EuropeAid’s management response (MRE) system called Fiche Contradictoire is designed for evaluations initiated and monitored by the Joint Evaluation Unit for the Relex family (DG/Development, DG/External relations and DG/EuropeAid). The system is applied for country, regional, sector and thematic evaluations planned and monitored by the Joint Evaluation Unit.
Three main conclusions have been drawn from this evaluation. Firstly, the design of the MRE system (Fiche Contradictorie) is reasonable and consistent with the desired outcome of enhancing awareness of evaluations within the concerned Services and delegations, promoting personal and organisational responsibility, improving the use of evaluation lessons and recommendations, and enhancing accountability. However, on the other hand, they are not quite consistent with the objective of enhancing organizational effectiveness, decisionmaking and organisational rationality. It is not quite clear how decision-making in the resultbased management model is meant to benefit from MREs (FCs). The accountability function is not sufficiently considered in the design of the system. It is not made explicit who within the organisation is accountable for the implementation and follow-up of decided actions.Secondly, in practice the usefulness of the MRE system has been limited for a number of reasons: When the evaluation is mainly intended for instrumental use, the timing of the evaluation and the MREs do not always match the decision- making process; the evaluation is not considered relevant and practicable; or the final report and the MRE are presented when the “policy window” (Kingdon, 1995) is closed or when the recommendations are already taken on board. Furthermore, learning and conceptual use of evaluation does not occur at the end of the evaluation process and is thus not promoted by the MRE-system. The MREdocument may serve as a reminder, but the quality of the documents is often unsatisfactory in terms of clarity of response and decided actions.
Thirdly, the system makes a positive but limited contribution in terms of promoting internal accountability and reinforcing personal and organisational responsibility. The publication of evaluation reports and the MRE on the website of the Evaluation unit contributes to transparency and external accountability, in particular in comparison with the situation before the response system was in place. However, it is a disadvantage that the response process does not engage all concerned Services and Delegations and that there are no sanctions if decided actions are not implemented. Furthermore, as EuropeAid´s partners are not included in the response process, the MRE system does not promote shared responsibility and accountability.
In summary, the design of the MRE system is consistent with the desired outcome. The usefulness of the system, especially in terms of decision-making and learning, is however limited. A certain contribution to internal as well as external accountability and the reinforcing of personal and organisational responsibility is noted.
Umeå: Umeå universitet, Centrum för utvärderingsforskning (UCER) , 2008. , 51 p.