M&E can provide unique information about the performance of government policies, programs and projects. It can identify what works, what does not, and the reasons why. M&E also provides information about the performance of a government, of individual ministries and agencies, of managers and their staff. And it provides information on the performance of donors which support the work of governments.
It is tempting — but dangerous — to view M&E as having inherent value. The value of M&E comes not from conducting M&E or from having such information available; rather, the value comes from using it to help improve government performance. There are several ways in which M&E information can be highly useful to governments and to others:
To support evidence-based policy-making, particularly in the context of the national budget cycle and for national planning. These processes focus on government priorities among competing demands from citizens and groups in society. M&E information can support government’s deliberations by providing evidence about the most cost-effective types of government activity, such as different types of education programs or health interventions or transfer payments. Terms which are used to describe the use of M&E information in this manner include performance budgeting, results-based budgeting, or performance-informed budgeting.
Bullet red To support government ministries and agencies in managing activities at the sector, program and project levels, including government service delivery and the management of staff. This is often termed results-based management, or results-oriented management.
To enhance transparency and support accountability relationships. These include the accountability of government to the parliament or congress, to civil society, and to the donors which lend to them. M&E also supports the accountability relationships within government, such as between sector ministries and central ministries, and between ministers, managers and sta