Year of Publication
Martin School of Public Policy and Administration
Kentucky’s Department for Environmental Protection’s Division of Compliance Assistance has the Environmental Compliance Assistance Program (CAP). CAP is a relatively new program that has had little to no evaluation and measurement. However, with limited state resources to be distributed to departments, it is imperative that programs be able to justify their existence. Due to this fact, I chose to evaluate the CAP for my capstone project.
Because inadequate data on outcomes is available at this time, I was unable to conduct a traditional summative evaluation or include any statistical analysis. Instead I chose to conduct a formative, or process, evaluation that would allow me to utilize the mostly qualitative data available for the program.
The majority of this qualitative data is derived from internal program documents, a very small survey the program conducted twice in 2007, a logic model developed by program staff, comparison with benchmark states, and communication with relevant professionals. The major research questions to be answered include:
- What outputs have been produced by the program?
- How does Kentucky compare to its surrounding states?
- Do relevant professionals view the program as a success?
- Is the program being implemented as it was intended?
- Is this program being managed in a manner likely to lead to success?
- What changes need to be made to improve the program’s operations?
In general, I have found that the program has done a good job attempting to implement the program as it was intended. However, the program appears to have fallen short of reaching its target population and achieving its mission and vision. Therefore I have suggested several improvements in order to manage this program more successfully. These improvements include:
- Give equal attention to program action items.
- Invite more entities who have received assistance to take the program survey and work to increase the response rate.
- Simplify the program’s logic model.
- Set quantitative goals for the program to achieve each year.
- Focus on fine tuning a small number of services offered by the program.
- Diversify staff expertise.
- Provision of more educational opportunities and compliance tools for regulated entities.
- Improve communication between CAP and the Department for Environmental Protection.
- Continue documenting activities, outputs, and outcomes in order to conduct a summative evaluation in the future.
- Finally, after the previous improvements have been made, staff should secure additional funding sources in order to add staff and resources to reach more regulated entities.
Wathen, Bonnie, "A Formative Evaluation of Kentucky’s Environmental Compliance Assistance Program" (2008). MPA/MPP/MPFM Capstone Projects. 164.