Program Evaluation Unit

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The need for a whole of government approach to program evaluation was a key recommendation in the Fiscal Strategy Panel’s final report. The Department of Treasury and Finance has been tasked with leading the development of a whole of government program evaluation framework and established a Program Evaluation Unit within the Financial Management Group.

The Program Evaluation Unit is responsible for progressing several recommendations from the Fiscal Strategy Panel’s final report including:

  • developing a whole of government program evaluation framework
  • updating the Cabinet submission template to include program evaluation and sunset clause requirements
  • developing an annual schedule of evaluation of existing programs for approval by the Budget Review Subcommittee
  • fostering the development of behavioural economics capability across the Northern Territory Public Sector (NTPS) with a focus on adopting proven approaches from other jurisdictions.

The whole of government program evaluation framework will provide a consistent approach across agencies and will be integrated into the budget development process. The timeline for implementing these actions is by the 2020 Budget. Any questions about the Program Evaluation Unit can be directed to DTF.ProgramEvaluation@nt.gov.au

The Program Evaluation Unit is currently developing a program evaluation framework and toolkit to help enhance the evidence base of future budgets and policy decisions. The Program Evaluation Unit will be actively seeking feedback from agencies during the development of the framework and toolkit.

Once complete, the framework, toolkit and links to additional guidance will be made available. Any queries can be directed to DTF.ProgramEvaluation@nt.gov.au

Behavioural economics relates to the impact of psychology on the economic decision-making processes of individuals and institutions. Governments use behavioural economics in policy formation to help improve the design and delivery of public policy by ‘nudging’ individuals and institutions in the desired direction. Using these techniques can improve the effectiveness of government policy and overall value for money.

Some jurisdictions have dedicated behavioural economic units. However, due to the Northern Territory (NT) Government’s relatively small size and fiscal circumstances, the Fiscal Strategy Panel’s final report suggested a more informal approach for the NT, focused on fostering the development of behavioural economics capability in the public service through adopting proven approaches from other jurisdictions.

The Program Evaluation Unit will have a role in monitoring developments in other jurisdictions and communicating pertinent findings to relevant agencies as well as linking learnings into the program evaluation process.

The Commonwealth Government’s central unit for applying behavioural economics to public policy is the Behavioural Economics Team of the Australian Government or BETA. BETA have a learn hub including resources and a free online course in behavioural insights for public policy.

For further information about behavioural economics in the NT Government, please contact DTF.ProgramEvaluation@nt.gov.au

Last updated: 15 July 2019

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