The use of Facilities by the Australian aid program has come under increased scrutiny by members of parliament, aid implementers and lobby groups. This has, in large part, been fueled by the recent launch of several high-profile Facilities in Melanesia, including the PNG Governance Facility and the Fiji Program Support Facility – coupled with concerns that such programs are “untested”, “overly ambitious and unclear in scope.”
However, despite the ongoing use of Facilities to deliver aid globally–extending as far back as the 1970s– disappointingly little has been written about the experience of start-up and early implementation to inform this debate. Where evidence does exist, it tends to come long after the public debate has been had – and focus on externally commissioned ex-post evaluation: i.e. the extent to which the Facility achieved its goals, rather than the day-to-day lessons on what it actually to get a Facility up and running and ultimately put in place the systems needed to succeed.