In order to have the greatest chance of achieving the planned effects, organisations must react to changing circumstances and new information and steer their projects and programmes accordingly.
The findings from an impact assessment need to be presented in such a way that it is clear how well a project or programme has been planned and implemented, i.e.:
- How good were the results model and its underlying assumptions, hypotheses and assessment of the risks or side effects? How good was the strategy of intervention that was derived from it?
- Were the outputs timely, with the planned level of quality and at the budgeted cost?
This information provides the organisation with a basis which can help to set priorities for checking the strategies, allocating resources and developing improvement measures.
- Window of opportunity
It is more likely that impact assessment findings will be used when they are available at a when external conditions are favourable to change. This can for example be the case when there are changes in the management team, during a periodic review of organisational strategy or if public events coincide strongly.
Suitable forms of communication
- Presentations to the board or to management
- Project portfolio
- Internal reporting
It takes more than systematic implementation of impact assessment at all levels of an organisation to promote results-oriented thinking and action within it. Creating a climate of transparency and trust is just as important. Critical reflection involves participants and stakeholders. This critical reflection is oriented towards discovering where there is potential for improvement, rather than looking for someone to blame.
An organisation should not subordinate its decision-making entirely to impact assessment or else it runs the risk of only doing things that can be measured and attributed as clearly as possible to an effect. The insights offered by impact assessment are only one basis on which decisions can be made.