7th meeting of IPS Trust Fund Support Group

On June 25 the IPS 2 TF Group organized its 7th meeting to discuss the overall progress of IPS 2 implementation as well as challenges and risks and critical actions

The meeting was co-chaired, Mrs. Majlinda Dhuka, Deputy Secretary General at PMO, and Mrs. Adela Xhemali, Vice Minister of Finance and Economy.  Mrs. Dhuka in her opening remarks congratulated all teams for successfully managing this project, despite interruptions from major forces like Earthquake which hit Albania in November last year and Covid-19 pandemic situation. Mrs. Xhemali made and overview of the IPS 2 project progress and its importance for the Government work and transparency. The meeting followed by a detailed presentation of Mrs. Oriana Arapi, Director of DDGG at PMO. Her presentation focused on the progress of the project that is being concluded, as well as on the project outcomes’ sustainability for the short term and medium term. Financial overview of the project and level of disbursements were made by Mrs. Veronika Korkaj, CFCU Director. As regards to communication activities, they are being carried out normally, the website www.ips.gov.al is regularly updated and the newsletters have been regularly published and distributed, while the number of subscribers has increased.

Donors asked more details on the short-term challenges and capacities to cope with as well the need for an action plan for sustainability of the project

Webinar on Challenges for ensuring IPSIS Usability

IPSIS system will improve policy planning and coordination, as well as linkages of public policies system with public finance system (AFMIS) and foreign aid system EAMIS.

The added values of the IPSIS system relies on providing overall monitoring of policy implementation, in real time, based on KPIs as primarily source for tracking performance.

The Development and Good Governance Department in the Prime Minister Office has led the process for analyzing and diagnosing the actual situation related to KPIs as IPSIS data.

The Department has initiated the process for finalizing the Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA) – as a systemic assessment of the data that IPSIS uses as primarily sources. The focus was to understand the level of current institutional capacities for strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation of key performance indicators, etc, in Line Ministries and Local Government Units.

The National Systemic Data Plan 2027 represents a tool that addresses the needs and gaps highlights by the CAN, in order to achieve IPSIS population with quality data, primarily KPSs.

In this context a webinar on “Challenges for ensuring IPSIS Usability” with the Thematic group “Policymaking” was organized by Department for Development and Good Governance of the Prime Minister’s Office of Albania with the support of World Bank Office in Tirana on 29 June 2020.

The meeting presented and discussed main finding of the Comprehensive Analysis and through consulting the National Systemic Data Plan 2027. The thematic group meeting  was chaired Mrs, Oriana Arapi from DDGG at PMO with participation of Line Ministries and Local Government representatives from all over Albania.  The meeting was greeted by Deputy Minister of Interior, Mrs. Romina Kuko who highlighted the importance of the quality data and coordination among actors. The meeting followed with presentation of findings form the surveys prepared by DDGG and completed by stakeholders through IPS website.

Latest updates from IPSIS

IPSIS has also made good progress in several areas during this time:

1.ToT and first phase of LM users training is finalized during 4-15 May 2020 with the support of the World Bank. More than 150 participants from PMO and line Ministries, DoPA and ASPA participated in the training

  1. Operational Acceptance Testing (User Acceptance Testing included) is finalized in May 2020, with some improvements to be completed during maintenance period.
  2. Submission of manuals (English and Albanian version) and test scripts are finalized in May 2020;
  3. Improvements and testing for 2 web services (Public Consultation-testing and OPEN DATA- improvement and testing) are nearly finalized and will be followed by issuing the OA Certificate.
  4. Actual stage – official acceptance for the system
Albanian Gov Decision

