Thursday, 31 March 2011

Capacity Development of IA partners on Financial Management

On Friday March 25 Anna Lentink presented her master product for the post doc education (AMID) at the CIDIN in Nijmegen. Under supervision of Willemijn Lammers and supported by Angelica Senders (of FSAS) and Guido Hulshoff, Anna produced a policy paper for ICCO about the institutionalization of capacity development of partner organizations in financial management. The objective of this meeting was to allow for a presentation of Anna's findings and discussing follow up of this study. For this occasion around 15 people representing different layers of ICCO were gathered, including Jan van Doggenaar, programme director and Machteld Ooijens, head of P&D. 

In general the study received much appreciation and Anna’s observations were recognized. Her study again confirms the importance of Capacity Development, on financial management as sound financial management and policy are essential for effective realization of partners’ (and ICCOs) goals. Also her recommendations are supported, mainly:
  1. Reinforcing ICC O's policy on financial management, which stresses the importance of developing the capacities of partner organizations on financial management.
  2. Establishment of a Special Unit/ Knowledge Center to support Financial Officers (FOs) as well as other staff in Global and regional offices in their tasks and to exchange experiences amongst FOs.
  3. Clarify roles and tasks of FOs and benchmarking their workload at a realistic level, which allows for stronger advice and capacity building role for the FO, beside their administrative and monitoring role. These roles should be endorsed by a clear job description and clear targets on capacity building in the partner contract conditions.
There are some challenges to realize the above recommendations. Taking into account the fact that capacity development can not be endless, especially not in times of budget cuts, there should be a balance between investing in organizations and their outcomes in terms of developmental change. It will be a challenge to develop a strategy to incorporate the recommendations, especially the call for specialized support (Knowledge Center or at least a specialist on Financial Management) and sharper monitoring and supervision of the functioning of the FOs. This work used to be done by the former HAZs in the Global Offices,.currently, a similar role is desired in the GO and RO. This will have budgetary consequences and will be further investigated.

In general the audience was positive about ongoing initiatives like the wiki on Financial Management as presented by Guido Hulshoff and the idea to establish a learning community on Financial Management.

It was agreed that follow up of this study will be discussed at management level of ICCO and that actions will be integrated in the ongoing project cycle and processes towards increased efficiency of the organizations.

For those interested in the main findings and recommendations of Anna, please find below her PowerPoint presentation.

View more presentations from ICCO Alliance.

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