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Call for Proposals: A mid-term review of the Open Government Partnership

OGP is part way through its four-year strategy. As planned, OGP will now commission a mid-term review to assess the state of the partnership, understand whether OGP’s theory of change is working and if OGP interventions are helping to deliver on its short term objectives. The findings from this review will assist with real-time learning and provide critical input to inform a strategic refresh for OGP going forward. The review will be shared with the OGP team, Steering Committee and funders.

Please see the full Call for Proposals below for additional details, also available as a PDF at the bottom of this page.

The deadline was 27 June 2016., so this call is no longer open.

 

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1. Background and objective

The Open Government Partnership (OGP) is a multilateral initiative that aims to secure concrete commitments from governments to promote transparency, empower citizens, fight corruption, and harness new technologies to strengthen governance. In the spirit of multi-stakeholder collaboration, OGP is overseen by a Steering Committee including representatives of governments and civil society organizations in equal number.

OGP’s vision is that more governments become sustainably more transparent, more accountable, and more responsive to their own citizens, with the ultimate goal of improving the quality of governance, as well as the quality of services that citizens receive. This will require a shift in norms and culture to ensure genuine dialogue and collaboration between governments and civil society. OGP aspires to support both government and civil society reformers by elevating open government to the highest levels of political discourse, providing ‘cover’ for difficult reforms, and creating a supportive community of like-minded reformers from countries around the world.

OGP is part way through its four-year strategy. As planned, OGP will now commission a mid-term review to assess the state of the partnership, understand whether OGP’s theory of change is working and if OGP interventions are helping to deliver on its short term objectives. The findings from this review will assist with real-time learning and provide critical input to inform a strategic refresh for OGP going forward. The review will be shared with the OGP team, Steering Committee and funders.

 

2. Scope of Analysis

The learning review will focus on the following:

  • Setting the context: macro-level outcomes on the state of the partnership

  • Assessing progress in OGP’s theory of change: the role of OGP’s domestic policy mechanism and international platform in helping to deliver outcomes

  • Assessing effectiveness of OGP’s rules of the game: the role of OGP’s structure and policies in helping to deliver outcomes

The review would cover the period from September 2011 till September 2016.

2.1 Setting the context

The review should begin by presenting macro-level outcomes for the partnership: Is government-civil society dialogue improving? Are National Action Plans (NAPs) getting more ambitious and completed over time? Drawing from readily available data from the IRM and OGP explorer, it should present a short summary of key parameters of progress in OGP by analyzing the following metrics (among others):

  • Compliance with OGP consultation processes

  • Starred commitments

  • Degree of implementation and completion of commitments

  • Degree of potential impact of commitments

To the extent possible, the review should track progress on these metrics over time through consecutive NAPs. It should also include a brief analysis of how these metrics vary across 1) regions 2)  income categories and 3) thematic areas

2.2 Assessing progress in OGP’s Theory of Change:

This section should present an in-depth analysis of how OGP is contributing to the macro-level outcomes discussed above. Specifically, it should unpack how the OGP platform (i.e. domestic policy mechanism + international networking and events) is helping three key stakeholders to deliver on country-level progress. OGP’s theory of change is that OGP creates a platform where:

  • High level political leaders: create the political space at the domestic level for reformers to implement open government initiatives and, at the international level, encourage one another to race to the top.

  • Mid-level government officials: collaborate with civil society organizations at the domestic level, and network with their peers at the international level to implement ambitious open government reforms

  • Civil society organizations: use domestic and international platforms to advocate for implementation of more ambitious policies and programs in their countries

In addition, OGPs Independent Reporting Mechanism (IRM) holds countries publicly accountable for progress on their NAPs and encourages learning at the country level.

The theory of change holds that if these three actors are playing their roles effectively, it should improve dialogue and relationships among its stakeholders, and change institutional processes and norms towards openness – ultimately leading to more ambitious open government reforms in the short term. The review should interrogate this theory and offer an assessment of the current validity of OGP’s Theory of Change by exploring the following questions: 

  • Securing high-level political commitment:
  • What are the most effective ways in which OGP is helping to secure high-level political commitment in high/low performing OGP countries? Is high level political commitment translating to more ambition at the country level?  

  • To what extent has OGP been successful in setting global norms and expectations on open government? What is the degree of high-level political buy-in (e.g. at Cabinet level) in using OGP/open government as an integral tool for improving government performance? 

  • Empowering mid-level government reformers:
  • Are the design and content of OGP inputs (e.g. peer exchange, technical support, communications materials) helping government reformers to (a) more effectively develop and implement ambitious OGP commitments? and (b) build stronger relationships between reformers to learn from each other?
  • To what extent is OGP helping to institutionalize the open government agenda across different levels and branches of government? How broad or narrow is the ownership of OGP across ministries in OGP countries, including in line or sector ministries?
  • Engaging civil society actors:
    • Is OGP support (e.g. advocacy tools, partnerships, listening post) equipping civil society actors to meet their demands through the OGP platform? What can be done differently to make OGP work better for civil society?

    • Is OGP’s domestic policy mechanism adding value to government-civil society engagement processes in the country? How narrow or broad is the base of civil society in engaging with OGP at the national level?

  • Holding participating countries accountable:
  • Are countries using IRM reports to learn and improve on OGP process and content of NAPs? How effective are report launch events, associated communications strategies, and format of the reports in reaching this goal? 

  • To what extent is the IRM working as an accountability mechanism and affecting policy change at the country level? How do key OGP stakeholders define “accountability” in the context of the IRM, and are those views divergent or convergent on a common framework? If divergent, what implications does that have for key assumptions in OGPs theory of change? 

