Monitoring and evaluation

Monitoring and evaluation are different but complementary practices. Monitoring is the systematic collection of performance data to assess the progress and achievement of policy objectives against set targets and to identify and lift implementation bottlenecks. Policy evaluation refers to the structured and objective assessment of the design, implementation and/or results of a future, ongoing or completed public intervention.

Robust and systematic use of monitoring and evaluation can:

  • Enhance accountability and provide legitimacy for the use of public funds and resources.
  • Strengthen strategic planning and policy design by improving links between public interventions and their results.
  • Facilitate policy learning and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of spending.

What are OECD countries doing?

Most OECD countries monitor the performance of their public policies and conduct evaluations. However, countries vary in how they have sought to promote the institutionalisation, quality and impact of monitoring and evaluations.


Countries use different methods to promote the use of evaluations. Among these, the most common is incorporating findings into the budget cycle that occurs in 21 OECD countries.

Most OECD countries have a policy framework guiding policy evaluation. Despite this, several exceptions exist, such as Australia, Finland and Italy, which do not have a policy framework for evaluation.



Several mechanisms exist to promote the quality of evaluation inside OECD countries. The most commonly used are guidelines for policy evaluation, which are present in 3 out of 4 OECD countries.

OECD Recommendation of the Council on Public Policy Evaluation

The OECD Recommendation of the Council on Public Policy Evaluation highlights core features of the successful use of evaluation. These are:

1. Institutionalise public policy evaluation from a whole of government perspective

  • Ensuring that evaluations are carried out systematically and that their results are used in policy and budgetary decision-making
  • Foster a culture of learning and accountability

2. Promote the quality of public policy evaluations

  • Plan, design and manage evaluations so that they are timely and proportionate to the intended objectives
  • Establish quality standards and mechanisms for evaluations to generate robust and credible evaluation results
  • Develop institutional skills and capacities to conduct, commission and use evaluations effectively and in a credible manner

3. Conduct public policy evaluations that impact decision-making

  • Establish institutional mechanisms to embed evaluation in decision-making processes
  • Provide easy access to evaluations and present the findings deliberately to improve the uptake of evaluation results

Key issues

To develop and strengthen performance monitoring and evaluation practices and institutions, the OECD focuses on a systemic approach, which looks at 3 main pillars:
  • Promoting the impact of performance data and policy evaluations by embedding their use into decision-making processes, fostering demand for evidence, as well as communicating and disseminating results;
  • Promoting the quality of performance data and policy evaluations by investing in public sector skills and capacities, developing quality assessment and control mechanisms, and adopting standards.
  • Building an institutional framework by putting the right legal, policy and organisational measures in place to support the performance of public policies;

Further reading

How to get involved?

The OECD conducts reviews and in-depth assessments at the national and sub-national level, identifying priority areas and providing specific and practical recommendations on how to implement M&E practices, tools and institutions that enhance the delivery and impact of policy priorities.

The OECD can also provide capacity-building activities to support governments in implementing sound Monitoring and Evaluation practices, by mobilising an international network of experts, including government officials, to share their experiences, best practices and assist countries in strengthening their capacity for policy implementation.

Governments can also get involved by joining our expert group meetings and workshops to input their country views and share expertise and notable examples of good practice.

Contact us

For more information about our work in this area, please contact:

Claire Salama
Lead, Monitoring and Evaluation
Public Management and Budgeting Division
OECD Directorate for Public Governance
[email protected]