Government of Canada

Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada

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Results-based Management – 2008 Policy Statement: Amended Terms and Definitions

Last update: August 19, 2008

Prepared by Performance Management Division, Strategic Policy and Performance Branch, Canadian International Development Agency

Abbreviations

CIDA
Canadian International Development Agency
DAC
Development Assistance Committee
GC
Government of Canada
LFA
logical framework analysis
MfDR
management for development results
OECD
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
RBM
Results-based Management
RRMD
Results and Risk Management Division
SPPB
Strategic Policy and Performance Branch
TBS
Treasury Board Secretariat
UNDG
United Nations Development Group

1. Introduction

This document provides the rationale for decisions made to amend the current key results-based management (RBM) terms, definitions, and methodology used by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

There are three reasons for doing so:

  1. There is a need for better coherence within CIDA when using RBM terms, definitions and methodology at corporate, program, and investment levels.
  2. Based on recent Government of Canada (GC) initiatives such as the Federal Accountability Act and the Management, Resources and Results Structure Policy, there is a need to better demonstrate Canadian value added in CIDA programming and to do so using common GC standards. CIDA must better show how Canadian taxpayer dollars are used to deliver development assistance in order to contribute, in collaboration with other development organizations (shared accountability), to the achievement of development results.
  3. There is a need to align and harmonize CIDA's RBM terminology with what is used by the international donor community (e.g. outputs). According to the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness (2005), development organizations should try to use common performance management related terminology and practices when addressing RBM activities.

These decisions are based on:

  • CIDA's shared accountability: GC and International Development partners;
  • key findings and recommendations of the Analysis Report on CIDA Key Results-based Management Terms and Related Definitions produced, July 27, 2007, (prepared by the Results and Risk Management Division (RRMD));
  • consolidated comments received from the Branch Performance Management Specialists regarding the analysis report cited above; and
  • conclusions reached by the RRMD as to what would be the most appropriate recommendations for amending key RBM terms, definitions, and methodology.

The endorsed key RBM terms and definitions focus essentially on terms used to develop a results chain. All other related RBM terms and definitions (attribution, efficiency, indicator, etc.) will be presented in a separate document (i.e. a CIDA RBM lexicon) in order to allow more flexibility for changes over time.

Key RBM terms and definitions are presented as follows:

  1. Decision
  2. New definition
  3. Other definitions considered (e.g. Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's Development Assistance Committee (OECD DAC), CIDA, United Nation Development Group (UNDG))
  4. Examples
  5. Explanation

2. Results chain terms and definitions

2.1 Results chain (logic model)

Decision: To adopt the TBS definition.

New definition: A depiction of the causal or logical relationships between inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes of a given policy, program, or initiative.

Other definitions considered:

  • 2004 TBS: A depiction of the causal or logical relationships between, inputs, activities, outputs, and outcomes of a given policy, program, or initiative.
  • 1996 CIDA: Generally seen to correspond to the output, purpose, and goal levels of a logical framework analysis (LFA).
  • 2002 OECD DAC: The causal sequence for a development intervention that stipulates the necessary sequence to achieve desired objectives- beginning with inputs, moving through activities and outputs, and culminating in outcomes, impacts, and feedback. In some agencies, reach is part of the results chain.

Examples: See following examples.

Explanation: The TBS definition is more concise and better represents the components of a results chain.

2.2 Results chain components

Decision: To adopt a modified TBS results chain.

Figure 1: Elements of the chain components

Other results chain considered:

Figure 2: 1996 CIDA results chain

Figure 2: Elements of the chain components

Figure 3: The OECD DAC results chain

Figure 3: Elements of the chain components

Figure 4: The TBS results chain

Figure 4: Elements of the chain components

Examples (Please note that the examples provided are extraction from fully developed Results Chain):

Figure 5: Example of a results chain (bilateral)

Figure 5: Elements of the chain components

Figure 6: Example of a results chain (multilateral)

Figure 6: Elements of the chain components

Explanation:

There are three key advantages to adding the "output" box as "products and services:"
  1. Enables CIDA to be aligned with GC-wide results chain (figure 4).
  2. Enables CIDA to be aligned with the OECD DAC (and other multilateral and bilateral donors) definition with regard to outputs being "products and services" and also by adding "temporal equivalence" in brackets at the outcome levels (i.e. short, medium and long term). (figure 3).
  3. Clearly splits development results from products and services (outputs). This distinction should strengthen performance reporting by partners given the fact that it is now clear that they will have to report on both, outputs and outcomes.

Furthermore, defining outputs as "products and services" forces one to define what are the real development results. This distinction will reinforce the argument that development results go beyond what is considered the products and services produced by an organization. Consequently, the focus of the Agency is maintained and remains clearly on development results.

2.3 Result

Decision: To adopt a modified 1996 CIDA definition and add an explanatory text for the term "development results."

