Project Title

APEC Business Travel Card Programme Management Assistance Project 

Project Year

2014   

Project Number

CTI 22 2014 

Project Session

Session 2   

Project Type

Standard 

Project Status

Completed Project   
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Project No.

CTI 22 2014 

Project Title

APEC Business Travel Card Programme Management Assistance Project 

Project Status

Completed Project 

Publication (if any)

 

Fund Account

Operational Account 

Sub-fund

None 

Project Year

2014 

Project Session

Session 2 

APEC Funding

135,000 

Co-funding Amount

15,000 

Total Project Value

150,000 

Sponsoring Forum

Business Mobility Group (BMG) 

Topics

Mobility of Business People 

Committee

Committee on Trade and Investment (CTI) 

Other Fora Involved

 

Other Non-APEC Stakeholders Involved

 

Proposing Economy(ies)

Australia 

Co-Sponsoring Economies

China; Peru 

Expected Start Date

01/12/2014 

Expected Completion Date

31/12/2015 

Project Proponent Name 1

Peter Speldewinde 

Job Title 1

Border Security Policy Branch 

Organization 1

Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection 

Postal Address 1

P O Box 25, Belconnen, Australian Capital Territory, 2616 

Telephone 1

61-2 61987382 

Fax 1

Not Applicable 

Email 1

Not Applicable 

Project Proponent Name 2

Not Applicable 

Job Title 2

Not Applicable 

Organization 2

Not Applicable 

Postal Address 2

Not Applicable 

Telephone 2

Not Applicable 

Fax 2

Not Applicable 

Email 2

Not Applicable 

Declaration

Peter Speldewinde 

Project Summary

The APEC Business Travel Card (ABTC) scheme, in operation since 1997, has been a significant achievement of the APEC Business Mobility Group (BMG). Through the collective efforts of participating economies the scheme has facilitated business travel within the Asia-Pacific region, and has played a key role in the development and growth of trade and investment activity.   

Recognising the ongoing importance of the ABTC scheme to the APEC region, the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project seeks to build on the existing expertise of participating economies to continue to improve the world-leading travel facilitation scheme for business travellers. Through the provision of support and guidance to participating economies, the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will work closely with participating economies to strengthen administration of the scheme and to build technical expertise through the provision of workshops, training, seminars, and guidance material. 

Through the project, assistance may be provided on either a bilateral or multilateral basis with other economies. The sharing of experiences between participating economies enables the development of best practice processes.

Relevance

Currently, there are limited opportunities for ABTC processing managers and staff to discuss technical issues related to ABTC systems and processing, or for economies to share best-practice policies and activities. This type of expertise development and exchange of best practice is essential for the overall improvement of the ABTC scheme and for its continuing contribution to trade and investment activity within the APEC region. 

Furthermore, the APEC BMG’s Supporting Continued Growth in Trade and Facilitation: End-to-End Review of the ABTC Scheme (end-to-end review) will provide, among other things, technical recommendations and organisational recommendations for the APEC BMG to take forward. These recommendations are expected to provide for additional improvements and efficiencies to the current processing arrangements and ABTC system enhancements. 

In this context, the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will provide an opportunity to assist all participating economies to develop and enhance their ability to: 

· meet and maintain the standards outlined in the Client Service Framework and Operating Framework;

· consider and implement relevant recommendations emerging from the end-to-end review; and

·  apply robust programme management arrangements. 

In accordance with the Funding Criteria for all APEC-Funded Projects in 2014, the Programme Management Assistance Project would fall into rank 1 as a project that specifically and significantly contributes to promoting regional economic integration via free and open trade and investment. The Programme Management Assistance Project is related to supplying performance improvements, services, promoting connectivity, including enhancing physical infrastructure, institutional and people-to-people connectivity, ease of doing business, information technology and digital economy.

Objectives

The objectives of this project are to provide assistance to participating APEC economies, in the form of guidance and support, to: 

· build on the existing expertise of participating economies to continue to enhance the world-leading travel facilitation scheme for business travellers;

· develop and enhance ABTC processing capabilities;

· maintain high client service standards; and

. apply programme management principles (including ongoing reporting and evaluation activities) to ABTC processing arrangements.

Alignment

This project builds on work undertaken to ensure a high quality process and service through the development of the ABTC Operating Framework and associated Client Service Framework, and incorporating the recommendations of the APEC-funded end-to-end review of the ABTC scheme which is expected to be completed in late 2014. 

