Special english issue Number 2, Autumn 2017, Volume 5


Evaluation culture and evaluation capacities in Central and Eastern Europe: An introduction

Oto Potluka, Jiri Remr

This issue presents studies on evaluation culture and evaluation capacities in Central and Eastern Europe; these represent experience from the Czech Republic (Pělucha, Květoň, 2017), Slovakia (Švihlová, Shipley, 2017) and Poland (Olejniczak, Kupiec, & Newcomer, 2017). Their perspectives vary in terms of objects of evaluation (programs and projects) and perspectives they reflect such as policies or programs (e.g. EU cohesion policy and other national policies). The EU cohesion policy is among the most evaluated policies in Europe (Ferry, 2009). Thus, it also helps to develop the evaluation capacity in other policies. This policy includes evaluation requirements that create positive pressure on both the evaluation demand and supply. This increasing demand has enabled countries in Central and Eastern Europe to improve their evaluation capacities and experiences during the last few years.

This special issue is focused on evaluation culture and evaluation capacities; it does so by involving two articles focused on the EU cohesion policy of two major recipients of the funding from this policy in the period 2007 – 2013: the Czech Republic (the highest per capita allocation) and Poland (the highest absolute allocation).

Evaluation culture within institutional and methodological context: the case of EU Structural Funds in the Czech Republic

Martin Pělucha, Viktor Květoň


Evaluation culture began its development in the early 2000s in Central and Eastern European countries and in connection with the spending of EU Preaccession and later Structural Funds. The environment of evaluations significantly influences institutional and methodological aspects. One of the prerequisites of evaluation culture is the ability of Managing Authorities to apply evaluation recommendations.

The main goal of this paper is to provide an assessment of evaluation culture from institutional and methodological perspectives with a focus on EU funds in the Czech Republic. The paper presents a literature review of key terms with a combination of descriptive analyses of current developments in terms of evaluation practice. The main findings, conclusions and policy implications highlight the need to ensure institutional memory in public administration, human capital development in evaluations, sharing data in public administration, and methodological weaknesses in the evaluation culture of the Czech Republic.

PĚLUCHA, M., KVĚTOŇ, V. (2017) „Evaluation culture within institutional and methodological context: the case of EU Structural Funds in the Czech Republic“. Evaluation Theory and Practice 5(2): 1–26.

Program Evaluation in the Municipal Sector – Case Study Slovakia and Canada

Dana Švihlová, Robert Shipley


In most developed countries, planning initiatives intended to improve people’s lives are implemented through programs planned and delivered locally. Those responsible for such programs ought to be concerned about whether or not a program is having the desired outcome. In some sectors such as public health and education it appears that program results are carefully evaluated. But what about the programs initiated and managed by regional and local authorities? To address this question, programs in Slovakia and Canada were studied. Examples of housing and waste management programs in eight municipal authorities in each country were surveyed regarding their practices. The study therefore comprised a total of thirty-two cases. It was discovered that while the performance of most programs was being monitored, not all programs were being evaluated and that most often the evaluation focused on performance rather than outcomes. Some conclusions are drawn and recommendations offered.

ŠVIHLOVÁ, D., SHIPLEY, R. (2017) „Program Evaluation in the Municipal Sector – Case Study Slovakia and Canada“. Evaluation Theory and Practice 5(2): 27–48.

Learning from evaluation – the knowledge users' perspective

Karol Olejniczak, Tomasz Kupiec, Kathryn Newcomer


Public managers require different types of knowledge to run programs successfully. This includes knowledge about the context, operational know-how, knowledge about the effects, and causal mechanisms. This knowledge comes from different sources, and evaluation studies are just one of them.

This article takes the perspective of knowledge users. It explores to what extent evaluation is a useful source of knowledge for public managers of cohesion policy. Findings are based on an extensive study of 116 Polish institutions: surveys with 945 program managers, followed by 78 interviews with key policy actors. The article concludes that: (a) utility of evaluation studies, in comparison to other sources of knowledge, is limited, (b) evaluation reports are used to some extent as a source of knowledge on effects and mechanisms, however, (c) "effects" are shallowly interpreted as smooth money spending, not socio-economic change.

In conclusion, this article offers practical ideas on what evaluation practitioners could do to make evaluation more useful for knowledge users in policy implementation.

OLEJNICZAK, K., KUPIEC, T., NEWCOMER, K. (2017) „Learning from evaluation – the knowledge users' perspective“. Evaluation Theory and Practice 5(2): 49–74.


Special Issue
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