Original Research

Evaluation2 – Evaluating the national evaluation system in South Africa: What has been achieved in the first 5 years?

Ian Goldman, Carol N. Deliwe, Stephen Taylor, Zeenat Ishmail, Laila Smith, Thokozile Masangu, Christopher Adams, Gillian Wilson, Dugan Fraser, Annette Griessel, Cara Waller, Siphesihle Dumisa, Alyna Wyatt, Jamie Robertsen
African Evaluation Journal | Vol 7, No 1 | a400 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/aej.v7i1.400 | © 2019 Ian Goldman, Carol N. Deliwe, Stephen Taylor, Zeenat Ishmail, Laila Smith, Thokozile Masangu, Christopher Adams, Gillian Wilson, Dugan Fraser, Annette Griessel, Cara Waller, Siphesihle Dumisa, Alyna Wyatt, Jamie Robertsen | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 April 2019 | Published: 28 August 2019

About the author(s)

Ian Goldman, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), Pretoria, South Africa; and, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results, Anglophone Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
Carol N. Deliwe, Department of Basic Education, Pretoria, South Africa
Stephen Taylor, Department of Basic Education, Pretoria, South Africa
Zeenat Ishmail, Strategic Management Information, Western Cape Provincial Government, Cape Town, South Africa
Laila Smith, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results, Anglophone Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
Thokozile Masangu, Evaluation and Research, Department of Rural Development and Land Reform, Pretoria, South Africa
Christopher Adams, Provincial Budget Analysis, Intergovernmental Relations, National Treasury, Pretoria, South Africa
Gillian Wilson, National Treasury, Pretoria, South Africa
Dugan Fraser, Centre for Learning on Evaluation and Results, Anglophone Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa
Annette Griessel, Policy, Stakeholder Coordination and Knowledge Management, Department of Women, Pretoria, South Africa
Cara Waller, Twende Mbele – an African M&E government partnership, Johannesburg, South Africa
Siphesihle Dumisa, Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), Pretoria, South Africa
Alyna Wyatt, Evaluation for Development, Genesis Analytics, Johannesburg, South Africa
Jamie Robertsen, Evaluation for Development, Genesis Analytics, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: South Africa has pioneered national evaluation systems (NESs) along with Canada, Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Uganda and Benin. South Africa’s National Evaluation Policy Framework (NEPF) was approved by Cabinet in November 2011. An evaluation of the NES started in September 2016.

Objectives: The purpose of the evaluation was to assess whether the NES had had an impact on the programmes and policies evaluated, the departments involved and other key stakeholders; and to determine how the system needs to be strengthened.

Method: The evaluation used a theory-based approach, including international benchmarking, five national and four provincial case studies, 112 key informant interviews, a survey with 86 responses and a cost-benefit analysis of a sample of evaluations.

Results: Since 2011, 67 national evaluations have been completed or are underway within the NES, covering over $10 billion of government expenditure. Seven of South Africa’s nine provinces have provincial evaluation plans and 68 of 155 national and provincial departments have departmental evaluation plans. Hence, the system has spread widely but there are issues of quality and the time it takes to do evaluations. It was difficult to assess use but from the case studies it did appear that instrumental and process use were widespread. There appears to be a high return on evaluations of between R7 and R10 per rand invested.

Conclusion: The NES evaluation recommendations on strengthening the system ranged from legislation to strengthen the mandate, greater resources for the NES, strengthening capacity development, communication and the tracking of use.


Keywords

evaluation; national evaluation system; evaluation system; South Africa; cost-effectiveness; M&E, evaluation capacity development; institutionalisation; evaluation use; evidence use

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