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SSR Programming Trends, Challenges and Emerging Issues Part III: Programme Implementation

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on 16 August 2016

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Transcript of SSR Programming Trends, Challenges and Emerging Issues Part III: Programme Implementation

3. Sustainability
5. Project
1. Management
SSR Programming Trends, Challenges and Emerging Issues - Part III: Project Implementation

Programme Inception Phase
Few SSR projects know or even estimate the re-current cost implications of the programme in the medium to long-term. This includes identifying what costs will need to be covered by the Government after implementation. Most projects simply assume that the funding will be made available (either by Government or further donor funding).
Project re-current costs include long-term maintenance, property rental, training, fuel, insurance, utilities or further investment). These costs need to be integrated into the Medium-Term expenditure planning framework for the re-current budget of the Ministry and also need to be calculated and considered in project planning. Yet rarely is this done in post-conflict contexts.

End Users
Too often projects focus on ownership at technical levels, less on political level ownership of the programmes.
For a project to be sustained ownership of outputs needs to be at both political and technical levels. SSR Programmes are usually good at developing ownership at technical level but struggle with political buy-in from policymakers (the reforms are not understood or different priorities are being pursued). Without political buy in from the onset, donor programmes can be viewed as externally imposed solutions or even obligations upon Government. This impacts how the programme is prioritized and if future national resources are allocated to sustain it.

While it is widely recognised that reforms need to be aligned to political priorities of Government in SSR it is common for development partners to insist on difficult, complex or sensitive reforms - which otherwise may not feature on the reform agenda. Such reforms should, nonetheless, be included in explicit Government priorities before implementation. A common mistake is assuming that ownership of the reform can be transferred simply in the course of implementation - this approach has substantial risk. Rather introducing such reforms requires significant advocacy efforts and longer lead times for project implementation inception to gradually develop the political space for such reforms and for the reforms to be integrated into the national or sector priorities before implementation even begins.

Challenges faced by missions:

• Staffing issues and gaps in DPKO/CSDP missions when they are initiated
• Some specific skill sets (eg. HR, PFM, change management, or legal) are commonly missing in staff structures - influencing scope of reforms and engagement of that mission.
• Difficult to recruit civilians (Eg. civilian experts from Ministries)
• Poor performance of SSR rosters to deploy quickly - poor availability of roster members

Challenges faced by contracted programmes:

• Tender - proposed experts are commonly not available once implementation starts
• Difficult to know quality and suitability of proposed technical experts during tendering processes - not all personnel know/understand SSR principles and governance issues
• High-turnover of contracted staff
• Difficult to get practitioners deployed under contracted programmes

Programme Reporting
Target Audience
Too often the reporting is not aimed at national audiences: they are not shared or translated. National actors don't play a role in commenting, drafting or approving the reports. This reporting imbalance impacts skews the accountability responsibilities towards donor agencies rather than national stakeholders

There are increasing examples of implementation and evaluation reports being public and translated to national languages

Purpose and Benefits
Common Practice
Ideal Practice
Donor Agency Audience: Embassy/Delegation, Headquarters, donor audit agency, donor tax payers
National audience: Government, development partners, civil society, Parliament, media, local communities
donor agency audience
Target Audience
Project implementation reports are commonly lengthy and aimed predominantly at briefing operational levels and communicating with development agency HQ on what has been done. The reporting format is often not user friendly and the reporting is not seen as a tools for senior managers to take decisions.

Some donors have produced specialized reports for consideration of steering committee meetings or senior policymakers. These reports highlight in one or two pages the key achievements, challenges, and what actions are required by Government to proceed with implementation.

Common Practice
Ideal Practice
Technical Level
Balance: Technical & Policymakers, Senior Level Management
Reports are often produced last minute (not allowing time for national partners to comment or review before Steering Committee meetings). Reporting focuses on describing outputs rather than outcomes/impacts. Reports are written diplomatically, to hide real challenges and obstacles to reform or implementation.

Rather project implementation reports should be seen as playing a dual function: 1) highlighting the achievements and challenges that the programme has encountered; 2) describing what changes to the programme need to be made and what needs to be done

Common Practice
Ideal Practice
Descriptive, retrospective
Action Oriented
What do they report on and what do they measure?

Programme Log Frames often ask the national counterparts to develop and track new indicators to meet contracting requirements - rather than use existing national ones or to help enhance data collection processes.

Programmes need to shift their indicators and monitoring mechanisms to look at outcomes rather than only outputs/inputs. Monitoring reports should also look at how (process) things were done rather than simply what was done.

Common Practice
Ideal Practice
Theory of Change
Programmes rarely review or revisit their theory of change during implementation to test assumptions or review programme logic. While the ToC may be described in programme documents, it rarely becomes a management tool.
Risk Management
Many donors are increasingly recognizing the inherent and associated risks of engaging in SSR especially in fragile and post-conflict contexts. For such donors there is an evident increase in the political acceptance of risk and appreciation for the risk of non-engagement.

Risk matrices are rarely updated or reviewed during implementation. Risk mitigation strategies remain rare in SSR programmes. Few donors are commonly sharing the burden of risk taking - while many remain risk averse choosing what’s comfortable rather what’s needed most.

Donors are increasingly mapping and understanding the risks associated with SSR
Amongst some donors there is a increased willingness to accept risks (though overall there is still a tendency to avoid risk)
Risk matrices are rarely updated or reviewed during implementation
Few donors are commonly sharing the burden of risk taking on behalf of the overall donor community
Comfort Zones
Due to shortage of experts with the right experience and expertise it is common to find that during implementation programmes retreat from strategic level interventions to more operational/tactical level efforts. This coincides with comfort zones of the recruited experts.
Programmes commonly struggle to recruit personnel with experience in supporting strategic level reforms or providing advisory support to senior management. Yet, such experience is critical if not determining factor in the extent to which SSR programmes are able to engage in such strategic level reforms. To compensate for shortage of available staff with the right profile, experts with operational level experience are recruited and asked to engage in strategic level reforms. In these cases, despite initial attempts at engaging in strategic level reforms it is common to find that programmes tend to retreat from strategic level engagements to more operational/tactical level engagements to better align with the comfort zones of the recruited experts.

• Common presumption/misconception that consultation is equal to ownership
One of the continuous and recurring challenges in SSR is that programmes are struggling to achieve local ownership, which is one of the fundamental pillars of any SSR process. While there is wide agreement that ownership is essential for any programme, there is wide variance of views towards what that implies in practice. In this regard, guidance, assessments, and evaluations rarely dissect what mechanisms, capacity and institutional behaviour are required to achieve local ownership in practice. Similarly, it is rare to find thorough analysis of what risks and assumptions are associated with local ownership. In this regard, SSR programmes lag behind other development sectors in regards to applying aid effectiveness principles. This includes using country systems for implementation, including procurement of works, services and supplies. Similarly, SSR programmes often spend little time and energy at the design phase conceptualizing innovative approaches to reducing parallel implementation units as a standard or default management modality within SSR programmes. This is reflected in programme accountability and reporting lines being shaped towards the needs of donors rather than national actors. Equally, there is little analysis or consideration for national incentives, or lack thereof, to drive the reform process and supporting an incentive based system of reform if necessary. It is common to find that in countries which are rapidly venturing into more technical and complex SSR reforms there is an emerging inability of the political leadership to understand and steer the process as they lack awareness of what such reforms imply.

Quality Control
With the high profile of SSR programmes and the multitude of needs that need to be addressed, it is common to find that programmes are sacrificing budgets aimed to ensure quality and relevance for increased number of outputs and inputs. In this regard, programmes tend to underspend on critical management systems such as M&E, direct and regular observation and analysis in the field, dialogue, and advocacy. The lack of time spent discussing and observing challenges in Ministries, courts or police stations leads to a tendency for international experts to make assumptions regarding needs and relevance of reform proposals without fully understanding local context.

It is common to find that programmes are sacrificing budgets aimed to ensure quality and relevance for increased number of outputs and inputs
2. Coordination
With increased number of donors and new donors engaging , there are also increasing examples of incompatible approaches and views towards SSR being implemented in the same country context. There is poor coordination in developing a joint or complementary approach regarding norms and vision in environments where the host Government is not able to take a strong lead in doing so.
More donors engaged without effective coordination also results in more meetings and time spent on donor work for host Government staff (less time for them to work on SSR). Information sharing is usually poor and lacks substance.

