During implementation, the Grant Beneficiary should keep an eye on the following aspects:
- eligibility of costs;
- compliance with procurement rules, including rules of origin and nationality;
- correct use of contingency reserve (pre-via request to the Contracting Authority);
- correct use of administrative costs;
- eligibility of in-kind contributions if used, availability of other sources of funding.
The Grant Beneficiary should apply the rules set out in the General Conditions (Annex II) and the Special Conditions of the Grant Contract to comply with administrative and financial contract management. Major attention should nonetheless be given to the effective implementation of the Action in view of achieving the objectives targeted.
The purpose of monitoring is to achieve efficient and effective performance of an operation. Monitoring must highlight the strengths and weaknesses in project implementation, enabling managers to deal with problems, finding solutions and adapt to changing circumstances in order to improve project performance.
Monitoring provides thus for an “early warning system”, which allows for timely and appropriate intervention if a project is not adhering to the initial plan. In other words, it is suggested that partners have a preventive approach when planning an intervention. This means at least:
- planning activities at feasibility stage;
- planning administrative monitoring (applications of rules);
- planning operative monitoring (indicators).
Key preparatory steps of an internal monitoring system include:
- filling out the Logical Framework Matrix identifying indicators and sources of verification;
- organising a system for data collection and analysis.
Drawing an internal monitoring planning worksheet might help keeping records of the project progress in terms of expenditure, resource use, implementation of activities, and delivery of results. Similarly, management of risks should be constantly and closely monitored. The column Assumptions&Risks of the Logical Framework Matrix should be completed carefully, making sure that Assumptions respond to the question: “What external factors are not influenced by the operation, but may affect its implementation and achievement of objectives?”. The achievement of project objectives is in fact always subject to factors beyond the project manager’s direct control (i.e. Assumptions&Risks).
It is therefore important to monitor this ‘external’ environment to identify whether or not the assumptions that have already been made are likely to hold true; what new risks are likely to emerge; and what actions to take in order to manage or mitigate these risks wherever possible.
Activity and resource schedules are important tools that can help monitor the project logic from programming to final reporting.
The figure below summarises the main features of an internal monitoring system:
Foreseeing the human and material resources - and the correlated costs - necessary for carrying out internal monitoring is fundamental and time for this shall be dedicated before submitting the proposal or at inception stage.
An internal monitoring system is normally provided by personnel already employed within the project. However, particularly in complex interventions, the necessary time devoted to a proper internal monitoring is often underestimated, risking to provoke excessive workload on the one hand and decrease of monitoring efficacy on the other.
The European Commission developed and strengthened its own monitoring system based on a results-oriented approach. The coordination of the Results-Oriented Monitoring (ROM) system has been assigned to EuropeAid (Unit E5). Organisations implementing EC-funded projects must thus meet the EC's interest in demonstrating the achievement of results, and take on responsibility for ensuring that their internal project planning and monitoring systems help generate relevant and useful information. Partner organisations' is particularly important in providing information for ROM monitors to help them make informed assessments of a project's efficiency and effectiveness.
Sources and useful links: