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The Nuts and Bolts of M&E Systems


The objective of the series is to increase knowledge about M&E systems through a regular series of papers focusing on the design, implementation and use of M&E information by governments and civil society based on best practice experiences.

Many issues of Nuts&Bolts are available in Spanish, Portuguese and French.

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No. 30 —May 2014
Using National Education Management Information Systems to Improve Local Services: The Case of Pakistan

This note discusses implementation of the national Education Management Information System (EMIS) in Pakistan. EMIS is a tool, which can help governments improve education system administration by providing information for use in strategic planning, resource allocation and monitoring and evaluation. While many developing countries already have EMISs, these tools are often underutilized. The note argues that in decentralized settings use of EMIS data by schools and local governments can improve education quality and learning outcomes for students.


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No. 29 —February 2014
Performance Management Can Improve Local Services in Developing Countries

This note discusses the Service Improvement Action Plan (SIAP) – a performance management tool developed to help local governments improve their services. SIAP provides basic management steps that focus on outcomes, such as local roads in good condition, clean cities, or access to drinking water. It has been used effectively by local governments with limited resources in a number of countries, including Albania, Honduras, Georgia, Tajikistan and Pakistan. The note describes SIAP implementation to date, the tool’s advantages and limitations, and potential for replication.


Nuts and Bolts 29 cover image (correct)

No. 28 —December 2013
Performance Budgeting in the Republic of Korea

This note explores the Republic of Korea's experiences in building a performance budgeting system. The government piloted performance budgeting in select ministries in the late 1990s yet these early attempts failed. The country learned from its mistakes, and went on to introduce a broad package of financial management reforms in 2003, which succeeded in integrating performance management into the budget process. The note discusses the factors that eventually led to success, and offers lessons for governments seeking to adopt similar reforms.


Nuts and Bolts Issue 28

No. 27 —October 2013
Engendering M&E

Despite the fact that gender equality is widely recognized as a development objective, many M&E systems do not adequately measure differences in development outcomes for women and men and girls and boys. This note discusses the limitations of M&E systems in understanding gender inequalities and presents guidelines for developing a gender-responsive M&E system --a so-called GMES.

Nuts and Bolts Issue 27

No. 26 —July 2013
Coping With the Attribution Problem in Program Evaluation

The key question in program evaluation is whether the intervention is working or not. But to answer that question, program outcomes must be attributed to the intervention and not to some other factor. This note reviews two basic frameworks for resolving the attribution problem as well as their limitations.

No. 25 —June 2013
What Questions Do Evaluations Answer?

The note underscores the important role of key policy questions in program evaluation. Well-posed questions are a prerequisite for useful evaluation because they focus the evaluation on issues that stakeholders care about, and determine the appropriate evaluation design and methods.

No. 24 —March 2013
Building Monitoring and Evaluation Capacity in the Republic of Yemen

This note discusses key lessons learned from a World Bank–financed project in the Republic of Yemen that established the country's first Poverty Reduction Strategy Monitoring Unit. The project included a study tour to Uganda, among other approaches, to provide lessons learned for other countries that had sought to build M&E capacity.

No. 23 —January 2013
Performance, Monitoring and Evaluation in China

In the course of its 34-year-long transition, China has had to revamp almost all aspects of its public sector and finances: tax policy and administration, revenue sharing, expenditure assignments, budgeting, and the provision of public services. These reforms have been uneven. While the government has built a robust system for revenue collection, reforms to build an effective system in other key areas of performance management lag far behind.

No. 22 —December 2012
Using M&E to Support Performance-Based Planning and Budgeting in Indonesia

In 2011, representatives from Indonesia's coordinating ministries participated in a series of high-level round-table discussions to identify the steps needed to rationalize and coordinate M&E practices across institutions. The process showed that while coordination is needed, establishing incentives for the demand and use of M&E information is critical to making such systems effective.

No. 21 —September 2012
Establishing a National M&E System in South Africa

South Africa has a number of actors with legal or constitutional mandates for monitoring and evaluation. There has been a major shift in emphasis concerning M&E since 2009, partially stimulated by a political need to improve service delivery, but also from the government's extensive exposure to international experiences.

No. 19 — July 2012
Performance-Informed Budgeting in the U.S. National Government

The United States has been trying to identify stronger links between performance and funding for at least 50 years. The most recent two presidents, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have had very different approaches to performance-based reforms.

No. 18 — April 2012
The State Results-Based Management System of Minas Gerais

In 2003, the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais launched an ambitious plan to gradually focus the public administration on a results-based management system. The state now relies on performance information generated by monitoring and evaluation tools.

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No. 17 — February 2012
Performance Management in U.S. State Governments

U.S. state governments have a great degree of flexibility in adopting different policy and management initiatives. The overall picture suggests more uniformity than innovation, however. This note reviews factors that can make performance management more successful, using examples from states that did take the next steps.

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No. 16 — November 2011
Conducting Diagnoses of M&E Systems and Capacities

To strengthen monitoring and evaluation activities aimed at improving government policies and reforms, it’s imperative to analyze how such examinations are carried out and what results they have. This note provides a guide to some of the topics that should be considered when undertaking a diagnosis of monitoring and evaluation programs.

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No. 15 — October 2011
Five Advances Making it Easier to Work on Results in Development

Malnutrition is a bigger problem in South Asia than in any other part of the world. Roughly 40 percent of malnourished children live in South Asia, a majority of them in India. This note focuses on operational results in development, highlighting how some existing and newly emerging tools can be used to help operations staff of a ministry or a develoment agency tackle malnutrition.