Meeting with Government
• Improved information sharing between partners can reduce the number of meetings with senior policymakers
• Joint meetings between donors and partners should be considered - to avoid asking the same information in different meetings
• Donors should critically scrutinize whether meetings with a Minister or Permanent Secretary are necessary for an assessment, review or evaluation.
• Previous assessments and evaluations should be shared as to not repeat the same data collection processes

Effective coordination in SSR has typically required an ability and willingness of projects/programmes to adapt when needed
There are growing examples of programmes taking the necessary steps to change course when needed to promote improved coordination
• Tracking developments (eg. security situation, changes in priorities) and changing project scope as needed
• Identifying opportunities for joint operations (based on successes of implementation or need for reinforcement)
• Not trying to compete in areas of success of other partners but rather support and complement their efforts.
Recognizing the added value and comparative advantage of individual partners

Sharing Outputs
It is common to find that draft regulations, guidelines, assessments or studies produced during project implementation are kept confidential by project implementation teams.
Common Challenges
It is common to find that draft regulations, guidelines, assessments or studies produced during project implementation are kept confidential by project implementation teams.
It is difficult to track what has been produced
The same type of work is often repeated once a project team leaves the country (limited awareness to their work and poor sustainability of their outputs)
There is a proliferation of new regulations and laws through various donor projects - exceeding national absorption capacity and leading to continued changes in regulations and legal frameworks
All project outputs should be shared with development partners - even if unfinished or unsuccessful

Information Sharing
Work Plans
Donor coordination meetings and formal information sharing mechanisms usually share the general scope or objectives of new or planned development projects. They also tend to discuss what has been done or achieved. Information sharing rarely ventures into detailed discussions on what will be done (either through a formal briefing or by making work plans available to partners and Governments). Such information gaps are only partially compensated through informal networking between project managers or Embassy staff.

By sharing detailed project work plans on a regular basis (eg. periodic donor coordination meetings or even through email) it allows for proactive identification of possible areas of duplication, collaboration or complementarity. Sharing of work plans also ensures that there is a balanced approach to capacity building (eg. ensuring that workshops and trainings are not overlapping or consecutive - allowing time for Ministry staff to perform their daily functions and responsibilities)

Information sharing between donors and programmes is a persistent challenge
Sharing is limited to general information rather than substantive and detailed analysis, findings and plans
It is common to see that an agenda of a Minister or other senior managers is often taken up by continuous meetings with development agencies
Assessments, reviews and evaluations by default request meetings with senior leadership without considering the actual need or added value

Institutional Culture



Political will

HQ/Field level commitment


What influences good/bad coordination?
It is rare to find that development partners put the time and resources needed to coordinate - the lack of resources and time committed to coordination is a reflection of the commonly poor commitment to effective coordination
Reports and Steering Committees
Project steering committees are usually only open to Government and project staff (exclude national oversight institutions, civil society)
Some development agencies are publishing evaluation reports
Programme reports are rarely widely disseminated, even though they often contain useful information for other donors
Lessons Identified
There are few coordination mechanisms at country level to share lessons identified in project implementation. The lessons identified are usually only shared vertically between implementing partner and development agency. Final project evaluations are rarely shared publicly to see what was achieved and what the challenges to implementation were.
Open steering committee meetings or sharing the minutes of such meetings with donors
Organizing an end-term meeting, after action review or workshop to discuss project results and lessons learned with Government and the donor community.
Sharing ex-post evaluation reports
Once projects expire, the costs for websites that contain useful information are discontinued. Valuable information is therefore lost and hard to follow
Ideally donor coordination and information sharing should be a mechanism to continually develop and review the needs of national institutions and citizens. This requires information sharing to be sufficiently substantive and regular to develop a common and comprehensive understanding of needs.

