Section 5 Monitoring and Evaluation
This section sets out the principles that will shape a monitoring and evaluation plans once a fuller understanding of future funding arrangements are known.
There are three main aims for monitoring and evaluation:
- For policy purposes and for agreeing how aims/objectives should be both measured and met;
- To assess whether target outcomes are being achieved and to provide an understanding of the extent to which value for money assessed at the project appraisal stage is realised;
- For audit purposes and in determining how value for money should be safeguarded.
The monitoring and evaluation framework will focus on outcomes and outputs, rather than activities and inputs, and will seek to:
- explain what is to be achieved in terms of economic impacts, benefits for business, etc.;
- articulate a fit with pertinent strategic objectives within the NPF;
- identify the activities to deliver and the resources required to achieve the selected objectives;
- develop a logic model to evidence how the resources and activities will align with achievement;
- develop SMART objectives for assessing performance: identify key measures to track performance and ascertain how data will captured together with the roles and responsibilities of all involved; and
- plan for review and evaluation.
The development of monitoring and evaluation will be taken forward in parallel with the design of delivery arrangements in order that all partners have a clear understanding of the requirements, and their roles therein, in delivering the strategy.
The National Performance Framework will be used as an over-arching framework rather than a prescriptive list of indicators, and regional and sub-regional delivery partners will align their objectives to those of the NPF to ensure consistency in focus.
Within a monitoring and evaluation context the additionality of any support must be considered at the outset during the appraisal process for applications, to determine existing provision and to include benchmark data. The data collected at the outset and throughout the lifetime of support will inform subsequent interim reviews and evaluation.
The monitoring and evaluation framework should focus on the results that can be attributed to the replacement fund so that the evaluation can demonstrate the added value of the fund. It should also be proportionate to the activity supported.
Monitoring and evaluation activity will reflect Scottish Government's focus on economic, social and wellbeing performance when deciding on indicators to monitor and evaluate but should maintain awareness of how the next set of EU Cohesion Programmes will be delivered in the 2021-27 period.
Consideration should be given to how the Benefits Realisations Plan concept, as designed for Scotland's City and Region Growth Deals, might be adapted for use by a similar partnership delivery structure in the assessment of financial support provided through the UKSPF.
Project appraisal was not considered in detail as part of this work, and therefore a separate Appraisal Group will be set up to consider how the appraisal process will work within a tiered management system of delivery.
There was an acceptance that stakeholders would not welcome a return to the 'one size fits all' monitoring and evaluation regime of European Structural and Investment (ESIF) Programmes past. It is proposed that this be considered more fully following progression of the governance and delivery model.
Regulation and reporting is key to ensure the prevention of fraud and avoidance of risk and going forward this will continue. However going forward, the monitoring and evaluation approach will have a strong focus on achieving outcomes. As per comments on proportionality above, this needs further consideration following identification of the governance and delivery model to ensure both key objectives of regulation and reporting - risk avoidance and outcomes delivery – are included.
Timeframe – knowing when to evaluate the success of the replacement fund against results or outcomes as defined at a national level (but regionally specific) was also considered essential. This requires further consideration.
Consideration should be given to the conditionality of payment, in other words the relationship between expenditure, activity and achievement of outcomes and whether payment should be linked to achievement in full, part, or otherwise.