To obtain independent, objective, and substantive feedback on the IMF’s performance, the IMF’s Executive Board established the Independent Evaluation Office (IEO) in July 2001. Since then the IEO has produced a series of detailed reports that evaluate how the IMF does its job and help identify desirable changes in policies and practices. The IEO works independently of the IMF’s management and staff, and at arm’s length from the IMF’s Executive Board. The IEO is headed by Thomas A. Bernes and has 12 other staff members, the majority of whom are recruited from outside of the IMF, as well as consultants.
The IEO’s website (www.imf.org/ieo) gives detailed information on its terms of reference, work to date, status of ongoing projects, evaluation reports, and seminars and outreach activities. The website also provides opportunities for interested stakeholders (country authorities, academics, nongovernmental organizations, and other members of civil society) to interact with the IEO in defining its work program, determining the terms of reference of individual studies, and submitting substantive inputs to these studies.
The IEO develops its work program on the basis of internal discussions and broad-based external consultations. Draft issues papers for all evaluations are posted on the IEO website for public comments for completed and ongoing studies.
In formulating its future work program, the IEO has identified a broad list of possible topics for evaluation over the medium term, reflecting the many suggestions received from outside stakeholders as well as from IMF Executive Directors, management, and staff.
In 2006, the IEO itself was evaluated by an independent external panel. On the basis of the panel’s report, the Executive Board agreed that the IEO had served the IMF well and earned strong support across a broad range of stakeholders. The panel also identified a number of areas for strengthening the IEO, which are being followed up. The Executive Board also agreed that the IMF continued to need an independent evaluation office to contribute to the institution’s learning culture and to facilitate oversight and governance by the Board.