Executive summary

This report provides an assessment of Nuevo León’s monitoring and evaluation system for the Strategic Plan 2015-2030 “Nuevo León Mañana”. After reviewing Nuevo León’s planning system, the report focuses on four main areas: improving the plan’s methodology and structure; monitoring to promote its delivery; creating a sound evaluation system; and promoting evidence-informed policy making in Nuevo León.

Both the Nuevo León’s Council and the state public administration play a central role in planning. According to the Strategic Planning Law, the council is a consultative body with responsibilities in monitoring and evaluation. However, the council progressively expanded its actions to policy formulation, design and implementation. Moreover, the centre of government (CoG) of the public administration lacks resources and mechanisms dedicated to coordinate and monitor the Plan’s implementation. This situation has resulted in overlaps between the state public administration and the council, and in the latter losing focus on its main role of long-term planning.

Nuevo León should consider clarifying the respective responsibilities of the council and of the CoG for strategic planning, monitoring and evaluation. First, this will entail strengthening the role of the CoG in integrating long-term objectives of the Strategic Plan in the State Development Plan, as well as in co-ordinating their implementation and monitoring. Second, the council should strengthen its role in evaluating the Strategic Plan and performing advisory functions, moving away from implementation and monitoring.

The Strategic Plan 2015-2030, “Nuevo León Mañana” is the first integrated long-term planning instrument jointly designed by government and civil society in a Mexican sub-national government. This has been widely perceived as an important initiative for the state. Yet, the methodology did not leave enough space for prioritisation of long-term policy objectives. As a result, the document is deemed too complex. There is no clear methodological framework to articulate the elements of the Strategic Plan with the objectives of other planning instruments, such as the Sustainable Development Goals, the State Development Plan or the state budget.

The council should consider the following elements in revising the Plan. First, the council could simplify the Plan and reduce the number of priority areas, in order to refocus it around impact and outcome objectives. Second, this revision should suggest a methodology that clarifies how the State Development Plan contributes to the Strategic Plan’s goals and to the Sustainable Development Goals more broadly. The Strategic Plan’s objectives also need to be better aligned with the state budget.

The Strategic Planning Law does not distinguish between monitoring and evaluation, two distinct, yet complementary, practices. While the law establishes that the results of the Strategic Plan should be evaluated on an annual basis, it does not provide guidance on when or how to monitor and evaluate it.

This creates overlaps and gaps in the mandates of the council and the state public administration, resulting in unnecessary complexity and a lack of incentive to collaborate in the monitoring exercise. Nuevo León would gain from greater clarity, allocating the monitoring function to the state public administration. In order to improve the overall quality of monitoring, the council will also need to make the indicators of the Strategic Plan more robust and clarify how they align with each objective. Explicit quality assurance and control mechanisms are also needed, such as developing guidelines for data collection. It will be important in this regard to increase the state public administration’s competences and resources for monitoring. Finally, the results of monitoring can be further communicated to citizens through the Avanza Nuevo León platform and incorporated into decision-making, through performance management and budgeting.

Nuevo León has shown a clear interest in using policy evaluation. The state has embedded evaluation across government in legal instruments, and ministries conduct evaluations as part of their performance management system. Yet, there is a lack of macro-level guidance on who carries out the evaluation of the Strategic Plan and when. Mechanisms to ensure the quality of evaluations remain embryonic. The council does not have the technical competences to conduct in-house evaluations at this stage. In spite of the significant progress in the evaluation of budgetary programmes and federal government resources, the use of evaluation remains a challenge in Nuevo León.

In order to lay the foundations for a sound evaluation system for the Plan, the council could consider developing a policy framework, co-ordinated with the evaluation programme of the Secretariat of Finance, which specifies what programmes and policies are going to be evaluated, who will evaluate, and what resources will be necessary. The council can promote the credibility of its evaluations by developing mechanisms to ensure their quality, such as guidelines or peer reviews. Promoting the use of evaluation will entail strengthening stakeholder engagement, developing a communication strategy to promote the uptake of evaluation results, and discussing evaluation results at the highest political level or embedding them in the budgetary-cycle.

Evidence-informed policymaking is a critical element in the setting out good public governance to achieve broad societal goals, such as those set out in the Strategic Plan 2015-2030. Justifying the use of public resources with accurate evidence is becoming increasingly important, making the consultation of multiple sources in decision-making essential. Nuevo León, like many national and sub-national governments, has created a policy advisory body, the council, to support policy-making with the best possible evidence.

However, the activities of the council across all stages of the policy cycle has resulted in divergence between the council and state public administration, decreasing the relevance and impact of its advice. A perception may also exist that the private sector is overrepresented in the composition of the council, while citizens and experts appear to have a limited voice. As a result, part of the challenge for the council will be to expand its technical capacities and skills, as well as to strive for greater inclusiveness, to ensure that its membership is neutral and represents the socioeconomic diversity of Nuevo León’s community. The state public administration will also benefit from establishing strategic units that enable the effective use of evidence in policy-making.


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