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No. 14 — September 2011
The Mexican Government's M&E System

Fifteen years ago, Mexico had conducted a few scattered evaluations, but had not implemented systematic performance measurement. Political changes in the late 1990s generated an increased demand for transparency and accountability. These changes led to new legislation and institutions aimed at strengthening independent government oversight through several channels, including external evaluations, public access to information, and the creation of a supreme audit institution.

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No. 13 — August 2011
Chile’s Monitoring and Evaluation System, 1994–2010

The Chilean Management Control and Evaluation System (Sistema de Evaluación y Control de Gestión) is internationally regarded as a successful example of how to put into place a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system. Chilean M&E tools are the product of both cross-national lesson-drawing, and national policy learning experiences.

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No. 12 — July 2011
Defining and Using Performance Indicators and Targets in Government M&E Systems

Developing effective national monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems and/or performance budgeting initiatives requires well-defined formulation and implementation strategies for setting up performance indicators. These strategies vary depending on a country’s priority for measuring results and on the scope and pace of its performance management reform objectives.

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No. 11 — June 2011
The Canadian Monitoring and Evaluation System

The Canadian government has a formalized evaluation policy, standards, and guidelines; and these have been modified on three occasions over the past three decades. Changes have usually come about because of a public sector reform initiative—such as the introduction of a results orientation to government management, a political issue that may have generated a demand for greater accountability and transparency in government, or a change in emphasis on where and how M&E information should be used in government.

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No. 9 — April 2011
Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Methods for Program Monitoring and Evaluation: Why Are Mixed-Method Designs Best?

Despite significant methodological advances, much program evaluation and monitoring data are of limited utility because of an over-reliance on quantitative methods alone. When used together, quantitative and qualitative approaches provide more coherent, reliable, and useful conclusions than do each on their own. This note identifies key elements of good mixed-method design and provides examples of these principles applied in several countries.


No. 8 — March 2011
The Australian Government’s M&E System

Countries from all over the world have shown an interest in Australia’s experience in creating a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system that supports evidence-based decision making and performance-based budgeting. The Australian M&E system in existence from 1987–97 was generally considered to be one of the most successful and was driven by the federal Department of Finance (DoF).


No. 7 — February 2011
Use of Social Accountability Tools and Information Technologies in Monitoring and Evaluation

This note attempts to cover the basic concepts relating to the use of social accountability and information technology to monitor and evaluate public services and other governance processes that affect citizens. With the help of simple though practical examples that use these concepts, the note explains how to bring a qualitative change in monitoring and evaluation by making the whole process more citizen centered and outcome oriented. In turn, these practices can help improve the quality of service delivery.


No. 6 — January 2011
The Design and Implementation of a Menu of Evaluations

Policy makers and program managers are faced every day with major decisions resulting from insufficient funding, ongoing complaints about service delivery, unmet needs among different population groups, and limited results on the ground. There is a menu of evaluation types implemented by developing and Organization for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD) countries to tackle a wide range of policy and program management issues, considering time, resources and capacity constraints. International experience highlights the importance of a gradual approach when introducing evaluation tools into country-level M&E systems.


No. 5 — December 2010
Key Steps in Designing and Implementing a Monitoring and Evaluation Process for Individual Country Service Agencies

This paper identifies key steps in designing and implementing a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system for ministries and individual government agencies that provide services. M&E development should focus on providing a process that will yield regular outcome data (in addition to data on the organization’s outputs) that can be used by the designing agency and upper-level officials for accountability and, particularly, for managing these organizations, thereby helping officials improve their accountability and services to their citizens.


No. 4 — November 2010
Reconstructing Baseline Data for Impact Evaluation and Results Measurement

Many international development agencies and some national governments base future budget planning and policy decisions on a systematic assessment of the projects and programs in which they have already invested. This note discusses the reasons why baseline studies are often not conducted, even when they are included in the project design and funds have been approved, and describes strategies that can be used to "reconstruct" baseline data at a later stage in the project or program cycle.


No. 3 — October 2010
M&E Systems and the Budget

Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) are means to multiple ends. Measuring government activities, constructing and tracking performance indicators across sectors and over time, evaluating programs -- these activities can be carried out and tied together with different objectives in mind. This briefing note will introduce the main issues surrounding M&E as a tool for budgeting -- a system usually referred to as performance budgeting -- to help policy makers make strategic decisions about their M&E systems by outlining different design choices and their respective advantages and pitfalls.


No. 2 — September 2010
Defining the Type of M&E System: Clients, Intended Uses, and Actual Utilization

This is the second note in a monthly series on government monitoring and evaluation (M&E) systems led by the PREM Poverty Reduction and Equity group under the guidance of Jaime Saavedra, Gladys Lopez-Acevedo, and Keith Mackay, with contributions from several World Bank colleagues. The main purpose of this series is to synthesize existing knowledge about M&E systems and to document new knowledge on M&E systems that may not yet be well understood.

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PREM Note 2

No. 1 — August 2010
Conceptual Framework for Monitoring and Evaluation

This note outlines the main ways in which M&E findings can be used throughout the policy cycle to improve the performance of government decision making and of government services and programs, including the use of M&E for evidence-based policy making, budgeting, management, and accountability. There are many different types of M&E tools and approaches, each with advantages and limitations. This note presents four examples of successful government systems for M&E -- in both developed and developing countries -- and discusses some of their hardearned lessons for building M&E systems.

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Last updated: 2013-07-30

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