Council of Ministers issues the decision for IPSIS use in April

Based on Council of Ministers Decision no 290 date 11.4.2020, “For the creation of Government Integrated Planning System Information System (IPSIS)”, central institutions are obliged to create strategic documents, define policies, costing measures planned under strategies, approve policy items and monitoring their implementation through IPSIS.
The main goal is to create a state database of the Integrated Planning Information System (IPSIS), which aims at reorganizing the design of strategic and medium-term policies, programming, budgeting, monitoring, evaluation and coordination of policies in order to avoid fragmentation and duplication between government key policies and financial planning processes.
This system will interact with a number of other government systems such as: Financial Management Information System (AFMIS), Government Financial Information System (AGFIS), Foreign Assistance Management Information System (EAMIS), Electronic Consumer Knowledge and Registration Public (ECKRP), the Archives System of the Center for Official Publications (QBZ System), the Statistical Database and the Open Data Platform. The platform also enables access to the portal and government network through a single user registration. The administrative institution of the IPSIS system is the Unit responsible for the Prime Minister’s Good Governance Systems.
The process started with the training of trainers, and gradually continuing with other users’ level. More specifically with staff of main departments of PMO, as well as with at least two representatives from each ministry in specific directorates: Policy directorates, Projects Directorates, EU integration Directorate, Regulatory Directorate and Programs Directorate.
The training of the key staff started from mid-March 2020 and continued until May 15, 2020

Third release of IPSIS and ToT Training

UAT successfully completed for IPSIS system

User Acceptance Tests for IPSIS have taken place during the month of April for all modules of IPSIS where all test scripts based on the prepared manual for every module are approved. For every testing and approval of test scrips there have been meeting and dedicated sessions with operational units appointed for each module. There were two people responsible for each module. During these sessions of test script approvals, the issues identified by operational units have been addressed from IPSIS unit in cooperation with two companies that developed the system. All test scripts have been successfully conducted and no further issue exist.


IPSIS Training survey and evaluation

In the light of building capacities for IPSIS system, a training plan has been drafted and implemented comprising in three phases.:

1.     First phase is related to training of the core groups of each module, which are identified as ToT users for every module in order enable them to host and coach modules within Ministry structures (first phase has trained 106 ToT users and they will train all structures within each ministry)

2.     Second phase is related with dedicated trainings on the respective modules for each Line Ministry, (80-users identified)

3.     Third stage, IPSIS unit is working with ASPA, to incorporate IPSIS modules in its training programs in order to ensure continuous and sustainable training for civil servants.

During the first phase of training IPSIS unit drafted the users’ protocol and defined 5 categories in accordance with modules of IPSIS through creating respective networks for each system: (i) Policy Network (ii) Regulatory Network (iii) EU integration network (iv) Programs Network (v) Project Network:

The first phase of training (i) familiarization with the system and respective modules (ii) usage of system (iii) knowing the manuals package of system (v) launching 5 IPSIS network

The first series of training have ran in two weeks period starting from 4-15 May 2020 with the overall objective to build the capacity of the officials of Project Directories for the Line Ministries users (Ministry of Infrastructure, Ministry of Finances, Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Culture, and Ministry of Tourism).

These objectives were achieved through presentations (the methodology of each module), practical demonstrations (the document structure and the workflow process of each module), discussions and practices where for each module every participant tried to create a new document following the steps explained by the training moderator.

During this first phase of training, daily reports have been compiled for every module and a feedback mechanism is in place through surveys after each training session in order to address all issues related to IPSIS operation identified by ToT users. The package of manuals 25 in total available in English and Albanian was used to draft the curricula of the first phase of training.
About 19 modules were covered during the training and the total number of participants during the 2 weeks of training and for the all modules was: 106. Such activities were made possible thanks to World Bank office in Tirana through webex platform.

ips survey

The graph shows the survey results of one of the training

Pilot of IPSIS in parallel with AFMIS

Pilot of IPSIS in parallel with AFMIS

IPSIS team is working/mentoring in Pilot process the 3 Institutions users (DoPA, MoARD and MIE). All users are configured to go live and test environment and roles are assigned (three levels of control in LM and two control levels at DDGG). The pilot of 3 institutions continues and is followed up closely by IPSIS core team and consultants through intensive communication in real time on any issue raised during the process with IPSIS team and JV. In parallel during pilot testing of AFMIS master data is received in IPSIS, which has been tuned and tested successfully by IPSIS team in November 2019. To support this process training manuals are provided in English and partly in Albanian with 3-line ministries

