Expected Results Framework

Expected Results Framework

The standards and indicators outlined in the table below for each functional area of responsibility are not exhaustive, but, as a list of expected process results, form the basis for ascertaining whether and where Humanitarian Country Teams and/or CLAs are falling short of upholding their Cluster responsibilities at country office level.

The functional areas of work described reflect the IASC guidance note of November 2006 on Cluster responsibilities, but include additional areas that are deemed appropriate for empowering and enabling Clusters in the field. It has not been ratified by the IASC nor any of the Global Cluster Lead Agencies, and is offered here as an abstract from a draft ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ manual compiled by UNICEF’s CEE-CIS Regional Office in mid 2009.





Coordination mechanisms


Coordination Management Meetings have a purpose, are inclusive, well managed, action oriented (i.e responsibilities allocated and actions followed up), and of the minimum frequency to achieve the aim.
Coordination management has been appropriately de-coupled / firewalled from CLA programme responsibilities
The HC holds regular meetings with Cluster Coordinators and takes the Cluster’s perspective into account with respect to strategic oversight, quality assurance, operational performance, advocacy, and resource mobilisation
Thematic and geographic gaps have been identified and filled in a timely manner
Information Management The Cluster provides valid, relevant and timely information of use to partners
NGO partners supply information regularly
Common prioritisation criteria, definitions and baseline denominators for monitoring progress are being used by all Clusters
Stakeholder Relations


Donor Relations Donors play an active role in formulating the initial strategic operational framework
Government Relations A single government counterpart has been identified and a satisfactory relationship built
Beneficiaries Those directly affected by disaster have been involved in planning emergency response and recovery solutions
Needs Assessment Rapid NA carried out jointly and analysis available within 14 days of onset
Affected communities were involved in prioritising their perceived needs
A satisfactory who, what, where, when (4W) monitoring system in place
Analysis Data and information has been analysed by the Cluster (in the context of political and socio-economic reality)
Strategy development and planning


Cross-cutting issues Cluster workplans and strategies adequately reflect the rights, needs, concerns, and values of women, children, the elderly, PLWA and effectively address age, diversity, and environmental issues
Disaster Risk Reduction Cluster strategies adequately reflect efforts to mitigate impact of future disaster events (e.g environmental risk)
Relevance Clear links have been established between the strategy adopted by the Cluster and assessed needs, priorities, capacities and resources available
Inclusiveness All relevant Cluster Coordinators were consulted on key strategic decisions
Cluster members, including national NGOs, are included in the Cluster’s management and strategic planning processes
LRRD Transition criteria have been agreed through inter-Cluster mechanisms
Inter-sectoral integration All aspects of cross-sectoral cooperation have been covered (according to GCL matrices)
Preparedness Contingency planning


Contingency plans have been jointly developed within the past 12 months, with specified actions included in the annual workplan
Operational Support All staff designated to be re-roled on the activation of Clusters know their new (temporary) job descriptions, have attended appropriate training courses, and have a copy of the relevant Cluster handbook
Mapping Administrative boundaries, place-codes, and disaggregated demographic baseline denominators were agreed and mapped down to sub-district level prior to onset
Quality Assurance Application of standards Cluster Technical Working Groups (TWiGs) have involved regional and/or global communities of practice as well as Government in design recommendations
Cluster Performance The Cluster undertook at least one real-time review of performance (normally at the 6-8 week point)  and took corrective action in the light of lessons learned
Training and capacity-building


Training National members of coordination teams have been trained, have qualified to the appropriate level, and have relevant technical qualifications prior to deployment
Skills transfer Relevant technical knowledge, including information and coordination management as well as principles of humanitarian action, have been transferred to national and sub-national authorities
Lessons Learning Lessons learned from after-action reviews are included in preparedness planning
Resource Mobilization


