FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
 
What is the Joint Inspection Unit?
 
The Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) is the only independent external oversight body of the United Nations system mandated to conduct evaluations, inspections and investigations system-wide. It seeks to ensure that that the optimum use is made of resources available for carrying out activities, to enhance the efficiency of the administrative and financial functioning of the United Nations system. The Unit also seeks to identify best practices, propose benchmarks, and facilitate information-sharing throughout the system.
 
How was the JIU created?

JIU was created on an experimental basis under General Assembly resolution 2150 (XXI) in 1966 and extended several times.  By its resolution 31/192 of 22 December 1976, the General Assembly decided to establish the Joint Inspection Unit as a standing subsidiary organ, and approved the statute of the Unit, with effect from 1 January 1978.
 
The Unit is responsible to the General Assembly, and to the competent legislative organs of specialized agencies and international organizations within the United Nations system, which have accepted its statute.
 
What makes the JIU mandate specific in the UN system?
 
JIU has a unique mandate and opportunity to look at cross-cutting issues throughout the United Nations system and be an agent for change across the system, to secure administrative efficiency and achieve greater co-ordination between organizations. Member States have repeatedly reaffirmed the system-wide mandate given to the Unit to provide system-wide oversight in addition to advising organizations on their methods for internal evaluation, assessing these methods and making ad hoc evaluations of programmes and activities.  (JIU Statute article 5).
 
How is the work of the JIU governed?

The statute of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) was approved by the General Assembly in its resolution 31/192 of 22 December 1976, with effect from 1 January 1978. The JIU Statute is complemented by the Unit’s mission statement. It outlines the:
 
• establishment of the Unit;
• its composition and appointment;
• functions, powers and responsibilities;
• mode of operation;
• condition of service;
• administrative, budgetary and financial arrangements;
• other arrangements.

How is the JIU composed?

The Unit consists of not more than eleven Inspectors (see JIU statute article 2), including one Chairperson and one Vice-Chairperson. Inspectors are appointed by the General Assembly based on their experience in national or international administrative and financial matters, including management questions, taking into account the principle of equitable geographical distribution and reasonable rotation. Inspectors serve in their personal capacity and are appointed for a term of five years, renewable once.
 
Inspectors have the broadest powers of investigation in all matters having a bearing on the efficiency of the services and the proper use of funds and, to these ends, may make on-the-spot inquiries and investigations. They are mandated to provide an independent view through inspections and evaluations aimed at improving management and methods and at achieving greater coordination between organizations.
 
According to article 19 of the Joint Inspection Unit’s (JIU) statute, Inspectors are assisted by an Executive Secretary and by staff members, as authorized in the Unit’s budget. The Unit currently includes a total of twenty secretariat staff, including the Executive Secretary, nine Evaluation and Inspection Officers, one Investigator, five Research Assistants dedicated to evaluations and inspections and four support staff.
 
How is the JIU funded?
 
In accordance with article 20 of the Joint Inspection Unit’s (JIU) statute, the JIU budget is included in the regular budget of the United Nations and its expenditures are shared by the participating organizations, based on their respective agreement.  In 2012, the regular allotment for the JIU amounts to USD 6.4 million. No new extra-budgetary contributions were received in 2011.
 
How is the programme of work of the JIU adopted?
 
According to article 9 of its statute, the JIU prepares its annual programme of work, based on an inclusive process that seeks to meet the needs of Member States and participating organizations, taking into account: (a) the Unit’s own observations, experience and assessment of priorities, (b) requests received from the competent organs of its participating organizations, (c) suggestions received from the executive heads of organizations; and (d) suggestions received from the United Nations bodies concerned with oversight and budgetary control.
 
The selection process also involves consultations with other oversight bodies, such as the Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and the Board of Auditors (BoA), to prevent overlaps and duplications with the work of these bodies.
 
The topics of evaluations and inspections undertaken are defined in the Unit’s annual programme of work, after a thorough screening and validation of external proposals and internal suggestions, which takes into account the work done and planned by other oversight bodies, resource implications, the topics’ timeliness for consideration by governing bodies and other recipients, as well as their potential to improve effectiveness, efficiency, coordination and cooperation in the United Nations system.
 
How does JIU report on its activities?
 
According to article 10 of its Statute, the Unit also has to submit an annual report on its activities to the General Assembly and the competent organs of the other organizations. In 2005, the Unit decided to present its annual report and its programme of work for the following year in a single document, in support of enhanced efficiency and clarity.
 
What are the norms, standards and procedures applied by the JIU?
 
The management of the Joint Inspection Unit’s (JIU) evaluation, inspection and investigation function follows a professional evaluation methodology that involves stakeholders at various stages. It is, governed by the JIU statute, which represents the overall evaluation policy for the JIU, complemented by a set of standards and procedures, including:
 
• JIU Standards and Guidelines (A/51/34/Annex I);
• JIU Internal Working Procedures; JIU Norms and Standards for evaluation in line with the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) Norms and Standards;
• Yardsticks for report preparation - a four-phase project management methodology, with estimated time for each phase to allow planning and resource allocation.
 
Project phases include: phase 1 - planning and preparation; phase 2 - data collection and analysis; phase 3 - output preparation; pausing time for external comments; phase 4 - finalization; outreach and knowledge sharing.
 
