National Anti-Drug Strategy Implementation Evaluation, Management Response and Action Plan

Project Title: Implementation Evaluation of the National Anti-Drug Strategy (NADS)

Responsibility Centre: Justice Canada -- Youth Justice, and Strategic Initiatives & Law Reform

Conclusions from Report Recommendations Management
Response
Action Plan Responsible
Manager
(Title)
Planned
Implementation
Date
The evaluation findings suggest a need to clarify the scope of the Strategy to stakeholders both within and external to the federal government. More specifically, there may be some lack of clarity around exactly what substances are considered "illicit drugs" for the purpose of the Strategy and its action plans. While the Strategy RMAF seems to define the Strategy as covering all controlled substances under the CDSA, some stakeholders are clearly operating on the assumption that it covers only street drugs - illicit drugs narrowly defined - and does not cover pharmaceutical drugs controlled by the CDSA. In particular, whether the Strategy covers problematic use of pharmaceuticals, and in what circumstances, is a point that may need to be clarified to Strategy stakeholders. That the DOJ develop, in cooperation with its partners, a communication strategy to clarify and to increase the understanding of the Strategy's focus among government partners and external stakeholders. Accepted. Justice Canada will develop a communications strategy with options for both high profile and low profile opportunities to clarify and increase the understanding of the NADS among external and internal stakeholders. One component could be directed at ensuring that applicants for NADS funding understand what is included in the term "illicit drugs". Actions to implement this recommendation will include:
  • development of a draft communications strategy with a variety of products some aimed at the program funding level;
  • consultations with NADS communications, programs and policy officials;
  • consultations with PCO;
  • seek approval for implementation of the strategy.
General Counsel and Director General, Youth Justice, and Strategic Initiatives & Law Reform

and

Director, Strategic Communications
Seek approval for and direction on the implementation of the communications strategy by March 31, 2010.
While the evaluation did find examples of operational collaboration among Strategy partners, there are other issues where increased collaboration and coordination might produce greater success in meeting the objectives of the action plans.
Consideration should be given to:
  • establishing a working group consisting of program-level representatives to foster collaboration and coordination at the operational level;
  • sharing information among all relevant Strategy partners regarding potential opportunities to collaborate with other departmental initiatives and thereby maximizing the impact of Strategy resources; and
  • developing a Strategy extranet or intranet for information exchange among the partners.
That the DOJ work with its funding partners to establish a Prevention and Treatment program-level working group to encourage more collaboration and effective information-sharing among the funding partners. Accepted. In consultation with Justice Canada, the Health Canada led Prevention and Treatment Action Plans Working Group will review its terms of reference and operation and determine how best to enhance operational collaboration and coordination among program officials administering NADS funding programs. Health Canada will develop an implementation plan and will bring the plan to the Policy and Performance Working Group (PPWG) for consideration. Possible elements of the plan include creation of a new sub-committee of NADS program managers, and a review of existing and potentially promising mechanisms to facilitate knowledge exchange to address the knowledge needs and interests of NADS partners. Director General, Controlled Substances and Tobacco Directorate

and

Senior Director General, Programs Directorate
Develop the plan and bring it to the PPWG for consideration by March 31, 2010.
The evaluation identified a number of challenges in reporting results including: a lack of baseline information; difficulties in isolating outputs and outcomes of Strategy funding; difficulties in establishing a causal link between a department's activities and longer term outcomes; difficulties associated with relying on funded projects to provide performance information; and, the methodological problems associated with trying to measure results given the relatively short time frame of the Strategy and the time needed for changes in behaviour to materialize.

Despite the structures and mechanisms that have been put in place to facilitate performance reporting and evaluation, actual capacity to report on outcomes will be limited by these challenges. Moreover, these challenges will be exacerbated by the delays in implementation affecting many components; a number of programs have already indicated that they will not be in a position to report on outcomes by 2011, when the impact evaluation is scheduled to start. In light of this, it is necessary to consider possible alternative approaches to the impact evaluation beyond those originally planned. Some possibilities include greater than anticipated reliance on qualitative approaches and/or reporting on selected components or outcomes as opposed to all components or outcomes.
That the DOJ develop, in consultation with the Strategy partners, alternative approaches to reporting on outcomes for the impact evaluation. Accepted. As chair of the Sub-committee on Evaluation and Reporting (SER), the DOJ will work with the sub-committee to develop an evaluation plan for the impact evaluation. The Chair of the Sub-committee on Evaluation and Reporting will establish an ad hoc working group to develop a plan. Membership will be drawn from the sub-committee to reflect the varied nature of the programs under the Strategy.

The approach will be presented to the SER and subsequently to the Policy and Performance Working Group (PPWG).
Chair of the Sub-committee on Evaluation and Reporting (Evaluation Manager, Evaluation Division) The evaluation plan will be brought to the PPWG for consideration by March 31, 2010
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