Establish cause-and-effect relationships where possible and illustrate and report on attribution. What has changed, and how does this relate to the policy statement or plan?
It is important to monitor process, policy and plan implementation, outputs, impacts and outcomes. If all of these things are monitored (rather than just focusing on process) then we will be a step closer to determining causality.
Be flexible and ask strategic questions like WHY, HOW, WHO, WHAT, WHERE, and WHEN to monitor (known as programme logic). In relation to each issue or group of linked issues:
does the plan make a difference? Is it effective?
was it well implemented?
what worked and didn't work?
what are the risks of not taking any action, or of taking certain types of action?
Consider a range of methods to help assess what difference the policies and plan has made on the ground (such as using perception or satisfaction surveys, decision trees, monitoring letters to the editor, sequential visual analysis (eg, by comparing photos over time), comparative risk analysis, and triangulation of approaches).
The key challenge is to move beyond measuring only processes and outputs, and start focussing on the impacts and outcomes achieved by the policies and plans.