Project Databases
It is common to find that SSR projects are inconsistently updated or even included in Government or Ministry donor project databases. The databases rarely provide a comprehensive and accurate view of what areas of the reform process are being supported.
Donors should engage in periodic forecasting of development projections and funding with the Government/Ministry. The forecasting should provide detailed projections of disbursement, project implementation dates and highlight any changes to the project scope.
The project database should be periodically updated - to provide accurate outline of what is and will be done by development partners

In countries where there is a sudden proliferation of donors, such as Ukraine most recently, there remains limited awareness as to what other donors and partners are planning or implementing in any given country. In some country examples such information sharing regarding activities in a specific country is even missing across Government. Commonly, information sharing regarding programmes only takes place once the process of designing a programme is initiated rather than more methodical and robust transparency regarding medium term plans, including forecasting potential future assessments or projects. This is especially the case where programmes are politically driven and are developed outside of regular development cycles and led by HQ staff rather than field staff. It is therefore difficult to anticipate potential gaps in support or to build complementarity with other ongoing or planned programmes. This is leading to gaps in support, poor continuity between individual projects, and even repetition/overlaps. Equally, host Government donor project tracking databases are limited because they remain incomplete, some donor shy away from publication of their activities, or such a databases are out of date. Equally, donors rarely cross-reference or integrate their specific activities or target points within host Government sector strategies, which makes it difficult to examine where the gaps in support are.

Coordination Meetings
• Development partner coordination meetings are commonly insufficient forums in themselves for robust coordination.
• Infrequent
• Many key partner activities take place outside the meeting
• Time constrained
• Information sharing is incomplete, lacks substance and detail and too general (Eg supporting police training – training on what and how?)
• Donor driven, rather than Government managed
• Donors should engage in periodic forecasting with the Government/Ministry. The forecasting should provide detailed projections of disbursement, project implementation dates, procurement plans and periodically highlight any changes to the project scope.

Division of Labour
Donors are often developing projects based on convenience

Infrequent dialogue on areas of engagement/responsibility.
Donors in several countries have developed MoU and other agreements to agree a division of labour and approach
With more donors engaged in SSR there is also an increased tendency for the governance –capacity gaps to be exacerbated, as new actors tend to focus on training and equipment support rather than governance issues. The question remains how to share the burden in terms of doing what’s needed, and often complex and difficult, rather than easy (working with more problematic Departments/Ministries or on difficult issues of transparency or accountability which tend to have less visible results). Some donors are more aware of the need to take risks but tend to overly take the brunt of the responsibility for taking on the difficult reform objectives. Similarly, there is commonly little scrutiny and rigorous examination of assumptions and risks as part of project designs, which leads to programmes being ill-suited for tackling the institutional culture and political culture in which they need to operate within.

• Selection of implementation location (eg. city or rural) based on cost considerations or convenience of setting. Rural and difficult locations are often given less attention in SSR due to added costs and security concerns for staff (including availability of amenities).
• Domestic/Development agency priorities vs. host Government priorities
• Selection of areas of engagement based on personal preference of project design team or project/task managers (eg. influence of experience and background rather than actual needs)
• Avoidance of risk
• Overlap in support: donors often choose the same or similar agencies/departments for capacity building support while others remain neglected - resulting in institutional imbalances in capacity. Selections are often based on convenience: language skills, power/prestige of department, ease of working with department
• No established division of labour based on comparative development agency strength or available resources (rarely even discussed)

Incentive and Commitment
• Coordination initiated and supported by technical levels only tends to be ad hoc, inconsistent and limited to select few activities rather than leading to reinforcement and complementarity
• Without clear incentives (institutional and individual)- coordination tends to be cosmetic and weak

• Senior (level of Cabinet and above) political commitment and interest in coordination
• Efficiency evaluations must consider coordination (division of labour, overlap, duplication, and comparative advantage)
• M&E should examine coordination (national and international)
• Resources and time for coordination. Some large scale programmes have now followed the example of some peacekeeping missions by recruiting experts tasked full time with donor coordination.

4. Political Engagement
Programmes commonly choose operational and tactical level engagements in the hopes of avoiding the politics associated with the SSR process. Such programmes commonly struggle to influence or support strategic level changes and have a poor record of sustainability
Political dialogue meetings at senior levels (eg. between Ambassadors and Ministers) remain infrequent and is commonly weak. The scope and quality of the dialogue is also inconsistent - largely focusing on discussing technical rather than political challenges to reform.
SSR practitioners and policymakers are increasingly recognizing the political context of JSSR. The political dimension is now more commonly identified in programme documents as a risk or as an opportunity for reform.
Advocacy efforts are increasingly recognised as important means of gaining political momemtum and commitment