Third release of IPSIS and ToT Training

Third release of IPSIS and ToT Training

The second round of ToT training (1 week) was realised by IPSIS JV on 4-8 November 2019. The third version of IPSIS application was deployed in both environments (test and live) in end of November 2019 and is functional. During this stage some issues were identified and fixed during pilot testing and second week of training.
Revised training manuals were provided to ToT in English and in Albanian for most part of IPSIS modules. Intensive communication from IPSIS team is followed closely by IPSIS JV on latest comments under development, which be reflected in the final training manuals. IPSIS team has been following up the process of submission, review and approval of IPSIS installation.

IPS TF Support Group Meeting

IPS TF Support Group Meeting took place on October 25th, 2019 to discuss about the project progress so far as well as some highlights of main components. The meeting was chaired by Mrs. Majlinda Dhuka, Vice Secretary General, Director of Department for Development, and Good Governance (DDGG) with participation focal points from donors such as, EU Delegation, Sweden and Swiss embassies and World Bank, which is implementing the project. Mrs. Dhuka in her opening remarks highlighted that the most difficult part of system design is already over, while all efforts should be concentrated in implementation phase by all actors.  There are some challenges related also to the usability and data quality that will populate the system. The project will address it in short run, while extensive systemic capacity building of the administration should be addressed in medium term.

Mrs. Oriana Arapi General Director, Policy Unit at DDGG & IPS-TF2 Coordinator followed with details about the status of implementation of each IPS component, the progress on each project activities, next steps and challenges, as well as long term sustainability of the project interventions. General Director of Financing and Contracting Unit/CFCU, Mrs. Veronika Korkaj, reported about the status of all procurement and contracts and gave figures of disbursements of funds as per contracts/agreements signed.

Donors highlighted the high rhythm and intensity on the work done so far, as well as the progress on the implementation of the systems. However, they expressed their concern about the feasibility of the going live date and the sustainability of the project for the medium and long term. Therefore, a dedicated meeting on future support needs will be organized soon by the government. Printed copies of IPS leaflets produced by communication consultant, Mrs. Alma Gerxhani in cooperation with each team were shared with participants. IPS Communication strategy is being implemented according to the agreed action plan and the outputs include but are not limited to: IPS leaflets four in total (IPS, AFMIS, IPSIS and EAMIS), a bilingual website which can be  accessed www.ips.gov.al and is in stage of population, and monthly newsletters will are sent regularly to IPS users. A high-level management event is planned to happen by the end of this year to announce the launch of IPS system. 

IPSIS Training of Trainers (TOT)

The Training of Trainers course, first week of second phase for IPSIS took place from 4 November to 8 November 2019 in Tirana at Protik Center. The training was organized by IPSIS team led by Department of Development and Good Governance at Prime Minister Office (DDGG) and performed by IPSIS JV. The training infrastructure was fully functional offering in a dedicated IPSIS test environment and technical support was provided by local provider of IPSIS JV, IKUBInfo during users registration process and training practice sessions in collaboration with IPSIS local consultants.

IPSIS JV provider is joint of companies (Synergy International and IKUBinfo). Synergy International who is developing IPSIS was established in USA and is now based in Armenia with a portfolio of IT solutions applied in 60 countries.  It has been working closely with IPSIS team to design and implement the system. Core IPSIS team has been trained and is currently running the Training of Trainers course. Civil servants from several Line Ministries who will have an administrator role for each institution took part in the training. They will be able later on to train other colleagues in their respective institutions and departments in order to ensure full usage of IPSIS and smooth transition from the old system.