Spain is on the verge of passing new legislation on policy evaluation. The law is a condition of Spain’s Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan for the use of Next Generation funds. The corresponding bill is currently in the amendment stage and needs to become law before the end of 2022. This represents a great opportunity to create the framework that will allow Spain to evaluate its policies and learn more about their impact - but the text is in need of improvement.
We have written more about this in an op-ed in the Spanish daily newspaper El País.
Our suggestions can be summarised as three main recommendations to the current text:
Inclusion of more rigorous and new methodologies in policy evaluations. We propose the systematic introduction of impact indicators into the evaluation process, as well as the creation of a Policy Experimentation Unit which, as part of the new State Evaluation Agency, would be responsible for more rigorous, empirically based pilot projects.
Addition of the right human and financial resources. To increase independence and ensure that officials are not just burdened with more work, we propose that the human resource standards be specified to make sure that qualified staff are doing the assessments, as well as the designation of an evaluation budget in every new law and programme.
Design of incentives and mechanisms to ensure that evaluation results are included in the policy process. We propose the creation of a public and accessible Results Use Plan to increase transparency and accountability. Also, we recommend facilitating access to data for researchers and ensuring collaboration with academia and between state institutions.
An effective policy evaluation law would be a legal pioneer across the EU and globally and would help create much-needed evidence on the use of public funds. This is a tremendous opportunity to advance Spain’s public evaluation culture and foster evidence-informed policymaking across all sectors, and a necessary first step to implement more impactful programs. At IGL we are rooting for this culture of experimentation, evaluation and learning to become a reality soon.