IED is committed to providing timely, valid and reliable information from an independent perspective that can be used to strengthen the Organization. Guided by the norms and standards for evaluation in the UN established by the UN Evaluation Group (UNEG), IED's outputs consist of inspection and evaluation reports. IED's unique oversight role is differentiated from the other OIOS oversight functions, such as audits (which focus on internal controls and compliance with UN rules and regulations) and investigations (which focus on the determination of wrongdoing), by its focus on assessing how well a programme is working and why.
IED's programme of work is shaped by its role of ensuring programme accountability, its core principle of independence, and its dual “clientele” consisting of both the Member States and the Secretary-General. Evaluation and inspection topics are identified through a strategic risk assessment, and or they may be requested by the Secretary General, and by Member States (e.g., through inter-governmental bodies like the Committee for Programme and Coordination or the General Assembly), as well as by Secretariat programme managers.
IED produces the following evaluation and inspection outputs:
1. Programme Evaluations
Programme evaluations (also referred to as “in-depth” evaluations when mandated by the CPC) assess the overall relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, and impact of a single programme or subprogramme. Examples of past programme evaluation reports include those on the United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), the Department of General Assembly and Conference Management (DGACM), the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) and the Department of Political Affairs (DPA).
2. Thematic Evaluations
Thematic evaluations typically assess a single cross-cutting theme or activity across several Secretariat programmes. They can sometimes assess the cumulative effects of multiple programmes sharing common objectives and purposes, or the effectiveness of coordination and cooperation between different programmes. Examples of past thematic evaluation reports include those of Knowledge Management , HQ-field linkages in poverty eradication , and Lessons learned: Protocols and practices.
Inspection is a review of an organizational unit, issue or practice perceived to be of potential risk in order to determine the extent to which it adheres to normative standards, good practices or other pre-determined criteria and to identify corrective action as needed. Examples of past inspection reports include those of evaluation capacities and needs in the United Nations Secretariat , Results-based management (RBM) practices at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) , and Results-based budgeting in the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL).
4. Ad hoc Inspections and Evaluations
Ad hoc requests for inspections or evaluations are made by any of the Organization's stakeholders, subject to IED's review of the proposed topic's strategic importance and potential risk to the Organization. Examples of ad hoc evaluations include those of the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism (MRM) for Children in Armed Conflict and the Peace Building Fund.
5. Biennial Report on Evaluation
IED is mandated to produce a biennial report on “strengthening the role of evaluation and the application of evaluation findings on programme design, delivery and policy directives”. Reports prior to 2008 have focused on reviewing both internal programme self-evaluation and central evaluation practice and capacity in the Secretariat. From 2008, the biennial report will provide a synthesis of the findings of all Secretariat programme self-evaluations.
6. Triennial Reviews
A triennial review is conducted three years after a programme evaluation to assess the implementation of its recommendations. Examples of triennial reviews include those of UN-Habitat and of the Programme on the Public Administration, Finance and Development.