system – outstanding characteristics
From its beginnings the SQM system has been
Communication and understanding between
Supporting the involvement of actors and
Covering the whole policy cycle of programmes
Versatility and upgradeability thanks to a
Transparency and communication with new
Improving efficiency in programme and project
Summing up the experiences up to now, SQM has
advanced very well regarding these expectations.
Communication and understanding between different
cultures in Europe
SQM has been developed on the basis of a series of European research and pilot application projects in several countries since 1996 (INSURED, D2MiP, ...).
The basic terminology has been developed on the basis of the analysis of
over 100 projects and programmes in 10 countries by multicultural teams. As
a result, the SQM concepts constitute an intercultural "language".
SQM is not limited to the cultural or administrative background of a specific
country: it has proved to be most useful for cross-cultural understanding,
and it can and should be adapted to specific needs and priorities.
The SQM analysis framework
not only is so general that it can be applied to very different contexts. It
also is so differentiated that it allows to describe and compare these
contexts and different points of view. Systematic descriptions of contexts
have shown to facilitate the intercultural exchange of experiences.
All tools have been conceived for multilingual use.
English, French, German and Italian have been implemented right from the
start, other languages can be added as needed. In the terminology and in the
instruments provided, special emphasis has been given to EU structural funds.
As these are having a strong influence on all systems of public funding in
Europe, and as all SQM instruments have been designed to allow for
consistent customisation, the SQM approach and SQM systems are applicable to
all kinds of public funding programmes and public or private projects in a
European or similar environment.
the involvement of actors and interest groups
SQM can be very helpful to involve local actors,
interest groups, politicians and highly specialised experts in the same
The SQM analysis frameworks starts with some basic
dimensions that are understandable for everybody and can be detailed for
highly specialised questions. The combination of qualitative and
quantitative appraisals allow to include unstructured opinions and
knowledge. In this way SQM provides a common platform for the dialogue
between local actors, politicians, interest groups and experts.
Moreover, SQM procedures and instruments provide tools for the support of participative processes: facilitation methods, questionnaire systems, tools for analysis, synthesis and visualisation.
Covering the whole policy cycle of programmes and
Until now pilot projects have put the emphasis on
the beginning of the policy cycle, i.e. programme and project development,
programme diffusion and transparency and also some minor evaluation.
Web-based instruments for programme and project management and for the
evaluation of large programmes are in preparation drawing on a long
experience in this field using other frameworks. SQM instruments will not
cover the financial management of programmes, since there are
well-established systems systems which strongly differ from country to
country. However, it will be possible to build links form SQM instruments to
Versatility and upgradeability thanks to a modular
SQM is a modular and scaleable system based on a small number of basic principles.
After an easy start, the growing experience of the users opens up more and more possibilities
Different concepts, methods and tools can be arranged into an optimal combination for specific tasks, users and target groups.
The basic analysis framework can be simplified or refined indefinitely.
instruments for different needs are based on a common structure and can be configured and upgraded step by step.
The fact that all tools and procedures have been conceived as a combination
of "elementary appraisals" has led to an initially unexpected
Transparency and communication with new Internet
The basic SQM concepts and methods can be used without the Internet. However, the consistent application of new Internet technologies can open up new dimensions.
In order to use the different tools you only need an Internet connection and specific passwords.
This avoids any installation and maintenance problems and facilitates the
Moreover, the central SQM database engine allows for an easy and targeted exchange:
Public information pages, programme guides, questionnaires etc. can be made
accessible for a large number of users. Complex management systems can
provide differentiated rights for many collaborators. Experts all across
Europe can easily contribute to confidential projects. Thematic networks can
build up databases for the exchange of experiences.
experiences from SQM pilot projects provide the basis for predefined
procedures, tasks and forms that come along with the first SQM online
instruments. A growing number of users shall contribute to libraries of
procedures, tasks and forms for specific purposes which will be easily
Improving efficiency in programme and
Efficiency gains are being expected on two
by improving the understanding between all
actors involved in the different phases of the project or programme
life-cycle by providing a common 'language' (concepts and terminology),
by enhancing the transparency of objectives and achievements and by
facilitating the exchange of experiences
by supporting conceptual and administrative
tasks with easily accessible internet-based instruments having a
coherent logic, structuring the workflow, avoiding repetitive paperwork
and strongly enhancing the communication between all involved.
The efficiency gains of the first type have
already been shown in a number of projects. The second type of efficiency
gains has still to be demonstrated by longer-term large-scale applications
of SQM instruments in administrations. We estimate that in structural funds
administrations it would be above 10%.