Funds All Partners engaged in the Flash Appeal and its revision
Allocation of CERF and/or pooled funds was conducted equitably and transparently according to criteria agreed by the Inter-Cluster and Cluster mechanism
Funds allocated via UN mechanisms are mobilised equitably and in a timely manner to support gaps in aid provision
Human Resources An appropriately experienced and technically qualified Cluster coordination team was in place at national and sub-national levels in timely manner, and sustained with minimum turnover
Material Stock requested by Cluster partners was mobilised with days of receipt of request
Operational Support Human Resources The organigram was decided by the Cluster Coordinator and expanded as required to provide optimal service support to Cluster partners
Logistics Sufficient vehicles are available to facilitate movements of all Cluster Coordination Team personnel
ICT Sufficient connectivity, hardware, and software is made available to the Cluster Coordination Team according to the requirements expressed by the Cluster Coordinator
Accommodation A suitable working environment is made available for the Cluster Coordination Team (if necessary at the expense of non-emergency functions)


Reporting The Cluster produces a SitRep or Status report independently of the CLA
Advocacy The Cluster (SAG) agreed advocacy positions and jointly crafted the submission
Advocacy messages from the Cluster have been acted upon by the Humanitarian Country Team
Media Cluster Coordinators may speak on behalf of the Cluster
Provider of last resort Programme intervention CLA (or implementing partner) mobilises to fill programme gaps identified by the Cluster (see disengagement criteria) in a timely manner



The ultimate goal of Clusters is to improve operational performance and accountability by enabling stakeholders at all levels in a given sector to plan and coordinate effectively all activities relating to emergency preparedness and response. Such improvement can best be stimulated by setting up performance management systems based on peer review of relative attainment against a core set of standards. Indicators provide a way to measure and determine progress towards achieving these standards. They can also be useful in guiding strategic thinking and planning in country-specific contexts.

Performance Management is essentially about measuring, monitoring, and enhancing performance of individuals as contributors to overall organizational performance. However, the need to improve operational performance at the collective or Cluster level has yet to be fully addressed: Those working in Clusters continue to work to vague job descriptions and muddled lines of accountability, where individual and organizational performance is seldom measured, and where staff take on added responsibilities without additional incentive to increase the quality or quantity of their work – in fact, quite the opposite; to introduce perverse incentives where extra demands are placed on families and careers with every chance that criticism is the sole compensation. In addition, external pressure for Clusters to meet even basic levels of performance is weak and subject to the dependent relations still prevalent within the complex web of cluster partnerships.

Most so-called ‘Performance Management Systems’ founder because they are inspired by models that do not fit the contextual realities of humanitarian operations. The humanitarian endeavour is unlike that found elsewhere in the public or private sector in that it is made the more complicated by having to provide global public goods in an environment of scarce resource, uncertainty, infrastructural collapse, competition, market failure, high stress and, sometimes, danger.

The UN’s definition is, “Performance Management amounts to those measures taken by a programme manager, based on monitoring and evaluation information, to foster continuous improvement”.

Performance feedback mechanisms tend to focus on the concrete, the standardised and the measurable. That is why most indicators routinely collected by humanitarian agencies for management purposes track programme activities, inputs, outputs, and processes rather than outcomes. It is hard to ascribe value to less tangible things such as compassion, respect, witnessing, dignity, and advocacy. Stakeholder legitimacy does not therefore rest solely on the impact of an agency’s performance and the cost-effectiveness of its activities.

Performance management requires:

  • Ensuring that meaningful information reaches the right people at the right time so that the right decisions are made, the right actions undertaken, and the right outcomes achieved
  • Coherently and consistently deciding and communicating what needs to be done, where, when, and by whom
  • Drawing up an ‘action plan’ to ensure that decisions translate into action
  • Devising some means of assessing whether objectives have been achieved.

This is is a section from Clusterwise 2. Reproduction is encouraged. It would be nice if the author, James Shepherd-Barron, and clustercoordination.org were acknowledged when doing so.

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