FY 2013 Program and Budget Guide: Monitoring and Evaluation

Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is critically important to ensure that INL program planning objectives are being met and that the Bureau sees a return on investment through performance management. In addition, formal M&E provides a prescribed framework to assist in verifying that Bureau oversight responsibilities are properly documented.

Initial program monitoring endeavors centered upon a substantial agenda of output data gathering and analysis, especially in projects that have been largely self-reporting to date. These initial steps have been augmented by a formalized Bureau Evaluation Plan and M&E guidelines that are now being implemented. Finally, the Bureau is in the process of developing a Strategic Performance Indicator (SPI) system that will capture the objectives, inputs, outputs, intended outcomes, and leading indicators of a program in order to provide a substantive program management score-card for each of the Bureau’s programs.

M&E mechanisms for program/project assessment will vary based upon the scope and size of the program. Ultimately they range in rigor from basic program officer monitoring to full evaluations conducted by independent evaluators. Examples of methods for ongoing monitoring and final (and possible mid-term) evaluation includes the following:

  • Informal Internal Monitoring: Utilizing routine communication from Post or partner officials to verify that short-term classes or projects have met the implementation objectives.
  • Formal Internal Monitoring: Utilizing prescribed reporting by partner assistance officials to verify programmatic progress measured against the specific outputs and outcomes stipulated in project proposals and agreement documents.
  • Assisted Internal Monitoring: Assessment teams conduct program reviews to verify data quality of performance statistics offered by partner assistance officials and to verify achievement of specific performance measures in longer or more involved projects.
  • Independent Internal Evaluations: Evaluation and functional experts conduct an internal or interagency evaluation focused on overall program performance and impact measured by means of an established standard that targets specific crime areas or governmental institutions providing milestone, institutional and focused impact analysis.
  • Independent External Evaluation: For larger, complex or high-visibility country programs, an independent performance and/or impact and evaluation study may be conducted drawing upon experts in academia and/or the community of evaluative sciences.

Over the past four years, a majority of the Bureau’s bilateral and interagency agreements have been amended or rewritten to mandate performance measures that are tangible, achievable and attributable– usually in the form of outputs or outcomes. Additionally, the development and implementation of standard M&E guidelines, the Bureau Evaluation Plan, and tools such as the SPI system will enhance the Bureau’s capability for effective performance management. During this budget period, the Bureau will build towards full, formalized and timely monitoring and analysis of all significant programs.