Policy Anticipation, Response and Evaluation

Evidence-based policy is often framed by questioning what works, for whom and in what situations. It is often forgotten that the ability to answer this question depends on knowledge about what has happened, what is happening and what is likely to happen.

Impact evaluation, real-time monitoring and foresight are critical elements of development policy processes. This is particularly so when issues are emergent, complex, or sensitive. Effective short- and medium-term horizon scanning is thus essential. New tools, approaches, and methods are needed to allow governments, donors, NGOs, and businesses to scan, to act, and to measure impact.

The Policy Anticipation, Response and Evaluation programme (2012–17) was commissioned and funded by the UK Department for International Development. In addressing these issues, the programme was organised under three themes: foresight, rapid response, and impact innovation.

The first of the programmes outcomes was stronger and timely evidence-based guidance for governments, donors, and NGOs to respond rapidly to unfolding events and newly emerging issues through horizon scanning and crisis response. The programme also provided extensive new knowledge on innovative approaches for evaluating policy impacts in complex contexts.

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Marjoke Oosterom More details

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Stephen Spratt, IDS Research Fellow More details

Tomorrow Today

Tomorrow Today is a horizon scanning programme designed to support the preliminary but systematic exploration of new and emergent policy issues. More details

View all programme's publications

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Straws-in-the-wind, Hoops and Smoking Guns: What can Process Tracing Offer to Impact Evaluation?

CDI Practice Paper 10 (2015)

This CDI Practice Paper by Melanie Punton and Katharina Welle explains the methodological and theoretical foundations of process tracing, and discusses its potential application in international development impact evaluations. More details


Improving the Practice of Value for Money Assessment

CDI Practice Paper 12 (2015)

This CDI Practice Paper by Julian Barr and Angela Christie brings together recent work at Itad to examine the origins of the concept of value for money (VFM) in the performance audit of public expenditure and its increasing prominence as a tool applied to support the management of publicly funded international development. More details


Tax Experiments in Developing Countries: A Critical Review and Reflections on Feasibility

CDI Practice Paper 11 (2015)

This CDI Practice Paper by Giulia Mascagni provides a critical assessment of the literature on tax experiments to date. More details


Where Next for Social Protection?

IDS Evidence Report 124 (2015)

The rapid ascendancy of social protection up the development policy agenda in the past ten to 15 years raises questions about whether its current prominence will be sustained, or whether it will turn out to be just another development fad that declines and ultimately disappears. More details


The Future of Knowledge Sharing in a Digital Age: Exploring Impacts and Policy Implications for Development

IDS Evidence Report 125 (2015)

We live in a Digital Age that gives us instant access to information at greater and greater volumes. The rapid growth of digital content and tools is already changing how we create, consume and distribute knowledge. More details


Improving Quality: Current Evidence on What Affects the Quality of Commissioned Evaluations

CDI Practice Paper 9 (2015)

With the increase in resources that organisations are dedicating to evaluation the issue of evaluation quality has risen up the agenda and a growing number of commissioners are now looking at how to ensure the studies they commission are of sufficient quality. More details


Tracking Research and Policy Conversations in Online Spaces

IDS Evidence Report 122 (2015)

The Institute of Development Studies (IDS) is engaged in a major four-year programme entitled Strengthening Evidence-based Policy, funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Central to this programme is the production and communication of policy-relevant research findings. More details


Ebola and Lessons for Development

IDS Practice Paper in Brief 16 (2015)

As the Ebola crisis continues to unfold across West Africa and the international community belatedly responds, broader questions arise beyond the immediate challenges on the ground. More details


Global Governance and the Limits of Health Security

IDS Practice Paper in Brief 17 (2015)

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa has exposed the limits of the current approach to the global governance of infectious diseases, which mixes public health and security interests. More details


Strengthening Health Systems for Resilience

IDS Practice Paper in Brief 18 (2015)

In countries with high levels of poverty or instability and with poor health system management and governance, people are highly vulnerable to shocks associated with ill health, including major epidemics. More details


Return of the Rebel: Legacies of War and Reconstruction in West Africa’s Ebola Epidemic

Practice Paper in Brief 19 (2015)

The spread of Ebola in West Africa centres on a region with a shared recent history of transnational civil war and internationally led post-conflict reconstruction efforts. This legacy of conflict and shortcomings in the reconstruction efforts are key to understanding how the virus has spread. More details


Ebola, Politics and Ecology: Beyond the ‘Outbreak Narrative’

IDS Practice Paper in Brief 20 (2015)

The origin of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa has been traced to the likely confluence of a virus, a bat, a two-year-old child and an underequipped rural health centre. More details


Ebola and Extractive Industry

IDS Practice Paper in Brief 21 (2015)

The economic effects of the Ebola health crisis are slowly unfolding as the virus continues to affect Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. More details


Urbanisation, the Peri-urban Growth and Zoonotic Disease

IDS Practice Paper in Brief 22 (2015)

Ebola has had significant, negative effects in the rapidly expanding, unregulated areas of peri-urban and urban West Africa. The residents of these areas maintain vital connections with rural populations while intermingling with and living in close proximity to urban and elite populations. More details


The Pathology of Inequality: Gender and Ebola in West Africa

IDS Practice Paper in Brief 23 (2015)

The international response to Ebola has been decried for being ‘too slow, too little, too late’. As well as racing to respond, we need to consider what has happened over the past decades to leave exposed fault lines that enabled Ebola to move so rapidly across boundaries of people’s bodies, villages, towns and countries. More details


Local Engagement in Ebola Outbreaks and Beyond in Sierra Leone

Practice Paper in Brief 24 (2015)

Containment strategies for Ebola rupture fundamental features of social, political and religious life. Control efforts that involve local people and appreciate their perspectives, social structures and institutions are therefore vital. More details


Knowledge Sharing and Development in a Digital Age

IDS Policy Briefing 87 (2015)

Digital technologies are reaching ever further into remote parts of the world, changing how people access, use, and create information and knowledge. More details


Scenarios of Waste and Resource Management: for Cities in India and Elsewhere

IDS Evidence Report 114 (2015)

Rising prosperity around the globe – welcome and overdue in many respects – has certain undesirable consequences. It leads to an increase in the demand for raw materials, putting pressure on our limited natural resources. More details


Managing the Emerging Waste Crisis in Developing Countries’ Large Cities

IDS Policy Briefing 86 (2015)

Rising prosperity around the globe is both welcome and, in many countries, long overdue. However, it brings with it a number of undesirable consequences, such as an increased demand for raw materials, which puts pressure on limited natural resources, and the generation of waste, due to dominant linear economic models of ‘make-use-throw’. More details


The Political Economy of Low-carbon Investments: Insights from the Wind and Solar Power Sectors in India

IDS Evidence Report 104 (2015)

The primary motivation behind this research is the need to accelerate the supply of renewable energy because of the important role that it plays in mitigating climate change and in fostering sustainable development. More details

(Proactive) Foresight

24 Nov 2015
By Gioel Gioacchino