Annual Report on the Health of the Evaluation Function – Frequently Asked Questions

Questions

  1. What is the role of the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) with respect to management and oversight of the federal evaluation function?
  2. What role does TBS play as a functional leader in evaluation?
  3. How does TBS identify gaps that would require developing tools, guidance, and support for departments?
  4. What tools and guidance has TBS provided most recently?
  5. What is the Report on the Health of the Evaluation Function?
  6. What does TBS monitor in departments with respect to program evaluation and how does it conduct its monitoring?
  7. What is the role of the deputy heads with respect to departmental management and oversight for evaluating the effectiveness of programs?

Answers

1. What is the role of the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) with respect to management and oversight of the federal evaluation function?

  • Through its Centre of Excellence for Evaluation (CEE), TBS fulfills its responsibilities under the Policy on Evaluation by providing functional leadership, advice and guidance in the conduct, use and advancement of evaluation practices across the federal government. CEE carries out these responsibilities both by engaging departments directly, and by providing advice and support to TBS program sectors.

2. What role does TBS play as a functional leader in evaluation?

  • TBS defines the characteristics of management excellence in the evaluation function and provides advice and guidance on policy implementation.
  • TBS monitors and reports annually to Treasury Board on the health of the evaluation function.
  • TBS promotes advancing and sharing effective evaluation practices across departments and within the federal evaluation community.
  • TBS leads the development of a Government of Canada evaluation plan reflecting government-wide evaluation priorities, evaluation policy instruments, (i.e. policies, directives and standards), which set the fundamental evaluation principles, requirements and approaches.
  • TBS promotes the use of evaluation findings for decision making in departments and at the centre of Government, notably in the expenditure management system.

3. How does TBS identify gaps that would require developing tools, guidance, and support for departments?

  • TBS , through its CEE and other sectors, regularly consults with departments about their needs for support, and monitors policy implementation to identify weaknesses that may require guidance, tools and support.
  • Through the CEE, TBS :
    • holds regular meetings of heads of evaluation to discuss a range of issues, including the need for guidance and support, and holds bilateral meetings on a regular basis;
    • surveys departments annually on a range of issues, including the need for further support or guidance;
    • conducts Management Accountability Framework (MAF) assessments to identify weaknesses in the function that may need guidance, tools or other supports;
    • reports to the Treasury Board on the Health of the Evaluation Function;
    • conducts ad-hoc studies to identify gaps and weaknesses in the function and its tools, guidance and support to departments and,
    • monitors evaluation developments inside and outside the Government of Canada to inform efforts to improve evaluation practices.

4. What tools and guidance has TBS provided most recently?

  • TBS is continuously working to develop and improve internal guidance for departmental evaluation planning, performance measurement strategies and evaluator competencies.
  • TBS is also publishing the first annual report on the health of the evaluation function in July 2011.

5. What is the Report on the Health of the Evaluation Function?

  • The Treasury Board's Policy on Evaluation and the supporting Directive and Standard introduce new requirements to strengthen the evaluation function in the Government of Canada.
  • As part of these new requirements, the 2010 Annual Report on the Health of the Evaluation Function reports on the progress made in implementing the Policy on Evaluation and identifies areas of improvement for both government-wide and departmental evaluation functions.
  • Subsequent annual reports on the health of the evaluation function will track progress on key elements associated with building and maintaining a robust evaluation function for the Government of Canada.

6. What does TBS monitor in departments with respect to program evaluation and how does it conduct its monitoring?

  • The CEE monitors departments by reviewing the quality of approved departmental evaluation reports, the evaluation information presented by departments in their draft Treasury Board submissions and departmental evaluation plans to determine departments' progress in expanding their evaluation coverage.
  • The CEE reviews other departmental documents on request, such as performance measurement strategies, to assist departments in developing strategies that can effectively support evaluation.
  • The CEE also conducts an annual capacity assessment survey of departments to collect information about the evaluation function for monitoring purposes and as input to the Annual Report on the Health of the Evaluation Function. This survey is aligned with the Management Accountability Framework assessment process.

7. What is the role of the deputy heads with respect to departmental management and oversight for evaluating the effectiveness of programs?

  • Deputy heads are primarily responsible for:
    • ensuring that appropriate management processes and systems are in place in their organizations to monitor performance and compliance with policies and legislation and to address incidences of non-compliance; and,
    • advising Treasury Board Secretariat of significant non-compliance.
  • Deputy heads are accountable for:
    • ensuring compliance with policies, including maintaining effective systems of internal control;
    • ensuring effective implementation of policies and decisions on Treasury Board submissions; and
    • taking corrective action in cases of non-compliance and advising the Treasury Board Secretariat of instances of significant non-compliance with legal or Treasury Board policy requirements.
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