Royal Commissions and Task Forces as Mechanisms of Program Review

Notwithstanding the development of the functions of and structures for program evaluation and external audit, Canadian governments continue to use royal commissions and task forces as temporary mechanisms for ad hoc, special program reviews. This paper analyses the reason for the continued use of these temporary organizations and assesses their advantages and disadvantages in organizational terms. The criteria used in this assessment include independence, objectivity and organizational learning.

Contracting for program evaluation resources


Organizational Schema For Management Control Of Quality Care: A Program Perspective

The present research had two objectives. The first was to differentiate between quality assessment and quality assurance. The second was to develop and illustrate the use of a conceptual framework for management control of quality care. This study was founded on the belief that quality care is evaluated on the basis of values held by the consumers and the providers of that care. This belief led to the development of a model which articulated and synthesized the value systems of the two parties. The model permitted the identification of quality care indicators from which organizational goals and objectives were derived. In bringing the development of goals and objectives to its logical conclusion in the traditional quality assurance methodology, the study went on to identify a system through which standards could be developed from goals and controlled. The outcome of that process constituted a component of a comprehensive management information system that would complement a financial control component in addressing issues of cost effectiveness and clinical effectiveness.

Evaluation Principles in Practice

Since all programs operate within an organizational setting, the utility of evaluation activities can be enhanced by considering an organization's structure, evaluation readiness, and the related functions of evaluators. This article focuses on the application of a set of complementary principles derived from the evaluation literature using three projects as case studies. Two of the projects involved large Canadian health-related organizations, while the third focused on the evaluation needs of a medium-size social service agency. The diversity of these projects attests to the general relevance of principles derived from the systems model, the evaluation capability model, and the evaluator as consultant approach.

A Model For Short-Term Process/Cost Analysis Within The Context Of A Long-Term Evaluation Of Family Support Programs

The purpose of this paper is to present a model of the first component of a complex outcome evaluation which was designed to provide short-term process and cost information to management of a Canadian child welfare agency regarding family support prevention programs. Nine family support programs, developed to prevent admission of children to care, were the focus of this study. Data on the programs' 549 clients and 35 workers were collected by means of a time budget study which used daily time sheets filled out by workers. Detailed information on the types of contacts with clients were recorded, as well as detailed information on non-client activities. Findings regarding time spent with clients indicated a great deal of variation among programs, even though the programs treated similar clients with similar approaches. Cost analysis also indicated a wide variation in the cost per case, as well as cost per hour of drect client service. Several recommendations were made with the intent of increasing the efficiency of programs without affecting the quality of service.

Research In Nursing Education: The Development Of A Computerized Information System

The B.Sc.N. Program at McMaster University, School of Nursing has developed an innovative program in undergraduate nursing education. The teaching strategies employed, the selection process for students and some of the evaluation measures are unique. In order for educational planners to responsibly evaluate these innovations, the systematic collection of meaningful data is essential to provide accurate feedback to ensure that the program remains on course and that the original goals are met. This paper describes the process of development of an educational data bank which will document the degree of goal attainment over time and help assess the effects of subsequent innovations. The Nursing Educational Data Bank is an internal data system which will be computerized to handle data extracted from the records generated during the educational process. It will include information about the applicant pool, in-program students' admission characteristics, clinical and academic performance, licensing examination results, and postgraduate career data. Questions related to predictors of program performance, factors related to student attrition, concurrent and predictive validity of evaluation methods and the impact of curriculum innovation can be addressed.

The Manitoba Air Ambulance Program: An Evaluation Assessment

In many circumstances, programs are required to be evaluated against vague or nonexisting standards. A program's perceived worth may then be depndent upon the viewpoint of the users. This case demonstrates an evaluation assessment process in a government operated health delivery program. It is one approach to defining the evaluation issues, establishing an appropriate focus, and constructing alternatives.

Contracting For Program Evaluation Resources

A number of problems with balancing in-house and contact resources, and with the contracting process itself, prompted DDS to try to establish some "rules of thumb" for program evaluation, based on the experience of other government departments. Questions were asked of eleven departments and agencies on three main topics: the balance of in-house and contract resources, the process of selecting contractors, and the issue of costs and budgets. The resulting responses translate into a "pattern for success" for managing the evaluation function, in light of the current trend to increased use of contracting resources.