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In this section:

Agency Evaluation
Program Evaluation
Board Evaluation
Board Member Evaluation

The board of directors is responsible for monitoring the overall performance of the agency. The board should know how well the agency is fulfilling its objectives and meeting the needs of the community and if its resources are being utilized efficiently.

Control systems should be developed to ensure that the board receives the information it requires so it can carry out its responsibilities. The board should receive information before a crisis develops in order to make correct management decisions. This may include program information, budget information or client information.

As was discussed in the Financial Management section, boards should use their budgets for the coming year as a control document to monitor variances. The budgeting process significantly assists in the overall planning functions by linking objectives and projected outputs.

Agency Evaluation

As the board is responsible for overall performance of the agency, some exercises that should be performed periodically include:

  • an assessment of the agency's responsiveness and level of activity
  • clarification of the agency's mission
  • an analysis of the environment

To assess the effectiveness and impact of the agency, consider these questions at least once a year.

  • What would have happened to the clients in the absence of the agency?
  • What has happened to the clients?
  • What are the factors that may have contributed to these outcomes?
  • How cost effective is the agency compared with others?
  • What changes are evident in social services in our community?
  • Are these changes positive or negative?
  • What new knowledge has been generated about how to solve problems?

Evaluating the agency includes agency problem solving. High staff turnover, staff complaints, financial difficulties or client complaints should alert the board to act promptly to discover the problems underlying these symptoms. External evaluators may be required to investigate internal problems in order to ensure objectivity and independence in the investigation and analysis.

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Program Evaluation

Many agencies are unaccustomed to formal evaluation procedures and do not have techniques for measuring the effectiveness of their programs.

Boards require program information to enable them to:

  • determine whether the needs for which a service or program is designed are being met
  • determine if implementation and progress is on target and as planned
  • identify problems, issues and concerns regarding programs and services
  • improve the program

Often groups find themselves swept away by their own enthusiasm for a particular program or project and as a result will simply assume that it is worthwhile. If funds, time and personnel were unlimited it would perhaps be permissible to take the line that "anything we do is of some good". However, the challenge in today's environment is to find the directions and programs which do the most good. Without some kind of planned hindsight, the most successful programs cannot be sorted from the weaker ones.

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Board Evaluation

It is the responsibility of the board to ensure that program funds are disbursed both effectively and efficiently. It is no mere coincidence that the quality of services and programs is often proportional to the quality of the board. Simply put, the quality of the agency is a reflection of the quality of the board. Despite the apparent need for board self-appraisal, most boards do not evaluate their own performance, nor do they ask themselves how well or how poorly they are meeting their goals. Yet, when an organization fails to meet its established goals, the board too has failed.

The major reason for board evaluation is to demonstrate responsibility. It is a healthy sign when board members publicly stand accountable for the resources used in service delivery and the revenues they were provided. Funding sources are continually requiring increased evidence of accountability from their agencies.

Annual reviews pinpoint weaknesses and indicate needed changes in operating policies, sources of funding, services and other areas otherwise overlooked in the absence of periodic reviews.

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Board Member Evaluation

An evaluation of a board member's performance should be done once a year. Planned evaluation is helpful in identifying strengths and weaknesses of individual members, in setting a climate for growth and development of the board as an entity, and for ensuringthat board development keeps pace with total organizational development. Evaluation helps identify continuing educational needs for members who would like to move to new positions, provides feedback and positive reinforcement to members who are making a significant contribution to the governance of the agency and helps determine the need to retire board members.

Suggested performance criteria for board members includes the following:

  • board and committee meeting attendance (has the individual met the standards of meeting attendance as set out in your meeting attendance policy?)
  • participation and contribution to fund-raising
  • participation and contribution to public relations efforts on behalf of the agency
  • demonstration of support for the work of the agency
  • skills and contribution of the board member in the
    • policy making process
    • planning process
    • board membership process
    • meeting process
    • development of board/staff relationships

The evaluation process should provide the ideal opportunity for recognizing the hard work and commitment of a board member.

The remaining pages are sample evaluation worksheets that a board may use to measure the overall effectiveness of the agency, the board and its members. They are meant to be used as a tool to help identify possible areas for future board development. Similar worksheets have been provided at the end of the appropriate sections of this guide.

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Early Learning and Child Care Program 210-114 Garry Street, Winnipeg MB R3C 4V4

Email: cdcinfo@gov.mb.ca

Phone: 204-945-0776 Toll-free: 1-888-213-4754 Fax: 204-948-2625 TTY: 204-945-3724

Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m