Expenditure Reviews and the Federal Experience: Program Evaluation and Its Contribution to Assurance Provision

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Various forms of assurance are being demanded by different constituencies in the federal public administration. One form of assurance is that of financial accountability, and spending reviews are an essential input to processes that contribute to federal budgetary and expenditure management decisions. Program evaluation has also been an important contributor, but it may be the case that this federal function is overextended in that contribution. It may be time to consider removing this responsibility and attaching it to other functions, thereby affording the function to better focus on what it does best: contribute to program improvement, including effectiveness. This would also mean a shift in evaluation culture to one of learning, rather than accountability.

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