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IPC Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance is one of the four IPC functions. The overall purpose of Quality Assurance tools and procedures is to ensure that IPC products meet global standards and respond to the needs of decision makers. Technical rigour, an effective multi-partner transparent process, and good governance all contribute to producing quality IPC analyses that effectively inform plans, programmes and policies.

While the cornerstone of Quality Assurance is Capacity Development, additional procedures and tools have been established to enhance and ensure the quality of IPC analyses and processes, and at the same time, strengthen countries’ capacity to implement the IPC. Depending on the needs of the country, one or several of the following quality assurance modalities can be adopted:

IPC Technical Working Group Self-Assessment

This aims for the country IPC Technical Working Group (TWG) to: (i) critically reflect on how well they followed the IPC protocols for classifying food security and/or malnutrition; and (ii) identify areas for future improvements. The Self-Assessment tool should be completed by the IPC TWG based on a collective discussion, following completion of each IPC analysis/analysis cycle. The tool can also be used by individual IPC TWG members to provide feedback to the IPC TWG Chair and other members on their perceptions of the process, and suggestions on how to improve future IPC analyses. When planning a new IPC analysis, the IPC TWG should reflect upon the content of previous self–assessments to ensure that lessons learned in preceding analyses are acted upon.

Real Time Support to Country IPC Processes

Real time support is provided to IPC Technical Working Groups (TWGs) by the IPC Global Support Unit (GSU) and/or IPC Global Partners, according to various modalities depending on the country’s needs and the characteristics of the IPC analyses supported, the IPC TWG technical capacities, the country context and available resources within the IPC GSU/IPC Global Partners. By default, real time support provided by the IPC GSU includes technical support - preferably in-country - for the preparation and facilitation of the analytical workshop. Support can vary from providing technical inputs on specific questions raised by the country IPC TWG and or IPC GSU regional staff, to comprehensive in-country support for the preparation and facilitation of IPC analyses and communication on results.

IPC Real Time Quality Review

IPC Real Time Quality Reviews (RTQRs) aim at enhancing the quality of IPC analyses and are implemented prior to the validation and release of the final IPC product. They are conducted remotely by a team of officers from the IPC Global Support Unit (GSU) and, whenever possible, from IPC Global Partners, who are not involved in the IPC analysis. RTQRs focus only on assessing the plausibility of the IPC analysis conclusions and population estimates. The RTQRs are conducted immediately following the finalization of the IPC analysis with the purpose of: providing independent and neutral expert technical inputs to the national IPC Technical Working Groups on their IPC analysis results; serving as an additional and optional quality assurance step to help ensure technical rigour and neutrality of the analysis; supporting technical consensus building processes on IPC analysis results; and enhancing the credibility of the IPC country process and outcomes.

IPC Famine Review

Famine Review is a specific procedure that is activated when IPC Acute Food Insecurity analyses show a potential or already identified situation of famine. Famine Reviews are mandatory prior to the release of IPC analyses results, whenever the IPC country Technical Working Group reaches a conclusion that one or several areas are or will be in a Famine-like condition. Famine reviews follow a two-step process: (i) The Famine Review Preparation, a specific typology of Real Time Quality Review, which consists of the preparation of the Famine Review by technical officers from the IPC Global Support Unit and IPC Global Partners, who have not been involved in the IPC analysis; and (ii) Review by the Famine Review Committee (FRC), a committee of independent famine experts.

IPC Retroactive Quality Review

IPC Retroactive Quality Reviews (RQRs) are comprehensive, aim at identifying potential areas for future improvements, and contribute to the learning process at country level. To this end, these reviews assess the technical soundness of a previous IPC analysis, as well as IPC processes and governance in the country. Technical findings will be exploited to identify areas where further capacity development for the IPC Technical Working Group (TWG) is needed and will serve as orientation for the preparation of Tailored Trainings (training sessions focusing on the country’s specific technical weaknesses identified through the RQRs). Findings regarding governance and IPC processes in the country are more linked to institutionalization, decision-making processes, capacity development, sustainability, and use of the IPC to inform decision making. These findings provide the basis for the development of IPC Country Consolidation Plans. It is important to note that RQRs are not intended to change the results of previous IPC analyses, but are instead an opportunity to engage in retroactive learning. The RQR findings are intended for use by country IPC TWGs as a basis for improving the technical soundness of future IPC analyses, processes and governance mechanisms.

IPC Compliance Review

One consequence of the rapid uptake of the IPC around the world is that, in a few countries, modifications and adjustments to the IPC protocols have been made. As a result, it is not always clear to users whether IPC Products generated from these modified protocols can be considered as “true” IPC Products or IPC compatible Products, with the same level of comparability with IPC products from other countries and regions. IPC Compliance Reviews thus provide a mechanism to review the IPC protocols modified by specific country IPC Technical Working Groups or organisations, in order to ascertain whether they generate IPC products that comply with standardized IPC tools and procedures. IPC Compliance Reviews are based on the IPC Compliance Policy, which outlines a set of minimum compliance criteria together with a Compliance Review process to be undertaken by the IPC Global Support Unit. These criteria provide some degree of flexibility in the use of IPC protocols for countries facing specific circumstances, while ensuring that the core IPC principles are maintained. In addition, IPC Compliance Reviews also aim at promoting recognition of the standards, processes and consensus associated with IPC Products, thereby enhancing the credibility of IPC Products.

Accountability and Transparency Measures

The main purpose of Quality Reviews and Technical Support provided to country IPC Technical Working Groups (TWGs) is to enhance the quality of their IPC Products. To this end, a progressive approach is fostered by the IPC Global Support Unit (GSU) and its partners to support the country IPC TWG in improving the quality, and therefore credibility and use of their IPC products. It is expected that countries act upon and incorporate the recommendations and orientations provided through Quality Assurance mechanisms, whether related to the technical soundness of IPC products or to IPC institutionalization, processes and governance. Country IPC TWGs and/or concerned agencies are thus held accountable for immediate incorporation, prior to analysis release, of the technical orientations provided through Real Time Quality Review (RTQR) and Technical Support whenever it is assessed that the plausibility criteria of a specific classification are not met. In RTQR this is particularly important in the case of identification of evidence that is not sufficiently reliable, poor confidence levels, and elements of the analysis or process which affect the plausibility of analysis results according to IPC protocols.The IPC GSU will provide orientations to the IPC TWG in addressing issues affecting plausibility with short delays, while it is understood that the incorporation of other qualitative elements would be addressed progressively in following analyses. Concerning findings and recommendations over adherence to IPC protocols, especially processes, and compliance, it is understood that the accountability of country IPC TWGs/agencies lies in putting in place a strategy for improvements over time and to proceed in its implementation.

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