Component3: State Government Oversight and Performance Monitoring of PRIs

  • Objective: The purpose of this component is to strengthen GoWB’s systems for monitoring of GPs.

Description of Activities

  • Sub-components include: (i) annual performance assessments and quality assurance; (ii) improvement of internal monitoring and reporting systems; and (iii) evaluations and studies of the overall project.

Performance Assessment and Quality Assurance

  • The grant cycle outlined in Component 1 introduces a requirement for annual, field-based performance assessment of each project GP that is to be conducted by an independent, multi-disciplinary team. The performance assessments are further subject to a quality assurance process on a randomly selected sample of 10% of the GP reports. The activities within this sub-component are designed to meet these critical project requirements:

  • Performance Assessment: the assessment process will run over a period of three months, between May and August of each year. The assessment process will run over a period of three months, between May and August of each year. As a phase-in measure, in lieu of a full assessment at the outset of the project, the GPs will be subject to the application of the MMCs only for the first two years. Thereafter, complete annual PAs of all 1000 GPs will be undertaken, starting in May 2012, for application to FY2012/13 and subsequent FYs and the project grant and budget cycles will be synchronized. . It is estimated that one assessment team, comprising three specialists, will be required in Year 1. This will rise to 16 teams in the second year and 25 teams for the remainder of the project. Additionally, provision has been made for two state-level coordinators. Assessment teams will be procured through firms in two procurement packages, covering 4 and 5 districts of the project respectively. They will be overseen by the ISGPP Cell. The estimated average cost of each GP assessment is estimated to be $711 from Year 3 of the project.

  • Quality Assurance: This activity specifically manages the risk of collusion between GPs and performance assessment teams, through validating 10% of assessments in each year, from the second year of the project. Assurance is not integrated into the project cycle, reducing costs associated with tighter delivery timelines, and will report directly to PRDD (EXCOM). This activity thus funds the cost of a single team of 6 assessors. Assessors will have skills sets in the environmental safeguards, social safeguards, financial management and auditing, procurement, technical design, and governance and planning. One of the assessors will act as team leader. A single firm will be contracted to provide these services, and will be barred from performing any other activities related to the project. The average cost per GP of quality assurance is estimated to be $3100 from Year 3 of the project.

  • There will also be a Procurement and Safeguard review through an external and independent agency by April-June 2011 to assess the effectiveness of whether procurement norms and procedures and social safeguard mechanisms are being adhered to in implementation of the project.

Improvement of Internal Monitoring and Reporting Systems

  • PRDD currently has multiple lines of oversight and reporting of GPs, many of them related to vertical schemes. In general, the GPs complete three types of monthly reporting - on finances, physical progress and institutional performance respectively. These reports are submitted directly to the block or district levels for aggregation. These procedures apply to tied as well as untied funds. An initial 2009 assessment of the PRDD performance monitoring system indicates that there are numerous reporting channels. The monitoring and reporting system of GPs needs to be more simple and integrated with each of the PRDD cells and schemes. The reporting burden is heavy, especially on GPs, due to numerous reporting requirements and limited staff and skills. In addition, PRDD finds that oftentimes the reporting at the aggregate level does not provide the level of specificity that PRDD needs in order to track progress and provide constructive feedback to GPs.

  • In order to improve PRDD’s monitoring and reporting system, the project will support a technical consultancy to review the PRI monitoring and reporting processes in detail and recommend and provide assistance in building up an enhanced information system. This technical assistance will review and rationalize systems of reporting and information flow, including strengthening the feedback loop for GPs and develop mechanism for the monitoring/inspection functions at the various levels. Special attention will be given to strengthening the detailed reporting on GP investments. Building upon the assessment, the consultancy will recommend ways to enhance the database systems to collect information and report in a more integrated and managerially useful fashion and will also develop the recommended system and put it in position.

  • For internal monitoring and reporting systems related to ISGP, several types of reports will be produced.

  • For reporting from PRDD to the World Bank, the following set of reports will be used

  • Semi-annual project progress report (WB standard format and results framework progress updated once a year)

  • Quarterly Financial Management Reports (WB standard format)

  • Annual Progress Report will be produced for the World Bank and the general public, by 1st July each year. This progress report will contain a general description of the project and outline progress to date on capacity building, physical outputs of GPs, institutional impact, safeguards (based upon annual assessments), institutional and management arrangements, issues encountered, plans for the upcoming year, etc. It will also contain a brief financial status report.

  • For reporting from the district level, three types of ISGP reports will be produced:

  • The District Coordination Unit (DCU) will produce a semi-annual report on the project’s mentoring activities, sent to the ISGPP Cell and copied to the Additional Executive Officer (AEO) and ex-officio Additional District Executive Officer of WBSRDA. S/he will take the report to the semi-annual discussions with the department.

  • The DCU will also produce a semi-annual GP physical output aggregate report on all untied funds, sent to the ISGPP Cell and AEO copied to the Block Office. The AEO will take the report to the semi-annual discussions with PRDD.

  • The District Training Centres (DTC) will send a semi-annual formal training report to the DPRDO and to STARPARD, copied to the AEO.

  • GPs will report as follows:

  • The existing monthly reporting system is associated with the GPMS (Form 26). This form reports on financial progress related to budget line items.

  • GPs will continue to prepare an annual financial report that is submitted to the CAG.