Growing examples of success in combining technical activities with advocacy activities - seen to help develop political will, address misconceptions, and build ownership. Advocacy events are integrated as complementary programme activities within project design (both in the lead up to implementation but also during implementation of specific reform proposals). Advocacy events (eg. seminars, study visits) are most effective when they are specific, targeted, recurring and linked to concrete goals. In addition, advocacy activities should not be individual specific but rather inclusive to develop a critical mass of supporters. Timing advocacy events is crucial - tied to decision making processes or national timelines, entry-points, etc
Political dialogue between donors and host Governments tends to focus on activities, programme performance, or technical issues rather than systemic challenges and opportunities in the overall reform process
Simply speaking to a Minister or political actors is often incorrectly considered as constituting political dialogue

Simply speaking to a Minister or political actors is often incorrectly considered as constituting political dialogue, rather this should be seen as political engagement. In practice, political dialogue is difficult to initiate as commonly in post-conflict settings national political actors are often hesitant or even reluctant to formally discuss sensitive security and political issues with outsiders through structured meetings. This is even the case where political dialogue is an agreed commitment between the two parties (eg. European Commission EDF Funds Article 8 political dialogue meetings which are commonly infrequent and brief). In turn, political dialogue between donors and host Governments tends to focus on activities, programme performance, or technical issues rather than systemic challenges and opportunities in the overall reform process. In this regard, it is common to find that political dialogue does not venture into the real impediments or threats to reform, including the potential spoilers in the process.

As SSR processes become more complex, top level management in host countries is increasingly becoming disconnected from the strategic planning and management processes. It is common to find that top level management is concerned mostly with high profile cases rather than the reform processes and they struggle to fully grasp the proposed reform goals (in turn the ownership of the reform process is at technical levels, in such cases budgetary allocations are realocated away from the reforms and top level management slows or stymies progress in implementation of the reform process).

SSR projects are starting to cover the political disconnect and gaps by more frequently focusing on high level advisory support to top managers and providing support to reforming strategic management processes, structures and systems. Projects successful in tackling sensitive political impediments to reform are those that are able to address misconceptions about the process and harbour trust in the intended outcomes of SSR at political and local levels.

Tip 1: venture beyond the programme and consider the overall reform process key issues (legal frameworks, change management, finances, reform commitments, human rights, accountability). If it is difficult to initiate the political dialogue, start small and work your way up. If the engagement is infrequent don't go straight for the big issues but rather work to build a partnership first. Consider working at lower political levels first before seeking to engage Ministers and Deputy Ministers on the issues. Trust can usually be gained by reputation and strong performance in the programme and takes time to develop.

Tip 2: not all political engagement is by default constructive or helpful. Political engagement that is done the wrong way (being forceful or disconnected from operational realities) can actually be damaging to the work done at technical levels. Political engagement requires a skill set, mandate and patience. The quality and openness of political engagement is rarely reflective of the size and budget of the programmes being delivered/offered but rather are more productive if host Governments are not seen as seeking a specific agenda or domestic interests. Know the context and institutional/political culture before politically engaging.

Tip 3: don't use political dialogue/engagement as simply a fire fighting mechanism that is used when things go wrong. Using less formal and less structured approaches to dialogue can help to initiate dialogue.

