Extensive pre-assessment work is conducted prior to the actual assessment. The purpose of pre-assessment work is to gather and disseminate key information that will establish a knowledge base and properly prepare and inform the assessment team, the in-country USG team, and implementing partners. Key areas of pre-assessment work include:
Criteria considered in site selection include the assessment scope, program size (number of sites/satellite sites and patients receiving care), site type, stage in transition, and geographic distribution in-country.
All assessment team members participate in a ClASS training prior to serving as a ClASS reviewer. The training includes an overview of the ClASS framework, use of the tools/modules, cultural awareness, report writing skills and background information.
Country and site specific documents are requested, collected and disseminated to the assessment team for review prior to the in-country visit. These may include: The Country Program Abstract, Program Summaries, Transition plans, Organizational Charts, Data Reports, Job Descriptions, Clinic Site Profiles and Program Budgets. Documents are usually requested in each of the areas to be reviewed including Clinical, Administrative and Financial. Documents not available before the visit are requested and reviewed on-site.
Pre-Assessment Conference Calls
Pre-Assessment conference calls are held, first with the assessment team, and then with all involved parties including the assessment team, USG partners and implementing partners (headquarters, in-country partners, and/or local partners). These calls usually take place 1-2 weeks prior to the assessment to outline the purpose, expectations, and general overview of the agenda for the assessment, as well as to introduce the assessment team. The conference call provides an opportunity for the partners to address their questions or concerns about the assessment, and to allow for open dialogue.
ClASS Assessments are typically 1-2 weeks long, consisting of visits to the Prime Grantee, Sub-grantee and clinical sites, as applicable. The following sub-sections provide guidance to CDC, Prime Grantees, Sub-grantees and sites on the presentations during the Opening Session, main assessment activities at Prime Grantee and Sub-grantee/site levels, Closing Session and action planning.
Assessment Outcomes and Outputs
For each ClASS visit, the key immediate outcome is the sharing of assessment findings and recommendations at the final debrief meeting(s), followed by a final report. CDC and the grantee are provided with a copy of the debrief presentation so they have an immediate written record of the “Strengths” and “Areas For Improvement”.
At the end of the Sub-grantee and/or site Assessment there is a debrief session where highlights of the initial findings at this level are presented by the Assessment Team and discussed with the Sub-grantee/site leadership. Assessment team members consolidate program strengths and areas for improvements and develop recommendations related to each technical and/or geographical area, depending on the scope of the assessment
Closing session (Exit Conference)
All ClASS assessments conclude with a closing session that involves the site or organization’s leadership, and key staff. The purpose of the closing session is to provide an opportunity for each member of the assessment team to share the preliminary findings from the review categorized by Strengths, Opportunities for Improvement, and Recommendations respective to each review area. Staff will have the opportunity to ask questions for clarification at the end of each reviewer’s discussion of preliminary findings. A copy of this presentation can be left with the grantee following Closing Session. This allows the organization to immediately begin responding to the findings without waiting for the final written report.
Action Planning provides the Prime Grantee/Sub-grantee/Sites with an immediate list of deliverables that are based on the ClASS assessment’s identified “Opportunities for Improvement”. Action Planning participants may include: ClASS Assessment Team, Program staff and/or leadership, in-country USG representatives, and other key partners. This planning session provides the opportunity to discuss local resources for capacity building and assign responsibility for each area needing attention. This session while attended by the assessment team is best facilitated by the program that will be implementing the programmatic and/or operational changes agreed upon during thi session.
Action Planning sessions work best when not conducted on the same day as the Closing Session (exit conference).
An initial draft of the assessment report will be circulated for program feedback. In-country USG, key local partners, and site staff are invited to review the initial draft and ensure that the information gathered is accurately reflected and provide feedback on assessment team observations and recommendations. Reviewer and Grantor responses to program feedback are integrated into the final report which should be received by the program within 90 days of assessment visit.
ClASS Outputs are utilized in several ways:
- Inform grantees, USG, and other stakeholders of strengths and areas for improvement for the grantee and sub-grantee(s) and/or clinical sites;
- Make recommendations for priority technical assistance needs;
- Monitor continued progress in building administrative, financial, local partner clinical, leadership and management, and counseling and testing program capacity.