Evidence that Matters. Using Information for decision-making

The Program

It was once said of an adviser to the great British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, that his valuable skill was “his ability to differentiate between what mattered and what did not.”

Public sector executives and managers constantly make decisions – decisions about staff, budgets, programs. In most situations there are at least two viable courses of action. So the question is: on what basis should the decision be made? What matters (and what does not)?

Decision-making will never be fully rational and precise. Complete information is never available, and even if it were decision-makers wouldn’t have time to assess it. So instinct and experience are always key assets. But are they sufficient? How can judicious use of information enhance decision-making?

This series of two one-day courses provides a high-level overview of techniques, concepts and challenges related to gathering, analyzing and using information for decision-making. We focus on three key sources of program-related information found in most public-sector organizations: performance measurement, program evaluation, and risk assessment.

Each one of the two one-day modules can be taken separately.

The series is oriented towards senior staff, managers and directors wishing to strengthen their understanding of basic issues related to generating and using information from performance measurement, evaluation and risk assessment.

The Instructor

Mark Schacter

The modules are led by Mark Schacter, a leader in the application of results-based management and performance measurement concepts and techniques to public programs.  Over the past 20 years he has advised and supported governments and international organizations on implementation and policy issues in governance, accountability, results-based management, risk-assessment, strategy and institutional development.  Before launching his independent consulting practice in 2003 he was Director of Governance and Corporate Social Responsibility at the Conference Board of Canada in Ottawa, Director at the Institute On Governance in Ottawa, and an Institutional Development Specialist at the World Bank in Washington, DC.  More information about Mark Schacter can be found at www.schacterconsulting.com

Module A – Performance Measurement

Performance measurement is more than just a mandatory requirement for meeting public accountability obligations.  It is a vital management tool that supports planning and decision-making by providing timely and continuous information on whether programs are contributing to intended social and economic outcomes.

Whether or not you are involved in the day-to-day business of performance measurement, it is important to understand how performance measurement frameworks are built, how they can add value to decision-making, and what their limitations are.

Through presentations, interactive sessions and small-group work, this module describes, analyzes and gives participants opportunities to work with fundamental concepts that underpin performance measurement.  Emphasis is placed on the practical as opposed to the theoretical.

Questions to be addressed include:

  • What are the basic steps to developing a set of performance measures?
  • What are the major challenges you will face when developing performance measures?
  • What are the key characteristics of a good performance measure?
  • What is a logic model and why is it useful?
  • What is the link between performance measurement and evaluation?
  • What is the link between performance measurement and risk assessment?

Date next offered

November 18, 2019

REGISTER ONLINE - Module A – Performance Measurement

Module B – Program Evaluation

Program evaluation is a cornerstone of continuous improvement in the public service.  High-quality evaluations support decision-making by providing in-depth analysis of the impact of programs on Canadians, the reasons behind past successes and failures, and concise, actionable recommendations on how to incorporate lessons from the past into current and future initiatives.

Through presentations, interactive sessions and small-group work, this one-day module describes, analyzes and gives participants opportunities to work with fundamental concepts that underpin program evaluation.  Emphasis is placed on the practical as opposed to the theoretical.

Questions to be addressed include:

  • How does evaluation differ from performance measurement?
  • What are the basic steps in conducting an evaluation?
  • What are the basic evaluation questions?
  • What is an “impact evaluation” and what does it mean to “determine the counterfactual”?
  • What are some basic evaluation designs?
  • What is “participatory evaluation” and why does it matter?

Date next offered

November 19, 2019

REGISTER ONLINE - Module B – Program Evaluation

Quotations from previous participants

"This was the most effective course I have taken"

"Mark was interesting and knowledgeable. An environment where people wanted to learn."

"Great presentations and good examples."


Centre on Public Management and Policy
University of Ottawa
Odell House, 180 Waller Street South
Ottawa, Ontario K1N 9B9


$ 600 + tax per Module 

Included in the fee are: course materials, meals and coffee/tea during the day and parking on campus.

The course will be offered in English and is limited to a maximum of 20 participants.

To Register

To register online for one of the two modules, please use the individual course links above. 

If you have questions regarding the registration process, please contact us at cgpp-cpmp@uOttawa.ca, phone: 613-796-6100

Please read our cancellation policy.

For further information on the course

Please contact: Mark Schacter at mark@schacterconsulting.com

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