BSI has an advisory board composed of people with practical and operational experience of budget/financial systems and processes in developing countries. It advises ODI’s senior management on how to ensure that the BSI is results-focused, cost-effective, independent and demand-driven. From 2010 to 2016, the Advisory Board met twice a year, in May and in November. The May meeting reviews country programme progress in the previous fiscal year (ending March), while the November meeting assesses progress with the research and dissemination and g7+ programmes, and discusses proposed programme allocations in the next year.
After BSI became part of the newly set up Public Finance Institutions programme in 2016, it was decided that the Advisory Board would widen its mandate to include more PFM research and to discuss wider work and strategy. One PFI wide meeting would take place in November, whereas progress in the implementation of the BSI country programmes and the g7+ support would be discussed in separate meetings in May.
The Advisory Board is chaired by Ed Hedger, Managing Director at ODI. Its members include representatives of the IMF, the WB, DFID, AfDB, of the Liberian and South Sudanese government, of the g7+ Secretariat, Prof. Matt Andrews, Andy Ratcliffe and others; Sida has observer status.
There have been three independent evaluations of the Budget Strengthening Initiative to date, one in 2013, 2015 and one recently in 2017. The evaluations conducted in-depth interviews with staff, government partners and other stakeholders, and visited South Sudan, Liberia, the DRC, Uganda and Sierra Leone.
The evaluations found that BSI’s work exceeded expectations, and that “BSI represents an innovative approach to technical assistance that addresses many of the shortcomings of conventional approaches and that has proved well suited to promoting budget reforms in fragile states.”
- The evaluators found us to be ‘flexible, iterative and politically informed’, and ‘an embodiment of the approach to TA [Technical Assistance] known as problem-driven iterative adaptation’. ‘These attributes make BSI well placed to address problems that are characteristic of early-stage transitions‘.
- The evaluators noted the effectiveness and overall impact of BSI and stated that “There are several ways in which the BSI approach may generate catalytic results: One is to add value to other donor programmes operating in the same space… Second, BSI plays a risk management role in fragile states… Potentially, BSI can also help to promote broader improvements in aid practices in fragile states.”
- The evaluators in 2017 stated that “Overall we found BSI to be a very efficient and effective programming initiative. Using a genuine demand-led, flexible and adaptive approach, BSI has strengthened PFM systems in fragile environments in ways that demonstrably contribute to service delivery, state and peace building. Informed by and contributing to high quality fiscal governance policy and research, BSI interventions have added significant value to enhancing fiscal governance in FCAS.”
PDFs of our evaluations and responses can be found here: