Policy evaluation and public participation

Authored by: Carolyn M. Hendriks

Routledge Handbook of Public Policy

Print publication date:  November  2012
Online publication date:  December  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415782456
eBook ISBN: 9780203097571
Adobe ISBN: 9781136223259


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This chapter is concerned with the methods and challenges of evaluating policies through the participation of affected publics. For this purpose, policy evaluation is understood as an act of judgment about the performance of a particular policy process, department or program based on its desirability, worth, or value. Evaluation is the phase of the policy process where there is ideally an explicit opportunity for learning, reflection and improvement. It represents the moment where the policy cycle ends but also restarts (Althaus et al. 2007). For the most part, this chapter focuses on policy evaluation as a retrospective (ex post) exercise where past decisions and programs are formally assessed. Evaluations of this kind might be legally required, or they might be stimulated by a budget or planning process. In some cases evaluations are triggered by specific policy events, such as a perceived policy fiasco or change in political leadership (Bovens et al. 2006).

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