PAPM 2000 March 4, 2014.docx

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Public Affairs and Policy Management
PAPM 2000
Graeme Auld

Drive for evaluation • Driven/championed by management consultant industry o Fits with the appetite for emulating private sector (ie. NPM) • Fiscal pressure • New instruments demand greater accountability o Shift to partnerships, involving non-profit and corporate actors in policy process increases demands for careful attention to performance measurement and monitoring • Establishing/re-establishing public trust o Transparent, frequent communication of performance though to ensure support for public institutions Policy Cycle Agenda setting -> Processes by which certain issues gain the attention of policy makers Formulation -> processes of considering and excluding policy options Decision making -> process of deciding between a set of policy options Implementation -> Process in which they are put in Evaluation How and Why of Evaluation • Improvement of programs core aim of government evaluation o Means working with program managers to assess implementation => "formative evaluation" • Another aim is accountability o Assessing program operation when near complete => "Summative evaluation" • Also done to: o Generate information/knowledge o Generate data to support a program or support a political decision Underlying challenges • Attribution o Involves examining causality o Challenge of determining whether and how much a program contributed to a particular outcome • Unpopular o Identifies failure, which can make it unpopular to program administrators o May make them less willing to help evaluators Program Evaluation • Systematic collection of information about the activities and outcomes of programs o Practice application of techniques, improve policy progress o Systematic in nature • Typically either ex-post or during program implementation • Trying to understand three key questions o What is the problem? o What are a policy and program's goals? o How is a program designed to achieve the goal and address the problem? • Much like problem identification, definition, problem is key o "before a program can be evaluated, its underlying problem definition and its goals must be understood and so evaluators spend a good deal of time in what is usually termed the pre-evaluating phase, talking to program administers and piecing together what people think they are doing o Difference between program "in practice" and program "on paper" • Tools for mapping programs o Program theory • Hypotheses or explanation linking a program's inputs with the hoped for outputs • This involves some set of "mechanisms" that logically connect the inputs to the outputs and ultimately the outcomes o Implementation Theory • Specific activities and resources that are mobilized in connection with each of the links in the program Logic Model (Cont'd)
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