Evaluation of public policy advocacy: challenges, principles and BEST-AC case study
International Journal of Public Sector Management
Article publication date: 6 May 2014
The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate that both the processes and outcomes of advocacy can be evaluated in ways that can help with learning and accountability. The paper reviews the literature on evaluating advocacy, with a particular focus on development work, and describes an example of the systematic evaluation of the Business Environment Strengthening in Tanzania-Advocacy Component business advocacy programme in Tanzania.
The evaluation uses a Scientific Realist methodology to give a disaggregated, contextual analysis of advocacy, asking the typically Scientific Realist question: “What works for whom in what circumstances?” Complementary methods are being applied longitudinally over a five-year period and include stakeholder interviews, business surveys, diagnostic tools and learning seminars.
The paper argues that advocacy evaluation is no more complex or difficult than other aspects of development. Rigorous, cost-effective methods can be developed, so long as clear conceptualisation is carried out as an initial step. Systematic analysis of influencing tactics and capacity building demonstrates the relative skill of the advocacy organisations and allows the funder to see intermediate indicators of progress which are otherwise invisible.
Consistent conceptualisation and measurement allow comparison over time, and between different types of projects and organisations. Integrating methods with the operation of campaigns or programmes allows the evaluator to give feedback in real time and minimise the burden on evaluands.
The paper is based on original research/evaluation. The field is heavily concentrated on social change. The paper makes a contribution by providing an example of advocacy evaluation in the field of business advocacy and economic development. In addition, the example extends the field of advocacy evaluation by considering the systematic evaluation of a whole programme of individual advocacy projects.
The work on which the paper is based was undertaken as part of a DFID funded longitudinal impact assessment of support for business associations in Tanzania. DFID's support is gratefully acknowledged.
Jackson, A. (2014), "Evaluation of public policy advocacy: challenges, principles and BEST-AC case study", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 272-280. https://doi.org/10.1108/IJPSM-06-2011-0079
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited