Open to the Public: Evaluation in the Public Sector

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Richard Boyle, Jonathan D. Breul, Peter Dahler-Larsen
Transaction Publishers, 2008 - Political Science - 248 pages
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Open to the Public grows out of concern with evaluation in the public arena and the struggle to understand how best to use the information it generates. Many concepts and models of evaluation, how to undertake it, and how to make it more useful, were developed before government performance became of so much interest to the public. In fact, it is arguable that recent changes in the forms, shapes, structures, and media through which the information developed in the process of evaluation becomes public, require new ways of thinking about its role in society.

What is the role of evaluative information in the public arena today? How, when, and under what circumstances does the actual use of evaluative information take place, and what are the forces at play? By compiling and comparing international case studies, this book considers forces that make the information produced in evaluations increasing "open to the public." They provide insights into the many factors that influence evaluation and its use in the public arena. Their case studies include such current topics as: "spin doctoring" of information by the media and this practice's relationship to evaluation studies, the hotly debated issue of school performance, and information about it aired in the public arena, and the controversial link between budget processing and government performance.

This book will be invaluable to those conducting evaluations, public employees and commissioners, and those studying public administration.


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Evaluation in the Public Arena
Evaluation in the Media
Evaluation and Political Communication in the
Community Perspectives on the Preparation and
Who Decides If and How Evaluative Information
The Growing Use of Performance Information in
Creating Public Arenas for Evaluative Information
Does Citizen Participation in the Evaluation
Bringing Evaluation into Public Life

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About the author (2008)

Richard Boyle is a senior research officer with the Institute of Public Administration in Ireland. He was a member of the Board of the European Evaluation Society from 2002 to 2005 and is chair of the Irish Evaluation Network.

Jonathan D. Breul recently retired as executive director of the IBM Center for The Business of Government. Previously, he served as OMB's senior career executive with primary responsibility for government-wide general management policies.

Peter Dahler-Larsen is professor at the Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen. He was president of the European Evaluation Society from 2006-7. His research interests include political, institutional and cultural aspects of evaluation. He is the author of The Evaluation Society (Stanford University Press 2012).

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