2.3 Assessing effectiveness of OGP’s rules of the game

Finally, the review should address the effectiveness of OGP’s structure and policies – which collectively entail the rules of the game.  Specific questions are:

  • Are OGP’s calendar, guidelines (e.g. co creation process) and rules (e.g. regarding NAP delays) designed and communicated in ways to encourage more ambition?

  • Do the eligibility criteria adequately capture the vision of OGP as stated in the OGP declaration? Are they a useful predictor of a country’s performance in OGP once they join?

  • How effective are OGP’s reward and review mechanisms (e.g. IRM reports, OGP Response Policy) in incentivizing positive outcomes or sanctioning negative outcomes in participating countries?

 

3. Output

The review should discuss macro-level outcomes (and other observable outcomes not defined here) of the partnership till date, with detailed analysis of the effectiveness of the OGP platform, structure and policies in shaping those outcomes. In particular, the review should stem from an understanding that OGP works in complex environments with a diverse set of actors. It should take into account the following considerations when evaluating the effectiveness of the partnership.

  • Role of key actors: The interests and motivations of reformers (high level political leaders, government officials, civil society actors) as well as OGP Steering Committee members, Support Unit and IRM are central to understanding progress. OGP’s platform will only be as good as the actors promoting and using them.

  • Contribution vs. attribution: In some cases, OGP may be a principal contributing factor to changes in the world, but it will almost never be the only factor.

  • Political context: The major reforms within OGP take place within contentious political, social, and economic contexts. The success of OGP commitments often happens because of–not in spite of–the broader context.

  • Contingency and unpredictability: The nature of OGP’s work can at times be unpredictable and subject to volatility from external factors, making course corrections a necessary and effective part of our strategy.

With these in mind, the review should provide a retrospective analysis of the first years of OGP. It should surface OGP’s contribution to observable outcomes and the key challenges it faces. Based on these findings the review should also present key implications for a strategic direction forward.

 

4. Sources and Evidence

The review can draw upon existing information collected by the the OGP Support Unit and IRM. These include but would not be limited to the following:

  • OGP Explorer and other databases of commitments

  • IRM Reports

  • OGP’s Progress Indicators, which  track the steps in its theory of change to reach short and long term goals.

  • OGP research products, which try to understand whether and how the OGP platform contributes to open government reforms.

  • OGP Civil Society Surveys and civil society reviews of National Action Plans

In addition, evaluators may need to collect the following additional information:

  • Interviews

  • Surveys

Depending on the design of the evaluation, a sample of the following stakeholders may be involved in the evaluation:

  • (Former) Steering Committee members

  • A sample of IRM researchers

  • A sample of OGP civil society organizations

  • A sample of OGP governments

  • A sample of OGP’s funders

  • Support Unit

 

5. Qualifications and expertise of the evaluating team

The evaluation team should have:

  1. A minimum of ten years of experience in evaluating outcomes and impact of transparency and accountability interventions in developed and developing countries

  2. A strong academic understanding of international multi-stakeholder initiatives (MSIs), including opportunities and challenges faced by MSIs in solving global problems

  3. A successful track record of publishing scholarly articles in peer-reviewed journals on evaluating impact of transparency and accountability initiatives and/or MSIs

  4. A demonstrated ability to communicate effectively with a wide range of stakeholders, including government officials and members of civil society

 

6. Deliverables & Timeline

Evaluators will be expected to follow the general stages of work listed below:

  1. Develop a plan for the review  which could include:

    1. Objectives

    2. Framework and guiding questions

    3. Methodology

    4. Data collection and analysis

    5. Reporting

    6. Timeline for deliverables

  1. Interim report, with preliminary findings presented either in the form of a short report or powerpoint presentation

  1. Final report

Activity

Lead

Timeline

Call for Proposals

Evaluation Committee

2 June 2016

Deadline for submission of proposals

Evaluation Team

27 June 2016

Notification to selected team

Evaluation Committee

30 June 2016

Submission of evaluation plan

Evaluation Team

14 July 2016

Comments on first draft of evaluation plan

Evaluation Committee

25 July 2016

Begin evaluation

Evaluation Team

26 July 2016

Interim Report

Evaluation Team

15 November 2016

Final report 

Evaluation Team 

1 December 2016

 

7. Budget

The evaluating team should submit a technical and financial proposal, outlining their preferred methodology to conduct the evaluation and corresponding costs associated with it. 

 

8. Obligations of stakeholders in the evaluation

Evaluation Committee

The evaluation committee will consist of three members from the OGP Support Unit. Their role includes:

  • Providing feedback on the design of the evaluation and approving the evaluation plan

  • Commissioning and financing the evaluation after thorough consideration of the proposed budget

  • Appointing a point person who will coordinate with the evaluating team to provide key documents and facilitate access to relevant stakeholders

  • Providing feedback on the interim and final reports before submission

Evaluation Team

The role of the evaluation team includes:

  • Treating documents in a confidential manner, when appropriate

  • Not publishing evaluation findings without prior approval of the evaluation committee

  • Highlighting any possible conflicts of interest

  • Informing the coordinator of all the contacts made with stakeholders for the purposes of the evaluation

 

9. Submission guidelines

Evaluators should submit a 5 page proposal which includes the following:

  • Proposed methodology and its relevance to OGPs work

  • Proposed budget

  • Expertise, credibility and capacity to deliver of the evaluating team

  • 2 references or 1 example of previous evaluation/relevant analytic work

Proposals should be submitted to Munyema Hasan, Program Manager  <munyema.hasan@opengovpartnership.org> copying <info@opengovpartnership.org> by 27 June 2016!