1st Edition

Policy Evaluation in the Era of COVID-19

Edited By Pearl Eliadis, Indran A. Naidoo, Ray C. Rist Copyright 2023
    228 Pages 1 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Did evaluation meet the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis? How were evaluation practices, architectures, and values affected? Policy Evaluation in the Era of COVID-19 is the first to offer a broad canvas that explores government responses and ideas to tackle the challenges that evaluation practice faces in preparing for the next global crisis. Practitioners and established academic experts in the field of policy evaluation present a sophisticated synthesis of institutional, national, and disciplinary perspectives, with insights drawn from developments in Australia, Canada and the UK, as well as the UN.

    Contributors examine the impacts of evaluation on socioeconomic recovery planning, government innovations in pivoting internal operations to address the crisis, and the role of parliamentary and audit institutions during the pandemic. Chapters also example the Sustainable Development Goals, and the inadequacy of human rights-based approaches in evaluation, while examining the imperative proposed by some authors that it is time that we take seriously the call for substantial transformation.

    Written in a clear and accessible style, Policy Evaluation in the Era of COVID-19 offers a much-needed insight on the role evaluation played during this unique and critical juncture in history.

    Introduction Pearl Eliadis, Indran A. Naidoo, and Ray C. Rist

    1. What does the Pandemic Mean for Evaluation? Jan-Eric Furubo

    2. COVID Crisis: Time to Recalibrate Evaluation Maria Barrados, Steve Montague, and Jim Blain

    3. The Unbearable Lightness of Rights: Evaluation and COVID-19 Response Pearl Eliadis

    4. Knowledge Production in a Pandemic: Supporting Accountability at Pace in the United Kingdom and Canada Jeremy Lonsdale and Maria Barrados

    5. The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Effective Use of Evaluation in Supporting the Sustainable Development Goals Robert Lahey and Dorothy Lucks

    6. Implications for Evaluation, What We Learn from the UN and the Country COVID-19 Response Plans, and Reflecting on Future Scenarios Indran A. Naidoo

    7. Do Lockdowns Work?: Evidence from the UK Ray Pawson

    8. The Role of Evaluative Information in Parliamentary Oversight of the Australian Government’s Responses to the Pandemic Peter Wilkins

    9. Evaluation for Systems Transformations: Lessons from the Pandemic Michael Quinn Patton

    Afterword Ray C. Rist


    Pearl Eliadis is Associate Professor (Professional) at the Max Bell School of Public Policy at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. She also has a private law practice with a focus on human rights, national institutions, and democratic development and has worked with the United Nations (UN), the European Union (EU), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in several sub-Saharan and Asian countries on a range of national and global projects at the intersection of evaluation and the rule of law. She is a member of the Quebec Bar Association and the Ontario Law Society and held the position of president of the Human Rights section of the Quebec Bar for three terms until 2021. She also lectures at McGill’s Faculty of Law and is a full member of McGill’s Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism.

    Indran A. Naidoo is the Director of the Independent Office of Evaluation of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Rome, Italy. As former Director of the Independent Evaluation Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), New York, he transformed the evaluation function in terms of independence, output, and engagement, producing over 150 country and corporate evaluations. The National Evaluation Capacity series grew to become the largest and most influential platform for advancing evaluation at the government level. Previous roles included that of Deputy Director-General of M&E at the independent Public Service Commission and M&E Director at the Department of Land Affairs. He served as Vice-Chair of UN Evaluation Group (UNEG), instructor at the International Program for Development Evaluation Training (IPDET), and was a founding board member of the South African Monitoring and Evaluation Association (SAMEA). He holds a DPhil and post-graduate degree in Geography and Education and is the recipient of numerous awards and extensively published.

    Ray C. Rist is one of the creators and co-directors of the original IPDET and former president of the International Development Evaluation Association (IDEAS). Retired from the World Bank, Dr. Rist continues to advise organizations and national governments throughout the world on how to design and build results-based M&E systems. His career includes 15 years in the U.S. Government with senior appointments in both the executive and legislative branches. He has held professorships at John Hopkins, Cornell, and George Washington Universities and has been a Fulbright Fellow at the Max Planck Institute in Berlin. He has authored and edited 35 books, written more than 140 articles, and lectured in more than 85 countries.

    "The diversity and richness of the topics show immediately how important the book is. The findings … to name a few, [such as] the deprioritization of evaluation during the crisis, the taken-for-grantedness of a number of underlying assumptions, describes [the] many efforts of evaluators."

    Frans L Leeuw, Professor Law, Public Policy and Social Sciences, Maastricht University

    "The strength of the book is the combination of the perspectives and the relevant insights they present. The book is undoubtedly timely, relevant, and important, not only for understanding what happened during the past years, but also in preparing for what will come."

    Per Øyvind Bastøe, Associate professor, VID Specialized University, Oslo, Norway

    "This is a timely book for policy evaluators, policy makers and politicians. [...] The book has been complied by practitioners and established academic experts in the field of policy evaluation. They present a sophisticated synthesis of institutional, national, and disciplinary perspectives. The book appears in nine chapters, together with an introduction and an afterword."

    Thomas Ferris, Public Affairs Ireland