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DIMS

A. Purpose

The purpose of the District Information Management System (DIMS) is to establish a system capable of both facilitating project design and implementation for Service Improvement Program (SIP), the DSG and other development interventions in the Districts.

The information collected by DIRD through DIMS will be feed into a smart, targeted monitoring system for district projects, and also be of use for the handling of implementation, as it clearly identifies District Administrations’ capacity problems on the areas of human resources, infrastructure, information and communication technology, project implementation, and fiscal resources.  DIMS will be fundamental to foster greater effectiveness and equity in the implementation of the Public Investment Programme (PIP), and improved donor alignment across the country.

B. Facts and Consideration

1: Objectives of DIMS Project       

¨ Development of District Profiles. Comprehensive survey of infrastructure and services provided by (and available to) the District Administration, the Districts town, and the LLGs.  These profiles will facilitate the elaboration of realistic, evidence based 5-year district plans for all 89 districts, and allow for a better and more equitable implementation of the PIP across PNG.

¨ Development of District Projects and Assets Database, consolidating information on SIP, DSG and other grants and PIP interventions in the Districts, as well as assets registers for all 89 districts. This DIMS database will allow for better planning and targeting of interventions.

¨ Establishment of an Intranet-Internet DIMS Digital Platform for the processing and visualization of DIMS data at DIRD-HQ, and its distribution among stakeholders and the public via internet.

2: Results       

¨  The results of DIMS have been impressive. Overall, as at February 2012 a total of 86 District Administrations have been surveyed, expecting to visit the remaining Districts.

¨ Each District was visited by DIRD staff for three days, with an average of around 20 District Officers participating per day – for a grand total of around 4,300 interviewees/days (72 Districts * 20 District Officers * 3 Days = 4,320).

¨ Using spreadsheet templates, the survey collected 1,663 standardized, ordinal data entries per district, including information on the overall District Administration, the District Treasury, and 11 social and economic sectors.

¨ In November 2014, DIRD, NEFC, UNICEF and World Vision carried out DIMS data validation again to selected districts Raikos and Usino Bundi in Madang Province. The information were updated and validated.

¨ The other selected districts (Kokopo, Wapenamanda, and Kikori were put on hold because of certain factors affecting the DIMS operations.

¨ In October 2014 DIRD sought technical assistance from UNICEF to process the DIMS data.

¨ With the help of UNICEF, the data collected are now processed and kept in the DevInfo database.

The information collected under DIMS will be grouped in 5 categories

1. Human Resources Capacity: detailed standardized information on HR capacity for 11 social and economic sectors. For each of the sectors, information collected includes number of technical administrative and ancillary staff, experience of sector managers, and computer and internet literacy of their staff.

Þ Parallel to the above, the DIMS team implemented the largest Training Needs Analysis survey in PNG since independence. The TNA survey covered an average 20 District officers (including LLG presidents) per District, for a total, so far, of about 1,450 TNA surveys (20 District Officers * 72 Districts = 1,440).

2. Infrastructure Capacity: standardized survey of facilities & services available to the District Administrations, District towns and LLGs.  The survey identifies District administrations’ infrastructure, access to public utilities (power, water, etc.), transport, and communication, among others.

3. ICT Capacity: standardized survey of Districts’ capacity to communicate and process District information.  The survey includes number of computers, office peripherals, and computer and internet literacy of District Administrations’’ staff, among others.  It also maps out relationship between District Administrations and Line Agencies, and the level of communication between District and Provincial Administrations, District Administrations and JDP&BPC chairpersons, and District Administrations and District and Provincial Treasuries.

4. Project Implementation Capacity: comprehensive list of projects and assets in the District, including standardized survey on DPMT and JDP&BPC capacity for project implementation.  For all sectors, information was collected on their capacity to design, implement and monitor projects, as well as their means to carry out their duties.

 5. Fiscal capacity: standardized survey assessing fiscal capacity of District Administrations and LLGs, including information on financial services available to the District Administrations and services provided by District Treasuries.
 
Objectives

The Districts Information Management System (DIMS) is a Department of Implementation and Rural Development (DIRD) initiative to establish a system for the collection and analysis of basic socio– economic and development projects data across all the 89 Districts of Papua New Guinea (PNG). The objective of DIMS are to produce:

* District Profiles: Yearly reports on basic socioeconomic information for all 89 Districts, including an assessment of capacity problems and training needs for each Districts Administration in the country.

* District Projects and Assets Database:  Consolidation of information    on District interventions, including detailed information on projects funded by the District Services Improvement Program (DSIP) and other rural grants, and assets registries for all 89 Districts Administrations.

* District Training and Supervision System: Routine yearly visits to all 89 Districts, gathering of yearly regional workshops, and online help-desk and training facilities for public servants at the District  level.  

*  DIMS Digital Platform:  Electronic infrastructure at DIRD headquarters for the processing,   visualization and online distribution of DIMS data.

These outputs are necessary for the successful design and implementation of DSIP, for the implementation and monitoring of the Public Investment Program (PIP), and to improve the effectiveness of development interventions at the subnational level. They will help PNG Districts improve planning, project design and implementation, and provide the data to kick-start a monitoring system for development expenditure in PNG. Altogether, these outputs will improve PNG’s system of development expenditure, making more responsive to local needs, more effective and more equitable.

Background

DIMS has grown out of a now well established Government of PNG policy of decentralization to the subnational levels of government. With the objective of improving service delivery, in effect, the Government of PNG has made strides in decentralizing development expenditure, principally targeting the Districts. Among those initiatives, between 2007 and 2012 the Government created the DSIP, a major (almost K2 billion) intervention which the DIRD began to rollout in mid-2008.

Through DSIP, the Government of PNG took sides on the old debate on whether to fund first and then build capacity, or wait until capacity is built to then fund. The DSIP answer was unequivocal: fund first. But then, as funds began to be released, the overdue need to address capacity and monitoring issues in the Districts became overwhelming. DIMS is an initiative designed, precisely, to identify, quantify and facilitate the activities needed to solve the problems the implementation of  DSIP and other rural  grants have made evident.

Decentralized projects design and implementation requires good development plans and capacity at the subnational level, as well as the existence of a well performing monitoring system, nationwide. The rollout of DSIP has however shown that District development plans are based on thin evidence, that capacity varies enormously from District to District, and that the monitoring systems in place requires strengthening and targeting. How are low performing Districts going to catch up, if the system cannot properly identify those most in need? DIMS will provide the information required to make sure that the delivery of goods and services reaches all citizens of PNG.

Rounded Rectangle: Current StatusBefore DIMS there was no standardized source of information on the Districts. For while there have been a number of District studies, the data underlying them suffer from a number of problems, including clearly recognisable geographical biases, a narrow focus on one or two sectors (generally health and education), the absence of clear research protocols, the lack of follow up, and very limited public distribution of their results.

Due to this generalized lack of nationwide and unbiased data, District intervention have suffered from:

  • Imperfect information for project design and selection.
  • Geographically and sectorally biased monitoring.
  • Concentration on high capacity geographical areas.
  • Little coordination between levels of government.
  • Imperfect alignment of development partners programmes.

DIRD has information on District projects implemented across the country since at least 2003. There is financial information available at District and Provincial Treasuries. And there is public infrastructure documentation available at implementation line agencies.  However, those data are scattered and unprocessed. To be useful, they need to be electronically filed, consolidated and categorized to allow for the timely extraction of information for those in charge of implementing wing. DIMS is the mechanism to achieve this goal. With support of National Research Institute (NRI) and the University of PNG Sensing Centre (RSC), DIRD is now processing data. The data will be thoroughly vetted and cross-validated through the Provincial and Local-Level Service Monitoring Authority (PLLSMA), with periodic update reports.

Why we do it?

DIMS will allow DIRD to fulfill its corporate mandate to manage, monitor and audit District development programs, projects and grants under the Rural Development Programme, to administer and enforce the guidelines and financial instructions on the use of said programs and grant, and to coordinate and oversee the implementation of the PIP. As important, DIMS will help DIRD assist all 89 Districts in establishing sustainable economic models and development plans, as required by the DIRD Corporate Plan, 2013-2018.

Beyond improved District planning and more effective decentralized project design and implementation, however, the data generated by DIMS will allow for:

  • Better targeting of PIP, DSIP and other interventions at the District level, promoting a more effective and equitable distribution of development projects throughout PNG.
  • Better coordination of subnational programmes, providing the data needed to establish an effective monitoring system for intervention at the District level.
  • Improved alignment of development partners activities and programmes with GoPNG policy initiatives.
  • The empowerment of PNG’s rural communities as mandated by Vision 2050 and the MTDP.

From its inception, DIMS has been an ambitious program. But over the 2011-2012 period, and with generous support of the European Union (UE) and AusAID, DIRD has clearly demonstrated it is achievable. As of mid-2012, DIRD officers have implemented Fact Finding Missions to 79 District Administrations, collecting detailed information on Districts and Local Level Governments (LLG) capacity on the areas of human resources, infrastructure, information and communications technology, fiscal capacity and project implementation for the overall District Administration, the District Treasury, and eleven social and economic sectors. Altogether, these activities represented the interview and filling of structured questionnaires with close to 5,000 District and LLG officers throughout the country.

As part of the DIMS Fact Finding Missions, as well, DIRD has conducted the largest Training Need Analysis (TNA) survey, clearly identifying competency gaps among Joint District Planning & Budget Prioritization Committees (LDP&BPC) and District Project Management Teams (DPMT). This information now provides a blue-print for capacity building initiatives tailored to the specific needs of each District and LLG in the country.

The Way Forward

While the DIMS project, with support from NRI and RSC and in coordination with PLLSMA, carries out the verification, cross-validation and yearly update of District Profiles, DIRD has also devised a through strategy to operationalize and use the resulting information, drafting four (4) projects currently under consideration, for funding under the 2013 Development Budget and (potentially) the 2012 Supplementary Budget.

First, based on the preliminary diagnosis of DIMS data, DIRD has drafted a Communication and Implementation Monitoring System (CIMS) Project, so as to equip District and Provincial Administration with the basic infrastructure required to effectively communicate with DIRD and other Line Agencies so as to assist on the implementation and monitoring of DSIP and PIP.

Second, DIRD has drafted a District Planning and Socio-Economic Modelling Project (DPSEMP), which will assist District Administrations develop evidence based 2012-2017 District Development Plans, identify key impact interventions linking DSIP interventions with other national programs, such as the Economic Corridors Programme, and the Health and Education National Plans.

Third, based on the Training Needs Assessment survey, DIRD has drafted two Human Resource Capacity Building Projects. One is the Short Term Competency Based Training that addresses the competency gaps identified during the TNA survey. The other is the International Benchmarking and Best Practices Projects where relevant officials from the National level,  the District and LLG officers will get firsthand information from Local Chief Executive, field practitioners and beneficiaries who are directly involved in the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of sustainable programs and projects such as in other developing countries

Finally, DIRD has drafted a project to fund the creation of DIRD Regional Offices, so as to get operations to the Districts, and to reduce monitoring and implementation costs.

Together with DIMS, these four proposed projects have been designed to give a definitive solution to the most important issues hindering service delivery at the subnational level: lack of District and LLG capacity, lack of effective communication, lack of coordination, lack of implementation monitoring and lack of baseline data in the disbursement and implementation of development expenditure in PNG.

DIRD invites the political authorities of PNG and PNG’s development partners to more closely study these initiatives, and to provide the feedback on the funding and the scope of activities required to achieve their effective implementation.

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