Mapping Dialogue
Technical Assistance
Minister/State Secretary
Civil Society
Development Agency HQ
Donor Community
Operations and political officers in Delegation/Missions need to be engaged in overseeing and working with project implementation teams
Regular political dialogue meetings (eg. Article 8 meetings between the European Union and European Development Fund member countries) should discuss SSR developments. Political demarches by the diplomatic missions can also help to discuss SSR challenges and political will for reform. Government should be encouraged to consider SSR as a Cabinet level and whole of Government priority
Periodic high level meetings between Heads of Mission and national senior policymakers should be organized to exchange views on performance, map changing political priorities, and take stock of challenges. Agreed mutual commitments in regards to SSR should be reviewed (eg. what assistance has been provided, and what reforms the Government will initiate and when). It is important to note that there is often a stark difference in priorities of policymakers and Strategic Development plans (which are designed and managed most often at technical level).
High level donor coordination meetings should be used to discuss political challenges to reform and to openly and collectively map possible threats and challenges in the process.
Missions should involve, as much as possible, civil society in their political dialogue on SSR (promoting an inclusive approach to SSR). Missions should at least ensure that they are aware of the concerns and views of civil society on key SSR issues prior to engaging in structured dialogue with senior Government officials
Civil society should be encouraged to participate in technical coordination meetings alongside Government and development partners
Political reporting of the diplomatic missions to HQ Equally, political reporting of the diplomatic missions should analyze and assess progress in SSR
High Level state visits are an effective means to discuss SSR challenges with the host country. Such meetings can help to address political stumbling blocks in the reform process
Ambassadors/Special Representatives/Heads of Delegation should have basic familiarity and training on key SSR concepts and should be periodically briefed by operational staff on SSR developments. Senior diplomatic officials should strive to continually discuss SSR developments with their national counterparts
Terms of Reference for programmes should highlight expectations for how Embassy/Delegation/Mission political staff will engage and support the work of technical assistance programmes
Project implementation reports should highlight political challenges and opportunities for SSR
Technical coordination meetings should discuss political developments and rising security challenges
Development partners should consider having a collective monitoring framework on assessing political challenges to reform (eg. European Union has a Governance Profile for each country with mutually agreed targets with Government)
High level reciprocal visits (either of development agency HQ to the country or host country visit to development agency HQ) should discuss not only programme performance but also political context and challenges
• At the project design stage calculate the re-current cost implications associated with the programme (eg. maintenance, training, rent, salaries). Such costing will determine what funds will need to be made available by Government to sustain the programme after implementation finishes.
• Through discussions with the budget department of the Ministry and top level management determine if the Ministry will be able to cover such re-current costs. Having real figures helps the Government understand the responsibilities and implications it will need to take over (examine likely budget growth in the near term and budget constraint realities). A common mistake is to wait until the end of the programme to undertake such meetings - few SSR projects take the time to calculate or even estimate such costs at the beginning.
• Monitor if the Government has planned for the re-current costs by examining the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework budget submission (3 year budget submission) and looking at the re-current budget and if it accounts for the new funding needs. Even if these are just projections rather than commitments of budget, it will ensure that the re-current costs are being considered and some planning is taking place.
• Develop a cost-sharing model. Through this model the financing burden towards the project is gradually transferred from the donor to the Government. An early financing commitment (even if small) tends to improve chances of sustainability
• Look if the Government has a history in cutting maintenance costs by examining past budgets. This can be a warning of the sustainability of high end equipment or facilities - it may be necessary to consider low-tech solutions with smaller re-current cost implications. Also look at previous training/equipment projects and see how long they were sustained.

Top tips:
Pace of reforms needs to be matched with the absorption capacity. Tools need to match education and technology literacy, training needs to take into account time commitments, and new legislation/rules/manuals need to be introduced at a pace whereby staff has time to become familiar with them before moving on to others.
Project proposals should not underestimate or downplay the probability of continued external assistance to manage or support the reforms after implementation.
Effective capacity building, advising and mentoring are the only means to ensure that there is a skills-transfer. Experience or observation are rarely sufficient in themselves to ensure transfer of know how.
Technology should follow change management processes or complement capacity building and skills development - not lead such reforms.
Turnover of national staff needs to be taken into account, skills training needs to target broader numbers and some internal mentoring mechanisms developed to compensate
• Regular political dialogue between Government and Development Partner Embassy/Delegation/Mission should discuss changes in political priorities
• Development agency should monitor the budget proposals of the Government - these are good indications of actual vs stated priorities.
• Some incentive based system can be used for political motivation (eg. budget support variable tranche)

Local community needs to feel consulted and engaged in the project design and implementation phase. This helps to reduce external resistance to change and build public confidence in the reforms.
Inclusive dialogue is the only means to ensure that in the long-term the SSR process does not simply serve the needs of local or political elites. Inclusive approaches help reduce spoilers.
By not including a strong focus on local level, SSR processes and programmes becoming highly susceptible to political fluctuations. The local communities and civil society can help build continuity.
Emphasis on local level also helps to reduce elite capture of SSR programmes/processes and resources.
Local communities need to feel or see the outcomes and impact of the programmes, or at least fully understand why change will take time. Timing is important and perception is not always measured through statistics (eg. crime statistics or number of police). Moving too quickly can also undermine the legitimacy of the process if the local communities do not understand the reforms or do not see why they are being implemented.
If new reforms are not linked to local customs and needs: once the international support is reduced such reforms may quickly be changed back to how it was before the international community engagement.

