitated contacts and participated in several meetings. Future will tell what will result  from this exposure of IGSP staff to ISSAT’s evaluation methodology and to intense discussions that articulated the principles of internal control with the realities on the ground and the political and social context in Burundi.

For ISSAT, the fact that the evaluation team included two experts working actually in police internal control in their own country provided an opportunity to gain a more technical view of the questions involved. It is considered a relevant gain of capacity for future reviews and an important enhancement of existing in-house knowledge on police reform, integrity and responsibility.

It is the perception of the IGSP that the mandate resulted in opening some doors to potential collaboration of the institution with civil society organisations.

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

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.