Components of Monitoring Strategy

A monitoring strategy is a framework within which you can plan your monitoring and reporting. An integrated strategy should provide for the different types of monitoring you do and identify connections with monitoring carried out by other organisations. It should describe how monitoring will be linked into reviews of policy and operations and what sort of reporting there will be on the results of monitoring. Developing a strategy before you begin monitoring can help you to focus your efforts so you make the best use of the resources you have available.

Key questions that a monitoring strategy should address include:

  • What are the purposes of your monitoring? Why is it important and what will it be used for?

  • What types of monitoring will you be doing and how do they relate to each other?

  • What methodologies will you use?

  • How will the results of monitoring be used to influence policy and other decision-making? What mechanisms will you use to ensure effective feedback between monitoring and decision-making?

  • How will you decide what issues to monitor and when? What criteria will you use to decide priorities?

  • What framework and criteria will you use to select indicators/ measures for the issues?

  • How will you collect and manage data to ensure it is of good quality and will be consistent over time? How will you ensure you can retrieve it in a usable form for analysis and reporting at the times you need it?

  • Who will you be reporting the results to? What will the information in reports be used for? What forms of reporting will you use to ensure it is effective?

  • What are your timeframes for implementing and reviewing the strategy?

  • Who will have overall responsibility for implementing the strategy? Who else will be involved and what will their roles be?

In answering these questions, it is important to keep in mind what resources you have available (or what additional resources you can realistically obtain). If you have few resources, focus your strategy on getting good information about some key priority issues rather than planning comprehensive monitoring programmes. Think about what resources you will need to keep monitoring programmes going over time, as well as those required for the first round of monitoring.

When developing a monitoring strategy, allow for it to evolve over time. Put the framework for monitoring in place and make room to incorporate or change some of the details as you begin to implement the strategy.

In practice, an overarching monitoring strategy and more detailed monitoring plans for particular issues are sometimes combined into a single document.