GMS Open Forum November

POSTED BY Kathy Rombouts | 14 November 2017 | Open Forums

During this open forum HFUs from all funds are given the opportunity to ask questions related to any GMS topic.

  1. Project Code
    • Question: After the IPs created a project proposal or concept note and they use the cover page enhancement to modify the cluster we see that the project code will still have for example the letter for Health (H) instead of Nutrition (N)? (Sudan HFU)
      This should not be the case; we are showing you the impact when you try to modify the cluster. If there is a change in the logical framework, the project code will be changed. If it is not happening that is a bug in the system which you need to report to us.

  2. Risk level - Performance Index
    • Question: We see new information appearing in each project regarding the risk level - what steps should we take? (Colombia HFU)
      First of all, the risk level is completely country based. The initial capacity assessment will be considered as the Partner Risk Level (old terminology Partner Running Risk) until the partner has a first PI (Performance Index) score.

      As soon as you have a first PI calculated you will be shown an overall scorecard. The matrix displayed in the Help Portal will be followed for the calculation of the risk. Here you might see a mismatch between the current Partner Risk Level of the IP and the PI Adjusted Risk (old terminology Partner Calculated Risk): a pop up will then come to you as HFU if which states that there is a mismatch between Partner Risk Level and PI Adjusted Risk. It will ask you if you want to change it. The ‘Next’ button will take you to the screen where you put an agreement or disagreement to update or not update the value.

      Partner Risk

      E.g. This partner was first assessed as High and the score was kept as 0. Now the IP has implemented a project and receives a first PI index score of 64.72 which is Medium (based on 60 percent weightage of the CA and 40 percent of the PI1). If you put zero we consider it as 100 percent so we will take a scoring of 50 percent. On the left is the current Partner Risk Level, on the right is the PI Adjusted Risk that is being calculated now.

      Partner Risk

      HFU keeps full freedom to say if they want to agree to this change or not and update. For both agree and disagree you need to leave a comment and update. No further pop-up will be shown unless if there is a new mismatch.

      Make sure to discuss with your team before making changes, because this decision will determine the operational modalities for that partner. Partner Risk Level will be used for all instances for this partner.

    • Remark: PI questions on Final Financial Report approval: how do you assess quality and performance of report? At this particular time the HFU would not have a specific understanding if this reporting is correct or not. Need to think about wording / re-phrase. Expenditures are good or correct (Jordan HFU)

    • Question: The PPI questions on project revision are not giving us the option to indicate how many revisions have been done. GMS only gives the last revision that has been endorsed. Is there a possibility of having a mechanism to determine how many revisions the project has been granted and to weigh a project accordingly? (Jordan HFU)
      To see the number of revisions you can look at the revision overview. Here you can see the previous revisions, meaning both revision requests and the actual revision that has been done before they were overwritten. In the questionnaire we are not capturing how many revisions there are. It is made to be completely flexible to HFU how you want to consider them. Make sure to put a proper comment so HFU colleagues and auditors, can see why it would be justified to have e.g. 4 revisions.

      Revision Overview

      Revision Overview - versions

    • Question: The PPI questions on the evaluation of progress narrative reports only provide 4 options. When we click one of these options to evaluate a report, usually progress narrative report is returned a couple of times – there will be a session of back and forth between IP and HFU. So to answer a question on whether it the report was on time and of good quality, do we take the first instance of sending the report or the last submission after taking into account our comments? (Syria HFU)
      Can we please ask you to bring any requests on changes on the questionnaire, in the text or options that are not there or not suitable for the current management of the different instances to the Fund Managers. There will be a session on PI in the Global Pooled Fund WS in Doha and we can pick those questions up over there. Re-analyze and brainstorm, take up inputs and bring them to this meeting. The questionnaire in GMS right now has been endorsed in last PF WS. Also please note that the Quick fixes on the guidelines have already been incorporated in GMS, except for those providing for new options.

    • Remark: The scores for each risk level are different per country (Syria HFU)
      In principle the risk levels are the same for every country, it is a score associated in CA and that range we (GMS team) do not touch. If you have put a score and put a risk level, we will respect that. If you put the score as 0 we will take an average of our range (in our range, high is e.g. 50). CA values are clearly country-values. The PI score range has been defined in the system as agreed upon with POU and HFUs. Because these cannot be changed, we show you what the value is of the Partner Risk Level and PI Adjusted Risk. Therefore, within your context, you can agree or disagree (e.g. if the score is 60 and in your country that is still high and the system wants to update to Medium, you can simply disagree and leave a comment that this due to your specific country context).

    • Question: The categories for scoring in PPI are a bit rigid and do not always contain all the options we need. If possible we would like to put the scores in again manually. ‘Little or no’ for example is not really an absolute term, or break the categories into different sections? (Turkey HFU)
      Meron (POU) is the focal point on this. Technically it is feasible to customize further and give an option for HFU to choose between a range of values (e.g. between 9-7), but this is a huge change in the system. It is good to be highlighted in the Doha Workshop by a Fund Manager. As I said it is technically feasible but for the moment there is no agreement that we will allow this. We need to develop a common understanding of how we will operate, what the values are and what the range is.

    • Question: When the PPI was implemented we had a number of projects that were passing to a milestone and so we had to give some scores. Is it possible to revise the scores before we update the partner risk level? Right now there is no option for revising the existing / already assigned scores. (Turkey HFU)
      We are creating a dashboard where you can have an overview of the partner scores you have already put in the system and where you can update them. It is a slightly complex module, so it will be added by the end of the year. The pop-up to make changes in the risk level will only come if there is mismatch and you can again agree or disagree.

    • Question: Regarding the audit questions in PPI, when monitoring colleagues enter the final report they have to answer questions on the audit. Can it be made mandatory when the audit results are being uploaded? (sometimes audit is done during the project implementation or after project closure). (Sudan HFU and Pakistan HFU)
      This is a configuration issue – just make sure that for the time being you indicate that an audit is not done / not required until you have that information. When calculating the score, the PPI will not consider this audit module (nullified) until you have completed the audit.

    • Question: What should be done for users that already have PI for implemented / finished or closed projects?
      If you have a project that is already scored offline and that is now getting close to closure and you are not sure how it was assessed with the new scorecard: Map the offline scorecard with the existing scorecard and decide on how you want to score via your own methodology and manually score them based on the new score. Unfortunately, we cannot help you on that because it cannot be automated. For projects that are already closed you can contact us and we can look at them and take them into account in the system. E.g. CAR has submitted their scores and we will look into that.

    • Question: When answering PPI questions on financial reporting (Natia) – when there are things missing / wrong on a report. Do we disregard these kind of errors, as there is a lot of back and forth between IP and HFU? (Turkey HFU)
      Let us give an example, when the PPI asks about expenditure quality and timeliness. If they are missing a report, pages, … it is your own personal justification which you have to put. For example, regarding timing and correct expenditure, if a document page is missing we don’t believe you should be penalizing them. In the system we don’t know the context in which you are operating, your relationship with the partner or whatever has happened. Just make sure to put a comment on your side with the score. If something is not impacting the quality of expenditure, give more weightage on the actual quality of expenditure and how the IP reported on rather than to penalize the IP on esthetics.

    • Question: Monitoring overview is updated based on if we have done RCM, field visits, etc. Is there a way to link that with the PPI? In many instances we have people review the report and before we approve we have the section to ensure that the monitoring and financial section have been updated. To link monitoring overview with what we have in theP PI is the only way to analyze so could we link that? (Sudan HFU)
      For the PPI we are currently not linking that information of what has been done and what needs to be done from a consolidated overview. What we are planning to do with the operational modalities and OCHA assurance module is to link and make visible for you all monitoring that has been done according to the operational modalities, how many have been done in total and how many have not been touched so far. It is a placeholder for overview, so we are not linking with performance of the partner. Overall quality of monitoring is picturized here, but we are trying to create a specific category for spot checks in the PI.

    • Question: TPM and third party monitoring are important to take into consideration. Ratings are given in monitoring overview, but questions presented in the PPI have no weight. If we go back to what we have in monitoring overview: you can rate a partner based on info put in there, feedback from RCM, field visit info, etc. – linking this with the PPI would work better than doing it separately (Sudan HFU)
      Let us bring this to the team during the discussion of the new guidelines and we would be surely able to incorporate that in the revised PPI. We can discuss further during the Doha Workshop on the requirements for the overall monitoring dashboard you would like to create.

    • Question: When scoring the audit on the PI scoring the info not always readily available, for example on reporting, revision, this information comes from different people. We are trying to capture this info for 2016 so we can come up with the risk, but if the info is not available it becomes very difficult to put a correct score. We are updating the CA and working offline for PPI and when we put all info in GMS (coming from various sources). If we put the total score as it is now in GMS the questions will be coming again and again to score the 2016 projects or will it not do so if we already put the CA and the current score? (South Sudan HFU)
      Whatever the risk for running projects of 2015/2016 is, if they are not closed and those questions are not answered then each time when it reaches a stage for mandatory question answering it will pop up again. To exclude the 2016 projects because you lack the info would not work – somehow you need to gather that info and bring it into the system and give them a score to fit into the current Partner Risk Level. Based on that it has to be imported into the system for the existing projects not yet closed. The system is not designed to exclude projects that have not yet been closed. For projects closed, we can import the date into the system and associate scores with them.

