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WHO policy and plan evaluation checklists

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Once a policy/draft policy or plan have been drawn up in a country, it is important to conduct an assessment of whether certain processes have been followed that are likely to lead to the success of the policy and/or plan, and whether various content issues have been addressed and appropriate actions included in the policy and/or plan. These checklists are intended to assist with this evaluation.

While the checklist is limited in that it does not enable assessment of the QUALITY of the processes or contents of the policy, evaluators are encouraged, when completing the checklist, to consider the ADEQUACY of both the process and content. Particularly where a response is “no” or “to some extent”, it is suggested that they provide either an action plan to remedy the situation or a comment (in some instances the comment may, for example, merely be that a particular action is covered in a different policy, or that it is not possible to implement given the current resources available). The different modules in the 'WHO Mental Health Policy and Service Guidance Package' can be consulted for more guidance on how to address relevant sections and for a better understanding of the policy issues mentioned in the checklist.

These checklists may usefully be completed by those who drafted the policy and/or the plan, and/or by employees in the government itself. However, it is also important to have independent reviewers. Those involved in drawing up the policy and/or plan may have personal or political interests or may be “too close” to the document to see anomalies or provide critical input. Ideally, therefore, an independent multidisciplinary team should be convened to conduct an evaluation. A team is also advantageous as no single person is likely to have all the relevant information required, and debate is crucial for arriving at an optimal policy and/or plan for the country. Furthermore, when relevant interest groups have been involved in the process of the development of the policy and/or in their evaluation, which leads to changes being made to the policy, it is likely that they will be more effectively implemented. It would be useful to include consumer organizations, family organizations, service providers, professional organizations and NGOs, as well as representatives of other government departments affected by the policy and/or plan.

Finally, although the checklist should be “scored” in terms of the mental health policy and/or plan document, it is important to have, or be familiar with, other relevant and related documentation. Often items are not covered because they are comprehensively covered elsewhere. For example, policies on health information systems or human resources may include mental health and are therefore deliberately not repeated in the mental health policy. This explanation should then be noted in the relevant section.

WHO mental health policy checklist [pdf 80kb]

WHO mental health plan checklist [pdf 137kb]


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