Auditing the monitoring system

For those agencies and programmes that are seriously engaged in monitoring their results, the DCED offers an optional audit service; this can lend additional credibility to their efforts. It involves an external, objective assessment of the monitoring system in use in the programme.

The audit is confidential and will not be made public unless the programme chooses to do so. To see examples of published audit reports from programmes which have chosen to make them public, see below.

Interested in having an audit? You can find more detailed information below,  or you can contact the DCED Secretariat directly for advice.

Why have an audit of your results measurement system?

Audits are an optional part of the DCED Standard, and offer substantial benefits to programmes that are serious about results measurement. These include:

  • Focusing the efforts of programme staff, managers, and the results measurement team on ensuring that the results measurement system meets the DCED Standard.
  • Providing credibility to self-reported results, at a relatively low cost. Instead of relying entirely on external consultants to gather data, and write reports, the programme team continues to do that, but the system is audited to ensure that it is operating correctly.
  • Bringing recognition from donors, recipient governments, and other agencies as being seriously engaged in results measurement and quality work.

How does the audit process look and what are the deliverables

The sequence starts with a conversation between the programme and the DCED Secretariat, to determine whether an audit is appropriate at this point. The conversation can then establish which parts of the system will be audited, and the level of effort that will be required. The programme itself hires a team of two DCED-approved Auditors to conduct the audit. The Auditors currently approved by DCED to lead audits are Alexandra Miehlbradt, Hans Posthumus, Nabanita Sen, Phitcha Wanitphon, Mihaela Balan and Ben Fowler. For more information about them, please visit the listing of consultants expert in the Standard.

Lead Auditors are expert in the Standard and have completed at least two formal audits as part of a DCED team. At this point, and while experience is being gained in scoring the audit, the DCED in addition convenes a panel of all available Auditors to review the draft report and scoring sheets. The commissioning programme needs to add 6 working days to the contract for the lead auditor, to cover the cost of that panel.

The deliverable from the audit is an agreed report, giving percentage scores for achievement of the various elements of the Standard. The report also gives a complete commentary on the basis for the scoring, showing where the programme’s monitoring system is strong, and where improvements are recommended. The Auditors are barred from assisting with the improvement process, but the DCED Secretariat may be able to point programmes towards suitable sources of advice, for example here.

The cost of an audit depends on many factors: size and complexity of the audited elements, how geographically dispersed they are, and even whether the documentation is well organised or not.

The timing of an audit will vary. In the first year of operation, it is possible to do a ‘systems in place’ audit, which examines the results measurement systems which have been developed, but does not examine their use. A full audit is only appropriate after the monitoring system has been implemented for enough time to gather information on early outcomes, at least. For example, a programme should have a baseline for interventions that are being audited, and some monitoring data for most of them. Without this, there is not much for the auditor to review.

Many programmes have a pre-audit review (previously known as a ‘mock audit’) of their system before going for full audit. This identifies areas of potential weakness, that need to be addressed before the audit. It can be conducted by anyone, and the DCED is not normally involved. It therefore has no official status, and is purely a management tool; it should not aim to score the programme. An example can be downloaded here (with thanks to RLDP Tanzania).

Audited programmes and published reports

The below table lists all programmes to date which have been audited and received over 85% on the ‘Must’ control points (about one third of programmes audited to date did not achieve this score). The Notes column specifies which elements were included in, or excluded from, the audit.  Further details of the process can be found in the auditor terms of reference.

The final audit report and score remain confidential to the programme and its donors – unless they wish to publish it. For example, the Enterprise Challenge Fund has published its audit report here. Below you can find audit reports for other programmes that have agreed to make them public.

 Name of programme
Country and date of audit
Notes
Published Reports
Samarth NMDP Nepal, August 2016 The audit covered 9 of the 10 sectors in Output 1.
PRISMA Indonesia, May-June 2016 The audit covered all 25 active sub-sectors. Audit Report
Katalyst Bangladesh, February 2016 The audit covered all elements except Capitalisation. Audit Report
Kenya Markets Trust Kenya, October 2015 The audit included Inputs, Seeds, Water, livestock and dairy. It excluded cotton and aquaculture. Audit Report
ILO Score India India, 2015 The audit only covered the India programme of ILO SCORE. Audit Report and Lessons from audit
MDF Fiji and E. Timor, Dec. 2014 Fiji and East Timor reports
GEMS 1 Nigeria, Nov 2014 Audit Report
M4C Bangladesh, Nov 2014 The audit included the Maize, Jute, Chilli, Onion, Mustard and Groundnut sectors. Transport, Handicrafts, Finance and Rice were excluded. Audit Report
Alliances KK (now ALCP) Georgia, Jan 2013 Outcome 3 (Capacity building of local government) was excluded. Audit Report
NMDP Nepal, Sept 2013  System in Place audit Audit Report
CAVAC Cambodia, July 2013 Business enabling environment and Vegetable markets were excluded. Audit Report
Katalyst Bangladesh, Feb. 2013 The audit covered all sectors in Katalyst Phase II that were carried on to Phase III. Audit report
Katalyst Bangladesh, May 2011 Audit Report and
statement on experience of audit.

Note that all the audit reports remain confidential and DCED will not share the contents of the audit report unless permission is explicitly given by the audited programme; all the reports above are posted with that permission.

Further documentation: ToR and experiences from practice