Program evaluation in British Columbia in a time of transition

Program evaluation has undergone a major transformation in the British Columbia Government during the past five years. Although conventional program evaluations continue to be conducted in some ministries, the dominant trend is towards performance measurement. The recently passed Budget Transparency and Accountability Act mandates strategic and business planning, performance measurement and public reporting. Nine issues are identified in this article that need to be addressed if public performance reporting is to mature into sustained performance management in the BC government. Given the resource scarcity and the organizational and political culture, it will be very challenging to implement performance-based public accountability in BC.

Evaluation in the government of Alberta: adapting to the "new way

The article describes the evolution of evaluation from its traditional meaning to a more generic application in the Government of Alberta since 1994. The major influences in this transition have been business planning with its emphasis on performance measurement, more open government, an emphasis on practicality, scrutiny, the "empowerment" wave, and a strategic, forward-looking focus. The article concludes that the application of traditional evaluation will remain inconsistent, but the application of evaluative activities will increase.

Program evaluation in the Manitoba government: past, present and future

This article reviews the state of program evaluation in the Manitoba civil service over a ten year period up to the present time and into the future. The study methodology consisted of a literature review and survey of senior Manitoba government officials to assess their beliefs about the role of program evaluation in decisions made by their departments in recent years. Also assessed was program evaluation=s present role and the expected utility that program evaluation will have for them as managers in the next five years.

Evaluation policy and practice in Ontario

The article tracks the evolution of program evaluation in the Ontario Public Service (OPS) from the adoption of a formal policy on evaluation (activity review) in 1988 to the emergence of corporate planning and an emphasis on performance management under the current government. It argues that there are reasons for optimism regarding an increased role for evaluation in Ontario but it suggests that there remain several impediments to the development of an evaluation culture within the OPS.

The long march from evaluation to accreditation : Québec's new government management framework

This paper argues that the introduction of performance measurement should be seen as part of a larger trend toward the accreditation of public agencies and private business organizations. Because of its obvious similarities with accreditation, performance measurement in central government ministries can be assessed by examining the effects of accreditation in those areas where it has already been introduced. Accreditation systems are often seen as more realistic alternatives to program evaluation. In Québec, for example, junior colleges have long been subject to a system of program evaluation administered by the CÉEC — the Commission d'évaluation de l'enseignement collégial. The CÉEC has recently announced that it will abandon the field of program evaluation, in order to engage in a new form of "institutional evaluation". This was done at the explicit request of the Federation of Junior Colleges, which has long been opposed to the system of program evaluation administered by the CÉEC. The junior colleges or "CÉGEPs" (Collèges d'enseignement général et professionnel) see accreditation as a way of reducing competition among junior colleges. They argue that the CÉEC should help the colleges improve their performance, but should refrain from distinguishing between good performance and bad performance. When a college cannot meet the accreditation requirements, the accreditation process should be suspended. Viewed in this light, systems of accreditation and performance measurement can be seen as tools for reducing the accountability of public agencies to government and to public opinion. While program evaluation assumes the possibility of public debate about programs being evaluated, accreditation ensures that the information necessary for public debate will be kept confidential.

Evaluation policy and practice in provincial governments province of Prince Edward Island

At the request of the Canadian Evaluation Society, the PEI Chapter has compiled a status report of evaluation policy and practice in the Government of Prince Edward Island. The theme we have chosen is one of accountability and the progress towards managing for and reporting on results. The first half of the report is a chronology of the movement towards formalizing an accountability structure in the PEI public sector followed by examples of how four Departments are utilizing performance measurement to report on achievement of stated goals.

Evaluation in Newfoundland: then was then and now is now

Interviews with people involved in program evaluation in Newfoundland revealed that there is no provincial policy on program evaluation. However, the future for program evaluation in the province is positive. The Auditor General (AG) is recommending a policy on accountability and the new Strategic Social Plan includes a requirement for measuring change that occurs as a result of the Plan.

Program evaluation in the government of the Northwest Territories, 1967-2000

The Government of the Northwest Territories (GNWT) has followed many of the same trends as seen in southern Canada with regard to program evaluation. As evidenced through interviews, file reviews, and the retrieval of archived Cabinet documentation, it appears as though program evaluation has experienced periods of high and low activity, and is now sharing the playing field with performance measurement. The GNWT diverges from the rest of Canada from this point forward as aboriginal self-government agreements are negotiated and the structure of the government changes. In anticipation of community delivery of programs and services, the GNWT is developing northern evaluation resources and working with community program managers, non-profit organizations and charities.