This circular sets out the NSW Government's expectations for evaluation of agency programs.
Evaluation is at the heart of good government; it ensures we know whether our services are effective, whether they are delivering value for money and whether they are meeting people’s needs. We want NSW to lead the way in evidence-based policy by ensuring that program evaluation is an integral part of managing government programs at every stage of the policy cycle.
Agencies are expected to evaluate programs
All agencies are expected to conduct periodic evaluations of their programs, both new and existing, to assess their continued relevance, relationship to cluster priorities and other programs, efficiency and effectiveness in delivering outcomes. Evaluations should be prioritised, planned and conducted in line with the NSW Government Program Evaluation Guidelines.
These new Guidelines replace the NSW Government Evaluation Framework. They largely apply to non-capital programs as other processes are in place for capital programs, and are supported by a range of resources.
Cluster evaluation schedules are required to manage evaluations
Clusters are required to prepare annual evaluation schedules for approval by the Cabinet Expenditure Review Committee (ERC).
The NSW Government Evaluation Guidelines set out criteria for program selection and prioritisation.
Annual evaluation schedules should be provided to Treasury and include:
a list of programs to be evaluated in the current financial year
program funding details
expected program and evaluation completion dates
type of evaluation (process, outcome and/or economic)
who will conduct the evaluation (agency, cluster or contractor)
evaluation progress (for evaluations being conducted over more than one financial year).
Proactive and public release of the evaluation findings
In line with GIPA, agencies are mandated to proactively and publicly release the findings of program evaluations, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information. NSW Treasury’s Centre for Program Evaluation should also be notified of completed evaluations.