4.1 High level briefing to senior officials
The government is the beneficiary of the PEFA assessment and the owner of the final report. It will also be responsible for using the report findings as input to PFM reform plans and actions. Therefore, it is crucial that senior officials and ministers be aware of the assessment activities and the importance of providing full and accurate information. Senior officials have a crucial role to play in ensuring that information is provided to the assessment team. Their ownership, understanding and cooperation is vital to success.
The briefing of senior officials is usually delivered when the field work begins so that they are aware of the itinerary and the need for their staff to provide data and meet with the assessment team. A separate briefing at the end of the field work, to report on progress and next steps, is also useful.
These briefings normally provide a brief overview of PEFA, how the current assessment relates to other initiatives and to any previous PEFA, and the main elements of the assessment process for the country.
The briefings include an overview of the information to be collected, the organizations to be contacted, and the timeframe and deliverables for the assessment. Before these briefings, the members of the assessment team must ensure that they are aware of country circumstances, such as the main features of the economic situation and outlook, and any significant recent developments and areas of sensitivity or importance to the government. This knowledge will help to ensure that the briefing is relevant and useful to the recipients. The high-level briefing supplements the separate launch workshop (see 4.2)
4.2 Assessment launch and workshop
A formal launch event provides the opportunity to explain the objectives, methodology and application of PEFA 2016 to those in government who will have the most direct contact with the assessment team doing its field work. This event usually involves a general overview of the main features of PEFA, how it will be applied based on the concept note/ToR, and the potential benefits to the beneficiaries.
It is important that government officials and those other individuals involved in contributing or benefiting from the assessment know what is required and why. Participants in the launch would usually include the heads of the key central agencies, such as the prime minister’s or president’s office, MoF, revenue agencies, economic and planning ministries, heads of at least the main spending ministries, civil society organizations/representatives, etc.
Training in the use of the PEFA Framework is highly recommended prior to the commencement of the field work, irrespective of the assessment model or scope. Training would be expected to include an explanation of the framework, the methodology for assessment of indicators, the structure and content of the report, the process for implementing the assessment, and the next steps after the assessment is completed, such as the multi-stakeholder dialogue on strengths and weaknesses of PFM and actions to improve performance. Training in PEFA objectives and methodology can be covered in 1-3 days, depending on the depth of detail that is considered necessary.
Phase Two: Field Work