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PFMP assists DepED in establishing a framework for CSO engagement in monitoring expenditure programs

19 May 2015

 

DepED participants present and discuss the inspection protocols and monitoring process as they identify appropriate

entry points for CSO and third-party participation during the 2-day workshop. 

 

MARIKINA CITY – The Department of Education (DepED), with support from the Philippines-Australia Public Financial Management Program (PFMP), recently conducted a workshop involving key DepEd bureaus and civil society organisations (CSOs) to discuss third party engagement in the procurement cycle of basic facilities. The workshop helped gather information on DepED procurement processes and past experiences of CSO engagement in monitoring to establish a framework for CSO engagement in monitoring selected big ticket items. 

The workshop identified appropriate entry-points for CSOs and third parties to monitor different stages of procurement and contract implementation. Both DepED representatives and CSOs were unanimous in recognizing that CSO engagement in monitoring the provision of basic facilities contributes to more transparency, accountability and efficiencies in providing much needed education facilities throughout the country.  

 

Helping DepED enhance the framework for more accountable expenditure monitoring 

Building on the Department’s resolve for a more transparent and accountable use of public funds  as well as on the gains from civil society and third parties in monitoring DepED’s programs and procurements over the last decade or so, the PFMP is helping DepED enhance its  framework and “enabling measures” with the aim of making such reforms sustainable. The framework will confirm and formalize DepED’s commitment to CSO engagement in monitoring. It will specifically identify the facilities and stages of the procurement cycle requiring third party involvement; define the department-wide coordination structure, roles and responsibilities, as well as the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) approach for the effective implementation of CSO/third party engagement in monitoring.   

As DepED improves its framework, the PFMP will make funding available to selected CSOs to collaborate with DepED to further develop specific mechanisms for engagement in monitoring specific facilities.   

“Everyone recognizes the value of civil society engagement in monitoring the procurement process, contract implementation and inspection stages, the delivery of facilities in school districts, as well as the on-going conditions of facilities in schools for maintenance and replacement purposes” said PFMP Governance Adviser Basile Gilbert. “In order to make the monitoring more effective, we need to identify what skills and competencies CSOs should have and what organizational set-up and enabling measures are needed for DepED to sustain CSO engagement beyond the availability of development partner funding.”   

 

More active CSO participation welcomed by DepED 

During the workshop, DepED bureaus such as Procurement Services, Instructional Materials Council Service (IMCS), Physical Facilities and Schools Engineering Division (PFSED), Information Communications Technology Unit (ICTU), and National Science Teaching Instrumentation Center (NSTIC) presented their respective inspection protocols and experience working with CSOs in monitoring goods and services such as textbooks, tables and chairs, and computer equipment used in schools. Inspection protocols are developed by these units for contract implementation to ensure that such goods and services meet quality standards and reach the schools in complete quantities and in good condition. 

Various DepED bureaus in-charge of the provision of facilities are in the process of enhancing their inspection protocols for respective facilities. This is seen as a pre-requisite to consider CSO/Third party engagement.

Director Aida Carpentero of DepED’s Procurement Service shared some  experiences of CSO engagement in monitoring  such as the Bantay Eskwela, the Textbook Count, and most recently, the Ateneo School of Government’s G-Watch involvement as “confirmator”  of DepED’s Agency Procurement Compliance and Performance Indicators (APCPI), which the PFMP is also supporting. (Read related article “PFMP supports GWatch in APCIP validation at DepED”)

“Our work with civil society organisations has helped improve our institutional integrity. In the case of the Text Book count, where we had strong engagement with CSOs, we received positive response from suppliers and we were recognized internationally because our procurement processes significantly improved,” said Director Carpentero.

Director Carpentero also stressed that “moving forward, we want to continue networking with CSOs, sharing and applying the lessons we learned together, and set standards that are at par with international practices.” 

 

Sustaining CSOs engagement 

CSOs such as Code NGO, ANSA-EAP, GWATCH, and Girl Scouts of the Philippines joined the workshop and shared their existing monitoring practices, experiences, and lessons learned from working with DepED. These important lessons will feed into the development of the revised framework for CSO engagement in monitoring. 

During the workshop, the CSOs noted that there is a need to build their capacity in some areas of their monitoring work with DepED, at the same time, build the capacity of DepED and institutionalize its coordination with CSOs. 

They also suggested formalizing a more integrated monitoring approach to ensure CSOs are thoroughly briefed by the Department on internal monitoring procedures and inspection protocols, and on information gathering and dissemination to and from the field.

 

To view pictures from the workshop, click here.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

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