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OVERVIEW

What is it?

The Logical Framework Approach is a planning methodology, adopted by many international organisation, as particularly adapted to capture all elements involved in the design of an intervention implying intangible results (I.e. behavioural changes). Since 1993 it has become the main instrument of the intervention cycle management of the European Union, which contributed directly to its development.

What can it be used for?

The Logical Framework Approach supports the design of an intervention. Its main output, the Logical Framework Matrix, summarize in a single framework the main characteristics and specification of intervention, including measurement indication, becoming an relevant tool of the monitoring and evaluation process.

When can it be used?

The Logical Framework Approach is used in the intervention cycle from identification to closure.

Who can use it?

All stakeholder involved in the design and execution of an intervention.

What are its strengths?
  • It provides a structured way to integrate analytic and planning tools in designing the intervention, providing a reference tool, the Logical Framework Matrix, which can be used in all phases of the Intervention cycle
  • By systematically addressing assumption and risks highlighted in the analytical phase, it increases the chances of success of the intervention by linking and adapting it to the surrounding context.
What are its limitations?

The Logical Framework Approach is a very effective design tool only if it integrates consistent preparatory analysis (context, stakeholder, public policy etc.) and is kept aligned to the intervention context. It does not replace sound professional judgement nor experience.

PRACTICAL APPLICATION

The Logical Framework Approach starts with an analytical phase, where all needed context analysis, (i.e. Public policy, Stakeholder, Gender etc.) are performed to define the broad rational of the intervention.
Those analysis are generally performed during the identification phase, and will be progressively fine-tuned, in an iterative process, along the whole design phase. They contribute to providing evidence supporting the chosen strategy, and the relevance, credibility and feasibility of the planned intervention.

Toward the end of the intervention design process, planning tools (Activity Based Costing, Activity and Resource schedule) are applied to define the timespan of the intervention as well as the required inputs. Both time and inputs planning should be outcome-based - which is, specifically lined to the intervention and its context, providing additional evidence of the feasibility of the intervention, from the timing, quality and cost perspectives.

The key output of the logical framework are the Intervention Logic and the Logical Framework Matrix (Logframe). The intervention logic is the way an intervention is expected to achieve its desired results, including underlying assumptions about the causality and interaction between the intervention, its inputs, activities, outputs, outcomes and impacts, in the context of the intervention.  The Logical Framework Matrix, represents the totality of the intervention within a structure connecting three interdependent elements: the Result Chain, showing the causal link leading from input to the expected impact; the Assumptions, linking the intervention to its specific context; and the Indicators, allowing measurement of intervention progress:

Logframe matrix – project modality (as opposed to budget support approach)84

Note: This figure is drawn from the Action Document template. In order to monitor the intervention, it is also appropriate that the logframe of the implementing partner includes activities (and these should be checked against the budget and implementation timetable).

Results chain

Results are the changes to which the intervention aims to contribute within the given context. 
While the results chain may include inputs and activities, the term 'results' refers to outputs, outcomes and impact. Outputs are the products, capital goods and services that result from an intervention; they include changes in knowledge, skills, or abilities produced by the activities and are under its complete control. Outcomes (or specific objectives) are the short-term and medium-term effects of an intervention’s outputs;  they are under its direct influence, but not under its direct control. Impact (overall objective) is the long-term change the intervention aims to contribute to, but which can only be indirectly influenced.
The starting point for the formulation of the results chain is the problem analysis. Preconditions are events that need to occur to allow full implementation of the intervention. These may be the approval of a by law or the completion of necessary infrastructure and must be considered in terms of risk. Results are built into the logical framework matrix and matched with assumptions at the output and outcome levels.
The results chain needs to reflect how the action is contributing to gender equality and to develop the capacities of rights holders to claim their rights and duty bearers to meet their obligations.

Assumptions

They represent external conditions that are necessary for the success of intervention. Assumptions are formulated based on the context and risk analysis and are explicit in the logframe at the levels of activities (in contract logframes), outputs and outcomes.
They are not under the control of intervention management and should not be too critical: if assumptions do not hold, they should not completely impede successful implementation of the intervention.

In the design  phase, assumptions should progressively reflect a more focused context and risk analysis. The risk analysis should therefore cover internal factors which will eventually be faced at the operational level (e.g. resource management, delivery, and implementation). This assessment should lead to a clear decision on how to deal with the identified risks (risk response) and to the design of a risk management plan. Potential mitigation measures will be studied, developed and integrated into the intervention design as a risk management plan. Regarding the environment, for example, environmental management plans or climate risk management plans may be developed. All associated costs need to be included in the budget estimate.

