Queensland Government program evaluation

The Queensland Government spends millions of dollars each year providing services to improve Queenslanders’ standard of living and to improve people’s social and economic outcomes.

It’s important that the Government is accountable for the money it spends and that Queenslanders can be confident that government policies and programs are meeting its objectives efficiently and effectively.

The Queensland Government Program Evaluation Guidelines outline a broad set of wise-practice principles to assist agencies to plan, commission, manage and conduct consistent, transparent and high-quality evaluation.

The guidelines are accompanied by separate information sheets that describe specific evaluation topics in more detail and complement a range of other existing Queensland Government guidelines including the Performance Management Framework and Project Assessment Framework.

Information sheets

Developing a program logic model

A logic model communicates how program designers expect activities to bring about change. This can identify what to measure to understand if and how the program has achieved its outcomes.

Writing an evaluation framework or plan

Evaluation plans and frameworks guide what evaluations will focus on and how they will be conducted.

Performance measurement frameworks

Performance measurement frameworks provide a structure for evaluators to collect, analyse and report on how programs use resources to achieve results.

Integrating evidence and evaluation

Different types of information can be used to support policy making and program evaluation. Evidence will have the most impact when it is accessible, relevant, and high-quality.

Economic evaluation

Economic evaluation measures a program’s costs and benefits. There are some key steps to undertake this type of evaluation and various approaches that evaluators can choose.

Ethics and Evaluation

Ethical practices benefit both the evaluation process and public trust. This information sheet outlines ethical principles, practices and strategies to manage ethical risk.

Frequently asked questions

What is program evaluation?

Evaluation is a form of applied research. It uses evidence from multiple sources to make judgements about a program or policy. Evaluations can help with decision-making and show how to improve services for the community. Evaluation can identify:

  • if the program objectives are being achieved
  • what aspects of the program are working as intended, for who, how, under what circumstances, why, and at what cost
  • if the program is a good solution to the problem it addresses and represents value for money.

What do program evaluators do?

Program evaluators analyse evidence to help support decision making, learning, and provide an understanding of how a program has performed.

Evaluators use a range of applied research skills to collect evidence from various sources. This may include existing research, program data, surveys or stakeholder interviews.

What are typical evaluation questions?

Evaluation questions focus an evaluation on what decision-makers need to know. The number and type of evaluation questions will depend on:

  • the objectives and scope of the program
  • evaluation time period, resources and budget
  • access to data and relevant stakeholders.
Question type Example questions
Appropriateness (or relevance)

The extent to which a program is suitable for achieving stated objectives in a given context.

  • Was program design appropriate for meeting the objective?
  • Was the program implemented in a way that was appropriate for the context?
  • Were outcomes achieved within an appropriate time?

The extent to which a program is responsible for achieving its intended outcomes.

  • To what extent did the program achieve its objectives, for who, how, and under what conditions?
  • To what degree was the program responsible for the results?
  • Were there any unintended consequences?

The extent to which a program is delivered at the lowest possible cost and / or addresses the greatest need.

  • Could the use or distribution of program resources be improved?
  • How well did the program address the most urgent priorities?
  • Could elements of the program be removed, simplified, or made easier without compromising outcomes?
Value for money

Whether the program delivers the most benefit possible from the resources available.

  • Do the monetised and non-monetised benefits outweigh the costs of the program?
  • Does the program represent better public and economic value than another program or the status quo?

The extent to which a program is used and useful to its intended participants.

  • Was the program used as much as expected?
  • Were there barriers to using the program? If so, how could they be addressed?
  • How useful and/or practical was the program for the target group?

The extent to which a program meets the needs of participants in relation to their individual needs.

  • To what extent were the needs of different groups met?
  • How well were program benefits distributed among disadvantaged groups and locations?

Whether there is evidence that benefits will continue beyond the life of the program.

  • What factors support or undermine longer term program outcomes?

What programs should be a priority for evaluation?

Agencies should consider evaluation as well as performance monitoring when a program:

  • is new or does not have adequate evidence about its effectiveness, efficiency, or appropriateness
  • has large government investment
  • contributes to key government priorities
  • poses a risk to health, public safety, or the state’s financial position
  • affects many individuals, businesses or communities
  • attracts public or political attention.
Last updated: 28 March 2024