      Their might be a lot of scenarios that come into the picture for other aspects of it like for example how the CA is done (e.g. HACT modality) or how you revisit and recalculate a version of the CA. Regarding Partner Risk some countries already had some scores associated with them before we launched this module. However, we were only told that there was offline data that needed to be imported when we finished developing this new module.

      In the longer run we will create a dashboard were you can do a complete change in bulk for projects that have closed or that are under closure and play around with the values so you can get to a risk level. On that dashboard you will be able to re-change the scores to fit into the existing data you have in the offline data. It will be coming by the end of the year.

      It is important to reflect scores in the PPI because this is going to be used for a longer term: the PPI score is going to affect and impact overall partner performance in the longer run. The score has to be properly updated as it will affect operational modalities. When you apply operational modalities you do so on the basis of the running risk, and this cannot be changed again. There are longer consequences, so make sure to finish (manually) importing the data.

    • Question: If we upload this data, the organizations that received funding from us already have the scores for them. Question that comes will perhaps have to do with audit and the parameters. (South Sudan HFU)
      The GMS Team will hold a session with South Sudan team to look at some IPs and the offline template you have and find a roadmap on how we can help you out. Please contact us bilaterally to set this up.

  3. Online BoQ
    • Question: On the online BoQ, if the IP wants to enter something, whatever they entered on the online BoQ itself automatically gets transferred to the budget line. When we used BoQ before we wanted to just identify a group of items or utilities, but in the online BoQ it is impossible to do so. For utilities they have to indicate for the entire project funding period, they cannot indicate the monthly ones. The budget lines then do not show data the IP actually wants to reflect because of the automatic transfer. Is there a possibility to maintain the online BoQ separately and do the calculations as it is without automatically transferring? The total cost should go into the unit cost of the budget line so the IP can modify both unit cost and quantity (Turkey HFU)
      Unfortunately, this automatic transfer requirement was given to us in GMS when we designed for the the online BoQ to be populated to the budget line. When the online BoQ is there you cannot edit the budget line, even during the revision it has to be done in the online BoQ. Whatever the unit and monthly costs are fixed/percentage you can change. Please give us an exact scenario on how you want to handle it if there is any segregation in the split which is required. A temporary solution from a technical point of view would be to put a comment that you cannot use the online BoQ and attach an excel sheet and send in the comment that it is in the documents tab. Before you do this, make sure to get an approval from the FCS Finance team, as only they can authorize you to do that for a specific project. Discuss with them offline to approve the requirement.

    • Reply: But the percentage cannot be adjusted in the BoQ once it enters on the budget line. When you get on online BoQ you cannot change percentages (the IP might charge different percentages on a monthly basis).
      If we allow you to change percentage, month and duration that will help you?

    • Reply: Let me give an example: it might be required because they might charge us for gas (80) and power (20) and in this case they have to put them in separate budget lines, not in one BoQ. Or for example when talking about 200 kits in the BoQ the IP needs to put all separate items of the kit so in total it is a lot more than 200 and it transfers to the budget line so they cannot reflect the actual quantity of kits. In this case partners get confused, because they have to do the actual multiplication of the kits.
      Please send us a sample of scenarios and have a discussion with Finance team. We cannot advise you because you need their approval first. Remember there will be an impact in many places in GMS, so we cannot just change this.

    • Remark: We have a suggestion for when the HFU creates the GA, when the dropdown menu comes up to certify who is supposed to sign on behalf of the organization. To fulfil conditions of internal control procedures, we encourage partners to have more than one authorized signatory and to enhance their internal procedures in transparency for the UN financial regulations and rules. Would it be possible to have more than one authorized signatory to finalize the GA? (Syria HFU)
      GMS allows it and does not control the signatories. However, we are currently developing a digital signature to be used on the HC side. If you need multiple signatories on the GA from the IP side, the document can always be signed by one or multiple signatories, but if somebody pushes the (workflow)button GMS assumes that the GA has been signed by IP. This question is quite relevant for the oversight and finance unit, so please send them this requirement and they can ensure it is approved by the Executive Officer.