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CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT and CAPACITY ASSESSMENT. Meeting of the Working Group on Institutional Capacity Identifying Institutional Capacity Needs March 21 - 22, 2013 CEF, Cankarjeva 8 , Ljubljana, Slovenia. Capacity Development Team UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre. Albert Soer

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Meeting of the Working Group on Institutional Capacity

Identifying Institutional Capacity Needs

March 21 - 22, 2013

CEF, Cankarjeva 8, Ljubljana, Slovenia


Capacity Development Team

UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre

Albert Soer

CD Practice Leader

Robert (Bob) Bernardo

CD Policy Specialist


Why are we here?

  • To provide an understanding of the (UNDP) Capacity Development approach and Capacity Assessment methodology
  • To discuss applications of the CD/CA methodology to various thematic needs in the regional context
  • To discuss institutional capacity needs in the region

What to expect?








Your roles …..

  • Are we speaking a common language
  • Let us know what you think & know
  • Interact and participate
  • Be critical – what is the use for you


Morning – sessions 1 and 2: Capacity Development & Needs Assessment

Historic Roots and Present Debate

CD - UNDP’s approach

Afternoon – sessions 3 and 4:

Capacity Assessment in the region – working groups


Session 1Capacity Development and Needs Assessment

Introduction to a methodological approach


Why Focus on Capacity Development?

Trainings, exposure trips = Capacity Development ??


Why Focus on Capacity Development?

Equipment, Facilities, Structures = Capacity Development ??


Historic roots

    • Capacity Development is not a new concept. The discussion started in the 1960s!
    • Over time it was realized that:
  • It is not enough to bring experts from outside – not enough internal learning, distorts priorities, chooses high-profile activities, fragments management and is expensive
  • Training individual skills is insufficient to realize change
  • People work in organizationsthat function in a specific legal, regulatory, political and socio-cultural ‘environment’
  • Hence, we needed something else; closer to the local context, integrating individual, organizational and environment levels.

Present state of affairs

  • Global commonalities in CD approaches:
  • Three levels (individual, organizational, institutional)
  • Mix expert and self-assessment of capacity assets/needs
  • Strong on client engagement
  • Dedicated process (engagement, assessment …)
  • Dedicated capacity measurement framework
  • Capacity Development does not exist on its own – it is always in the context of an organization’s operations, and mostly with a CHANGE OBJECTIVE to improve performance

The present day debate on Capacity Development

  • Change Management in the Public Sector shifted:
    • ‘assumptions’ from certainty (predictability) to uncertainty (probability) in result realization
    • ‘approach’ from ‘control’ to ‘emergence’
    • ‘focus’ from ‘Government’ to ‘societal’ objectives
  • Public Administration Management moved from ‘New Public Management’ to new ‘dynamic governance’ approaches (e.g. New Synthesis)
    • Compliance, performance, resilience and adaptability
    • From an internal focus to an internal AND external focus
    • From we can do all to we need to collaborate

The impact of change on Capacity Development

  • From certainty (predictability) to uncertainty (probability) of result realization:
    • requiresIntegrated Risk and Opportunity Management
      • What are the things that may hamper results?
      • What are the opportunities that may reinforce results?
      • requires flexibility in CD response development
  • From one partner to multiple partners at the same time
    • requires ‘Collaborative Capacities’
  • From a stable environment to a dynamic environment
    • requires ‘environment scanning’

Capacity Development

Consolidated summary, but with a focus on the UNDP Approach

See handout for overview


Capacity development is more than just a theoretical concept. It is the way in which UNDP provides added value to its partners.


Some examples of application of CD approach

  • Bahrain (institute of public admin)
  • Kosovo (Integrated capacity development approach for CO programming )
  • Moldova (e-governance, EU high-level advisory support, civil service reform, performance-based-budgeting)
  • Montenegro (anti-corruption)
  • Uzbekistan (local service delivery)
  • Kyrgyzstan (social justice, CDF)
  • Turkey (Directorate General for Forestry, Social Service and Child Protection Agency, Climate Change Adaptation, Turkish International Cooperation and Development Agency - TIKA)
  • Over 15 countries in Asia Pacific (civil service reform, disaster risk reduction and management, planning and monitoring, change management, human rights, climate change adaptation, ethnic minority development, local governance, local service delivery, etc.)

What characterizes the UNDP approach to CD?

  • Endogenous process that fosters ownership
  • Comprehensive view of the issues that determine success in change management
  • Systematic method to assess capacity assets and needs
  • Quantitative & qualitative data to identify capacity needs and CD response strategies
  • Makes sense of complex development situations, flexibly adapting capacity development action to evolving change
  • Systematic innovation to find new (and better) ways of working

UNDP Definitions Related to Capacity

Capacity: the ability of individuals, institutions, and societies to perform functions, solve problems, and set and achieve objectives in a sustainable manner.

Capacity Development: the process through which the abilities to do so are obtained, strengthened, adapted and maintained over time.

