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IV: Country perspective on monitoring and evaluation practices

Monitoring and evaluation in developed countries: A global view


The aim of this chapter is to provide an understanding of the monitoring and evaluation (M&E) practices of the United Kingdom (UK) and Australia, referred to as developed economies using literature review approach. The contribution of M&E in developed economies, particularly the UK and Australia, shows strong linkage towards project performance improvement and accountability in both the public and private sectors of their economies while measures to curtail the limited challenges are seriously implemented. M&E in the UK and Australia have received tremendous acceptance and improvement across many economic sectors especially in construction and health. Lessons learnt from developed economies shows well-established systems and frameworks such as the logframe are utilized in the M&E implementation process to engender effective M&E communication among the project team and policy implementers; allocation of adequate resources for M&E has necessitated for the routine M&E of projects and policies by effective institutional leadership in the M&E process; and the gradual incorporation of M&E in all departments has resulted in the improved benefit on project and programmes. These lessons will serve as good grounds for continuous learning and improvement to shape the M&E practice in developing economies.


This section of the book provides a global view of the M&E practice. The Australian and UK perspectives are reviewed. These countries are categorized as developed economies based on the United Nations’ classification (World Economic Situation and Prospects, 2014). In developed economies such as those of the UK and Australia, M&E is viewed as a key element in the transformation of the economy, ensuring that the public sector is effective, efficient and responsive to the citizenry and parliament. A system such as the logical framework (logframe) is one of the most common approaches used in developed countries for project management in both the planning and monitoring of projects. The logframe matrix is a tool that is applicable to all organizations, both governmental and non-governmental, that are engaged in development activities (Martinez,

2011). Hummelbrunner (2010) further opines that regardless of the many criticisms of the logframe, it has remained a widely used planning and monitoring tool owing to its outstanding contribution to project implementation by many project donors. Myrick (2013) however expresses the view that a pragmatic approach to M&E is ideal in the real world: practitioners may be limited by constraints that will prevent their continued use of either a logframe or some overly pragmatic approach to M&E. He further explains that whatever the approach is used, at least the basic principles for M&E, namely that it is measurable, objective, a performance indicator and with target and periodic reporting, should be ensured.

The advantages of a logframe include simplicity and efficiency in data collection, recording and reporting (Kamau & Mohamed 2015). Other approaches include stochastic methods, the fuzzy logic model and miscellaneous methods (Kamau & Mohamed, 2015). Of all the methods, the earned value analysis (EVA) has remarkable advantages in accuracy, flexibility and adaptability for project complexity. This may have contributed to the Malaysian government’s deciding to implement EVA to enhance the level of project management for the whole country (Abdul-Rahman, Wang & Muhammad, 2011). An M&E budget needs to be developed and included in the overall project budget to provide the M&E function with its due recognition in its place in project management (Gyorkos, 2003). This is the case in developed countries such as France, Germany and the majority of Europe. Apart from the framework provided, politics is also a major element to take into consideration in projects. Rogers (2008) advocates for multi-stakeholders’ dialogues in the data collection, hypothesis testing as well as an intervention to secure greater participation. Monitoring is integral to project management, hence very complex, resulting in confusion in its implementation on projects (Crawford & Bryce 2003). Monitoring as such enhances the project management decision-making during the implementation phase, thus securing the success of the project (Crawford, & Bryce, 2003; Gyorkos, 2003).

In any project, the progress of work is required to be monitored and compared as the work proceeds to be able to identify and measure differences in the originally planned objectives. This is the case in developed countries. There have been significant improvements, according to Cracknell (1994), in the M&E during the last decade of public-sector investment in the UK as well as Australia. This he attributes to the great importance attached to M&E at their prime ministerial level in the 1980s. It is difficult and most times impossible to manage project activity or a programme or portfolio effectively when access to accurate and timely information is deficient or even denied. The Treasury of these developed countries performed a key coordinating and motivating role, but not in any way attempting to regiment procedures in a fixed method. It is widely accepted, although there is no proof of the fact that all these assets of effort and resources have resulted in significant improvements in the efficiency and effectiveness of public-sector investment (Cracknell, 1994). There is still scope for further improvements, particularly in the fields of more methodical project-cycle management, better evaluation methods and more efficient reporting of the results from M&E.

According to Cracknell (1994), only a few departments in government settings in the world have well-established systems of M&E. Among such departments are the Department of Trade and Industry, the Department of Health, the Overseas Development Administration and the Manpower Services Commission in the UK in a quest to improve the economic and financial assessment of projects and programmes in the country. During the early 1980s in the UK, the Prime Minister, then Mrs. Thatcher, called for the introduction of some form of target-oriented planning in the civil service to motivate their employees and improve their performance. This became popularly recognized as the Financial Management Initiative (FMI). The Treasury then took over the new thrust of the civil service management and the newly created evaluation unit and began to collect material on M&E systems and produced very useful guidelines to be used throughout the civil service. Cracknell (1994) indicated that such initiatives stimulate important developments in M&E systems in the public sector.

In the Australian public service, M&E provides a sound base for assisting the bureaucracies of developing nations and helping them build their capacities to an improved level of governance in general. This is based on a good and well-entrenched evaluation and accountability culture. Although the country is not at the forefront of M&E systems’ capacity building, substantial expertise is readily available, particularly in the consulting industry (AusAID, 1997).

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