In 2018, the then Ministry of Women and Child Affairs developed 12 Gender-related Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs were developed to ensure that government agencies were committed towards achieving Goal 5 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals on gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. In addition, the government has also spent over LKR 300 million on these KPIs. Verité Research explored these KPIs to assess how effective the government has been in converting expenditure into achieved outcomes.
The study revealed that:
1. The overall progress on these KPIs was poor. Out of the 12 KPIs assessed, 10 KPIs recorded No Progress and the remaining 2 KPIs recorded Weak Progress. This level of progress is despite money being spent towards achieving these KPIs. For example, KPI 11 which refers to the ‘number of gender discriminatory laws, policies, and procedures tha are amended, enacted, and/or implemented’, recorded No Progress, based on an RTI response by the Ministry of Justice. According to the Ministry of Finance, LKR 12 million was spent towards this KPI.
2. There was a lack of oversight. The 2018 Budget Call tasked the Ministry of Finance with collecting information on the progress of these KPIs from all Ministries and Provincial Councils. However, neither the Ministry of Finance, nor the former Ministry of Women and Child Affairs who developed these KPIs, provided any indication on the metrics used to assess progress. The lack of progress and oversight indicates an absence of effective monitoring mechanisms by oversight bodies to track these KPIs. This is particularly problematic as it does not allow for significant deviations in performance to be noticed and flagged.
Key performance indicators: A step in the right direction
Well-defined KPIs for all government expenditure proposals provides three key benefits:
1. Ensures prior analysis is conducted before spending decisions are made.
2. Establishes clear targets on what needs to be achieved and by when.
3. Allows for better monitoring – both by the public and by oversight bodies in government.
However, as is evident from this research, without appropriate monitoring and follow up mechanisms of such KPIs, their effectiveness can be undermined.
Full study by Verité Research can be accessed at www.veriteresearch.org/publications