UK Evaluation Society

A Manifesto for Evaluation

UK Evaluation Society calls on the next government to put evaluation at the heart of major policy-making.

As we stand on the brink of a potential new political era, we urge the next government to prioritise evidence and evaluation in all significant policy-making decisions.

As voters prepare to head to the polls on 4th July, people across the political spectrum are feeling the strain of public funds and services that are stretched to the limit.

To cut waste, improve efficiency, and make sure every penny of taxpayers’ money is spent wisely, the next government must prioritise rigorous evaluation in all major policy making. Proper scrutiny and evaluation of policies leads to better outcomes for people and communities across the UK. 

That is why we are calling on the next government to put evaluation at the heart of the government policy-making process. 

Why evaluation in policy is vital

For government policies to be effective, efficient and provide value for money, they must be properly evaluated. Objectively evaluating policies tells us what’s working, what’s not and helps us learn.

Promises by the government to publish evaluation findings, regardless of outcome, are not always followed. However, upholding these promises informs the public and policymakers, prevents repeated mistakes, and fosters a culture of continuous learning.

Despite efforts to increase and promote the use of evaluation in government policy-making, there is still more that can be done. An HM Treasury report by the National Audit Office shows only 8% of government spending on major projects had evaluation plans in place, while 64% had no evaluation plan at all. 

Our Evaluation Manifesto: A lifeline for better outcomes

Evaluation is a critical step in government policy making that saves and changes lives. To secure better outcomes for society, it is critical that the full power of evaluation is realised by the next government.

In our manifesto, we urge the next government to prioritise evaluation in all major decision making, by committing to: 

  1. 1. Evidence-Based Policy Making: Major policies need to be grounded in robust evidence, drawing from reputable sources. By implementing strategies proven to be effective, the government can maximise resource use and deliver better outcomes for society.
  1. 2. Long-Term Evaluation Strategy: Implementing a long-term strategy for policy evaluation is vital. It leads to continuous improvement in decision-making, greater impact, and will reinforce the UK’s position as a world leader in the application of evidence in policy and practice.
  2. 3. Transparency in Evaluation: Strengthening commitment to publish all evaluation findings regardless of the results. To grow public trust and foster a culture of continuous learning within government, we ask that evaluation results are published for all major policies.  
  1. 4. Adequate Funding for Evaluations: Providing sufficient funding to build the capacity of the evaluation workforce. Making funding available to support robust evaluation is essential to deliver value for money for taxpayers and cut waste and inefficiency. 

By prioritising these four commitments, the next government can ensure policies are well-informed and continually improved. This will lead to better outcomes for society and better use of public money and resources. 

Revised: 20 June 2024

View full manifesto