Briefing Paper

Analytical Capacity for Improved Prioritisation and M&E

This analytical capacity is a function of a range of factors, including the supply of strong technical
expertise in various fields in the education and professional system; a function of the extent to
which this expertise is then located within the state (as opposed to contracted out); a function of
the space provided for identifying political problems that may bedevil a particular sector (how a
powerful group might block reform for example); and a function of stability within management
and leadership in a sector and relevant agencies (time is required to develop experience in a
field, to experiment at a smaller scale with different type of interventions, and adapt according
to programme evaluation data). This policy brief considers the following questions in this regard:
What exactly is meant by “improved analytical capacity” in different planning and M&E
environments? What kind of capacity to do what kind of analysis is required? How can countries go about assessing and improving their analytical capacity in their particular domestic contexts?
What tools are available to support improved analytical capacity, and in what circumstances
can these be used? In answering these questions – and based on the findings of the literature review – we have focused on the issue of causality as the key focal point for improved analysis; that is, the ability to understand the relationship between programmes and their outcomes (impact).