Strategic Evaluation Utilization in the Canadian Federal Government

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Given the potential of the federal program evaluation function to inform decision-making at the highest levels of government, this project sought to investigate the nature and extent to which program evaluation findings are used as part of spending reviews and other reallocation exercises in selected government organizations. The multiple case study design used in this investigation included a qualitative content analysis of evaluation reports published between 2010 and 2013, as well as a series of key informant interviews conducted with evaluation staff and program managers. The findings show very little evidence of strategic evaluation utilization by organizational leaders. This is thought to be due to a few key factors: (a) the requirements of the 2009 Policy on Evaluation that was in effect at the time of the study; (b) the program-level focus of the evaluations; and (c) the public nature of the evaluation reports.

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