This project is designed to provide medium to long-term assistance to participating economies and to undertake those functions necessary to the successful operation of the ABTC scheme. Both of these objectives require an extended timetable for both development and execution and could not otherwise be accomplished in the normal project proposal life cycle. While the funding sought will cover activities in the normal project life-cycle, the benefits of providing programme management assistance will be long-term. It is envisaged that assistance provided to participants will form the basis of future initiatives and provide guidance to all member economies on best practice processes. 

The end-to end review, a key APEC-funded project, will contain a number of technical and organisational recommendations to enhance the ABTC scheme. These recommendations will inform key priorities, goals, strategies and workplans of the BMG in 2015. The Programme Management Assistance Project will be key in implementing these recommendations, which include technical support and core ABTC platform improvements and review.

TILF/ASF Justification

Not Applicable.

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Outputs:  

This project will increase communications, guidance and support so that participating economies can collectively implement systems solutions and best practice processes according to an economy’s self- identified need. This will strengthen the ABTC scheme and continue to enhance the world-leading travel facilitation scheme for business travelers. 

The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will offer, through the office of the BMG Convenor: 

· Programme management support: A sustainable, long-term approach to the development and maintenance of participating economy programme management activities, which will allow for continuity of scheme management, institution of reporting and evaluation activities, and the implementation of ongoing processing and client service improvements. While the project funding will cover activities throughout the project life cycle, the beneficial impacts will be long-term. 

· Technical assistance: A sustainable, long-term technical assistance programme focusing on the provision of technical guidance and support, which will ensure the technical aspects of ABTC production, such as card printing, are maintained to a high level. Project funding will finance the necessary project activities, which includes conducting two technical assistance programmes in the project year. The specific workplans associated with each initiative and the pace at which these initiatives take place must be tailored to the specific needs of the recipient-economies. Each programme management assistance activity will go towards the enhancement of the ABTC scheme. Options include in-economy assistance meetings with a project consultant or subject matter expert with relevant government and industry experience. Drafting and distribution of project reports will recommend next steps to participating member economies. 

Outcomes:  

The changes in processes that the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project is expected to deliver the following outputs: 

·   Building and improving technical level expertise and communication of best practice approaches by participating economies. Ongoing communication of technical issues, questions, concerns and best practices will assist participating economies to identify and resolve issues early and quickly. This, in turn, will enable senior officers to focus on high level policy and strategic matters at the APEC BMG Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM), rather than technical issues (which may not be resolved efficiently at the SOM without the assistance of technical experts). This refocuses the APEC BMG SOM agenda onto higher level policy and strategic matters. In the existing four-day agenda, an ABTC Workshop takes up a large portion of time. By delegating appropriate programme management assistance activities to be managed by this project, BMG members will have the time and opportunity to focus on higher level policy and strategic matters. 

· Improvements to ABTC programme management by participating economies. The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will work with participating economies to institute new policies and procedures which will lead to continuity of scheme management, establishment of reporting and evaluation activities, and implementation of ongoing processing and client service improvements. 

· Improvements to how ABTC system changes are undertaken. Currently, the process to make minor amendments to the ABTC System can be time-consuming. The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will provide an avenue for technical experts and specialists to liaise and consult on best practice methods.  With the guidance and assistance of this project, minor systems changes could be delegated to a systems developer level, which will, in turn, enhance the effectiveness and efficiencies of the ABTC Scheme. 

The behavioural changes that the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project are expected to contribute towards includes: 

· Better communications and governance within the APEC BMG. In the event that decisions on systems changes or processing changes will need to be made at the SOM-level, the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will assist participating economies to structure and progress these requests prior to presentation at the SOM. This will enable more effective discussions at the ABTC Workshop during the SOM. 

· Increased engagement with participating economies. The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will create a forum in which developing economies can raise technical issues with specialists such as systems developers and processing staff, without the need to wait for SOM meetings. 

Beneficiaries:  

The direct project participants and users of the outputs include all participating ABTC economies, which aligns with the inclusive nature of APEC. Assistance will be provided on a regular basis via multilateral workshop(s) as well as on an as-needs basis via bilateral, remote technical assistance and support. 

Depending on whether the APEC economy is a developing economy or an administrator, the level of expertise, roles and level of responsibility will differ. It is envisaged that participants within the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will primarily be ABTC processing officers and systems administrators from participating economies, or other specialists who will hold relevant qualifications in order to provide the highest quality support, assistance and advice. As the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will involve utilising existing processing officers and technical specialists from participating economies as subject matter experts, there will be no bias on participation, gender, or other factors. It is anticipated that relevant immigration departments and foreign affairs ministries will participate (as ABTC processing officers and systems administrators generally sit within these authorities). Travel costs for these participants (from travel eligible economies) have been included within the itimised budget. These subject matter experts will not receive APEC funding for their work. 

