The Review, looking at how we will define our future objectives for working with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), as well as associated approaches and instruments for our partnership model is gathering momentum. We’re now into week 4 of our engagement with you online: we’re focusing this week on effective approaches.
Funding. We know some of the main issues. In previous discussions you have told us that: unpredictable funding makes it difficult for you to plan; guidelines are sometimes unclear and inconsistent; and that often application, due diligence and reporting requirements are too arduous and disproportionate.
Have you seen any improvements in these?
We must also always keep in sight our accountability to Parliament and the UK taxpayers, and our duty to demonstrate best value for money and maximum results from the public spend.
Without diminishing the validity or importance of these points, or the challenges they create, it’s time to move the conversation on. So, answers to the following on a postcard, well in the comment section, please.
- What types of funding models, in which contexts, are best to develop effective civil society that meet DFID and CSO’s common goals?
- How can we ensure flexible funding models, that are able to evolve with the context?
- How do we balance the need for accountability with flexibility?
- Are our rules, regulations and procedures transparent, do they provide clear instructions, and what do you think is unnecessary? Let us know your ideas on what you think is unnecessary bureaucracy, and if we’ll see what we can do.
- Could we make more use of digital processes for grant application and management? Are there donors who already do this well?
- Are we making best use of our fund managers and if not how could we structure these arrangements better?
I think it’s best to have a mix of funding models, shaped to suit different partner’s capacities, locations and contexts. For me, these models, whatever they may look like, need to meet DFID/CSO joint objectives, while empowering the partner to deliver. In programmes I’ve managed, I want general reassurance that it is on track, delivering to time, budget and quality. On the occasions when I ask for a brief and succinct update covering progress, issues and risks, and receive a long in depth analysis of outputs, paragraphs upon paragraphs as to how the theory of change is being embedded across the programme, a list of all the meetings attended; all with ‘beneficiary’ interviews and photos…I worry. My ambition for an agile, lean programme management approach is in flames. It feels like Chinese Whispers.
Comment, share and give us your thoughts
We’d love to see your responses and ideas around these questions. Feel free to respond to other comments whether expressing agreement or an alternative view. There’s no survey this week and the first is now closed. However, you can still take the second and third surveys, which are open until 4 and 11 September respectively.
If you’d like to know more about the review check out our webpage, follow @DFID_Inclusive on Twitter and use #DFIDCSPR to get involved. You can also participate in the DFID and Bond co-hosted Twitterchat this Thursday from 13.00 and follow Matt on Twitter.
We won't be able to offer personal responses to each and every comment, however, we can promise they will be read and considered during the review. Please do not submit written submissions concerning the Lines of Enquiry to the review team, as we are unable to commit to reviewing these. For this reason, it is essential to engage with our blogs and surveys embedded in them.