3. Performance review principles
Resource limitations prevent all decisions, processes and outcomes from being reviewed, so careful thought must be given to how best to spend limited evaluation resources. This includes ensuring reviews are fit-for-purpose, scaled to size and complexity, and designed for the purpose and audience.
Reviews should be undertaken once a sufficient period of time has passed for a step to have taken effect, for benefits to be realised and for review data to become available. They should also take account of seasonal and other relevant factors. The review should also look at how transition to the operational state is progressing.
If the actual outcomes are markedly different from the desired outcomes, the evaluation should explore factors contributing to the variation.
Comparisons of actual outcomes with desired outcomes should be conducted within consistent timeframes. For example, it is unreasonable to compare desired outcomes for an initiative running over 15 years with actual outcomes after five years. Actual outcomes after five years should be compared with stated desired outcomes after five years.
Figure 2 provides an overview of the post-completion evaluation process. It shows that reviews should be undertaken at the various levels of the Framework. At each level, both process and outcome reviews should ideally be undertaken. In addition, reviews should consider both effectiveness and efficiency perspectives.
Box 1 Post-completion evaluation overview.
A post-completion evaluation seeks to broadly answer the following three key questions:
- Did we do the right thing?
This addresses the justification for an investment and whether the investment is still valid for the transport system objectives it set out to meet.
- Did we do it the right way?
This addresses all the components of how expected outcomes are being achieved, delivery aspects and implementation.
- Were there better ways of achieving the results?
This addresses good practices, lessons learned and ensuring continuous learning in transport system management.
This information from a post-completion evaluation can help inform the selection, design, delivery and operation processes of future initiatives and wider transport system management. The lessons learned can be disseminated to those responsible for planning and investment, and to the wider industry and public in general.
Figure 2: Post-completion evaluation