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Guidelines on project reporting


This paper is a companion to our "Guidelines on deliverables" document (the "d-Guide"). Whereas the d-Guide offers advice on packaging the technical results of a project, these "Guidelines on project reporting" address a contractual obligation: to ensure that the progress of the work can be assessed, e.g. in terms of effort spent on the various tasks and work packages specified in the Technical Annex.


These guidelines can also downloaded by FTP (WinWord 6 document, 39 KB) : ftp://ftp.echo.lu/pub/libraries/en/reptguid.doc.
Introduction
Types and frequency of reports
Content of reports Annexes

Introduction

A useful exercise
Reports of two types are required: management reports and progress reports. Both types of reports reflect good standard management practice in many fields. They are necessary tools for helping project managers to keep all the pieces together and, if need be, to notify the Commission of any anomalies or deviations from the original programme of work (including, in the worst case, problems which present immediate obstacles to the project's progress and which cannot be resolved within the project - so called "red flag" situations).
Last but not least
The last progress report during the lifetime of a project is the "final report". It covers the project as a whole. Its structure and content will therefore differ from those of ordinary progress reports.
Progress and payment
Progress reports are normally linked to major milestones and normally they are accompanied by cost statements that trigger payments from the Commission to the project partners via the coordinator.
Dissemination
The Commission must also ensure that information on work supported under its programmes is disseminated to a wider audience. In order to comply with this obligation it requires partners in shared cost projects to prepare edited reports on a regular basis (usually once per year). An "edited version" of the final report must also be submitted.
The reference point
The reference point for reporting, as for all project activities, is the Technical Annex (or "Project Programme"). Reports of work actually undertaken, resources used, objectives fulfilled, deliverables produced are all measured against the planned programme of work as defined in the Technical Annex.
Quality matters!
Approval or acceptance of reports is undertaken by the project officers in the Commission. It is important that the reports (if necessary in conjunction with technical project deliverables) be of a quality that permits a fair assessment of the technical, managerial and financial elements of the work and hence to justify the costs claimed.
This document outlines the form and content of each type of report. Proformas of management and progress reports are annexed.

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Types and frequency of reports

Types

Reports fall into four categories:
  1. management reports
  2. progress reports
  3. final report
  4. edited reports

Frequency

The frequency of reporting for each report type is defined in the contract; this may vary from every month to once every three months for management reports, and once every six months (and sometimes more) for progress reports. Edited reports are normally required once a year.

Management and progress reports should be submitted to the Commission by the most rapid means possible (e. g. electronic mail) no later than one week after the end of the reporting period.

Reports v. deliverables
Note that these reports are clearly distinct from "project deliverables". Project deliverables as defined in the Technical Annex constitute the technical output of a project, whereas these reports serve to document the progress of the work. Of course, deliverables may - and generally do - also take the form of reports. They are covered by our "Guidelines on deliverables", or "d-Guide".

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Content of reports

Common elements

For each category of report, reports should follow a consistent structure within the report and from one report to the next. All reports must contain the following information:
  1. Project title and contract reference code.
  2. Number and type of report; period covered; date; version.
  3. Responsibility (ie. author, partner responsible).

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Management reports

Management reports are the main vehicle for providing the Commission with up-to-date information about a project. First and foremost, however, management reports are important tools for the project consortium itself. They are designed to keep all partners informed on the current state of the project. It is therefore imperative that these reports be produced on time. Otherwise they would miss their very purpose. They should be succinct (a few pages) and clearly laid out. A proforma is given at Annex I.
On schedule?
Management reports should report on progress regarding all items of work relevant to the period in question, in order to identify any deviations from the timetable or resources foreseen in the Technical Annex.
What has been done?
Management reports should report on each work package active during the reporting period, noting for each work package (or "task" if appropriate) brief details of:
The worst case!
Problems, which require a major revision of the project's work programme and/or call for Commission intervention should be signalled independently of the reporting cycle. This signal is popularly known as "red flag". (It must be raised, for example, if for whatever reason the consortium encounters a problem that it cannot resolve by its own means.) Once a "red flag" is raised, it must be reported upon in each management report until explicitly lowered when the problem is solved. Only the Commission can lower the flag.