Project participants will be able to use the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project as a forum to raise matters of technical or specialist concern. This allows all participants to benefit. 

Other beneficiaries include ABTC holders themselves. It is expected that the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will improve communications, allowing for a more efficient and effective ABTC System and processing standards. This may result in more streamlined processing to the benefit of ABTC applicants.

Dissemination

Dissemination of results and outputs of the projects are planned to be virtual.  In the event that the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project results in the need for publication, it is envisaged that electronic publication will be suitable. 

The target audience to receive results and outputs include specialist and technical officers from participating economies. 

As the outputs arising from the project are specific to practices of the ABTC System and processes, there is no intention to sell outputs arising from this project.

Gender

The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project is envisioned to utilise existing subject matter experts, so there will be no bias on participation and benefit based on gender or other factor. 

Within the current offices of BMG members and processing staff, there are a number of female staff whose skills and services will be engaged and utilised. For example, the Australian processing team and Office of the BMG Convenor are predominately female. 

The project objectives aim to benefit all participating economies, including those from developing economies.  This will in turn benefit women as well as men.

Work Plan

The technical assistance programme is to be delivered via the multilateral workshop(s) and bilateral assistance is to be provided remotely as necessary and coordinated by the office of the BMG Convenor. 

Estimated timelines and dates for each stage:

December 2014: Potential approval and distribution of project funding.

December 2014 – January 2015: Break down programme into component parts and assess against the recommendations of the end-to-end review.

First quarter of 2015: Decision on whether contractor should be engaged, and commencement of selection process if decision to proceed is made. Identification of key participants, priority recipient economies, and assistance requirements (through survey or self-identification). Two participants from each travel-eligible APEC economy will be funded to participate in the workshop.

January/February 2015: First Programme Management Assistance workshop to be held if clear outcomes, agenda and stakeholders have been identified.

March 2015: identification and engagement of key technical and subject matter experts and schedule for rollout.

Early-mid 2015: commence support and guidance activities through workshops, meetings and provision of guidance material. 

Mid-2015 (when SOMIII is held):Programme Management Assistance workshop to be held.

Late-205: Final workshop to be held if required. Two participants from each travel-eligible APEC economy will be funded to participate in the workshop.

Risks

The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project is designed to foster regional engagement and assist developing economies in best practice methods and systems by way of providing an avenue for communications.  For this reason, risks will be low. Perceived risks have been identified as follows: 

·   Inability to engage.  There is a risk that some economies may not be able tp engage with the project.  As the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project is designed to benefit all economies, including developing economies and ensure best practice across APEC economies, there is incentive for all economies to participate.  As the ABTC Workshop can be considered to be a culmination of the intercessional forum, the requirement for senior officials to attend and engage should mitigate any perceived risk with lack of engagement from technical and specialist experts. 

·  Decisions made at an inappropriate level.  There is a low risk that some decisions to amend systems or processes may be made inadvertently. This risk can be mitigated in a number of ways.  APEC economies are well-practiced in being guided by the Operating Framework.  Above all, any agreement to implement best practice methods and processes should be guided by the Operating Framework as the overarching document for economies to adhere to. 

In the event that there is discrepancy as to whether a decision is to be made at the forum level, strict governance processes will be in place so that consensus can be reached. A Terms of Reference will establish governance structures and reporting methods, which will include a means to refer matters such as policy decisions to the appropriate forum, may it be at the SOM-level or with the BMG as the administrators of the ABTC.

Monitoring and Evaluation

The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project’s objectives will be monitored and evaluated through structured governance processes.  Reporting lines will be established through the Terms of Reference and evaluated by feedback from the main beneficiaries, such as APEC economies. 

Reporting and evaluation will consist of:

· monthly reporting on individual activities to the Project Overseer; and

· monthly intercessional reporting to BMG members; and project Overseer to provide ongoing updates at SOM BMG. 

Reports will consist of:

·  project status update against agreed milestones;

·  project status update against agreed financial allocations;

·  risks and mitigation strategies; and

· any stakeholder feedback and satisfaction from ABTC economies, participant statistics on processing times and policy changes adopted. 

This information will be collected through:

·  regular workshops and remote meetings;

·  teleconferences as need and requested;

·  surveys and interviews to collect and collate feedback; and

· peer review, which will ensure that feedback is received and incorporated to provide the necessary programme management assistance to APEC economies.

Linkages

Engagement within APEC: The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project is designed to foster engagement in the Asia-Pacific region, with monitoring and evaluation to be managed by the BMG. The BMG in turn reports to a number of other groups within APEC, such as the CTI. 

