Impact Evaluation Introduction
An impact evaluation of a health promotion fund is critical to assessing its effectiveness. One way to ensure an evaluation is prioritized and operationalized is by including it as an objective within the enabling legislation. For example, the West Australian Tobacco Control Act mandates an ongoing evaluation on the effectiveness of its health promotion fund in achieving its objectives. But even if it is not feasible to establish a legislative requirement for it, evaluation should still be a part of any health promotion fund for the following reasons:
- Significant funding from dedicated tobacco taxes, administered using new funding mechanisms, can be expected to attract a high level of interest and scrutiny by government, the media and the community. In some cases, such as that of the New Zealand Health Sponsorship Council, where funding is determined through a three-year agreement which is subject to ministerial approval of an annual operational plan and budget, it is important to be able to provide information on the impact of the funds. This is valuable data for future funding negotiations and also assures the agencies required to monitor the use of government money (such as the Ministries of Health or Finance) that the funds are being utilized effectively and the objectives are being met.
- The concept of using dedicated tax for tobacco control and health promotion activities is a relatively new but growing trend. Those who have begun the process have an obligation to the international community to record and disseminate results so that the model may develop internationally from a sound base of scientific knowledge.
- Experimental studies that investigate the effectiveness of sponsorship and other social marketing strategies can be mounted as part of an evaluation programme with cooperation from grant recipients. Such studies have the potential to guide and inform, leading to the refinement of strategies, particularly related to the more innovative aspects of health promotion.
- Evaluation is an essential component of every health promotion project funded, as a matter of good practice, and should be required to be undertaken by each grant recipient.
World Health Organization. (2004). The establishment and use of dedicated taxes for health. World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific.