Appraisal and Evaluation in Central Government

This guide is to help government departments and agencies appraise and evaluate their activities effectively. It is intended to ensure consistency across government in appraisal and evaluation practice. It updates the 1991 edition.

Appraisal is essential to god decision making. Good appraisal calls for flexibility and imagination. It is not a ritual in which right rules are applied to the letter.

Appraisal will need to take account of the policy context in which decisions are made. These decisions often need to reflect not only formal analysis, but wider strategic or managerial considerations. Good appraisal, which follows the guidance in this book, will bring these out and provide a framework for well informed judgement, and lead to better decision making.

This edition of the "Green Book" stresses the importance of evaluation, as well as appraisal i.e. the systematic examination of decisions already taken in order to learn them and to improve future decisions. There is a natural tendency, once a decision is taken, to move on to the next and let bygones by bygones. To do this, however, is to sacrifice an invaluable source of learning which can improve future decision making. I hope the material in this guide the more systematic practice of evaluation within government.

This book represents HM Treasury Guidance but it has been revised in close collaboration with economists across government, and in consultation with Government Social Researchers. I am extremely grateful for their help and encouragement. Individual departments will need to have their own detailed guidance, which is relevant to their own circumstances which is consistent with this book.