At the moment, NGOs are seeing a backdrop of declining public funding, an administrative environment that is growing ever more complex, as well as growing development and humanitarian challenges.
The revised Financial Regulation is raising quesitons on how Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in all their diversity can bring that added value to EU cooperation, whilst maximising opportunities to show impact and results, and ensuring demonstrable accountability to the European public as well as to the people and communities they support.
CONCORD Europe's Director Seamus Jefferson spoke at a recent Awareness event in Brussels. His intervention identified some key areas for tackling the issues at hand:
1. Simplifying administration
Simplified administration allows Civil Society to focus less time and resources on administration and more on the complex business of improving health provision, access to basic services and rights. But some of the measures proposed may not be so straightforward.
One solution would be the use of lump sums, as in principle the use of ‘Lump Sums’ can provide a way of cutting down on administration.
A Lump Sum is a one-time payment for the total or partial value of an asset. For an explanatory video, have a look here.
However, without full understanding, confidence and tried and tested experience, NGOs will continue to shy away from the lump sum option. CONCORD is proposing that we should measure to increase confidence that lump sum payments will not lead to losses, as well as ensuring that lump sums/flat rates/unit costs do in fact cover the real costs.
Overall, the simplification of grant application and selection procedures, uniformity of approach and transparency on the process would relieve substantial administrative burden from CSOs – especially smaller ones.
2. Harmonisation among donors
NGOs still require different staff for different donors due to different reporting procedures and requirements and timetables. CONCORD says that "The need for harmonisation among donors of procedures is of particular importance for partners in the South – CSOs in EU partner countries."
To read the full list of CONCORD's recommendations, click here