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Evaluation, Learning, and Verification for Agency Reform (ELVAR)

DFID’s 2014 Strategy for Payment by Results states that the department will use PBR to improve the value for money of their development interventions through sharpening incentives to perform.


In this vein, DFID has contracted Itad to provide an impartial and objective monitoring and evaluation function for the performance‐based funding component of core funding to a set of UN development, UN humanitarian and Red Cross agencies.

The work comprises of three core streams:

  • Verification – taking an appreciative, systems-based approach to verification, the team works alongside relevant agencies to understand the processes by which data is collected, managed and analysed to report against performance-based indicators in business case logframes. We provide agencies with support for strengthening systems as we go. We provide DFID a review of agency’s self-assessment reports based on our in-depth understanding of the mechanisms for data collection. We also provide both DFID and agencies with feedback related to indicators, milestones, and targets to improve their relevance to the objectives of the performance-based financing. Itad works with OPM to implement the verification element of the work
  • Evaluation – the indicators identified for the performance-based financing element of the business case management are only one small part of the puzzle related to the reforms that DFID aims to incentivise through this round of agency core funding. The evaluation takes a wider lens to the management of the business cases to understand the ways in which reforms are taking place, and how DFID’s support is contributing to these.
  • Learning – the ELVAR team supports learning at three levels:
    • DFID’s learning – DFID learns about how to incentivise reform at multilateral agencies, and the role of performance-based financing within this
    • ELVAR team learning – our team learns how to support verification in a meaningful manner
    • Agency learning – agencies learn how to strengthen their internal systems for more robust reporting

Illustrative evaluation questions for the work are as follows:

  • Has performance on the key reform objectives within the three Business Cases improved? If so, to what extent can this be attributed to the PBR approach to core funding?
  • How has the agency performance changed as a result of the PBR approach to core funding and what kinds of behaviour change have been observed?
  • What have been the unintended consequences, additional costs and challenges to DFID and partner organisations as a result of the PBR approach to core funding?
  • Where performance has not improved or has been slower than anticipated, what factors have contributed to this?


Contact Laura Hopkins ( if you would like to discuss this project.


Image © DFID tents are loaded up at warehouse in Dubai ready to fly to Eribil, Iraq. Photo credit: David Quinn/Department for International Development via Flickr. (CC BY 2.0)

Team members
Laura Hopkins Rob Lloyd