New definition: A describable or measurable change in state that is derived from a cause and effect relationship. Results are the same as outcomes are further qualified as immediate, intermediate, or ultimate.

Development results: (1999 Results-based Management in CIDA: An Introductory Guide to the Concepts and Principles): Reflect the actual changes in the state of human development that are attributable, at least in part, to a CIDA activity.

Other definitions considered:

  • 2004 TBS: Results are the same as outcomes and are defined as follows: An external consequence attributed, in part, to an organization, policy, program, or initiative. Outcomes are not within the control of a single organisation, policy, program or initiative; instead, they are within the area of the organization's influence. Outcomes are usually further qualified as immediate, intermediate, or ultimate (final), expected, direct, etc.
  • 1996 CIDA: A describable or measurable change in state that is derived from a cause and effect relationship.
    • Development results:
      The output, outcome, and impact of a CIDA investment in a developing country.
    • Operational results:
      The administrative and management product achieved within the Agency.
  • 2002 OECD DAC: The output, outcome, or impact (intended or unintended, positive and/or negative) of a development intervention.

Examples: improved access to…, more boys completing…, reduced child mortality, increased immunization coverage of…, enhanced integration of…, strengthened capacity of…, reversed spread of…, greater participation of…, etc.

Explanation: The 1996 CIDA definition recognized two types of results: development results and operational results. Given CIDA's mandate, it is worth keeping the definition of development results. However, the term " operational results " will be now captured under "Output" as management products and services. Furthermore, using the term Development results will facilitate harmonization with the International community, which promotes managing for development results (MfDR).

2.4 Inputs

Decision: To adopt a modified TBS definition.

New definition: The financial, human, material, and information resources used to produce outputs through activities and to accomplish outcomes.

Other definitions considered:

  • 2004 TBS: The financial and non-financial resources used by organizations, programs, and initiatives to produce outputs and accomplish outcomes.
  • 1996 CIDA: The resources required, including money, time, or effort, to produce a result.
  • 2002 OECD DAC: The financial, human, and material resources used for the development intervention.
  • 2003 UNDG: The financial, human, material, technological, and information resources used for the development intervention.

Examples: funds, people, equipment, supplies, reports, etc.

Explanation: The recommended definition of input combines the definitions used by the TBS, OECD DAC and UNDG to make it more CIDA relevant. The term "non-financial resources" from the TBS definition was removed because "human", "material", "information" and other resources better represent CIDA 's business instead of non-financial resources.

2.5 Activities

Decision: To adopt a modified OECD DAC definition.

New definition: Actions taken or work performed, through which inputs are mobilized to produce outputs.

Other definitions considered:

  • 2004 TBS: An operation or work process internal to an organization, that uses inputs to produce outputs, e.g. training, research, construction, negotiation, investigation, etc.
  • 1996 CIDA: None.
  • 2002 OECD DAC: Actions taken or work performed through which inputs, such as funds, technical assistance, and other types of resources are mobilized to produce specific outputs.

Examples: deliver training to…, conduct research on…, design programming on…, construct wells, schools…, negotiate partnership with…, monitor/evaluate program results…, provide care services to…, allocate funds to…, distribute food aids to…, etc.

Explanation: Due to the fact that the term "activity" is not currently defined at CIDA, a definition has been included to give a complete results chain.

2.6 Output

Decision: To adopt a modified TBS definition.

New definition: Direct products or services stemming from the activities of an organization, policy, program, or initiative.

Other definitions considered:

  • 2004 TBS: Direct products or services stemming from the activities of an organization, policy, program or initiative, and usually within the control of the organization itself, e.g. pamphlet, research study, water treatment plan, training session, etc.
  • 1996 CIDA: The immediate, visible, concrete, and tangible consequences of program/project inputs.
  • 2002 OECD DAC: The products, capital goods, and services that result from a development intervention; may also include changes resulting from the intervention that are relevant to the achievement of outcomes.

Examples: pamphlet produced, research completed, water treatment plan completed, training sessions provided, food aid delivered, partnership established, funding provided, schools built, bug nets distributed, etc.

Explanation: The phrase "and usually within the control of the organization itself" was removed because CIDA usually delegates the production of outputs to external executing agencies.

2.7 Immediate outcome (short term)

Decision: To adopt a modified TBS definition.

New definition: A change that is directly attributable to the outputs of an organization, policy, program, or initiative. In terms of time frame and level, these are short-term outcomes, and are usually at the level of an increase in awareness/skills of… or access to… among beneficiaries.

