Determining Causality and Effectiveness

Determining causality

  • 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.

What to do once plan effectiveness is established

  • Record the information from your monitoring and evaluation.
  • Analyse the results of monitoring and interpret what they mean.
  • Report on the results of monitoring and on the effectiveness of the plan/policy statement.
  • Assess where changes may be required to your policy provisions and plans because of the results of your monitoring.
  • Review your plan provisions as a result of monitoring and evaluation of effectiveness.
  • Make recommendations for action (which usually involves reporting on monitoring).
  • Take action and trigger reviews as appropriate.
  • Provide feedback to the council and any others involved in plan development and the monitoring process.
  • Ensure there is a good written record of this process and
    • the results of monitoring
    • evaluation of effectiveness
    • recommendations for action and
    • actual actions and reviews undertaken.