Louisa joined LTS in 2012 as an accounting assistant. She now manages the LTS project accounts and the company project management system. Louisa has a background in software development and healthcare.
The “Hectares Indicator” for assessing area of avoided deforestation is one of the current Key Performance Indicators of the UK International Climate Fund.This indicator is intended to be applicable across the range of current and proposed forestry programmes of the International Climate Fund. The objectives of this assignment are to:
- determine the fitness for purpose of the hectares indicator,
- identify ways in which it could be improved, and
- if the indicator was found to be critically flawed in terms of its practicality and validity of outputs, propose a modified or alternative approach that should be cost-effective and practical to apply
The assignment involves three steps: Analysis of existing hectares indicator methodology, identification of limitations and potential for improvement
- Review of international best practice for estimating impacts of avoided deforestation initiatives (scientific methods, other donor programmes, project certification methods)
- Recommendation of practical indicator approaches, description of strengths, weaknesses and requirements
- Recommendations for improvement or alternative methods.
LTS is responsible for identification of practical issues and constraints associated with use of the indicator through interviews with DFID Country Office staff and their contractors, and from the staff members’ involvement in applying ICF and other donor forest sector KPIs during previous assignments. This includes:
- What are the challenges on the ground?
- What datasets are available to project officers?
- Discussion with programmes on alternative options
Image credit: Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources
Specialist Evaluation and Quality Assurance Services (SEQuAS) delivers a range of core evaluation and monitoring specialised services to assist the embedding of DFID’s evaluation agenda. As part of a consortium, LTS provides expert advice on M&E planning and design, to help make strategic choices from the range of appropriate methods, approaches and designs for monitoring reviews and evaluations. We also provide quality assurance services for M&E design, implementation and delivery.
- LTS is part of a consortium with IOD Parc and Triple Line
- The work is desk-based but covers all of DFID’s portfolio across sectors and countries.
- The inputs inform DFID in making strategic choices from the range of appropriate methods, approaches and designs for monitoring reviews and evaluations.
- Overall, SEQuAS supports the design and monitoring of robust programmes and policies.
To support an improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency of DFID programme performance and support the development of programmes funded through the UK Government (including the 2.9-billion-pound International Climate Fund), DFID is placing a strong emphasis internally on the development and strengthening of programme M&E skills. At the same time, DFID is becoming a more “intelligent consumer” and commissioner of high quality monitoring reviews and evaluations, including the synthesis of evidence and strategic evaluation analysis.
The SEQuAS consortium delivers a range of core evaluation and monitoring services. These specialist services are also available to build capacity in DFID’s partner development countries.
LTS has provided short term evaluation and technical expertise through quality technical reviews of evaluation outputs that seek to deliver:
- Clear and robust evidence to support results and value for money across DFID’s investments.
- Evidence, to be routinely used by DFID staff, including from monitoring reviews and evaluations, when designing and building evaluability into new programmes.
- A rapid expansion of monitoring and evaluation for larger and innovative programmes or where the evidence base is particularly weak.
- Greater use of rigorous impact evaluations, using best practice international methods to assess the impact of programmes.
- Increased access to monitoring and evaluation advice and services for HMG staff and partner governments.
Value and benefits
DFID’s objectives are to raise the standard of evaluation and to support users of evaluation (located within partner developing country national governments, the not-for-profit sector and the private sector) to promote better quality evaluation.
The overall goal is improvement in the effectiveness and efficiency of DFID programme performance.
Image credit: European Commission DG ECHO
The Central Point of Expertise (CPET) was established by Defra in 2005 to provide advice, support and communication on the UK Government’s Timber Procurement Policy (TPP), EU Timber and FLEGT Regulations. In light of developing a policy on sustainable procurement, Defra took steps to expand the CPET service to include palm oil and sustainable woodfuel. CPET provides detailed information on TPP and advice on how public sector buyers and their suppliers can meet these policy requirements in practice. Background information is available on how these practical solutions were developed, including the types of evidence that demonstrate legality and sustainability and the criteria for evaluating such evidence.
The LTS consortium has been contracted under a Framework Agreement for provision of services related to the UK’s Forest Governance, Markets and Climate (FGMC) Programme, effective from the 1st October 2012 with Efeca as Lead Partner. The contract seeks to support a variety of measures currently underway to address drivers of deforestation, by providing: (i) technical advice and support on the Government’s TPP; (ii) information and support on the EU Timber Regulations and FLEG; (iii) support on palm oil policy as it develops and (iv) support on sustainable wood fuel.
Growing concern about illegal logging and unsustainable forest management practices and the role of forests in climate change has driven international commitments and seen the evolution of international and national strategies for sustainable consumption and production and climate change mitigation. In addition to continuing to drive implementation of the TPP, the UK government is currently reviewing the feasibility of a procurement policy (similar to the TPP) to encourage the uptake of sustainable palm oil by the UK government and of inclusion of Sustainable Forest Management criteria under the Renewables Obligation and Renewables Heat Incentive; to promote market transformation within the UK. Furthermore, the EU Timber Regulation secondary legislation needs to be quickly and effectively communicated to stakeholders, in addition to FLEGT licenses awareness raising, as licensed timber becomes available. The deliverables associated with this contract include: (i) develop and maintain an up-to-date web pages integral to the CPET website; (ii) assess how well the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) certification schemes provide assurance of compliance with the timber procurement policy; (iii) maintain and operate the CPET helpline and enquiry service for private sector buyers; (iv) hold yearly meetings of the CPET Reference Board (v) maintain and update existing CPET training workshop materials, (vi) draft and circulate news updates; (vii) advise DEFRA to support its work on influencing implementation of the TPP; (viii) update (annually) the estimates of UK sustainable palm oil consumption; (ix) provide technical advice to the Biomass & Biogas Sustainability Implementation Group; and (x) comment on draft proposals for specific criteria on sustainable forest management for biomass electricity and heat generation.
