ESP Reporting Procedures
Organisations receiving grants under the Emigrant Support Programme (ESP) are required to submit, for each project a:
- Narrative Progress Report, and
- Financial Accounts (see separate guidance note)
Strong reporting is essential for grant assessors to better understand the work and impact of organisations. Experience has shown that the best reports draw upon quality monitoring carried out by organisations and also use clear language and metrics to show the impact of work and ESP funding.
Good organisational reporting is essential to understand the impact of an organisations work and, in combination with monitoring procedures, can help organisations to spot areas of weakness, which can range from issues of infectiveness to more serious issues like fraud and financial mismanagement.
In addition periodic evaluation helps and guides lesson learning and planning (among other functions). Organisations are encouraged to periodically conduct evaluation exercises of specific projects with a view improving the efficiency and efficacy of their work. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade reserves the right to evaluate projects funded projects and/or organisations periodically
Overall reporting processes for the ESP should be geared towards showing that results are achieved—not towards showing that all activities and outputs were produced as planned in the application. Specifically narrative reporting needs to clearly set out what was achieved compared with what was planned, and explain any discrepancies, especially if any planned activities / results were not achieved. In this regard realistic objectives need to be set, worked towards and reported on. These objectives should be aligned to your organisation’s strategic goals and in all cases these objectives should be:
- Specific – target a specific area for improvement or impact.
- Measurable – quantify or at least suggest an indicator of progress.
- Appropriate –to wider goals and the needs of the organisation
- Realistic – state what results can realistically be achieved, given available, realistic resources.
- Time bound– specify when the result(s) can be achieved
Reporting to the ESP is made easier by having objectives that follow the SMART framework (above). The benefits for ESP grant assessors is that it clearly sets out where funding has gone and what the result was. The benefits for organisations is that the framework helps to develop insights into what works and what doesn’t in a clear and comparable manner.
ESP reporting should also clearly differentiate between outputs and outcomes. Outputs tell the story of what was produced by an organisation’s activities. Output measures however do not address the value or impact of services for clients. On the other hand an outcome is the level of performance or achievement that occurred because of the activity or services outputs that an organisation provided. Outcome measures are a more appropriate indicator of effectiveness and assessment of the success of the process.
Reporting should not just be an internal or statutory process and one of the best ways to showcase an organisation’s work and impact is to produce an annual report. Annual reports are a great way to satisfy a wide range of audiences, from funders to the media to your clients. People can see what you have done throughout the year and can use the report as a reference. It is also a great excuse for a mini communications campaign on social media and for holding a launch event. A strong annual report is also a very important element that grant assessors consider when assessing organisations.