Program Evaluation and Public Policy
Sampling of Clients:
















Program Evaluation—What We Do

COMPAS does the full range of evaluations—from formal summative and formative evaluations, often in the public sector, to reviews, assessments and quasi—shoestring evaluations when resources are limited in all sectors.

Guided by a kind of Hippocratic principle to do the client no harm, within the constraints of resources we strive to consult the full range of evidence—from administrative data and documentation to stakeholder assessments, expert opinion, and the experiences of organizations comparable to the client.

We are freer to speak about evaluations and assessments done in the public sector because businesses and not-for-profits do not always want their strategic thinking to fully available to competitors. Our largest public sector study was a million dollar review and consultation on democratic institutions. Perhaps our most impactful project was a Parliament-mandated review of the Canadian Grain Commission and Canada Grains Act. Our main recommendations were adopted unanimously by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Agriculture and Agri-Food.

We have undertaken or contributed to evaluations and assessments for many clients in the fields of health, justice and policing, media, not-for-profits, and financial services.

Program Evaluation—How we're Different

We accept that we are normally less familiar with a given program than the client, and so immerse ourselves in internal and external documentation to catch up. We understand that internal stakeholders are vital for helping us comprehend a program, identifying potential experts and stakeholders as sources of evaluation feedback, and providing advice on the art of the possible with respect to the design and implementation of an evaluation project.

We stand out from the others in our sense of science and adventure. Our sense of science leads us to wanting larger numbers of key informants and experts to achieve the reliability and validity that large samples make possible. Our sense of adventure leads us to wanting more diversity of evidence both with respect to diversity of sources of administrative or performance data and diversity of stakeholder and expert evidence. Because we are a survey research firm, we are able to deliver consultations with many stakeholders and third party experts to a high standard of quality at an economical cost.

Our sense of adventure leads us to wanting comparisons with other governments, corporations, or organizations. We have a track record of getting comparative information—nationally and cross-nationally—efficiently and quickly.

Our sense of adventure also leads us to explore novel ways of transforming conflicting feedback and evidence into recommendations that beget harmony and integration in the subsequent reactions of stakeholders. Our review of the Canadian Grain Commission and Canada Grains Act is an example of that.

The courts and tribunals of Canada acknowledge our skills in research and evaluation, leading to our being asked to testify in many cities in central Canada as well as in NWT.

Public Policy—What We Do

COMPAS does the full range of policy studies:
  • Assessing stakeholder and public opinion as well as testing messages and messengers, typically for government and for private and not-for-profit sector organizations with a stake in what government does;
  • Media studies for editorial use—our website is a large repository of such studies though the media have declining resources to commission such work;
  • Public opinion studies for advocacy;
  • Public opinion, expert, and audience studies for regulatory purposes, for example for CRTC or drug approvals.

Public Policy—How We're Different
We are different partly in our strong understanding of the psychology of respondents and partly in our commitment to understanding public policy and its full range of options as carefully as we can. These two skill sets have led us to a wide range of unexpected results, for example
  • Dramatically higher enthusiasm among experts for a pharmaceutical firm's drug than all its previous evidence had suggested; and
  • Identifying the personal tax rate at which taxpayers begin to think of cheating or working less.