From Output to Outcome? : 25 Years of IOB Evaluations
Amsterdam: Aksant Academic Publishers, 2004; ISBN 90-5260-143-7; 119 pp.
From Output to Outcome? traces the fascinating history of the Policy and Operations Evaluation Department (IOB) of the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and, since 1996, of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1977 the Minister for Development Cooperation Jan Pronk set up an independent review unit that would provide him with timely, reliable information on the quality of Dutch development assistance projects. He needed such information to counter both the often overly positive reports from his own staff, and the attacks on Dutch development assistance policy in parliament and in the media. A quarter century later it is difficult to imagine foreign assistance without an evaluation department. Yet, as investigative journalist Jos van Beurden and historian Jan-Bart Gewald demonstrate, the IOB's course has been far from smooth. The authors describe the challenges to its independence and skirmishes with other sections of the Ministry, and tackle the question of the effects of the department's many reports. They offer an overview of the changes in IOB's art of evaluating.