01 Oct 2016 - 01 Aug 2017

Mid-term evaluation of the Hercule III Programme


The Hercule programme is the sole instrument which is specifically dedicated to protect the financial interests of the EU by supporting the fight against fraud to the detriment of the EU budget. In this respect, the protection of the financial interests of the EU (PFI) covers a wide range of actions aiming to prevent fraud both on the expenditure side and revenue side of the budget (mainly customs duty). Since its starting in 2004, the Hercule programme has been administrated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). Hercule III, established by Regulation (EU) No 250/20142, represents the third edition of the programme. It has a financial envelope of almost €105 million over a seven-year period going from January 2014 to December 2020. The Programme provides financial support in the form of grants, public procurement contracts or reimbursement of participation costs to strengthen the operational and investigative capacity of national and regional competent authorities in the field of PFI.

According to the Evaluation Roadmap prepared by OLAF, the interim evaluation of this third edition of the program, has to start in the second half of 2016 and will be completed by the end of 2017.

In line with the requirements imposed by the Regulation and the principles summarised in the Better Regulation Guidelines, the Evaluation Roadmap identifies six evaluation criteria: i) relevance; ii) coherence; iii) effectiveness; iv) efficiency; v) EU added value; and vi) sustainability (see the following Section for further details).

As regards the scope of the analysis, according to the RFS for this Assignment, the evaluation has to cover all the interventions supported so far by the Hercule III Programme as well as the preparatory and implementing activities undertaken by the stakeholders for these interventions, thus including successful and unsuccessful tender proposals. The evaluation is expected to be well-grounded and evidence-based and to assess the concrete results achieved by the Programme. Against this background, to achieve this result, the Evaluation Team proposes to rely on a mix of desk research and fieldwork as detailed in the following Sections of this Proposal.

The requested service consists of performing an independent mid-term evaluation of the Hercule III Programme. The Assignment will therefore cover key questions of an interim evaluation; in addition, policy recommendations to improve the quality of the Hercule III Programme will be presented on request from the Client. The methodology and approach proposed are based on the Evaluation Team’s expertise in policy evaluation and will mostly draw on the established principles of better regulation set out in the 2015 “Better Regulation Guidelines” along with the “Better Regulation Toolbox”. Interim evaluations represent a central pillar of the EU policy cycle, and their importance has been increasingly stressed throughout the latest Communications on Better and Smart Regulation. Generally, interim evaluations rest on four key analytical steps which will also form the basis of our approach: 1. Identification of the logic of the intervention; 2. Definition of evaluation framework; 3. Data collection; and 4. Data analysis and reporting.


Sponsor: Directorate General Taxation and Customs Union (DG TAXUD)


Consortium leader: Economisti Associati srl


Project leader: Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS)


Project partners: Economisti Associati, wedoIT – solutions GmbH