DFID Draft Structural Reform Plan July 2010

Available  on the DFID website and as a pdf.

“Structural Reform Plans are the key tool of the Coalition Government for making departments accountable for the implementation of the reforms set out in the Coalition Agreement. They replace the old, top-down systems of targets and central micromanagement.

The reforms set out in each department’s SRP are designed to turn government on its head, taking power away from Whitehall and putting it into the hands of people and communities. Once these reforms are in place, people themselves will have the power to improve our country and our public services, through the mechanisms of local democratic accountability, competition, choice, and social action.

The reform plans set out in this document are consistent with and form part of the Department’s contribution to the Spending Review. All departmental spending is subject to the Spending Review.

We have adopted a cautious view of the timescales for delivering all legislative measures due to the unpredictability of pressures on Parliamentary time.”
Continue reading “DFID Draft Structural Reform Plan July 2010”

US Office of Management and Budget: Increased emphasis on Program Evaluations

Via Xceval: No exactly breaking news (11 months later), but still likely to be of wide interest:

October 7, 2009
FROM: Peter R. Orszag
SUBJECT: Increased Emphasis on Program Evaluations

Rigorous, independent program evaluations can be a key resource in determining whether government programs are achieving their intended outcomes as well as possible and at the lowest possible cost. Evaluations can help policymakers and agency managers strengthen the design and operation of programs. Ultimately, evaluations can help the Administration determine how to spend taxpayer dollars effectively and efficiently — investing more in what works and less in what does not.
Although the Federal government has long invested in evaluations, many important programs have never been formally evaluated — and the evaluations that have been done have not sufficiently shaped Federal budget priorities or agency management practices. Many agencies lack an office of evaluation with the stature and staffing to support an ambitious, strategic, and relevant research agenda. As a consequence, some programs have persisted year after year without adequate evidence that they work. In some cases, evaluation dollars have flowed into studies of insufficient rigor or policy significance. And Federal programs have rarely evaluated multiple approaches to the same problem with the goal of identifying which ones are most effective.

To address these issues and strengthen program evaluation, OMB will launch the following government-wide efforts as part of the Fiscal Year 2011 Budget process: ….(read the full text in this pdf)

Measuring Up: HIV-related advocacy evaluation training pack (draft)

HIV-related advocacy evaluation training for civil society organisations.

Produced by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance (Secretariat), International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO), July 2010, 38 pages. Available as .pdf

“This training pack is published by the Alliance and the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO) and consists of two guides designed for advocacy, monitoring and evaluation staff of civil society organisations (including networks) who are involved in designing, implementing and assessing advocacy projects at different levels. The purpose of these guides is to increase users’ capacity to evaluate the progress and results of their advocacy work. The guides aim to:

1. help users to identify and confront the challenges faced by community-based organisations evaluating HIV-related advocacy
2. introduce new thinking for designing advocacy evaluations
3. give users the opportunity to apply some aspects of the evaluation design process to their specific contexts
4. make users aware that advocacy evaluation is a fast-growing and evolving field, with a large number of publications on advocacy evaluation design, approaches and methods available via the Internet and summarised in the resources section of the learner’s guide.”

Designing Initiative Evaluation A Systems-oriented Framework for Evaluating Social Change Efforts

W. K. Kellogg Foundation, 2007. 48 pages. Available as pdf.


“This document is designed for use by external evaluators who conduct initiative evaluations for theW.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) – and, hopefully, other foundations and government agencies. It presents a systems-oriented framework and four general designs for initiative and cluster evaluation. The designs are based on systems concepts related to change and the dynamics of systems. The focus is not on considering all ideas about systems that could be applied to initiative evaluation, rather on how different dynamics within systems can serve as the basis for initiative evaluation designs.” Continue reading “Designing Initiative Evaluation A Systems-oriented Framework for Evaluating Social Change Efforts”


ActionAid International, 2009, 104 pages.  Available as pdf 3.39Mb

See also the associated AAI website on systematization

Systematization is a methodology that offers a way to do all of the above. It allows us to:

  • Organise and document what we have learnt through our work
  • Better understand the impact of our work and the ways in which change happens
  • Develop deeper understanding about our work and the challenges we face to inform new ways of working
  • Capture and communicate the complexity and richness of our work
Systematization “helps people involved in different kinds of practice to organize and communicate what they have learned. We are talking about …so called …. lessons learned, about which everybody talks nowadays, but are not so easy to produce.” (AAI systematization resource pack, pg. 1, 2009)”

Critique of Governance Assessment Applications

GRDC Helpdesk Research Report by Sumedh Rao, Governance and Social Development Resource Centre, July 2010. 16 pages. Available as pdf

Query:  Identify the key literature that critiques the use and application of governance assessments.  Enquirer: DFID

1. Overview
2. General critiques
3. Critiques of measurement
4. Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI)
5. African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM)
6. Other assessments
7. Donor Guidance
8. Initiatives for improving assessments

Including a bibliography of 39 annotated references Continue reading “Critique of Governance Assessment Applications”

Narrative Research

David Snowden, 2010.  21 pages. Available as pdf, from the Cognitive Edge site

“Narrative Research, … lays the foundation for the use of narrative research and inquiry methods not only in the project but broadly in the field of research and consultancy…. Elements of it together with general material on Complexity Theory will be published as a chapter in a book on Naturalising Decision Making in the Fall of 2010.”

Listen First: a pilot system for managing downward accountability in NGOs

Alex Jacobs and Robyn Wilford. Development in Practice, Volume 20, Number 7, September 2010 Available as pdf

“Abstract: This article reports on a research project intended to develop systematic ways of managing downward accountability in an international NGO. Innovative tools were developed and trialled in six countries. The tools comprised a framework, de?ning downward accountability in practical terms, and three management processes. They were successfully used to
(a) encourage staff to improve downward accountability in ways relevant to their context;
(b) hear bene?ciaries’ assessments of the level of accountability achieved and the value of the NGO’s work; and (c) generate quanti?ed performance summaries for managers. Taken together, they form a coherent draft management system. Areas for further research are identied.”

There’s more related material  at www.listenfirst.org,

The Limits of Nonprofit Impact: A Contingency Framework for Measuring Social Performance

Alnoor Ebrahim, V. Kasturi Rangan, Social Enterprise Initiative, Harvard Business School (2010) Working Paper 10-099 Available as pdf


“Leaders of organizations in the social sector are under growing pressure to demonstrate their impacts on pressing societal problems such as global poverty. We review the debates around performance and impact, drawing on three literatures: strategic philanthropy, nonprofit management, and international development. We then develop a contingency framework for measuring results, suggesting that some organizations should measure long-term impacts, while others should focus on shorter-term outputs and outcomes. In closing, we discuss the implications of our analysis for future research on performance management.”

Smart Tools: For evaluating information projects, products and services

Produced by CTA, KIT, IICD. 2nd (2009) edition

PDF version available online

“About the Toolkit

The Smart Toolkit focuses on the evaluation of information projects, products and services from a learning perspective. It looks at evaluation within the context of the overall project cycle, from project planning and implementation to monitoring, evaluation and impact assessment, and then at the evaluation process itself, the tools involved and examples of their application.The theme running throughout the toolkit is:

Participatory evaluation for learning and impact Continue reading “Smart Tools: For evaluating information projects, products and services”