  • GPs will produce report on various institutional issues in I.S.G.P.P.(ME-1) on quarterly basis. This report will help all concerned if the GPs are in right track for achieving certain goal and will be able to access Block Grant

  • GPs will also produce report on the performance of conducting Gram Sansad and Gram Sabha meeting. The report needs to be submitted twice in a year; firstly, at the end of 1st quarter of the FY and secondly, at the end of 3rd quarter of the FY. The report to be submitted in the I.S.G.P.P.(ME-2) format.

  • Semi-Annual Report on Physical Progress [I.S.G.P.P.(ME-3)]. This report will provide estimates of actual physical and financial progress with individual investment projects. Reports will be submitted in accordance with a prescribed format provided in this PIM. Reports must be submitted 30 days after the end of the second and fourth quarters respectively. They will be sent to the DCU, copied to the block.

Improving Timeliness of External Audit and Enhancing its Impact

  • This sub-component will support capacity building initiatives for the Office of the Accountant General of West Bengal (RW & LBA). Examiner of Local Accounts (ELA), who is part of the office of AGWB, is an arm of the Comptroller & Auditor General's Office and mandated by the State to be the statutory auditor for the Gram Panchayats. ELA annually audits all 3351 GPs in the state and submits individual Inspection Reports to the GPs, copied to PRDD. The Inspection Reports include certification of the annual financial statements and provides an opinion on the correctness of the financial statements along with the audit observations on any irregularities in compliance with the financial rules noted during the audit process. Reports from the ELA are scrutinized by the PRDD and detailed advice sent to the District Magistrates to ensure that corrective actions are taken. The ELA also publishes an annual audit report for the GPs of the State that is presented to the State Legislative Assembly.

  • This support will assist the office of the AGWB and the ELA to enhance the quality and timeliness of the State's oversight over GP expenditures. It faces a major ongoing challenge in ensuring the timely delivery of audit results, given the large numbers of GPs requiring on-site inspection. In the past the process has taken between 18 and 24 months to complete. More recently, the ELA has set itself a target of 17 months. The process essentially remains entirely manual, transaction-based and time-intensive. There is also a need to modernize auditing processes and adopt more risk-based approaches in line with best international practices. Activities in this sub-component include: (i) procurement of laptops/ computers and connectivity tools to improve timeliness of audit report; (ii) development of a computerized (shared) database to share GP audit reports and track responses to audit reports; (iii) procurement of auditing tools (software); and (iv) technical assistance including capacity development for piloting risk based approaches for procurement, value for money, performance audits and other special purpose reviews. This latter activity will entail provision of outsourced technical assistance for systems development, systems maintenance and training, setting up of an EDP unit with contracted staff and other skill development opportunities, including undertaking joint audits with other audit organizations and exposure to best practices of other audit organizations. This will be worked out in further detail by PRDD in consultation with the AGWB and the ELA.

Overall Evaluations of the Project

  • The project is planning several evaluations in order to measure overall impact and effectiveness, and to prepare for a possible subsequent phase of expansion. In order to drill down and understand more extensively key aspects of ISGP impact, some special thematic evaluations, contracted out to external independent firms, are planned over the course of the project. Several of the thematic studies are timed for mid-term and final stages of the project in order to feed into the formal mid-term and final review process.

  • Interim Safeguards and Procurement Review - The formal project cycle only allows for a review of GP compliance with requirements in the third year of operation, due to timing and mobilization constraints. In order to mitigate the risk of resource misuse and promote reflexive learning through the course of project implementation, a once-off Procurement and Safeguards review will be undertaken after the first 12 months of project implementation. This review will cover 15% of the GPs who have received ISGP funding in this period, and will be undertaken by an independent team of safeguard and procurement specialists contracted for this purpose. GPs will be randomly selected, with half of them notified in advance of the review and the remainder visited unannounced. Any adverse findings from this review will impact on the further participation of GPs in the project as well as inform the ongoing development and provision of mentoring and training support under Component 2.

  • Baseline Impact Evaluation: PRDD currently has numerous datasets related to the performance of GPs in the state. This data is gathered through its current monthly, bi-annual and annual reporting flows. In Year 1, the project will document the current status of performance information for all participating 1000 GPs. Information to be gathered includes: (i) planning status; (ii) audit performance; (iii) financial management, expenditure performance and GPMS status; (iv) monitoring and inspections; and (v) participation and accountability issues. The final evaluation covering these topics and perhaps some additional areas will occur in Year 5. This study along with the annual performance assessments will allow the project to evaluate the performance of the 1,000 target GPs over the course of the five and a half years.

  • Training Evaluation: Given the importance of the capacity building component, the project will want to monitor, evaluate and document the training activities carefully. Aspects for review are: (i) delivery methodologies and how the three different modalities of formal residential training, mobile mentoring, and training vouchers are operating; (ii) suitability and effectiveness of the curriculum; (iii) levels of effort by the training institutions, trainers and mentors; and (iv) feedback from participants. These evaluations will be done in Years 3 and 5.

  • Service Delivery and Governance Evaluation: This study will look at a random sample of ten percent of GPs and review their service delivery outputs related to both physical assets and governance issues. The evaluation will examine in depth: (i) the technical quality of public goods financed by the project; (ii) cost effectiveness; (iii) safeguard issues; (iv) participation in the planning and budgeting process; (v) social audits; (vi) grievance redress; and (vii) disclosure of information to the public. This evaluation will be completed in Years 3 and 5.

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