I was asked this question by a client some time ago. After some thinking about something that I felt I should have already known, I drafted up a one page guidance note for my client. The contents of the note also benefited from a discussion about appropriate expectations about M&E frameworks with other M&E people on the MandE NEWS email list
I have attached the one page guidance note here: What should be found in an M&E Framework / Plan?
Please feel free to post your comments on this document below. And to suggest any other documents or websites where this topic is covered.
PS: 28 October 2011: This one-pager contains a summary of the proposed contents of an M&E Framework for a DFID project, prepared this year
PS: 12 February 2014: Benedictus Dwiagus Stepantoro has sent me this link to the DFAT (was AusAID) Monitoring and Evaluation standards that were updated in 2013. He points especially to standard no.2 on Initiative M&E System there, and comments:
” I use it all the time as reference in checking the quality of M&E system in program/project/initiative, as I often receive 3-5 M&E System/Plan documents every year to be assessed.
The main key feature for an M&E system there are:
– Should have an ‘evaluability assessment’, as basis for developing the M&E system.
– Have clarity on program outcome, key output, approach/modality and the logic around them
– Have Evaluation Questions, or Performance Key Questions/Indicators
– Methodology/Tools – including baseline
– Should have sufficient resource (people with right expertise, fund for M&E activities.etc)
– Scheduling of M&E activities
– Costing/Budget allocation for M&E
– Clear responsibility
….People often shows me a logframe or a matrix of indicator and proudly state that their program have an “M&E System”,… But,…. For me, .. A logframe alone, is not an M&E System. A matrix of Indicators alone, is not an M&E system”