Evaluation As a Tool for Improved Management of Structural Fund Projects: the Case of Rail Projects in Greece
A Matzoros and E Gioti, Managing Authority "Railway-Airports-Public Transport", Ministry of Transport, GR; P Markoulidis and G Kindinis, 05 SA and Global View SA, GR
The evaluation study of rail projects proved useful not only in answering the basic questions of a rail program?s viability, relevance and effectiveness, but also worked as a tool for improving the management procedures used
The beginning of the Fourth European Programming Period 2007-2013 and its budget preparation has been the subject of much discussion and controversy at the highest administrational and political level in the EU. The projects funded by the European Structural Funds exert significant leverage on the economic development of a region or member country and techniques to improve their management procedures are always being researched and sought after. Evaluation has long been used in the context of European Operational Program planning and management procedures, in order to provide answers to the basic questions of a program?s viability, relevance and effectiveness, and this role is set to increase as specified by the new structural fund management rules of the Fourth Programming Period 2007-2013.
This presentation deals with evaluation, not only in its basic form, but also with the role it can play in the improvement of managing Structural Fund projects. The paper?s emphasis is on rail project evaluation and uses, as a case study, the railway projects that are currently being implemented in Greece. Exploiting the opportunity of the recently completed (2005) updates of the mid-term evaluation studies by all European operational programs(*), it uses data from the ?Railway-Public Transport-Airports? operational program in Greece and presents a sound and straightforward evaluation method that not only provides the answers to the typical evaluative questions (i.e. initial operational program planning, project progress, managerial capacity etc), but also works as a tool for an improvement to the program management procedures used.
The results of the study showed that the methodology used gave the opportunity of a complete and thorough insight into the initial project planning process, the project progress monitoring and the project management procedures used. The results were useful both to the project implementing bodies and the program?s management hierarchy (EU and Ministry of Transport). More specifically the study
? evaluated the operational program?s planning process and project selection criteria
? installed a quantified system of project progress assessment
? improved the indices used to assess and report project progress
? highlighted the importance of some disregarded project management issues
? installed a delay and risk assessment system
? case studied in depth critical problematic projects
? carried out a project implementation acceleration plan and, most importantly,
? helped in the re-planning of the operational program as a whole, so that it can achieve maximum implementation rates.
The paper?s findings are of interest to all dealing with managing projects in the context of the European Structural Funds, but most importantly to the new member states that are now starting to get involved in the management of European funds.
(*)An Operational Program in the context of European Structural Funds is a set of projects with common aim, predetermined budget and time frame that are being managed and implemented according to the EU Structural Fund Rules
Association for European Transport