Progress and finance reporting often present challenges with partners. While falsification and misreporting do occur, more common still are poor presentation of data, irrelevant information, a focus on positive news, and poor analysis of problems and lessons. On the other hand, CARE is often overburdening partners with information requests and reporting requirements. Tips to improve partner reporting include:
- Specify the required content and submission dates for reports in contracts.
- Provide sample formats, with guidelines on how to complete them.
- Keep formats clear, short, and easy-to-complete. Don’t ask for lots of information that will be of limited use.
- Minimise the number of reports to essential only. More reporting is not going to lead to improved programming.
- Encourage CARE and partner staff to ‘own’ report formats by developing or modifying them together.
- Discuss how partners will resource for staff to manage data and reporting.
- Plan to provide mentoring or training for partner staff, as appropriate.
- Offer hands-on assistance to make reports if needed. Helping partners to get them right the first couple of times can save a lot of pain later.
- Be clear about who receives reports, how many copies, who proofs, who approves and turnaround times. A memo can be issued to outline these.
- Hold internal review meetings on partner reports with programme and support staff present. This can help to get a holistic view of progress.
- Consider scheduling field monitoring after receiving reports, to verify data.
- Meet partners to review lessons and determine follow up plans.
- Provide partners with feedback from support and programme staff on what is good about their reports, and what can be improved.