Harmonizing Reporting Pilot: Mid-Term Review

Gaus 2018 Harmonizing Donor Reporting

Source: Samuel Zeller / Unsplash

At the World Humanitarian Summit in May 2016, humanitarian actors committed to the “Grand Bargain,” a sector-wide reform to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of humanitarian action. One of the Grand Bargain’s priorities is to harmonize and simplify reporting requirements to donors so that it becomes simpler, more efficient, and less bureaucratic.

To work toward this commitment, a group of donors and partners agreed to pilot a new reporting template in Iraq, Myanmar and Somalia from June 2017 onwards. The new reporting template, called “8+3 template” because of the number of questions it asks, seeks to establish a standardized and simplified approach to project reporting. Employing a single, easy-to-use template across donors promises a lighter workload for partners and local staff involved in reporting. It is the first time such a reform on simplifying reporting has taken place. This review - commissioned by the German Federal Foreign Office - assesses the benefits and drawbacks of the 8+3 template as well as its effects on simplifying and harmonizing donor reporting at the mid-point of the pilot.

The initial results are encouraging: the new template is appreciated for its accessible language and one third of users feels it saves time. Yet, the review also shows areas to improve: the new standardized template is not as widely used as it could be and the initial “one-size-fits-all” approach has its limits. As a result, adjustements to the template and further guidance on how to use it are necessary.

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The full report is available for download.