The size of the team will depend mainly on the scope of the assessment and the country context. If the assessment covers both CG and SNGs, or CGs with geographically dispersed de-concentrated entities, it may be more practical to have a larger team to allow all parts of the assessment to be performed around the same time.
The assessors will need to work as a team, but one person (preferably the team leader) should be responsible for coordination, providing work plans, setting timetables, calling internal team meetings and preparing the draft report. A crucial deliverable will be submission of a draft assessment report to the oversight team, with peer review by at least four independent PFM institutions, to be eligible for PEFA Check. The team leader will be responsible for ensuring all contributions are made on time, and the report is prepared as a coherent, integrated assessment not simply a collation of separate individual contributions. This is particularly important in the case of an assessment of a set of SNGs where a consolidated report has to be prepared. The evidence-based nature of the PEFA assessment, combined with a strong independent QA process, helps to reduce the risk of bias or unsubstantiated assertions. If external expert staff from PFM institutions or external consultants are used for all or part of the assessment, it is important that they have knowledge of the country’s institutions and systems. Although external experts may sometimes be necessary due to the scope and complexity of PEFA 2016, working with local consultants will facilitate communication with the government team, enhance understanding of the PFM system and the context in which it operates, and help to fill data gaps after completion of the main field work. Involving local consultants also strengthens country capacity to undertake PEFA assessments. The assessment manager will be responsible for establishing individual ToRs and making arrangements to mobilize the assessment team. The assessment manager will also establish protocols for communication with the team leader prior to the field work.
3.2 Identify data requirements and sources
The assessment manager needs to identify data requirements and sources as part of the initial phase of information gathering and planning for the field work. Based on the concept note/ToR, and following discussions with the assessment manager, the team leader makes an initial data request to the relevant government officials, possibly through the assessment manager or the assessment liaison officer. The request should allow enough time for the information requested to be provided and examined before the main field work begins. The data requirements will reflect the scope of the assessment. Key documents will include budget documents, PFM legislation, financial reports, relevant procedures, rules and regulations.
The list of data requirements and the sources identified by the assessment manager will help inform the scheduling of meetings with key government officials (see task 3.3). Further details on data requirements and sources are set out in volume II and III of the PEFA handbook. A set of data requirements and data sources is presented in Annex 1.4.
The data required for an assessment may differ between countries according to institutional circumstances. Training at the commencement of the field work will help officials and stakeholders better understand the particular data requirements and sources.
In establishing data requirements, it is important that definitions and coverage be clear (e.g. SNG versus de-concentrated CG entity; domestic arrears, extra-budgetary units, classification of public corporations). The glossary accompanying volume II of the PEFA handbook provides definitions of many terms used by PEFA, but users should be careful to ensure that the definitions used in the country being assessed are consistent with the ones used by PEFA. Clear and consistent definitions are necessary for the assessment team to correctly assess performance
PEFA Handbook Volume 1: The PEFA Assessment Process – Planning, Managing and Using PEFA