Comparison of Policy Monitoring and Policy Evaluation

Comparison of Policy Monitoring and Policy Evaluation


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Comparison of Policy Monitoring and Policy Evaluation

A policy is a course of action or set of principles used to direct decisions made so that reasonable outcomes are achieved. An organization’s governing body is responsible for policy formulation and enforcement with the intent of regulating and directing the organization’s actions. Organizational policies serve as mechanism of internal control, maintaining compliance and reducing costs.

Policy monitoring involves a number of actions that analyze and describe policy development and implementation, identifying areas that need improvement, and outlining potential gaps during the process. Monitoring the development and implementation of a policy is an essential part of the policy cycle. Policy monitoring enhances teamwork among stakeholders, policy information and use of evaluation methods to obtain feedback that will be used to review and reframe policies (Wong & Craig, 2009).

Policy monitoring was derived from agency theory by Waterman and Wood, to describe a manner in which policymakers monitor the activities of individuals tasked with the implementation and enforcement of the policies. Monitoring enable policymakers to make well-informed decisions. Therefore monitoring enables policymakers and other stakeholders to carefully scrutinize the process of policy development, implementation and evaluation of the policy effects (Waterman & D., 1993).

Policy evaluation involves evaluation methods and principles to check the implementation, impact or content of a policy. Through evaluation, an individual is in a position to comprehend the value, utility and importance of a policy. Various research methods are used in policy evaluation to thoroughly scrutinize the efficiency of policy processes, interventions and implementation, and also to prove their worth or merit in terms of enhancing the operations of the organization or institution.

The purpose of policy evaluation is to examine effects of the policy and evaluating the policy in terms of rationality, effectiveness, necessity etc. to further advance the implementation process. Policy evaluations are conducted to achieve the following objectives: 1) thorough accountability to the stakeholders 2) realization of high quality and efficient organization management that focuses on the stakeholders.

Monitoring is a form of evaluation which is undertaken while the policy is being implemented, with the objective of improving policy development and effectiveness while in action. On the other hand, an evaluation studies the results of the policy with an aim of informing the development of future policies. Policy evaluation and monitoring should not necessarily be complex or expensive.

Monitoring and evaluation is an effective method to: provide recommendations that will be used for planning future policies; provide continuous feedback on the extent the policy is accomplishing the set objectives; monitor the effectiveness with which the policy is being implemented and propose policy components that need to be changed; and identify potential problems and propose feasible solutions.

Both policy evaluation and monitoring can also be used to: incorporate opinions and ideas of stakeholders; improve policy development and implementation; monitor the convenience of the policies; and evaluate the degree to which the policy is able to meet its goals and objectives. Good evaluation and monitoring design when coming up with a policy is a broader exercise than mere development of process indicators.

In criminal justice policy, policy monitoring is the most applicable. Monitoring is a form of policy evaluation that can be used to identify policies that give desired outcomes and those that do not, so that amendments can be made.


Waterman, R., & D., W. (1993). Policy Monitoring and Policy Analysis. Journal of Policy Analysis and Management.

Wong, C., & Craig, W. (2009). Conceptualizing Spatial Planning Outcomes: Towards an Intergrative Measurement Framework. The Town Planning Review.