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Progress reports

Progress reports trigger payments and comprise the following elements: Cost statements must be produced separately and not be bound with the other parts of the report.

A proforma outlining the recommended structure of progress reports is appended at Annex II.

Management synthesis
The management element should be a brief synthesis of the management reports for the period covered by the progress report and should contain a schedule by workpackage, a list of milestones and sub-milestones (or checkpoints) attained; tasks completed and remaining should be listed by work package and by partner; a schedule of work, if possible by work package and partner, should be given for the next reporting period. A synthesis of resources used to date vs. resources estimated should be presented in tabular form.
Assessment of results
Interim or preliminaryresults. Where appropriate, the work carried out during the period of the report and its effects (where such effects exist or are apparent) should be assessed in the context of the expressed objectives of the project. Any slippage or deviation from the initial objectives must be noted explicitly. The report should include an assessment of technical options and a rationale for those selected. Major dissemination activities should be detailed (e.g. publications, presentations, demonstrations) as well as participation in concertation activities. This synthesis can be the basis of that subsequently used for the compilation of the final report. Where significant milestones have been reached a narrative (to be reused for an Edited report - see below - and possibly as a Press Release) should be included.
Claiming costs
Cost statements. An overall cost statement covering the reporting period shall be made plus separate cost statements per partner. Proformas for reporting costs are annexed to the contract itself. Cost statements should reflect the breakdown of costs provided by the Technical Annex. They should clearly justify the basis of the calculations, with reference to rates for labour, travel, subsistenc etc.; relevant supporting documentation (including timesheets and invoices) may be required and should in any case be retained for the final report (see below) and/or for auditing purposes. Separate Guidance notes on cost statements are available.

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Final report

The final report is a report to the Commission on the project as a whole. It should also be accessible in edited form for public dissemination (see Edited reports). It should report on each work package carried out throughout the project, in the light of experience gained at the end of the project, summarising the role of the participating organisations, the work actually carried out compared with what had been forecast, the resources used and the expected and actual results. It should include an abstract and an executive summary. It should in particular cover: Note that within the context of the Telematics Applications Programme under the 4th Framework Programme, exploitation of project results is an important goal. As a rule each project should therefore have produced an exploitation plan as a separate deliverable.
Consolidated costs
The final report must be accompanied by a consolidated statement of expenditure (in ECU), recapitulating the statements accompanying the progress reports, including any final expenditure which has not as yet been documented. Each contractor must be able to justify the costs incurred by maintaining proper books of account in accordance with the normal accounting conventions of the Member State in which the organisation is established, and supporting documentation (including timesheets and invoices).

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Edited reports

Edited reports will generally be required on an annual basis. These should take the form of a narrative of work completed and results achieved to date. These narrative accounts should be self-contained and understandable by those having no previous knowledge of the subject area or the project; suitable contextual information on the project and its objectives should be included. When significant milestones are reached, it is suggested that a narrative of work be included in the relevant progress report to be used for short term dissemination and publicity and to be incorporated later in the edited report for the year.

In addition, an edited version of the final report will also be needed for public dissemination.

Intended for public dissemination edited reports should not contain any confidential or commercially sensitive information.

What is of interest?
It is suggested that questions addressed in an edited report (intermediate or final) include the following:
To round it off
Each edited report must contain an executive summary and may contain one or several appendices, e.g. to present more detailed technical information, press releases or other material suitable for the media, partner contacts and, last but not least, references to sources of particular technical or scientific documentation and of equipment (hardware, software) that have been used for the project.

