ARCHIVED - Federal Initiative to Address HIV/AIDS in Canada Implementation Evaluation Report
The Federal Initiative has been largely implemented as planned. Some delays were experienced during the first two years, which is not unusual for an initiative that involves multiple departments and agencies within an environment where stakeholder expectations are high; results are not easy to achieve; and new funding is rolled out incrementally over a period of five years.
This evaluation posed questions about continued relevance, design and delivery, governance and performance management for the Federal Initiative. The analysis provides ample evidence of the continued need for federal investment to support the defined federal role. During the period under review, the Federal Initiative was delivered in an environment similar to that in which it was developed. In the past two years, events outside the scope of this evaluation have set the stage for further review. These include the clarification of the federal government’s role in public health, and reductions to the Federal Initiative funding envelope ($11.6 million in 2008-2009).
This implementation evaluation found good evidence that RCs delivered program activities as planned; addressed identified priorities; reached target populations; and made progress towards achieving immediate outcomes. All funds were appropriately allocated to HIV/AIDS activities.
Partners have been also challenged to define realistic shared targets that will make concrete the high-level results identified in the logic model, and to refine the mechanisms to report on results. To meet this challenge will require further development of the governance structure and the program performance infrastructure.
The Federal Initiative provides a good example of a functioning horizontal management system within the federal government. Horizontal governance is complex, requiring clear roles and responsibilities and a strong vision of shared purpose. The RCC, in working to strengthen its role, will benefit from the identification of shared priorities, interdependencies, and collaborative means to achieve Federal Initiative results.
The Federal Initiative’s performance measurement and management system is well laid out in the RMAF. However, the tools needed to manage and track results in horizontal systems take longer to develop and implement because of the complexity of the system. A major issue is being able to harmonize tracking systems, which are different for each of the partners. The original timeframe to develop and implement the performance measurement framework did not take into consideration the steps required to successfully develop and implement the tools needed. Program delays have set back the implementation of the evaluation and have also pushed back the preparation for the summative evaluation. One of the major outcomes arising from this evaluation has been the identification of areas where reporting and data gathering have been insufficient. The lack of data consistency has been a major barrier to carrying out the evaluation. These shortcomings are currently being addressed and reporting and data collection systems are now being evolved and implemented. These changes will help form a base-line from which the summative evaluation can be built. This process will also help in constructing timelines and reports as reference points that will facilitate measuring program changes.
The recommendations focus on improvements to finalize and implement performance measurement and information management systems for the Federal Initiative, including the development of the following:
- a manageable number of performance indicators;
- tested and validated research tools; and
- baseline data in key areas.
With improved performance data that is readily accessible, the information base for decision making among partners can be strengthened. In conclusion, the Federal Initiative's horizontal management function will be strengthened as new and revised management tools are developed.
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