Local Ownership
Project Design
Cost Sharing
Pace and Time - national timelines not project deadlines
Project Accountability to national agency
Inclusive dialogue
With a steady, yet evident, increase in the number and size of programmes engaging in high level security sector governance reforms, there has been a growing world wide shortage of experts with experience in supporting such reforms
There is a shortage of available face to face trainings, especially in country trainings
Growth in frequency of pre-deployment and in country training
Increase in roles and influence of national programme staff
With a steady, yet evident, increase in the number and size of programmes engaging in high level security sector governance reforms, there has been a growing shortage of experts with experience in supporting such reforms. This has contributed to frequent delays in implementation or prolonged vacancies in key positions within programmes. To compensate, donor SSR programmes have had to increasingly resort to recruiting staff with operational and tactical expertise into positions requiring more strategic level experience. Similarly, with the growth in the number of SSR programmes, Embassy and Delegation’s staff are asked to manage and monitor SSR programmes in growing number of countries, with many of the staff lacking prior training or experience in this field. This has in turn created a growing demand for training as a means to provide basic skills commensurate to the function. In particular given the growing demand for training, juxtaposed with the shortage and costs of face to face trainings, e-learning has been increasingly popular as a training tool.

With the global increase in the number and size of SSR programmes there is a increasing need for training for newly recruited staff who has little/no prior experience with SSR. Yet, there is a shortage of available face to face trainings and the pre-deployment or in country training offered by donors and missions is commonly insufficient as a standalone training. In turn there is a rise in the popularity and supply of e-learnings, including as a required/recommended component of pre-deployment for staff.

It is common to find that programmes contribute to brain drain of Ministry staff for donor programme implementation by recruiting those that should be beneficiaries. The talented and motivated national staff tends to shift towards donor programming, sometimes exacerbating the capacity challenges faced by target institutions.

With the global increase in the number and size of SSR programmes there is a increasing need for training for newly recruited staff who has little/no prior experience with SSR. Yet, there is a shortage of available face to face trainings and the pre-deployment or in country training offered by donors and missions is commonly insufficient as a standalone training. In turn there is a rise in the popularity and supply of e-learnings, including as a required/recommended component of pre-deployment for staff.

The importance of national staff in programmes and missions is often understated in guidance notes and programme design processes. Yet following various evaluations and lesson learning processes it is clear that national staff are having more prominent roles and influence on the effectiveness and efficiency of SSR programmes. Some of the most successful programmes have increased their investment in recruiting the right national staff as a means of ensuring effectiveness, relevance, continuity and even sustainability of the support that is provided. Yet, there are inconsistent efforts to detail what national staff functions are, what profiles are needed, and how to utilize the staff in original programme documents.

• Provide institutional memory
• Help open doors
• Knowledge of local context
• Help with handover during international expert turnover, ensure continuity
• Language skills
• Legitimacy
• Improved sustainability
o skills stay in country even after programme ends

• It is common to find that donor programmes purge national staff away from national institutions (eg. better pay, better working conditions). In turn this can at times exacerbate capacity deficits within those institutions and undermine the overall capacity building ambitions of the programme.
• Donor agencies often under budget for capacity building of national staff

National Stakeholders and Beneficiaries
Development Agency
Project Contract Requirements
SSR project accountability mechanisms and accountability lines are mostly geared towards development agency goals and contractual terms rather than end user needs and concerns/views on performance and conduct of the project
National Stakeholders
Civil Society: Civil society are infrequently included in steering committee meetings or in decision making processes regarding the management of the project.

National stakeholders: Without giving a leading role to national stakeholders in project design, project management (drafting of terms of reference, recruitment of staff, reporting, monitoring, etc.) and evaluation of the project it is difficult to assume that national authorities can be accountable for the project performance or that the project accountability lines are directed towards national stakeholders.

