DESIGNING THE ROADMAP
It cannot be overemphasised that for the NSDS process to succeed, there has to be good forward planning for it. It is, therefore, critical that as part of the preliminary phase of the NSDS process, a “roadmap” is designed, documented, and agreed by key stakeholders. It is a reference document for all actors involved in the design of an NSDS.
The roadmap outlines the organisation of the work, identifies specific activities to be undertaken, and sets a schedule and the necessary resources to produce the strategy.The quality of the roadmap therefore has an impact on the quality of the NSDS design process.
The roadmap helps to answer a number of questions, namely:
- How to ensure that the strategy is relevant to national development objectives and is country-owned? What outputs will be produced and when?
- How to deliver the strategy in an efficient manner?
- What are the timelines?
- Who will be the main actors?
- How to ensure that the strategy is practical and can be implemented?
- What will be the mechanisms for political support, endorsement and reporting?
- Do we as a country have the capacity and skills to undertake the task or do we need assistance? If so, what form should it take? Funding and/or technical assistance and how will it be sourced?
The roadmap should be designed according to a series of principles:
- The process is participatory and inclusive (involving representatives of the main users) and builds a consensus.
- All the main options chosen are endorsed at the highest political level.
- It results from the succession of a series of logical steps.
- It takes into account the specific conditions of the country.
- It encompasses all the official statistical production of the country (the whole NSS).
- It exposes statistical personnel to more effective ways of communicating with data users; international statistical standards, concepts and frameworks; and experiences especially about what is happening in other countries, particularly those in the same sub-region or region.
The strategy design process will be mapped out, setting out the major stages and processes, including critically how and when political and financial commitment to implementing the NSDS will be secured. Engaging potential donors at this stage will be important for the NSDS to serve as a coherence framework for multilateral and bilateral assistance. Full advantage should be taken of the process to advocate for statistics (see ADVOCATING) especially among political leaders, decision-makers, and development partners.
The proposed overall structure of a roadmap is as follows:
- Introduction (General context, Description of the existing NSS, Justification for the NSDS)
It includes an overall presentation of the country at political, social, and economical levels; a reminder on the most important dates (political elections, specific dates in terms of development policies), an overall picture of the NSS (not a complete assessment); what were the steps resulting in the decision to launch an NSDS; the existing ways and areas of co operation with technical and financial partners (existence of national partnerships for example).
- Roadmap objectives
This short chapter will explain what the roadmap is intended to do: preparation of the NSDS, defining the organisation to be set up, the steps to be taken and their timetable, the division of roles, the resources to be mobilised, and the identification of the sources of finance.
- Expected results
It will describe what the expected results are. The main result will be a final, agreed and implementable NSDS strategy that is costed and owned by its key stakeholders to be endorsed and approved at the highest political level. Intermediate results will be several reports: on the assessment, on the strategies and action plans which will also need to be endorsed officially. It will be important to clarify how the validation will be organised: during a workshop, in a specific commission, during a National Council meeting, through a Ministerial Council.
- Formulating in the context of existing development programmes
How the country will integrate the design of the NSDS into the context of national development policies, with a main focus on poverty reduction strategies, MDGs and the 2015 agenda and how the NSDS process will take account of the political and budgetary calendars and schemes. It will be necessary to identify the meaningful policy development framework on which the NSDS should be anchored.
- Organisation and division of roles
This part will integrate the description of the proposed constituency already endorsed.
- Tasks and timetable
It will consist in describing the various design steps of the NSDS including the planned activities, modalities, and reports; the endorsement and validation processes; the workshops to be organised; the responsibilities; the mobilisation of resources. In general, 5 stages are proposed: Preliminary tasks, Assessment, Vision-Mission-Strategies; Action Plans; Finalisation of NSDS document and implementation. A calendar of activities may complete the chapter.
- Budget, resources and contributions for NSDS design
The necessary resources for designing the strategy will have to be identified and estimated. The range of activities to be costed may cover: logistical aspects (workshops costs), secretariat costs, national co-ordinator costs, functioning costs of the committees, consultation fees (plus travel if international consultants), dissemination of documents, etc. Sources of financing will have to be identified (national and technical and financial partners) and use of external financial instruments (such as the TFSCB) should be mobilised very early. In kind contributions should be also mentioned.
- Monitoring and revision mechanisms
It will be important to clarify what will be the mechanisms envisaged: annual reviews allowing the preparation of next detailed action plans, reprogramming activities when necessary, helping in mobilising the funding (inscription into national budgets) and better linkage with development agendas.
Elaborating the roadmap in practice
Who and When
The roadmap should be drafted by a national team (See DESIGN TEAM) with the leadership of the NSDS co-ordinator and under the responsibility of the NSDS Steering Committee (See PREPARING), an organisation arrangement that will also be in charge of drafting the NSDS itself. Assistance may be sought from a consultant (national or international) but it is highly recommended that this first process be owned fully by the country, even if it may require expertise from people with experience in designing and/or implementing NSDSs in similar countries.
Or, the Roadmap is drafted by a small drafting team after the NSDS launching event or workshop so as to have a preliminary document as a reference for all stakeholders while the dynamic is still strong. This could be later completed in more detail by a fully formed Design team, the composition of which would be fully described in the Roadmap.
Designing the roadmap will require a good knowledge of the existing National Statistical System and a good understanding of the existing development policies of the country. It should be designed as far as possible through an inclusive and participatory approach requiring the organisation of meetings with stakeholders and the technical and financial partners.
The main proposed elements of the design process are:
- Briefing meeting with the main stakeholders at the beginning of the process (to be convened in general by the National Statistical Office)
- Design of the roadmap document itself (with the possibility to benefit from existing approaches in other countries)
- Organising brief bilateral meetings when necessary with important stakeholders to finalise proposals on the constituencies and the sectoral working committees
- Drafting the budget for the design and identifying potential sources of funding the design (national budget, external resources such as the TFSCB or others) (see BUDGETING-FINANCING)
- Presenting the draft of the roadmap to stakeholders
- Preparing the final roadmap before endorsement
By the stage of Endorsement, the decision to design an NSDS would have been taken officially by an authority (See OFFICIAl COMMITTMENT). It is this same authority that has to endorse the Roadmap. The endorsement may take the form of a written approval widely communicated; it can also be a non-objection information document.
By this stage, approval of the Roadmap from the donors should have already been obtained. This approval will have to be well disseminated as many stakeholders are concerned.