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Management report proforma

<Project Acronym> - <Contract code>
Management Report <number>
Reporting period <start date> - <end date>
<Date>
<Author>
<Author's organisation>

Introduction
<brief introduction if appropriate>

Work planned this reporting period: <work packages/tasks due this reporting period>

Work actually carried out: /*per active work package*/

Workpackage <WP_id> - <work package title> 
Responsible partner(s): <name of partner organisation(s)> 
Scheduled dates: <start date> - <end date> 
Actual dates: <start date> - <end date>
Deliverables: <short info on deliverables related to this work package: work in progress, draft version available, final version complete, delivered on <date>, etc.>
Estimated achievement: <x>%
<short description of work done, difficulties encountered, etc.; if appropriate this description should be broken down to task level, following the same structure:
Task <WP_id><T_id> - <task title>;
Responsible partner(s): <...>
Scheduled dates: <...> - <...>
<...>
Deliverables: <... related to this task ...> 
Estimated achievement:<...>%>

Meetings held
<list of project meetings: management, technical, etc.>

Deliverables completed
<list of deliverables completed this period, and their status (Public,Restricted,Confidential)>

Dissemination activities
<list of conferences attended, papers presented, papers published in journals, seminars, workshops, etc.>

Concertation activities
<participation in concertation events organised at Libraries Sector level and/or at the level of the Telematics Applications Programme>

Problems and decisions
<problems - technical, managerial - that have arisen in the period covered by this report, decisions and measures taken, etc.>

<Other headings as appropriate ..., e.g. Red flag>

Work package completion table

<WP_id> <% complete current period> <% complete previous period>

Work planned next reporting period
<in terms of work packages / tasks, by partner>

Summary of resources used (per participant) as shown in the following spreadsheet.



Management Report - Resources Used (1)

      

Project Acronym Management Report <number> Participant: <participant name> Reporting period: <from date> - <to date> Project duration: <from date> - <to date> Resources: costed / non-costed labour (delete as appropriate)

WP-No Staff category (2) Effort, person-days
accumulated prev. report this period accumulated to date total estimated in TA
1
Staff type 1




Staff type 2




Staff type 3




2
Staff type 1




Staff type 2




Staff type 3




...
...




n
Staff type 1




Staff type 2




Staff type 3




Total
Staff type 1




Staff type 2




Staff type 3




(1) Please note: Participants (full partners, associated partners, named subcontractors) who are funded according to the 100% additional cost option must provide two tables of the same structure, one showing the funded resources and one showing their non-costed contribution.
(2) Staff categories as identified in the Technical Annex.

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Progress report proforma

<Project Acronym> - <Contract code>
Management Report <number>
Reporting period <start date> - <end date>
<Date>
<Author>
<Author's organisation>

Introduction
<brief introduction if appropriate>

Management synthesis

Work planned this reporting period: 
<workpackages/tasks due this reporting period>

Work actually carried out:

Work package completion status
<in terms of tasks completed and remaining, by partner>
Work package completion table
<WP_id> <% complete current period>
List of (sub-)milestones/checkpoints attained
Work planned next reporting period
<in terms of work packages / tasks, by partner>
Overview of resources used (per participant) as shown in the attached spreadsheet.
Assessment of interim results
<objectives set versus objectives attained, deviations>
<technical options adopted>
<dissemination and exploitation activities>
<concertation at Libraries Sector and Telematics Applications Programme levels>
<other matters as appropriate ..., e.g. problems, Red flag
...
Cost statements /*as per forms attached to the contract and not bound with the other parts of the report*/

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Progress Report - Resources Used (1)

      

Project Acronym Progress Report <number> Participant: <participant name> Reporting period: <from date> - <to date> Project phase: <phase> Resources: costed / non-costed labour (delete as appropriate)

WP-No Staff category (2) Effort, person-days
accumulated prev. report this period accumulated to date total estimated in TA
1
Staff type 1




Staff type 2




Staff type 3





Total WP1




2
Staff type 1




Staff type 2




Staff type 3





Total WP2




...
...




n
Staff type 1




Staff type 2




Staff type 3





Total WPn





Total type 1




Total type 2




Total type 3





Grand total




(1) Please note: Participants (full partners, associated partners, named subcontractors) who are funded according to the 100% additional cost option must provide two tables of the same structure, one showing the funded resources and one showing their non-costed contribution.
(2) Staff categories as identified in the Technical Annex.

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Telematics for Libraries - March 1996

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Created: Tuesday, 19 November 1996 - 11:02:29 Last Updated: Friday, 22 November 1996 - 11:09:16