World Bank corporate scorecard

6 December 2012 | Inside the institutions

Every six months the World Bank issues a corporate scorecard, which is submitted each autumn to the Bank’s annual meetings. The scorecard is supposed to “provide a snapshot of the Bank’s overall performance, including its business modernisation, in the context of development results.” It is compiled by Bank staff to “facilitat[e] strategic dialogue between management and the board on progress made and areas that need attention.”

The World Bank first proposed its corporate scorecard in 1998 under then Bank president James Wolfensohn. However, the proposal was only acted upon slowly. A 2001 paper for an OECD working party on aid evaluation said the scorecard suffered from a “lack of a clear use” and that efforts to develop it “lacked resources, clear accountabilities, and decisive follow-through by management”. The idea was operationalised under Robert Zoellick’s tenure as Bank president. The first full scorecard was published in September 2011.

The scorecard is made up of four tiers. Tier I measures long-term development within the global development context, using the Millennium Development Goals framework as well as other UN indicators to measure progress. The Bank argues that it is difficult to pinpoint its own impact, when many development actors are involved. So instead of scoring itself, it compares data to a baseline year, which varies for each indicator. There are currently 28 indicators clustered into five areas: growth, jobs and poverty; institutions and governance; human development and gender; sustainable development; and finance, private sector development and trade. They include, for example, per capita GDP and maternal mortality ratios.

Tier II is concerned with Bank support to specific countries and uses 22 indicators that measure the number of countries or the amount of support in four clusters: institutions and governance; human development and gender; sustainable development; and finance, private sector development and trade. Again, the Bank uses the baseline method to measure progress because the result is accredited to individual countries and not the Bank. No Bank-specific targets are set in this tier. Examples of indicators are kilometres of roads built and the number of countries with Bank-supported programmes on procurement.

Tier III evaluates the Bank’s effectiveness in implementing its development goals. There are 21 indicators examining the Bank’s development outcome ratings and its operational effectiveness. Within operational effectiveness the indicators are grouped in three clusters: lending operations; knowledge activities; and use of country systems. Other than the statistics based on the Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group (IEG) reports, most indicators in this tier are measured by the management of the Bank using a traffic light rating system. Red signals that the indicator is off-track, i.e. below the baseline or performance standard. Yellow indicates that there is no increase or decrease and green highlights an on-track indicator which has increased from the baseline or improved its performance standard. Indicators include the number of visits to the Bank’s open data website and the level of satisfactory ratings for Bank-funded projects at project completion.

Lastly, Tier IV examines the efficient use of staff and resources, as well as the ability of the Bank to modernise in response to changes, such as the financial crisis. The 25 indicators are also measured using the traffic light system and are in two groups: resources, skills, and business modernisation; and sector actions related to post-crisis directions.

Over time additional indicators have been added to the scorecard. For Tier I, the Bank introduced three new indicators in its most recent scorecard. The additions were: a measure of domestic credit to the private sector as a percentage of GDP, the level of statistical capacity of a country to monitor progress and a measure of the gap between men and women holding formal bank accounts. The indicator for CO2 emissions was also altered to include its economic cost. For Tier II, the support that was provided for public sector management has switched from being an output indicator to an outcome indicator. Finally, in Tier III, a new indicator was added to measure the integration of beneficiary feedback in the Bank’s operations. In future, there will also be an indicator measuring the perceived contribution of the Bank in providing knowledge and research to achieve development results. Tier IV has remained unchanged.

The scorecard system remains limited as the first two tiers do not rate the Bank’s performance. In addition, only some parts of the corporate scorecard are rated by independent bodies, like the IEG; the rest is left to the Bank’s internal systems and management, calling into question the independence of subjective performance ratings.

The September 2012 scorecard, the Bank’s third, identified several Bank shortcomings. For instance, only 63 per cent of completed country assistance strategies (see Update 70) were rated satisfactory by the IEG, which was below the performance standard of 70 per cent. Similarly, the Bank’s clients rated the Bank’s effectiveness as 6.7 on average, lower than the 7 performance standard, earning it a yellow light. In Tier IV, the measure of intra-Bank collaboration between departments was also sub-par with employees only spending 6.8 per cent of their time in other units, below the 10 per cent target. Also in Tier IV, the measure for decentralisation, the percentage of tasks managed by staff in the field, was only 44 per cent and was given a yellow light.