Press Release SR EuropeAid - European Court of Auditors

Press Release
For immediate release
Luxembourg, 11 December 2014
EuropeAid’s evaluation and results-oriented monitoring systems do not
provide adequate information on EU development expenditure results, say
EU auditors
Two of the key elements of the accountability framework operated by the European Commission's
Directorate-General for Development and Cooperation (EuropeAid) are its evaluation and results-oriented monitoring (ROM)
systems. In its special report published today, the European Court of Auditors (ECA) is critical of the reliability of these
Karel Pinxten, the ECA Member responsible for this report, said: “The demand for accountability for EU expenditure in all fields
has never been higher. It is not good enough to report achievements in vague global terms. The Commission needs to have the
building blocks necessary for a comprehensive reporting system which provides meaningful information for its own management
and for its external stakeholders. One of these components is a strong evaluation system which feeds into an overall reporting
process. At the present time, EuropeAid’s system is inadequate.”
”The evaluations of projects and programmes which are organised by Commission delegations and carried out in partner
countries are unsatisfactorily managed: overall supervision is inadequate, the amount of resources used is unclear and access to
the results of these evaluations is lacking,” according to Mr Pinxten.
Most programme evaluations are carried out before the impacts and sustainability of measures can be ascertained. There is,
generally, no requirement for ex-post evaluations and, as a result, these are rarely carried out. Indeed, whereas ROM
contractors previously carried out ex-post exercises in a certain percentage of cases, this practice has recently been
discontinued. There is therefore a serious lack of third-party assessment of impacts and sustainability.
The auditors found thematic and country evaluations (strategic evaluations) to be better managed and more results-focused
than programme evaluations. However, the absence of well-defined objectives and indicators frequently hampers the work of
the evaluators and limits the usefulness of their work. In addition, the planned strategic evaluation programme for the 20072013 period was not executed in full.
The systems in place do not ensure that maximum use is made of the findings of the evaluations. Weaknesses were found in the
follow-up not only of programme evaluations but also of strategic evaluations and ROM findings.
The detailed recommendations in the report are intended to pave the way for the necessary improvements. Given the
considerable sums involved, with annual development expenditure in the region of 8 billion euro, it is imperative that robust
evaluation systems are implemented without delay.
The purpose of this press release is to give the main messages of the special report adopted by the European Court of Auditors.
The full report is on
ECA Press
Damijan Fišer - Press Officer
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E: [email protected] @EUAuditorsECA Youtube: EUAuditorsECA
Notes to editors
ECA special reports are published throughout the year, presenting the findings of selected audits of specific EU budgetary
areas or management topics. This Special Report (18/2014) is entitled “EuropeAid’s evaluation and results-oriented
monitoring systems” and examines whether these systems are reliable.
The EU auditors assessed whether EuropeAid’s evaluation and results-oriented monitoring (ROM) systems:
are appropriately organised and resourced;
ensure the provision of relevant and robust findings;
ensure that maximum use is made of the findings.
The findings of the auditors are mainly negative and point to weaknesses particularly with regard to programme
evaluations. While the evaluation and ROM functions are well organised, more attention should be paid to the efficient
use of resources. The systems do not provide enough information on the results achieved and fail to ensure maximum use
of the findings.
The conclusions of the report give rise to the following recommendations:
EuropeAid should maintain adequate management information and perform needs assessments on a regular basis in
order to ensure an informed allocation of financial and staff resources between programme evaluations and ROM.
In order to ensure that evaluations carried out reflect the priorities of the organisation, EuropeAid should:
define clear selection criteria to prioritise programme evaluations and document how they were applied in
establishing the evaluation plans, taking into account the complementarity with ROM;
significantly strengthen its system to monitor and report on the implementation of evaluation plans, including an
analysis of the reasons for delays and the description of measures adopted to address them;
strengthen the overall supervision of programme evaluation activities by EuropeAid.
In order to ensure the quality of programme evaluations and ROMs, EuropeAid should:
insist that operational units and delegations apply the quality control requirements, including for programme
evaluations the use of a reference group and documentation of quality controls performed;
check on a regular basis the application of these controls;
In order to enhance the evaluation system’s capability to provide adequate information on results achieved, EuropeAid
apply more rigorously the regulatory provisions requiring the use of SMART objectives and verifiable indicators;
modify the monitoring system so that it continues to provide data on programmes until at least three years after
their completion;
increase significantly the proportion of ex-post programme evaluations.
In order to ensure the maximum use of evaluation and ROM findings, EuropeAid should:
extend the follow-up period for strategic evaluations;
develop a central database for programme evaluations to store evaluation reports, action plans and their followup, with search functionalities which permit analysis.