Too often policy makers do not place enough emphasis on the monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes.
Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development, Steve Blackett, identified this deficiency today while speaking at the opening of the IDEAS Global Assembly at the Hilton Barbados Resort.
Blackett argued that this deficiency was a sure way of compromising the success of usually well intended projects and programmes.
The St. Michael Central MP said: “I say usually well intended because if you cannot measure your achievements, I believe that it will be somewhat difficult to defend your policy choices to your detractors.”
Blackett stressed that the literature tended to suggest that programmes and projects with strong monitoring and evaluation components were more likely to stay on track.
“It is also noted that any problems being experienced with the project or programme are often detected earlier and this in turn reduces the likelihood of having major cost overruns or time delays later,” Blackett added.
The minister suggested that in the context of strained economic circumstances, this must be seen as an especially strong justification for the enhanced use of monitoring and evaluation mechanisms.
“I see the principles of monitoring and evaluation in the design and implementation of our social and other programmes as being a key factor in reducing the level of inequality in many of our societies,” he added.
The minister of social care identified three areas that must be present if monitoring and evaluation of programmes were to be truly effective in any setting.
Clear, unambiguous organisational objectives must be identified; policy makers must remove an over-riding imperative to have the programme up and running; with its actual relevance and utility being almost a secondary consideration and policy makers must eliminate the constant giving of praise to the establishment of the process and instead allow for the provision of greater emphasis to the actual and tangible outcomes of the process, he said.†(NC)