Evaluation: Impact evaluations or user surveys are rare in SSR programming. These are, however, alongside perception surveys some of the few methods to ensure that the projects are aligned to improving the perception of safety and justice for end users of national, reviewing whether the project was relevant, and the outputs had reached their desired outcomes.

Project Contracts
Flexibility: Donor procedures make adapting the contract on a needs basis difficult and lengthy. The decision on when and how to adapt a contract to a changing context or environment are made usually by the Development agency. Terms of Reference for the project are more prescriptive than allowing for iterative changes and adaptation of the project over time and development agencies are sometimes difficult to persuade to change course if needed.

Recruitment: It is common to see different views between the Government and Development Agency on the performance of individual experts. Given the difficulties of supporting SSR and the special skills required, it is often a challenge to recruit the right experts for project implementation. In this regard, selection of experts (including job descriptions) is usually led by the development agency. Equally performance evaluations of experts is also conducted by the development agency.

Donor Agency
Reporting on project performance is commonly designed to meet the needs of the development agency (eg. language of reports, content, and frequency of reporting). Development agencies design (either explicitly or implicitly) the first line of accountability for projects to be to the development agency rather than national institutions (eg. project teams are expected to informally report first to the development agency in case of problems and provide, reporting is aimed to inform development agency HQ on performance, issues and challenges are primarily handled by development agency). Recruitment processes are largely driven by development agency procedures or preferences - final selection of project staff inconsistently involves national actors.

Start and end date of implementation is determined by the development agency (based on convenience - eg. frontloading of programming to facilitate management or improve disbursement statistics.

Decision and final word on whether project was succesful
To see part IV click on the link
To see part II click on the link
To see part I click on the link:
Please note that this tool is under continuous development. At the moment we are still in the early phase of data collection and analysis.
This is intended to be an open tool. We would greatly appreciate any comments, suggestions and contributions (examples, emerging practice, analysis, etc). Please let us know your views on trends, innovations and emerging issues through the ISSAT Community of Practice: http://issat.dcaf.ch/Share
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Much of the knowledge base underpinning SSR practice is fragmented, localized to individual donors, SSR practitioners or even programmes. In the absence of a robust evidence base and investment in global learning and monitoring platforms for SSR, much of what is known about SSR is based on anecdotal evidence or remains scattered through various evaluations or reports that are inconsistently shared in the public domain. This tool is a unique attempt to synthesize, document and collate some of the existing knowledge base on SSR that otherwise would remain in various reports or conference papers. The tool draws information from various ISSAT supported evaluations, assessments, and advocacy events but also reports, findings and lessons identified from the wider SSR practitioner community.
To take advantage of ISSAT’s unique position, working intimately with a large number of the leading actors in the field of SSR, significant effort is made in gathering and synthesizing emerging issues and trends in SSR. This is done to better understand how SSR is evolving and where emerging gaps in practice or effectiveness are forming. As part of this process the ISSAT methodology cell, a group of staff tasked with developing the ISSAT methodology, has focused on streamlining lesson learning throughout ISSAT support activities. ISSAT has institutionalised processes whereby all ISSAT advisory field support, training and advocacy and outreach activities feed into a centralised mapping of the various challenges/trends, emerging issues, and innovations. This includes issues found at the guidance and policy level, the way development partners are supporting SSR, or the common issues found in national SSR processes. The gathered knowledge is progressively synthesized and analyzed by the methodology cell to identify common issues and trends. The analysis is progressively documented and tracked through this database of trends, issues and challenges.

There are 4 sections to the trends, challenges and issues database.
Part 1: Policy, Concept and Approach to SSR (click: http://prezi.com/ldkv2cqvzuwf/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy)
Part II: Project Design and Formulation (click: http://prezi.com/n9-v8liuvfko/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy)
Part III: Project Implementation (click: http://prezi.com/ywvjaxxfx2nk/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy)
Part IV: Monitoring and Evaluation (click: http://prezi.com/cfg6qbvf0h1d/?utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=copy)

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Management Team
Overall SSR programmes commonly rely on international experts to staff management functions within the programme. Yet, there are growing number of examples of programmes conciously focusing on reducing, or gradually eliminating altogether, the reliance on international experts in programme management. Such efforts have shown to contribute to improved programme sustainability but also improve overall programme effectiveness and relevance.
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