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Designing operations' quality system

Europaid - Thu, 08/01/2013 - 14:08

Assessing the quality of design of EU financed development and cooperation projects and programmes

The EU aims to ensure quality of development programmes and projects through a quality assurance system, which consists of a set of quality assurance mechanisms and tools for the design phase of the project or programme cycle.

As the design of an intervention is key to successful implementation of projects and programmes and to the efficient use of EU funds, the Commission operates  an ex ante peer review process during the identification and formulation of a project or programme, the Quality Support Groups (QSGs) .

The purpose of the QSGs is to help improve the design of the proposed project or programme, building on in-house expertise, as well as on the best practice from previous and on-going actions.

 

Structure of QSGs

There is a QSG for each thematic and geographic directorate of EuropeAid (with the exception of the two directorates for Africa who operate a combined QSG). The core members of each QSG are EuropeAid staff based in Brussels in charge of the geographical coordination, sector and thematic perspectives and contractual and financial aspects. Colleagues from other Commission Directorates-General and from the European External Action Service are also invited to participate in QSG meetings. When possible, QSG meetings are organized in the form of videoconferences with the colleagues from the EU Delegation in charge of preparing the project or programme. Meetings are, as a rule, chaired by the Director of the geographical or thematic directorate concerned.

 

The QSGs intervene at two points in the process:

  • at the end of the identification stage, the preliminary stage of project and programme preparation  where the different options for implementing an action are examined ;
  • at the end of the formulation stage, when the QSGs assess the quality of the key project or programme documents to be submitted for a financing decision.

The overall functioning of the QSGs is managed by EuropeAid Unit 06 - Quality and Results - responsible for the methodological and administrative instructions and tools and for support to the convocation of meetings and the structured dissemination of the meetings agenda's and conclusions.

 

How quality is assessed

In both steps, quality is assessed by thematic and other experts. They do it by replying to a series of standard questions, assessing the relevance and efficiency of the proposed action, as well as the prospects for sustainability and impact. These questions take into account the two main aid delivery methods (budget support or project modality) and aim to assess quality of a project or programme design in a structured and systematic way.

The person chairing the QSG meeting takes a decision on each project and programme reviewed, based on the issues raised and advice provided in the written assessment and taking into account views expressed by other QSG members and participants.

With project and programme management responsibilities having been devolved to the EU Delegations in partner countries, the QSGs offer the opportunity to have an efficient exchange of information and views between Brussels and the EU Delegation at this stage of the project and programme preparation with a view to provide useful backup for the EU Delegations.

 

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