This paper focuses on the work done by the Commission de révision permanente des programmes (CRPP) in Quebec. Based on a literature review, we present: 1) a description of the CRPP including the context surrounding its creation, its approach, the content of its reports as well as its recommendations; and 2) a portrait of the influence of the CRPP by exploring whether or not government decisions have taken its recommendations into account.
Sunshine, Scrutiny, and Spending Review in Canada, Trudeau to Trudeau: From Program Evaluation and Policy to Commitment and Results
This review surveys experience with evaluation practices in the government of Canada since the mid-1960s, particularly with respect to spending reviews, concluding that there is little reason to expect any direct link from ongoing evaluation practices to cabinet decisions. The renewed commitment to evidence-based decision-making announced by the new Liberal government is unlikely to change this conclusion.
Expenditure Reviews and the Federal Experience: Program Evaluation and Its Contribution to Assurance Provision
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.
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.
It is frequently assumed and not contested that evaluation should play a significant role in budgeting and, more specifically, in expenditure reviews. This article argues otherwise: that evaluation is neither fit nor designed to play such a role. Rather, if there is a desire by budget officials for credible evidence on the performance of interventions, then they need to invest in a different form of evaluation, namely, expenditure evaluations, separate and distinct from ministry-based evaluation.
The role of spending review is to identify savings options that enable governments either to find fiscal space for priority new spending or to cut aggregate spending. Spending review has been extensively used by governments around the world in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008, and many governments are now seeking to institutionalize spending review as a permanent part of the budget preparation process.
The global financial crisis in 2008 was a significant watershed for governments everywhere. Diminished prospects for growth coupled with continuing demands for government interventions and chronic constraints on resources, prompted in part by the widespread adoption of variants of neo-liberalism (constrain resources to limit spending and shrink governments), have created fiscal environments where rationing expenditures among programs and policies is chronic and even acute.
I am honoured to address you for the first time as Editor of the Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation (CJPE). As a former Book Review Editor and Associate Editor of the journal, I am tackling my new responsibilities with a solid sense of all that has been accomplished thus far and great enthusiasm for what is to come next. I want to thank Robert Schwartz for his leadership during his 7-year tenure; his influence and impact on the Journal’s quality and reach will be felt for years to come.
Book Review: Donaldson, S. I., Christie, C. A., & Mark, M. M. (2015). Credible and actionable evidence: The foundations for rigorous and influential evaluations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Donaldson, S. I., Christie, C. A., & Mark, M. M. (2015). Credible and actionable evidence: The foundations for rigorous and influential evaluations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Book Review: S. G. Chaplowe and J. B. Cousins (2016). Monitoring and evaluation training: A systematic approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Book Reviews / Comptes rendus de livres
Chaplowe, S. G., & Cousins, J. B. (2016). Monitoring and evaluation training: A systematic approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. ISBN 978-1-4522-8891-8.