More information on CPET can be found on its website at http://www.cpet.org.uk/
In 2011, Global Witness contracted LTS to undertake a study titled “Safeguarding REDD+: Working Towards Robust, Efficient & Transparent Financial Governance”. LTS identified the main risks in REDD financial flows (from both public and private sources) from international to local level, and proposed appropriate financial audit mechanisms and safeguards to mitigate these risks. We then reviewed existing funding mechanisms, assessed the various risks (misrepresentation, misappropriation, inefficiencies), and proposed various checks and oversight mechanisms based on international audit and public finance best practice. The report can be found here.
The ESPA programme aims to deliver high-quality, cutting-edge research that will improve understanding of the way ecosystems function, the services they provide and their relationship with the political economy and sustainable growth. ESPA is a 7-year, GBP 40 million interdisciplinary research programme funded by the DFID, the NERC and the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), as part of the UK’s Living with Environmental Change partnership.
LTS was contracted to provide monitoring and evaluation (M&E) services within the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation (ESPA) programme. This assignment was centred around the need for ESPA to operate an integrated and effective reporting and monitoring system, which satisfied the differential reporting needs of the three ESPA funders, while being parsimonious in the burden it placed on projects and the Directorate. There were a number of aspects to designing this system and there were four primary objectives for this assignment which may be summarised as follows:
- Develop Key Performance Indicators (KPI) for the ESPA Directorate
- Recommend rationalised reporting and indicators across the three ESPA funding agencies
- Recommend a unified and utilitarian reporting system, and
- Produce a revised ESPA logframe.
Within DFID’s Research Uptake Team (RUT), there was a mandatory requirement for all projects to elaborate their Theory of Change. LTS team member Isobel Vogel, who was working in DFID RUT, brought this experience of developing Theories of Change. Developing a Theory of Change helped ensure a common base for the logframe and logchart, as well as making explicit the programming assumptions underlying ESPA. LTS outlined a Theory from our reading of programme documents, and then interrogated and revised this interactively with the prime ESPA stakeholders. From a Theory of Change, LTS reviewed and modified the vertical logic / objective hierarchy of the logframe. Likewise, LTS recognised that ESPA operates from two parallel results frameworks, the other being NERC’s LogChart, and worked on both frameworks in parallel.
The Forest Governance and Trade Programme aimed to facilitate reforms to deal with illegal logging and trade in illegally logged timber. It did so by addressing the underlying failures of governance, policies and markets. Illegal logging and associated trade is a major problem for many timber-producing countries. It costs governments billions of Euros in lost revenues, deprives poor people of livelihood opportunities, undermines the rule of law and causes environmental damage. The main task of the programme was to support reforms, together with the European Commission and other Member States, in countries that enter into partnership with the European Union under the Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade programme. The purpose of the LTS review was to learn lessons from governance reforms in EU-FLEGT countries, the promotion of business practices that support legal sources, and use of tools and systems to tackle illegal logging and associated trade with Japan, China, US and other major consumers of forest products.
As part of the evaluation, LTS carryied out a stock-take of public expenditure analysis efforts in forestry and efforts to establish the effectiveness and efficiency of public spending in the forestry sector.Â LTS also examined public expenditure analysis work from other sectors and built up a compendium of global good practice examples which could be used in the forestry sector. LTS drew upon this knowledge to prepare a guidance note, including a set of principles articulating a best practice approach to public expenditure analysis (including assessments of expenditure efficiency and effectiveness), for the forest sector. Tools such as the Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool (currently deployed to assess the effectiveness of spending on protected areas) were considered for the forest sector.
To read the Review and Guidance Note please click here.
The UK White paper on international development outlined DFIDâs approach to working with civil society, including a commitment to help community groups support small-scale, innovative work. To this end, the Development Innovation Fund’s (DIF) aims have been to provide grants to small organisations involved in providing specific small-scale, one-off support that directly targets poverty in the developing world, and included a significant development awareness component in the UK. The Fund has been supporting projects which demonstrate that they will make a positive impact on the lives of poor people in the developing world. All projects have needed to show how lessons learnt will be used to raise public awareness in the UK of international development issues. The DIF was allocated a budget of Â£7m for a period of 16 months. LTSâ role was to manage the entire Development Innovation Fund process from inviting and guiding applications, through appraising and assessing applications, managing budgets and distributing grants, and on to evaluating funded projects and reporting to DFID on delivery of the Fund.
The SKEP network is a partnership of 17 government ministries and agencies, from 13 European countries, and is responsible for funding environmental research. This project focused on drawing out and assessing lessons about how scientists communicate with policymakers, how policymakers use science, how scientists could be more effective in influencing policy and what the constraints to improvement are – ie. what is needed to catalyse action. LTS determined lessons learnt in science communication through a literature review, selected case studies across Europe and thorough stakeholder consultation. The project synthesized collected lessons into a set of best practice guidelines for use by the SKEP network.