Capacity Assessment: An analysis of current capacities against desired future capacities; this assessment generates an understanding of capacity assets and needs which in turn leads to the formulation of capacity development strategies.


The Theory of Change:

Capacity Development is a structured approach

Change in Lives

Healthy, educated, employed, empowered people / communities

  • It has a results structure & measurement framework

It has a systemic entry

Changes in behaviors, norms

People and communities are using the services and changing their behavior or norms, etc.

Improved Performance

Institution or systems are performing more effectively and efficiently,

(in delivering basic services, etc.)

in a more consistent and resilient manner

  • It has a process

Increased Capacity

Better functioning systems, structures, mechanisms, processes etc.

in one or more areas:

institutional arrangements; leadership; knowledge management;

and accountability

Capacity Development Processes

Engagement, change management, stakeholder involvement,

capacity assessments, capacity development strategies and change processes


Core entry points for Capacity Assessment/Development

  • Institutional Development – ensuring effectively functioning national/local institutions (e.g., mission and strategy, business processes, human resources, physical resources)
  • Leadership – fostering good leadership maximizes capacity investments
  • Knowledge – CD is underpinned by knowledge or what people know
  • Mutual Accountability – efficient, responsive, transparent and accountable (public) administration key to sustainable development
  • Most often we distinguish between Functional and Technical Capacities

CD: Change Management - How to make it happen

  • Capacity development efforts should always address:
      • “capacity for why?”
      • “capacity for what?”
      • “capacity for whom?”

What is the development challenge or concern that is being addressed?

Which functions are going to improve?

  • Public Sector
  • Civil Society Organizations
  • Private Sector
  • Other development partners



Session 2

The Capacity Assessment Methodology

Consolidated summary of mainstream CA approaches focusing on UNDP approach


Capacity Assessment:

An analysis of current capacities against desired future capacities; this assessment generates an understanding of capacity assets and needs which in turn leads to the formulation of capacity development strategies

Is fundamentally a SELF ASSESSMENT. Staff in an organization rates its own capacities and skills, identifies the priorities, validates the results etc. Self Assessment has proven to be the most effective manner


Before starting, ask yourself:

“Do we really need a ‘full’ capacity assessment?”

  • Other assessments done before?
  • Organization/s open to discuss capacity issues?
  • Leadership commitment to the process?
  • Clear how to use the results?
  • What timelines are you working with?
  • Assessment fatigue
  • Skepticism about value and validity of results
  • Suspicion that capacity assessments are being used by senior management for re-profiling or retrenchment

Seven (7) Steps in a capacity assessment

Engage the partners / clarify expectations

Prepare yourself – document review

Zoom in on the priorities (entry points)

Design the analytical process

Design the workplan, agree and implement

Analyze and agree on the results

Discuss the follow-up – prepare design of CD response

Each agency may have its own approach,

these are the generic steps


Step 1: Engage the partners and buildconsensus (1/2)

  • Clarify the objectives and expectations
      • Why do you / client want a capacity assessment?
      • Make sure client understand the CD approach
      • What are the client’s concerns?
        • What are the expected results?
        • What is the engagement to follow-up on the results?
        • Avoid potentially conflicting objectives or interests.
        • What are the core concerns to be addressed?
        • Are the expected results really addressing the concerns?

Step 1: Engage the partners and buildconsensus (2/2)

  • Identify and Engage Stakeholders throughout the Process
      • Who should be involved? Who is in the CA team?
      • For internal stakeholders: which staff members and what levels? Which bureaus/agencies/divisions?
      • For external stakeholders: who will have substantive information on the capacity of the organization?
      • This is critical as it establishes the working team for the assessment

Step 2: Prepare yourself

  • Background and document review
      • Legal status, mandate, structure etc of the organization
      • Their plans, programs, evaluations
      • Assessments, reviews in the sector – search internet
      • Get to terms with the ‘technical field’ – you have to understand your client!
        • Who else is working in the ‘technical’ field?
          • National – International
          • Public – private – NGO sector
  • Interview ‘core informers’

Step 3: Zoom in on the priorities

  • Prioritize the areas to focus on
        • Describe the key technical and functional capacities
            • Discuss with partner and agree!
        • Focus group to prioritize
            • Use the formats in the next slides (or design your own….)
        • Make sure senior management remains in the loop
            • you lose them > you lose relevance of the effort!

Step 4: Design the analytical process

  • For each priority area decide how to get insight:
    • Focus group discussions
    • Questionnaire(s) – see next slide
    • Interviews
  • For each approach, prepare the issues to be addressed; most of the time questions are a good way to go

Step 4: Analytical tool – the questionnaires

SECTION 1: Institutional Arrangement

SECTION 2: Human Resources Management

See your hand-outs for examples of questionnaire


Step 5: Design, Agree and Implement the workplan

  • Present the workplan and tools and discuss with senior management – make adaptations if required
  • Ensure agreement on the Capacity Assessment Framework and workplan is realized!
  • When agreement is reached, it is important:
      • to ensure staff is available to participate in the different sessions
      • senior management informs the staff about the effort and explains how it works
      • That staff feels free to provide honest feedback

