its composition (staff, international and local consultants) and required expertise (including minimum requirements in terms of skills, local knowledge, etc.), training requirements, budget, funding sources and timetable.

The concept note/ToR usually does not exceed 12 pages. Further guidelines on the preparation of a concept note/ToR for assessments at both central and sub-national governments are provided at annex 1.3. The annex also provides links to the Word templates and instructions available at

The levels of government to be assessed should be clearly defined (e.g., central government (CG), subnational government (SNG), or sample of SNGs). The team, person-days and average costs will depend on the scope and nature of the assessment, and the size of the country. If a previous assessment has been conducted, this may require additional data collection for tracking performance changes using a previous version of PEFA methodology, as explained in Box 3 in section 3.2. In the case of a successive assessment, the requirement to measure and document performance changes over time should be clearly and adequately explained in the concept note/ToR. While additional data collection may require more time and resources, comparison with the previous assessment that used a previous framework version brings added value to the exercise since it provides an overview of the overall progress on PFM systems performance and the impact of any reforms undertaken between the assessments. Therefore, it is recommended that countries undertaking successive assessments that use3d a previous PEFA framework version also carry out a comparison with the previous assessment following the Secretariat guidance available at pefa. org under User Guidance and provided in the Annex 4, PEFA Handbook Volume III.

A PEFA assessment should be planned and conducted as quickly as possible, otherwise it loses relevance. However, the timetable needs to include sufficient flexibility to accommodate unforeseeable complications and to provide time to fill information gaps after initial comments are received from the reviewers.

2.2. Peer review

Once a draft of the concept note/ToR has been prepared by the assessment manager and approved by the oversight team, the concept note/ToR is shared with the government and/or other relevant government institutions or officials that are not already part of the assessment team and with other peer reviewers. The draft concept note should be submitted for peer review well in advance of the launch of the assessment, i.e. before the in-country field work starts.

To get the PEFA Check, the draft concept note/ToR should be reviewed by at least four peer-reviewers representing four independent institutions. One of these institutions should be the government assessed and one should be the PEFA Secretariat. It is important to have a range of peer reviewers for the concept note to ensure that all important issues have been addressed at the beginning of the process. Peer reviewers other than the PEFA Secretariat should have a good understanding of PFM in the country being assessed.

The peer review of the concept note/ToRs takes approximately 10 business days.

The draft concept note/ToR should also be distributed to all PFM development partners locally for information in addition to selected PEFA reviewers.

2.3. Finalize concept note/ToR

Next, the assessment manager will update the concept note/ToR to reflect peer review comments. The final concept note/ToR is then ready to be approved by the oversight team and submitted to the PEFA Secretariat and other peer reviewers (in accordance with the PEFA Check requirements) as the final version. The PEFA assessment field work should not start before the concept note is finalized and distributed to all assessment stakeholders, including government entities and development partners as appropriate.


Phase One: Planning the PEFA Assessment