Third-Party Monitoring (TPM) describes the practice of contracting third parties to collect and verify monitoring data. In insecure contexts, aid actors primarily use TPM to monitor the activities of partner organizations in places where their own staff faces access restrictions. This report is based on interviews with commissioning agencies, TPM providers and donors, and a review of literature. It concludes that TPM can provide a meaningful contribution to the broader monitoring and evaluation toolbox by strengthening compliance in places where access is limited. For donors, TPM offers an option to verify monitoring information from partners. For aid agencies, TPM can provide a source of primary field data to inform programming and help verify partner reporting. However, agencies should do as much of their own monitoring as possible.
TPM works best when used as a last resort measure or in conjunction with recipient agencies’ internal monitoring and verification approaches. Aid agencies should limit their primary reliance on Third-Party Monitoring to exceptional areas with constrained access. The practice of TPM needs to be regularly reassessed, and options for internalizing monitoring should be regularly re-evaluated. To facilitate as much of their own monitoring as possible, TPM should always be complemented by acceptance-building measures, community feedback systems, and transparent communication with communities overall (beneficiaries and nonbeneficiaries).