Engagement outside APEC: The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project is not expected to engage with groups outside of APEC as the purpose of the project is specific to ABTC systems and processes. 

Previous work: The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project builds on the purpose of the Operating Framework, which outlines the principles and procedures for the ABTC Scheme. The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will not duplicate the work of the ABTC Workshop, which forms part of the SOM agenda, as strict governance processes will be established by an overarching Terms of Reference and regular reporting to the BMG will oversee appropriate referrals. 

APEC’s comparative advantage: As the ABTC provides for travel facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region, it is key to the APEC goal of promoting free trade and economic cooperation.  The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project is designed to implement best practice methods and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the ABTC. To this end, APEC is the best source of funds for this project.

It is envisaged that activities of the Programme Management Assistance Project will provide the necessary technical support to processing staff in ABTC economies to implement the passport changes enhancements, which is being proposed by the Project to Better Handle Passport Changes.

Sustainability

The results and lessons from the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project should benefit the overall ABTC Scheme in the long-term. Beneficiaries will be supported to carry forward the results and lessons as networks of specialist and technical expertise will be well-established and continue after the APEC funding has finished. 

After project completion, the next steps to build on the outputs and outcomes of the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will develop as more system needs arise. The outcomes of the End-to-End Review will create the need for further communication and best practice methods to ensure that recommendations can be well-supported and carried through. Next steps will tracked by regular reporting and communication between participating economies. 

The progress on the process and behavioural outcomes and impacts as identified at Question 6 will be measured through regular reporting to the BMG and at the SOM.

Project Overseers

The Project Overseer is also the Business Mobility Group Convenor, who will manage the work of the Capacity Building Project closely through her office. 

Contact details for the Project Overseer are at the title page. The main points of contact responsible for this project will be the office of the Project Overseer and can be reached at apec@immi.gov.au.

Cost Efficiency

Not Applicable.

Drawdown Timetable

Not Applicable.

Direct Labour

The ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project is envisioned to be a virtual working group, culminating in a face-to-face workshop(s) (number of workshops to be determined, but provisionally, two two-day workshops). It is envisaged that participants within the ABTC Programme Management Assistance Project will primarily be ABTC processing officers and system administrators from participating economies, or other specialists from participating economies who hold relevant qualifications. 

The Itemised budget includes line items relating to the potential engagement of a contracted specialist (external to the Australian Government), who may be engaged to facilitate the face-to-face workshop(s).  Travel costs for this contracted specialist have also been included. It is envisaged that, if Australia was to proceed with engaging a contracted specialist, that this person(s) would be responsible for workshop preparation, facilitation and providing adequate reporting on outcomes to the BMG. Total hours will include preparation time and workshop facilitation. 

If Australia does not proceed with engaging a contracted specialist for this role, monies allocated to these line items will be redirected into other expenditure related to the project – potentially publication / distribution of hard copy reports, other project-related material, or travel costs for travel-eligible economies.

Waivers

Not Applicable.

Are there any supporting document attached?

No 
Attachments
Version: 4.0 
Created at 30/12/2014 12:03  by Lucy Phua 
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Version HistoryVersion History

Project No.

Project Title

Project Status

Publication (if any)

Fund Account

Sub-fund

Project Year

Project Session

APEC Funding

Co-funding Amount

Total Project Value

Sponsoring Forum

Topics

Committee

Other Fora Involved

Other Non-APEC Stakeholders Involved

Proposing Economy(ies)

Co-Sponsoring Economies

Expected Start Date

Expected Completion Date

Project Proponent Name 1

Job Title 1

Organization 1

Postal Address 1

Telephone 1

Fax 1

Email 1

Project Proponent Name 2

Job Title 2

Organization 2

Postal Address 2

Telephone 2

Fax 2

Email 2

Declaration

Project Summary

Relevance

Objectives

Alignment

TILF/ASF Justification

Beneficiaries and Outputs

Dissemination

Gender

Work Plan

Risks

Monitoring and Evaluation

Linkages

Sustainability

Project Overseers

Cost Efficiency

Drawdown Timetable

Direct Labour

Waivers

Are there any supporting document attached?

hdFldAdmin

Project Number

Previous Fora

Secretariat Comments

Reprogramming Notes

Consolidated QAF

Endorsement By Fora

PD Sign Off

Batch

Forum Priority

Committee Ranking Category

Committee Priority

PDM Priority

Priority Within Funding Category

Monitoring Report Received

Completion Report Received

PMU Field 1

PMU Field 2

PMU Field 3

On Behalf Of

Proposal Status

Originating Sub-Forum

Approval Status
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