Summary of the Evaluation of Coherence across Diplomacy, Trade and International Assistance in the Sub-Saharan Africa Branch (WGM)
Coherence is seen as an important contributor to increased effectiveness and improved results across Global Affairs Canada. This evaluation was the first in a series of planned evaluations assessing the coherence of diplomacy, trade, and international assistance at the branch level across the Department. As such, it set the stage for exploring the value added of bringing the three business lines under one amalgamated department. Due to the lack of performance measures and indicators for coherence, the evaluation adopted an experimental approach using score cards for six key organizational elements that enable coherence: policy alignment, organizational structure, leadership, roles and responsibilities, communications, and systems and processes.
- The integrated organizational structure of the Sub-Saharan Africa Branch (WGM) supported coherent international engagement. The upstream departmental reporting structures and stream-specific Performance Information Profiles, however, were deemed to hinder effective cross-stream collaboration.
- While Branch senior managers were seen as champions for promoting coherence across business lines, there was a perceived lack of operational guidance on how business lines should work together in practice.
- Synergies between trade, diplomacy, and international assistance have emerged as a result of both strategic integrated planning and ad hoc initiatives. Due to a lack of baseline data, the evaluation was unable to ascertain whether this had led to greater efficiencies and results achieved.
- Department-wide efforts toward harmonizing and streamlining planning and reporting processes across business lines could address existing silos, incentivize collaboration, and facilitate reporting on joint efforts.
- Stream-specific expertise, skills, and knowledge can inspire innovation and leveraging of synergies in other areas. Professional development and learning opportunities across business lines are important for cross-stream collaboration.
- The complexity of promoting coherence within a branch means that it does not occur organically. Movement toward organizational coherence requires a systematic and comprehensive approach that fosters integration and synergies across business lines.
It is recommended that the Sub-Saharan Africa Branch (WGM):
- Continue to reinforce Branch-wide expectations of cross-stream engagement, and communicate to all staff a shared vision of how these expectations are to be operationalized.
- Continue to plan and implement initiatives that foster and incentivize cross-stream learning and innovation across the Sub-Saharan Africa Branch.
- Collect results on joint efforts to better enable the identification of synergies achieved in the Branch and feed this into its Data Plan.
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