A Policy Framework for the Government-Wide Monitoring and Evaluation (GWM&E) System was approved by Cabinet in 2005. The GWM&E System describes three “data terrains” which underpin the monitoring and evaluation system, namely, programme performance information; social, economic and demographic statistics; and evaluation. The rationale for the GWM&E System was to provide decision-makers, in all Government agencies, departments and local governments with easy access to regular and reliable information that would contribute towards the management of their own processes by indicating which of their practices and strategies worked well and which needed to be changed or improved. As the custodian of M&E in government, DPME coordinates the Government-Wide M&E System. The Policy Framework on the GWM&E System is supported by three other frameworks, namely: The National Evaluation Policy Framework (NEPF) under DPME, the Framework for Managing Programme Performance Information (FMPPI) under the National Treasury and South Africa’s Statistical Quality Assessment Framework (SASQAF) under StatsSA. DPME has also established the National M&E Forum and the Forum of Heads of M&E from the Offices of the Premier. The presidency has also developed several guidelines such as guidelines for drafting terms of reference, peer reviews, departmental evaluation plan, inception phase of evaluations (draft being tested), implementation programmes, improvement plans, communicating evaluation findings, types of evaluation guidelines, etc. These stakeholder forums, the M&E learning network of government officials, and the guidelines enhance the sharing of knowledge and good practices on M&E in order to promote service delivery improvement and a culture of learning in the public sector. The DPMEs NEPF provides for a common understanding of evaluation, an institutional framework for evaluations, and mechanisms to promote the utilisation of evaluations. Its main purpose is to promote quality evaluations which can be used for learning to improve the effectiveness and impact of government, by reflecting on what is working and what is not working and revising interventions accordingly. It seeks to ensure that credible and objective evidence from evaluation is used in planning, budgeting, organisational improvement, policy review, as well as ongoing programme and project management, to improve performance. It provides a common language for evaluation in the public service. The NEPF defines evaluation as: “The systematic collection and objective analysis of evidence on public policies, programmes, projects, functions and organisations to assess issues such as relevance, performance (effectiveness and efficiency), value for money, impact and sustainability and recommend ways forward.” Departmental evaluations are currently not standardised nor is there any assurance that programmes are evaluated at regular intervals. The NEPF seeks to address the use of evaluation to promote improved impact of government programmes, to increase transparency and accountability, to link evaluations to planning and budgeting processes, to improve the quality of evaluations undertaken, and to ensure that evaluation findings are utilised to improve performance. The seven key elements of the NEPF are: 1. Large or strategic programmes, or those of significant public interest or of concern must be evaluated at least every 5 years. The focus will be on government’s priority areas, which are currently the 12 outcomes, including the 5 key areas of health, crime, jobs, rural development and education. 2. Rolling three year and annual national and provincial evaluation plans must be developed and approved by Cabinet and Provincial Executive Councils. These will be developed by DPME and the Offices of the Premier. These plans will identify the minimum evaluations to be carried out – departments will be free to carry out additional evaluations. 3. The results of all evaluations in the evaluation plan must be in the public domain, on departmental and DPME websites (excluding classified information). 4. Improvement plans to address the recommendations from the evaluations must be produced by departments and their implementation must then be monitored. 5. Departments will be responsible for carrying out evaluations. DPME and (in time) Offices of the Premier will provide technical support and quality control for evaluations in the national and provincial evaluation plans. 6. Appropriate training courses will be provided by PALAMA, universities and the private sector to build evaluation capacity in the country. 7. DPME will produce a series of guidelines and practice notes on the detailed implementation of the policy framework, to elaborate various aspects of the system, and to set quality standards for evaluations.

1. Define ‘Evaluation’ as per the extract above.

2. Name the THREE (3) ‘data terrains’ that underpin monitoring and evaluation as discussed above.

3. What does the following abbreviations stand for? (10 Marks)

3.1 DPME

3.2 Stats SA

3.3 GWM&E


3.5 NEPF

4. Describe the SEVEN (7) key elements of the ‘National Evaluation Policy Framework’.

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