RE: Recurring errors in public policies and major projects: contributions and solutions from evaluation | Eval Forward

Dear All, 

I am sharing the Sri Lankan experience as a contribution to this debate. I am currently participating in the development of the Policy framework of M&E and one of the guiding principles we are using is the SDG concept of "Leaving no one behind".

What are the most common mistakes that you face in your country?

  1. Common mistakes are linked to the fact that politicians make election promises that are not achievable and deliver election winning economic analysis.
  2. The biggest issue is that the country holds to outdated policies and laws, which remain unattended. For instance, it is common that countries that have been under a colonial era still have policies drafted in that era being used in government economic and social governance as well as laws in the country, which are ineffective and irrelevant.
  3. Too many governing structures: national, provincial and local authorities govern in parallel but they have underneath different political agendas which can be seen mishandling some policies, misinterpreting national priorities, mismanaging national interventions and resources etc.
  4. Politicization of governance structure and bureaucracy: everybody wants to remain in power and to remain in the position, which paralyzes the governance.
  5. Corruption at all levels, and hidden corruption even more dangerous than the visible one.

Here are my suggestions to improve the use of evaluation in policies and programmes:

  1. Key to the any country economics planning is setting up a separate independent unit for monitoring and evaluation under the Act or Policy of government constitution/legislation to safeguard taxpayers money, accountability and transparency of the government programmes and projects/ interventions. This unit can be established under either the Planning ministry or the Ministry of finance but needs to maintain independence.
  2. The National Auditor general should focus performance audit function, operation or the management systems and procedures of a government entities to assess whether the entity is achieving economy, efficiency and effectiveness in the welfare and employment of available resources. This is a qualitative method.
  3. The Ministry of policy planning or another responsible entity should undertake in-depth analysis of all policies and trade agreements, government circulars and amendments with policy activities, to identify the gaps and lesson learned
  4. Develop a National M&E policy and Policy framework (the Sri Lankan government is in the progress of developing the framework). The M&E Policy can be mandatory. Set up expert and technical committee of National M&E / reviews and assessments committee. This will be the backbone of the planning and finance entities. The committee responds to the ministry of finance and Ministry of policy planning and economic reform.
  5. Promote joint evaluation with other funding and donor agencies and public participation in order to strengthen ownership.