Findings on efficiency

AuthorDirectorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) (European Commission), Landell Mills International
Final Evaluation Report: Part B- NRC Partnership Evaluation
8. Findings on efficiency
Finding 7: The DG ECHO partnership framework aspires to simplified procedures but does not provide any
guidance as to how this may be achieved. The result is that work-arounds and informal dialogues become the
primary means of improving the efficiency of partnership transactions.
Finding 8: Proposal and modification processes are lengthy, requiring a level of detail and scrutiny that is time
consuming. This is compounded by uncertainty in both partners about how efficiency requirements should be
Finding 9: Rigorous audits applying the Financial Regulation exhibit the same combination of detailed
analysis, conducted in an open and collaborative spirit, but at considerable management cost to both DG
ECHO and NRC. The positive consequence is that they have led to NRC strengthening its systems.
Finding 10: The de facto technical authority of DG ECHO field TA, recognised as a vital input to flexible
management, is mismatched with their de jure lack of financial authority; this has been a source of inefficiency
in cases where their guidance has been subsequently over-turned.
Finding 11: NRC is viewed by many in DG ECHO as a very expensive partner, which is not necessarily
justified by the high costs and high risks of meeting finance, anti-corruption and anti-terrorism compliance
Finding 12: Annual funding without any future year commitment is a cost-effectiveness issue as it affects
operating costs and long-term, in-country trust and knowledge building.
Finding 13: DG ECHO policy guidance on cash, and its highly valued technical expertise at field level have
systematically improved NRC responses.
8.1. Management costs and administrative burden
Terms of engagement of the partnership
The FPA sets the terms of engagement between DG ECHO and NGO recipients of DG ECHO grant
funding. These are constrained by EU policies and regulations including the humanitarian aid regulation,
the financial regulation, sectoral policies, and relevant legislation such as that on counter terrorism. The
FPA requires that partners provide assistance in accordance with the humanitarian principles of
humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence which together define what is meant by a ‘principled’
approach. Further, DG ECHO agrees to provide aid in accordance with the principles of Good
Humanitarian Donorship (GHD) which include reference to principled humanitarian action, respect for
and promotion of international law, the importance of needs-based assistance, accountability to affected
populations, predictable humanitarian funding, coherence of donor action, primacy of civilian response
and support to multilateral co-ordinated humanitarian action.
Country or regional HIPs communicate to potential partners the needs as assessed by DG ECHO and
the parameters partners are expected to observe in preparing proposals. The HIP comes with thematic
and technical annexes that elaborate on policies, principles and guidelines referred to in the FPA, to
which have been added DG ECHO’s Grand Bargain commitments. This requires partners to explore and
propose concrete ways of implementing commitments such as multi-annual planning and reduced
duplication and management costs.
Grants are provided for specific projects (actions) on an annual basis. The total available for a country or
region is constrained within a budget envelope determined by an EU Commission implementing decision.
DG ECHO assesses proposals against a set of compliance markers, together with a narrative analysis

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