Evaluation is an essential activity to ensure that all policies, programmes and projects are regularly reviewed to ensure that they are having the maximum possible impact against 10X objectives, are providing value for money, and that lessons are learned for future delivery.

This page sets out the Department for the Economy’s evaluation requirements. 

Types of evaluation

Policy evaluation

Policy evaluation is an important part of the policy development process and requires policy makers to investigate the effectiveness of policies in terms of their impact, to consider what worked and why, and to identify learning for future interventions. 

Programme evaluation

Programme evaluation aims to either assess, at an aggregate level, the impact of projects undertaken within the identified programme, or the impact of a funding programme.

Project evaluation

At a project level, evaluation is undertaken to assess the outturns from a project, to assess if value for money was delivered and to identify lessons learned.

DfE requirements

Policy/programme level evaluation

DfE is currently developing a rolling programme of policy and programme evaluation. Further details on this will be provided when available.

Project level evaluation

DfE requires that post project evaluations (PPE) must be completed for all business cases with expenditure of £5,000 and above.

The only exception to this is that a PPE must be undertaken for all external consultancy projects, regardless of value.

Post project evaluation is concerned with assessing whether or not objectives were met and whether the project represented value for money. It is effectively an ex-post review of your project business case. 

All PPEs must be completed in line with the requirements of the Better Business Cases NI Supplementary Evaluation Guidance - DoF website


The following PPE templates have been made available for use in DfE:

A separate template has been provided to assist with the evaluation of externally provided professional services (including external/internal consultancy, staff substitution, managed services and research assignments).  This template should be used if your expenditure was appraised using the corresponding professional services business case template:

While evaluations will all seek to address the same basic questions, evaluators should ensure that the principle of proportionate effort is applied.

If you need further advice on which template you should use, please contact the economists noted at the bottom of the page.

Evaluation sign-off

The sign-off for evaluations should correspond to their associated appraisal. This means that the sign-off corresponds to the delegated limits for economic appraisals (EA) up to £1m. Above this amount, the sign-off should be done by a Grade 3, as illustrated below.

Proposed level of expenditure

Level of approval required

0 to £0.25m


>£0.25m to £1m


>£1m or external consultancy

Grade 3

PPE completion and submission to DoF

If your project expenditure was approved by DoF, the related PPE must be completed by the date stipulated in your DoF approval letter. Accountability and Casework Branch (ACB) undertakes monthly reporting and engagement with all business areas that have PPEs that are due for completion in the coming 3 months, or which are already overdue. Through this process, ACB will either advise DoF that your PPE has been completed by the required date or will facilitate an extension request when this is required.

In some circumstances when project expenditure has been approved by DoF, DoF will also request sight of the completed PPE – where this is the case, this requirement will be specified in your DoF approval letter. In these circumstances, ACB will engage with you directly, and will make the PPE submission to DoF on your behalf. However, before sending a completed PPE to DoF, you will need to have it quality assured by departmental economists, before seeking G3 sign-off.  If you require an economist review of a completed PPE, please submit your PPE to businesscases@economy-ni.gov.uk and allow up to one month for review.

Sharing of lessons learned

Lessons learned is a fundamental part of effective programme and project management. Lessons (both positive and negative) should be collected, recorded, written up and communicated as part of the formal closure process. The failure to learn lessons from previous experience is a constant feature of audit and of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) Reports and is a characteristic of many unsuccessful public sector programmes and projects.

The purpose of recording and sharing lessons learned includes:

  • avoiding making the same mistakes as others
  • improving on current delivery standards by adopting proven good practice
  • responding to changes in the programme and project management environment including new government priorities, initiatives and strategies
  • contributing to organisational growth and maturity by effecting long term improvements in the way an organisation embeds and shares programme and project management best practice.


Specific guidance on programme and project management lessons learned and post programme or project review can be found on the DoF website:

Lessons learned information is recorded in each PPE template. If the lessons learned are of relevance to other areas of the department, or potentially to other NICS departments, then business areas are required to share these lessons following the instructions in the templates.

Partner organisations should ensure that lessons learned information that is to be shared is forwarded to their partner team which can add the information onto the central departmental record.

Relevant contacts

DfE economists


Accountability and Casework Branch


CPP30 (Lessons Learned)


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