The purpose of evaluations is to systematically and objectively assess policies, programmes and/or systems; to make judgements about the achievement of intended results; and to assess the causal links between implementation and observed results.
Different types of evaluations must be conducted to ascertain the extent to which set outcomes are being achieved and whether they are having the intended impact Government institutions must carry out at least two evaluations in the five-year planning cycle. The revised National Evaluation Policy Framework aims to inculcate the culture of using evidence in decision-making processes such as planning and budgeting, and outlines minimum types of evaluations to be carried out by government institutions.
Mid-term evaluations serve as early warning systems for end-term evaluations as they provide information about progress in implementing programmes aimed at achieving the institution’s outcomes and government priorities for the planning cycle. Mid-term evaluations must be completed by the end of November in the third year of a planning cycle and must describe performance in relation to key programmes and/or interventions during the first two and a half years of the cycle.
A mid-term evaluation of an ongoing programme or project has two purposes: it takes stock of lessons learned and of decision making. A mid-term evaluation aims to assess the continued relevance of an intervention and progress made towards achieving its intended results, and provides an opportunity to make changes to ensure that the results are achieved within the lifetime of the programme or project.
End-term evaluations give an overview of how far an institution’s programmes have achieved their intended outcomes and government priorities for the planning cycle. An end-term evaluation is a comprehensive evaluation that assesses whether an implementation programme has successfully delivered on its intended outcomes and impacts as reflected in the programme’s plans.
End-term evaluations focus on programme or project results and how and why they were, or were not, achieved. They thus inform decisions such as whether to continue the intervention; how to improve it; and whether to scale it up or replicate it elsewhere. An end-term evaluation focuses on assessing whether the set outcomes have been met.
A Performance and Expenditure Review (PER) is a process of reviewing government spending on a particular service, and how effective this spending is. Performance Expenditure Reviews provide detailed scrutiny of programme performance and expenditure datasets to quantify, assess, and improve the cost effectiveness of public policy and public spending.
When analysing budgets, it's important to consider whether the spending is translating into efficient service delivery. Looking at performance indicators alongside performance of spending on services provides a way to gauge whether quality services are being delivered in a cost effective manner.