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

SOURCE: African Evaluation Journal
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): I.Goldman, C.N.Deliwe, S.Taylor, Z.Ishmail, L.Smith, T.Masangu, C.Adams, G.Wilson, D.Fraser, A.Griessel, C.Waller, S.Dumisa, A.Wyatt, J.Robertsen
DEPARTMENT: Democracy, Governance and Service Delivery (DGSD)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 10998

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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.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.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.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. 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.