Indicators

Indicators are quantitative or qualitative factor or variable of interest, related to the intervention and its results, or to the context in which an intervention takes place. They are a factor used to assess performance and to measure result statements, their actual value providing evidence what expected results have or have not achieved. According to the Commission 2017 Better Regulation toolbox, indicators should follow RACER criteria:

  • Relevant, closely linked to the objectives;
  • Accepted by the partners;
  • Credible for non-experts, unambiguous;
  • Easy to monitor;
  • Robust against manipulation.
    Indicators should include a clear unit of measure and be formulated in a neutral way:
  • For quantitative indicators: "number of", "percentage of" or ratio, rate, index, etc.
  • For qualitative indicators: "status of", "degree of", "level of", "extent to which" etc.

It should be noted that a quantitative variable could also be integrated in the assessment of progress for qualitative indicators (such as, for instance, allocating sufficient funding as a percentage to a policy which can assess the extent to which the policy is effectively implemented).

Operational managers should ensure that indicators are well suited for monitoring the results statement (output or objective) for which they are being proposed. This means that:

  • Output indicators measure the direct results (goods, services, benefits);
  • Outcome indicators measure the change in behaviour of the target group. This can be done considering the employ of goods and services provided by the intervention with and without the intervention;
  • Impact indicators measure long term macro-changes influenced by the intervention.

Indicators must be disaggregated at least by sex, age and disability and in line with SDG commitments. Gender-sensitive indicators (quantitative and qualitative) should be included in the logframe.

Data sources

Data sources are the primary location from where information originates. They should be relevant, trustworthy, attainable and regular.
Internal sources are those generated by the intervention. They can include reports of different kinds, analytical studies, assessments, surveys and other types of statistics. Depending on what is being studied and how closely it is related to the intervention, these sources could be relevant for output, outcome or impact level indicators.

External sources are most frequently (though not exclusively) at outcome and impact levels, because the related indicators focus on change of behaviour of our target groups and long-term changes that are not under the complete control of the intervention:

  • For impact-level indicators, external sources may include national SDG data or statistical platforms of international development partners;
  • For outcome-level indicators, external sources usually consist of national statistics or data from any external reviews, conducted mostly by development partners;
  • For output-level indicators, external sources include data provided by the intervention's main counterparts and beneficiaries, which can complement data sources provided by implementing partners.
Baselines

They provide a reference point or value for a given indicator that compares with actual values allowing for assessing intervention results. Baselines are no longer mandatory in the logframe matrix in the Action Document, but they must be completed in the contract level logframe. In any case, when baseline data is not available at contracting stage, it should, at the latest, be collected during the inception phase.
One option to obtain baselines is to conduct specific baseline surveys, ideally in the formulation phase. INTPA-hired experts can usually conduct these studies. However, when the intervention falls into areas monitored by other development partners, baseline data may be acquired from them.
A few tips before embarking on baseline data collection:

  • Key indicators should be established and agreed;
  • Carefully consider the partners' capacity to engage in baseline data collection;
  • If a baseline study is needed, plan and budget for a similar final study or survey;
  • There is often a considerable amount of information already available through existing sources.

Development partners' databases and reports, partner country, census/statistical offices, research or academic institutions produce relevant data.

  • If there are key indicators related to people's attitudes, it is likely that opinion surveys will be required.
  • There is often more than one option for collecting baseline data. Each will have different costs. It is important to balance objectives, with quality and cost.
Targets

They are the desired end values of a given indicator. They are no longer mandatory in the logframe matrix in the Action Document, but they must be completed in the contract level logframe.
Considerations with respect to selecting, using and reviewing targets:

  • Indicators' targets must be preferably set from Government's policies, plans or strategies, consistent with internationally agreed (SDG) targets or other EU commitments and informed by the baseline with past trends and risks/assumptions.
  • Implementing partners should be fully involved, minding their ownership of targets.
  • Targets need to be realistic or else they will quickly become irrelevant and ignored.
  • Targets need to be regularly reviewed as part of ongoing monitoring processes to ensure their continued relevance.

This is again an iterative process, as it may be necessary to review and revise the scope of project activities and expected results once the resource implications and budget become clearer.