Step 5: Facilitating Self-Assessments

    • Facilitation level:
  • too much may lead to “coached” outcomes
  • too little may result in a “wish list” of CD action
  • sufficient time to review & study
  • avoid taking them away from other work
  • limited guidance
  • low submission rate

#1 Take the

Worksheets Home

  • less data to consolidate and analyze
  • allows consensus building if facilitated well
  • may inhibit some staff members
  • could represent views of dominant respondents

#2 Collective Self-


  • allows individual perspectives
  • provides broader range of issues and ideas
  • more data to consolidate and analyze
  • entails more facilitation

#3 Individual Self-



Step 6: Analyze the results and present the findings

  • Analyze findings, but be cautious drawing conclusions. Make linkages between different questions, establish ‘patterns’.
  • Present the findings
    • Maybe first to senior management
    • Then to all relevant staff
  • Make adaptations if required or staff shows strong resistance. Pushing through unsupported findings will endanger future cooperation. An assessment is mostly a short exercise, at one point in time; staff needs to feel comfortable with the findings. They generally know better than any outsider what is right and wrong!
      • Staff needs to feel free to provide honest feedback

Step 6: Analyze the results and present the findings

  • Preparing the Capacity Assessment Report
    • Background and objectives
    • Process and methodology including stakeholders (internal/external) consulted
    • Capacity Assessment Results
      • perspectives/insights on the organization
      • quantitative and qualitative information
      • capacity development priority needs.
    • Recommendations for the CD Response
        • Validate and enhance results through a client-wide presentation/consultation

Step 7: Discuss the follow up – prepare design of CD response (1/2)

  • Once the findings are agreed, discuss how to address them
    • Some findings can be implemented by the partner without further support
    • Some findings will require support your organization cannot provide, but you may be able to mediate and connect
    • Some findings will require further support your organization can provide
  • Depending on the preferences of the client, the CD response can only focus on the support your organization provides, but it may also include those actions that are not supported by your organization.

Step 7 - The CD response depends on the findings(2/2)

  • The CD response always focuses on the potential answers to the concerns raised and can be structured according:
  • the Core Issues/Challenges
    • Institutional Reform and Incentives
    • Leadership development
    • Knowledge Management (incl. Education & Learning)
    • Accountability and voice mechanisms
  • the functional and technical capacities
  • The individual, organizational, environmental capacities
capacity development strategies
Capacity Development Strategies
  • A. Institutional Reform and Incentives
  • Functional Reviews
  • Incentives/Salary reform
  • Business processes, including coordination, management, communications, procurement capacities, etc.
  • Change management
  • Champions and coalitions
  • Knowledge Management arrangements

B. Leadership development

  • Negotiation
  • Visioning skills
  • Strategic planning
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Ethics
  • Advocacy
  • Cross-Cultural Communications

C. Education and Learning– Knowledge Management

  • Trainings
  • Learning events
  • On-the-job Trainings/Exchanges
  • Research
  • Participatory processes
  • Vocational education
  • Tertiary education curricula

D. Accountability and Voice Mechanisms

  • Peer reviews, Citizen watch
  • Monitoring and evaluation
  • Stakeholder feedback and forums
  • Public information campaigns
  • Group engagement techniques

In defining CD strategies, think in the following dimensions:

  • Individual level capacities
  • Are these skill gaps?
  • Are these attitudinal issues ethics and behavior? corruption?
  • Are these gaps in leadership style? skills?

In defining CD strategies, think in the following dimensions:

  • Organizational Change
  • Are attitudes the problem – can these be changed?
  • Incentive structure
  • Organizational processes: is it set up for coordination and client feedback
  • Disconnect between organization’s leadership and its staff?
  • Capacities on the community side: can they effectively articulate their capacity needs? Do they have the opportunity to? Where do you want to put more resources into?

In defining CD strategies, think in the following dimensions:

  • Enabling Environment/Systemic Issues
  • Lack of HR policy may be a problem
  • Performance appraisal management system causing behavioral anomalies
  • Inadequate space/forums for stakeholders to participate
  • At the LGU level, organizational capacities are constrained but policy and devolution frameworks (e.g., fiscal transfers) are equally problematic
  • Investments in education?

Work Life Balance Policy


Institutional Capacity Needs in the Danube Region

The WB Government Effectiveness Index


Group Work 1

  • OnPA10: From your experience and perspective, Institutional Capacity for what?
  • Where are capacities needed more urgently?
      • Enabling environment/policy
      • Organizational systems, procedures, regulations, etc.
      • Human resources/individual knowledge and skills

Think about your own organization/agency…

  • Which core issues/entry points need more urgent attention and CD support? Select two.
  • For each entry point, which capacities are you good and weak at?

Group work 2:

  • Do you think this methodology would be appropriate for your needs? Why? Why not?
  • What would you do differently? How would you improve the process?
  • What methodologies have you used to assess capacity needs?
  • Does it make sense for PA10 to use a common capacity assessment approach/methodology for capacity building under EUSDR?