JIU Standards and Guidelines were developed following the General Assembly resolution 50/233. They provide a definition of evaluations, inspections and investigations, as well as the general principles that apply to their selection, planning, conduct and reporting, in accordance with the JIU Statute.
 
What are the JIU outputs?
 
The Unit prepares reports addressed to legislative/governing bodies of the UN system organizations and notes and management/confidential letters addressed to the executive heads of these organizations.
 
The topics of evaluations and inspections undertaken are defined in the Unit’s annual programme of work, after a thorough screening and validation of external proposals and internal suggestions, which takes into account the work done and planned by other oversight bodies, resource implications, the topics’ timeliness for consideration by governing bodies and other recipients, as well as their potential to improve effectiveness, efficiency, coordination and cooperation in the United Nations system.
 
Reports can focus on the United Nations system as a whole or on one or more organization(s) specifically. After being submitted to the executive heads of the JIU participating organizations, reports are presented by the Inspector(s) to the competent legislative and governing bodies for their consideration and follow-up. Notes and management/confidential letters are addressed and submitted to concerned executive heads of the organizations.
 
Reports and notes contain recommendations that are: (a) directed at correcting clear deficiencies with practical, action-oriented measures to solve significant problems; (b) convincing and well-supported by the facts and analysis in the report/note; (c) realistic in terms of implied resource commitments and technical capabilities; (d) cost-effective; and (e) specific regarding actions to be taken.
The Unit has in place a  follow-up system tracking the acceptance, the implementation and impact of the recommendations contained in reports, notes and management/confidential letters.  As such it is a critical tool for the dialogue of the Unit with its participating organizations.

Can I subscribe to information about latest JIU outputs?

Yes. Visitors can stay informed about the JIU latest activities, reports, notes and management letters, by subscribing to RSS or email updates on this web site.  Any questions about JIU’s work or feedback on the website and its content are also welcome.
 
How are JIU recommendations handled by its participating organizations?

The procedure for handling and processing reports/notes is described in articles 11 and 12 of the JIU Statute. JIU entered into specific follow-up agreements with a number of participating organizations secretariats. As of 2012, 14 follow-up agreements were in place. The “model agreement” endorsed by the United Nations secretariat is applicable to its funds and programmes but some have entered into specific agreement to enhance collaboration. These agreements, based on the principle of shared responsibility, define the steps and conditions for effective follow-up on JIU recommendations by the Unit, the secretariats of participating organizations and Member States. In fact, the systematic monitoring and thorough follow-up of the status and implementation of recommendations issued by oversight bodies is one of the most important elements of effective oversight.
 
Following the General Assembly’s repeated call for the strengthening of the Unit’s follow-up system on the implementation of its recommendations, in particular in its resolutions 62/246 and 64/262, JIU has developed a web-based system to monitor the status of recommendations and receive updates from individual organizations.
The follow-up system aims at tracking the acceptance, the implementation and impact of the recommendations contained in Joint Inspection Unit reports, notes and management/confidential letters.  As such it is a critical tool for the dialogue of the Unit with its participating organizations.
 
Who are JIU main partners?

In the course of its work, JIU involves many different partners, including its participating organizations, Member States, other United Nations oversight and coordination bodies, as well as other specialized agencies, international organizations, and non-governmental organizations, as deemed relevant for the conduct of JIU evaluation, inspection and investigation projects.

As stated by the United Nations General Assembly, the impact of the Joint Inspection Unit (JIU) on the cost effectiveness of activities within the United Nations system is a shared responsibility of the Member States, the Unit and the secretariats of the participating organizations. The acceptance and implementation of JIU recommendations, which could be addressed to as many as 25 different organizations, often require lengthy follow-up efforts and legislative body action.
JIU also coordinates its work with other United Nations system oversight and coordination bodies. It works in contact with the United Nations System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (CEB) Secretariat; the Chairpersons of its High-Level Committee on Management (HLCM) and High-Level Committee on Programmes (HLCP); the Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ); and the Committee for Programme and Coordination of the United Nations (CPC).

What is the involvement of participating organizations?
 
The conduct of system-wide oversight work involves many stakeholders. To facilitate the dialogue process, each participating organization has nominated a focal point for interaction with the JIU. Thanks to the proactive support of these focal points, the secretariats of participating organizations are involved in the preparation and consideration of JIU reports, notes and management/confidential letters through a participatory process, which can entail:
• Participation in questionnaires and surveys for collecting data and management/staff views;
• Participation in interviews conducted during on-site missions or through telephone/video conference;
• Comments on draft reports, notes and management/confidential letters, on factual accuracy, substantive issues and “smart” aspect of recommendations;
• Formal comments on the final output; and
• Dissemination of reports/notes, scheduling consideration of reports by legislative bodies and the preparation of summaries for consideration by legislative bodies;
• Reporting on acceptance, implementation and impact of recommendations.
 
During the evaluation process, all participating organizations have at least two opportunities to comment on JIU reports, to correct factual errors and provide substantive comments during the drafting stage of a report, and give overall comments, notably concerning recommendations, once a report has been finalized.
 
How can I contact the Joint Inspection Unit?
 
Please fill out the online feedback form.