5. Do we need to publish IATI every quarter?
The ministry encourages its partners to update their IATI publication at least every quarter the IATI publication, following IATI recommendations and best practices. The Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs assesses the progress of the activities once a year, and therefore requires at least an annual update of the IATI publication.
Quarterly updates are useful because:
- Timely information is provided to data users – one of the basic assumptions of IATI
- Going through the process on a quarterly basis provides for a certain routine
- The workload for each update is limited
- The data are regularly checked on content and relevance.
The fact that data are updated periodically, doesn’t mean that they have been thoroughly checked (e.g. by means of an annual accountants check). The data that the publishing organisation uses are ‘good enough’. This is one of the reasons why IATI data cannot be used for financial accountability. Each IATI publication is a ‘snapshot’ of the situation, containing the data available at that point in time.
Each new publication replaces the previous publication. Old activities remain published, even after they have ended. The total dataset will thus grow over time.
What does a quarterly update involve?
Generally, the basic activity details are entered once, at the start of an activity.
Every quarterly check entails:
- Are there new activities that should be published?
And per activity, you could look at:
- Have the initial plans changed?
descriptions, start and end dates might change
- Has the status changed?
think of cancelled or completed activities
- Are there new partners?
- Are there new locations where activities take place?
- Which financial transactions took place?
incoming funds, transfers and expenditures of the last quarter
- Have results been measured?
- Are there documents you want to add using the ‘document link’? Think of narrative reports, program documents, studies, result reports, photos, videos.
When working in a sensitive context, the quarterly update is also a good moment to assess if all the data contained in the publication, can still safely be published (or if a certain partner should rather be anonymized).