Other definitions considered:

  • 2004 TBS: An outcome that is directly attributable to the outputs of a policy, a program or an initiative. In terms of time frame and level, these are short-term outcomes that are often at the level of an increase in awareness of a target population.
  • The definition referring to the present step in the results chain is called "output" and is defined as follows:
    • 1996 CIDA: The immediate, visible, concrete and tangible consequences of program/project inputs.
    • 1999 Results-based Management in CIDA: An Introductory Guide to the Concepts and Principles:
      It is the short-term change produced by (or for the benefit of) project/program delivery partners or intermediate groups. These results are the logical consequences of project/program activities and inputs. As such, the meaning of outputs has gone beyond what is commonly considered the goods and services produced by an organization.
    • 2002 OECD DAC:
      Outcome - The definition referring to the present step in the results chaín is called "outcome" and is defined as follows: The likely or achieved short-term and medium-term effects of an intervention's outputs.

Examples: Increased awareness of women in Sokoto, Nigeria, on availability of basic essential obstetric care; improved access to clean water in the community.

Explanation: The definition that CIDA formerly used for "outputs" is what TBS calls an "immediate outcome" and what OECD DAC calls an outcome (short-term effects). Given the almost universally accepted definition of "outputs" by donors, OECD DAC, and TBS as products or services, it is necessary to readjust CIDA's former term to "immediate outcome." The addition of "short term" in brackets will facilitate harmonization with OECD DAC.Finally, "target population" has been replaced with "among beneficiaries" to better reflect CIDA reality.

2.8 Intermediate outcome (medium term)

Decision: To adopt a modified TBS definition.

New definition: A change that is expected to logically occur once one or more immediate outcomes have been achieved. In terms of time frame and level, these are medium-term outcomes, which are usually achieved by the end of a project/program and occur usually at the change of behaviour/practice level among beneficiaries.

Definitions considered:

  • 2004 TBS: An outcome that is expected to logically occur once one or more immediate outcomes have been achieved. In terms of time frame and level, these are medium-term outcomes and often occur at the change of behaviour/practice level among a target population.
  • 1996 CIDA: Result at the LFA purpose level, constituting the short-term effect of the program/project. This is generally the level at which the beneficiaries or end users take ownership of the program/project and CIDA funding comes to an end.

    1999 Results-based Management in CIDA: An Introductory Guide to the Concepts and Principles: The definition referring to the present step in the results chain is called "outcome" and is defined as follows: A medium-term change, benefiting an identified target population, that is achievable within the timeframe of the program/initiative. These results are the logical consequence of achieving a specified combination of outputs.
  • 2002 OECD DAC:
    Outcome - The definition referring to the present step in the results chaín is called "outcome" and is defined as follows: The likely or achieved short-term and medium-term effects of an intervention's outputs.

Examples: Increased usage of clean water in community X; greater trust and confidence in the justice system.

Explanation: The definition that CIDA formerly used for "outcome" is what TBS calls an "intermediate outcome" and what OECD DAC calls an "outcome (medium-term effects).".The addition of "medium term" in brackets will facilitate harmonization with OECD DAC.Finally, "target population" has been replaced with "among beneficiaries" to better reflect CIDA reality.

2.9 Ultimate outcome (long term)

Decision: To adopt a modified terminology and shortened TBS definition.

New term: The use of "ultimate outcome" instead of "final outcome" or "impact."

New definition: The highest-level change that can be reasonably attributed to an organization, policy, program, or initiative in a causal manner, and is the consequence of one or more intermediate outcomes. The ultimate outcome usually represents the raison d'être of an organization, policy, program, or initiative, and takes the form of a sustainable change of state among beneficiaries.

Other definitions considered:

  • 2004 TBS: Final outcome (ultimate outcome): the highest-level outcome that can be reasonably attributed to a policy, program or initiative in causal manner, and is the consequence of one or more intermediate outcomes having been achieved. These outcomes usually represent the raison d'être of a policy, program, or initiative. They are long-term outcomes that represent a change of state of a target population. Ultimate outcomes of individual programs, policies, or initiatives contribute to the higher-level departmental strategic outcomes.
  • 1996 CIDA: The definition referring to the present step in the results chain is called "impact" and is defined as follows: Broader, higher-level, long-term effect or consequence linked to the goal or vision.

    1999 Results-based Management in CIDA: An Introductory Guide to the Concepts and Principles: A long-term change at the societal levels that are linked to the overall program/initiative goal.
  • 2002 OECD DAC:
    The definition referring to the present step in the results chaín is called "impact" and is defined as follows: Positive and negative, primary and secondary long-term effects produced by a development intervention, directly or indirectly, intended or unintended.

Examples: Improved health status of women of Sokoto, Nigeria; reduced vulnerability of conflict-affected women, men, girls, and boys in the country.

Explanation: It is proposed to adopt the term "ultimate outcome" instead of "final outcome" or "impact" for the following two reasons:

  1. TBS is using both "final outcome" and "ultimate outcome" interchangeably; however, the term "final outcome" is not realistic for development work.
  2. In French, "impact" means immediate or short term, which might be confusing.

The addition of "long-term" in brackets will facilitate harmonization with OECD DAC.Finally,"target population" has been replaced with "among beneficiaries" to better reflect CIDA reality.


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