Requirements

N/A

Tips and tricks

The Logical Framework Approach is an iterative process: it may be necessary to review and revise the scope of project activities and expected results during the design phase, but also during implementation. The table below provide a panorama of the legal framework supporting changes of the Logframe Operational Manager may deem necessary:


Contractual References about Changes in the Logical Framework Matrix Elements

Type of Document/ Agreement /Contract

Reference Source

Quote

Action Document – Financing Agreement

INTPA companion, chapter 7.3.4, item A.8 (Version 9.0 – 28 May 2019)

A - Amendments to the implementing measure/financing decision and the financing agreement

  • Description of the modification of the implementing measure/financing decision: Changes of the overall objectives (= impact) or specific objectives (= outcome)
  • Comitology/EDF committee: prior opinion
  • Commission decision-making level: Commission (written/empowerment/delegation procedure)
  • Budgetary/ financial commitment authorised by: Director
  • Financing agreement rider signed by: Director

PAGoDA 2

Pagoda Manual Annex II - General Conditions
(December 2016)

Article 11, paragraph 5: "The Organisation may, in agreement with the Contracting Authority, change Outputs, the Indicators and their related targets, baselines and sources of verification described in Annex I and in the logical framework if the change does not affect the main purpose of the Action, without the need for a formal addendum to the Agreement".


PAGoDA 2 manual
(December 2016)

Page 32: "Provided that they do not affect the main purpose of the Action, the change of the outputs, the indicators and their related targets, baselines and sources of verification described in Annex I and in the logical framework, may be agreed between the Organisation and the Contracting Authority via electronic means. Please assess whether a standard derogation (as stated in Article 7.2) regarding Article 11.3 is needed in each agreement".

PAGoDA

Annex II - General Conditions (May 2015)

Article 11, paragraph 4: "Indicators described in Annex I may be changed by the Organisation in agreement with the EC, without the need for a formal rider to the Agreement if the change does not affect the basic purpose of the Action".


PAGoDA Manual - PAGoDA 1 (November 2015)

Pages 23-24: "Where the information on changes to the Indicators are provided in the progress/final report (as relevant), it is deemed that the Organisation complied with the necessary requirements".

Grant contracts for external actions

Annex II - General Conditions (July 2015)

Article 9, paragraph 4: "Where the amendment to the Description of the Action does not affect the basic purpose of the Action the Coordinator may amend the Description of the Action and inform the Contracting Authority accordingly, in writing and at the latest in the next report".


Annex II - General Conditions (August 2018)

Article 9, paragraph 4: "Where the amendment to the description of the action does not affect the basic purpose of the action (i.e. Overall Objective and/or Specific Objective) the coordinator may amend the description of the action and inform the contracting authority accordingly, in writing and at the latest in the next report. Changes in Description of the Action and the Logical Framework that do not impact the basic purpose of the Action (i.e. outputs, all indicators at output, outcome and impact level and the related targets, baselines and sources of verification) shall be agreed in writing, and before the modification takes place, with the Contracting Authority. Approved changes must be explained in the next report".

Financing Agreement

Annex II - General Conditions
(from May 2016)

Article 25, paragraph 3: "If the adjustment both does not significantly affect the objectives of the activity implemented pursuant to Part One of these General Conditions, and if it concerns matters of detail which do not affect the technical solution adopted, and if it does not include the reallocation of funds, or if it concerns reallocations of funds for an amount equivalent to the amount of the contingency reserve, the Partner shall inform the Commission of the adjustment and its justification in writing as soon as possible and may apply that adjustment".

Contribution Agreement

Annex II - General Conditions
(August 2018)

Article 11, paragraph 3: "By way of derogation from Articles 11.1 and 11.2, where an amendment to Annex I and/or Annex III does not affect the main purpose of the Action, such as its objectives, strategy and priority areas, and the financial impact is limited to a transfer within a single budget heading [….], the Organisation

may unilaterally amend Annex I [DoA] and/or Annex III [Budget] and shall inform the Contracting Authority accordingly in writing, at the latest in the next report."

Contribution Agreement

Annex II - General Conditions
(August 2018)

Article 11, paragraph 5: "The Organisation may, in agreement with the Contracting Authority, change Outputs, the Indicators and their related targets, baselines and sources of verification described in Annex I and in the logical framework if the change does not affect the main purpose of the Action, without the need for a formal addendum to the Agreement.

Source: INTPA Companion (for ADs) and Relex Internal Wiki

RESOURCES

EU Learn : "Logical Framework Approach" training