Improved organizational learning and development to achieve better results
To provide high-quality service and support to its clients, OCHA must be capable of applying lessons learned and instituting best practices. It must be accountable for continuous improvement to strengthen the effectiveness and impact of each of its core functions. Its staff must be flexible and able to adapt to the dynamic and complex nature of humanitarian action.
OCHA learning rests on four pillars: evaluation; internal policy and guidance development; staff development and training; and strategic planning. These pillars support organizational coherence, better performance, and the development of OCHA staff into competent professionals and leaders in humanitarian coordination.
OCHA has made significant progress between 2010 and 2011 to strengthen organizational learning. It has increased the uptake and absorption of lessons identified through evaluations, audits and performance monitoring. Increasingly, OCHA is translating learning into action through more robust planning, and through evidence-based budgetary and management decision-making processes.
OCHA is placing more emphasis on internal evaluation. Its review of OCHA’s corporate response in Haiti was a first-completed major evaluation. Five others are expected to be completed by the end of 2012: civil-military coordination, preparedness, IRIN, Emergency Response Funds, and the Regional Office in West and Central Africa. Evaluation findings are now subject to formal management review, and agreed actions are tracked and fed into annual workplanning. Over the next two years, OCHA will focus on evaluations that help to assess the implementation of OCHA’s Strategic Framework. Findings will feed into continuous learning and inform the development of the 2014-2017 Strategic Framework in 2013.
In 2011, evaluation findings were used to shape standardized performance frameworks for OCHA’s regional and country offices. The frameworks have helped focus OCHA on long-standing problem areas. Together with newly introduced multi-year country and regional office strategies, the frameworks served as the basis for 2012-2013 field-level work planning. They are expected to help better use of lessons learned in work planning and strengthen performance analysis. OCHA’s internal policy guidance, which aims to bring greater consistency and quality to the delivery of OCHA services, is being further improved, including through the development of performance standards. Efforts are underway to communicate key policies more effectively to OCHA staff and monitor implementation. By the end of 2013, it is expected that OCHA will have a more dynamic system in place for reviewing and updating core corporate-guidance materials. Good practices will be extracted from ongoing Communities of Practice (CoP) discussions, which will then be integrated into corporate-guidance material and shared.
In 2011, OCHA launched CoPs in the domains of information management, reporting and transition. The CoPs facilitate the exchange of information and experiences by connecting staff with each other and with what they need to know to better perform their jobs. The CoP programme will be expanded over the next two years. It can offer a valuable resource to improve organizational decision-making and performance by closing knowledge gaps.
OCHA’s Staff Development and Learning Section has been implementing OCHA-specific trainings to develop the basic capacities of OCHA staff to perform their job functions.
In 2012, OCHA will develop and begin implementing an organization-wide learning strategy to better support and reinforce staff learning. The four-year strategy will focus on developing the capacity and skills of OCHA staff to perform their jobs better and improve field effectiveness. The strategy will introduce an improved learning architecture for OCHA that leverages a variety of different learning resources from within and outside the organization.