After a program is in operation for some time

A series of eight arrows, the arrows from the second, “inputs”, “activities”, “outputs” and “targets” are emphasised with a surrounding rectangle as well as the three larger arrows; “short-term outcomes/ direct program attribution and responsibility”, “medium-term outcomes/ behavioural change”, and “long-term outcomes/  system change”.


Did it work? Is anyone better off? Is the program or activity achieving its objectives? What has the impact been? What are the benefits relative to the costs?

Focus areas

  • assessing performance
  • identifying lessons learned and improvements
  • evaluating the appropriateness, efficiency and/or effectiveness of the program or activity.

Program characteristics

Program is stabilising, well established, mature and builds on data collected in earlier stages.

Type of evaluation/other terms

Outcome evaluation, impact evaluation, summative evaluation, ex‑post, theory of change evaluation, economic evaluation.

Commonwealth requirements

Commonwealth entities have an ongoing legislative requirement to measure, assess, and report on their performance under the Commonwealth Performance Framework.

Once a program or activity has matured and been in operation for some time, effective, fit for purpose evaluation approaches can be used:

  • to ensure value for money for tax payers, consider equity measures, and assess whether something else could have worked better (for less cost)
  • to address data gaps not identified or not properly considered during the initial program design stage - action to address these gaps should take place as early as possible in the implementation stage of a program or activity
  • in situations where issues with the activity or program objectives, implementation or outcomes have been identified through monitoring, review or stakeholder feedback
  • to support continuous improvement by complementing or enhancing the quality and robustness of an entity's performance information
  • to support decision‑making.
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