Program Evaluation Unit
Robust program monitoring and evaluation aims to ensure government achieves the best outcomes within the allocated budget and helps build a contextualised evidence-base of what works by asking questions such as:
- have we achieved what we set out to do?
- could we have done things better or more efficiently?
- should we continue to do this or try something else?
The Program Evaluation Unit within the Department of Treasury and Finance is responsible for:
- promoting the use of evaluation in government decision making
- leading the NTG Program Evaluation Community of Practice
- supporting agencies to complete evaluation overviews as part of their Cabinet submissions
- coordinating the rolling schedule of evaluations
- strengthening evaluative capacity across the NTPS
- preparing an annual whole of government summary of evaluations
- maintaining a database of completed evaluations and sharing findings to inform future policy and program design.
The need for a whole of government approach to program evaluation was a key recommendation in A plan for budget repair. The Program Evaluation Unit has progressed several recommendations 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.
For further information, please contact DTF.ProgramEvaluation@nt.gov.au
The Program Evaluation Unit has established the Northern Territory Government Program Evaluation Community of Practice to:
- share evaluation knowledge, expertise and experiences across agency boundaries
- promote the role of evaluation in delivering public value
- integrate evaluation into program design and policy development
- improve evaluation skills across the Northern Territory Public Sector.
This group is open to all Northern Territory Government employees with experience, expertise or an interest in evaluation, data and evidence-based policy.
New members are welcome – please contact DTF.ProgramEvaluation@nt.gov.au to find out more.
This whole of government program evaluation framework integrates evaluation into the Northern Territory Government’s policy and budget development processes and aims to improve transparency and accountability, and encourage better use of Territory Government funds by:
- ensuring new programs and extensions to existing programs have identified goals and objectives that are achievable and measurable or include actions to develop measurement as part of the program
- ensuring new programs and extensions to existing programs have an evaluation strategy
- incorporating sunset provisions in new programs, linked to evaluation outcomes
- establishing a rolling schedule of evaluations to ensure existing programs are evaluated over time
- providing a clear mandate for agencies to evaluate their programs and target their investments
- outlining expected evaluation principles and standards
- providing government with clear advice about the costs and benefits of evaluation (including data collection and analysis) to help inform evaluation decisions
- establishing a protocol for policy and program officers to plan for evaluation across the program lifecycle (with a step-by-step guide in the online evaluation toolkit)
- establishing a tiered system of evaluations to ensure evaluation is proportionate to the cost, risk and complexity of a program
- describing how the Territory Government can build evaluation capability within the Northern Territory Public Sector and foster a culture of continuous improvement
- outlining how the Territory Government will measure progress in implementing the framework.
Territory Government agencies must use the framework and toolkit to help plan, commission and use evaluations. The framework and toolkit may also provide useful guidance for Territory Government service delivery partners and external evaluators of Territory Government programs.
The program evaluation framework will be internally reviewed in 2021 and externally reviewed in 2023. The framework can be accessed here.
Any queries can be directed to DTF.ProgramEvaluation@nt.gov.au
This toolkit is for Northern Territory Government employees who are responsible for policy development, program design and program evaluation. It has been compiled by the Program Evaluation Unit at the Department of Treasury and Finance as part of a whole of government approach to program evaluation. It provides guidance, resources and templates to help managers integrate evaluation planning into program design, get a program ready for evaluation, commission and manage an external evaluation or lead an internal evaluation. It will help evaluation teams (either internal or external) meet the expectations for evaluation under the Program evaluation framework.
- How to use this toolkit
- Section 1. Complete the evaluation overview
- Section 2. Complete the evaluation work plan
- Section 3. Engage the evaluation team
- Section 4. Manage the implementation of the evaluation
- Section 5. Guide production of a quality evaluation report
- Section 6. Disseminate results and support use of evaluation
- Templates, acronyms and glossary
Download a copy of the toolkit
Northern Territory Government published monitoring and evaluation reports
Other relevant resources
Two recommendations in A plan for budget repair focussed on agency organisational reviews:
- implement a rolling program of organisational reviews
- the annual schedule of reviews should be determined by the Budget Review Subcommittee as part of the Budget development process.
The organisational review framework implements these recommendations and aims to:
- ensure each review is specific to the agency's needs, circumstances and capabilities, with clearly specified terms of reference established for each review
- take into consideration the agency's entire budget (not just recent or forthcoming funding decisions)
- align outcomes from the reviews with the budget development process to better inform planning and funding decisions
- provide a whole of government approach to organisational reviews, with support and backing by Cabinet
- provide public reports and recommendations for each review to assist in government's objective of accountability and transparency.
The effectiveness of the organisational review framework will be evaluated by DTF after three years of operation. The organisational review framework can be access here: Agency Organisational Review Framework .
DTF will be developing additional guidance material on the organisational review framework. In the meantime, useful resources include a recent ANZSOG report on Developing Agency Capability and the published reviews under New Zealand’s Performance Improvement Framework.
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 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.
The Program Evaluation Unit monitors developments in other jurisdictions and communicates pertinent findings to relevant agencies as well as linking learnings into the program evaluation process. There is an informal group of Northern Territory Government employees which meet to share and discuss relevant resources – new members are always welcome. For further information about behavioural economics in the NT Government, please contact DTF.ProgramEvaluation@nt.gov.au
Last updated: 24 June 2021
Share this page:URL copied!