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The Comprehensive Sustainability Assessment Tool (CSAP)

Transforming the way Government makes decisions;
The Comprehensive Sustainability Assessment Tool (CSAP)

We make decisions everyday and whether big or small, we examine the likely consequences of our decisions and weigh options to determine which decision brings greatest benefit. Whether we are making a choice about what to wear or who to marry, our decisions must take into consideration a variety of factors.

In the same way, the decisions made by the government MUST be of benefit to the majority and therefore has to be informed by a cross–section of considerations. The formulation of government policy must be based on the *needs of the people it will affect. These visions and needs translate into policy, policy into programmes and programmes into results that should matter to people and meet the needs of the country. The GOJ places high emphasis on policy formulation that is strategic and well thought through in order to ensure that they adequately take into consideration factors which come into play in an ever changing global environment. New issues are emerging daily in health (HIV/AIDS, SARS, Avian Flu), security (terrorism, drug trafficking, transnational organized crime), movement of people (refugees and human trafficking), in science, technology and ethics, the environment and trade and economics, which require Jamaican policy-makers to monitor closely developments at the regional, hemispheric and international levels.

A central part of the Public Sector Modernization Programme and strategy is revising the way public policy is made by putting in systems and measures which ensure the outcomes of policy decisions not only meet the needs of the people but are also based on evidence and is sustainable. Therefore, a proposed decision must consider a range of social, economic and environmental factors and how these will affect the needs of present and future generations.

The Comprehensive Sustainability Assessment Tool (CSAP) provides a systematic way to examine and measure these factors and a cross-section of other considerations in order to determine as precisely as possible the value of a proposed policy decision.

What is the Comprehensive Sustainability Assessment Policy (CSAP) tool?

The GOJ, through the Public Sector Modernization Division has developed the Comprehensive Sustainability Assessment Policy (CSAP) Tool to improve the way public policies consider the needs of the public. It is being designed to support the policy making process by identifying the most critical considerations that should be taken into account in the formulation of government policies, programmes and projects. In other words, the tool gives a practical guide which can be used to determine the relevance and sustainability of a policy decision by considering the potential effects on the environment, economy and social progress in general.

What does the CSAP aim to do?

  • Assemble evidence in a systematic way in order to provide a summary of the likely impacts of an intervention and the likely scale of these impacts. This will support transparency in decision making.
  • Raise questions which policy advisors need to address in making policy prescriptions that are responsive, relevant and consistent with national development goals and relevant to existing and emerging global conditions.
  • Establish a standard for ensuring comprehensiveness and consistency in the quality of public policies across ministries; and
  • Support ministries in assessing the sustainability of a proposed policy option prior to approval and implementation.
  • Aid technical personnel within government ministries and agencies in providing policy makers (Cabinet Ministers) with options that have been fully investigated and appraised. Technical personnel are expected to provide sound and objective advice which should be used to assess the extent to which policies are feasible and will contribute to the government’s objectives towards sustainable development.
  • Encourage participation among Jamaicans in the development and design of policy. This is in keeping with the government’s stated committed to openness in communication between government and the wider society, transparency and “effective accountable governance” (Jamaica 2015).

How will I benefit?

Whether you boy, girl, man, woman, elderly, person with disability, business man, student, teacher, or policeman, CSAP provides a real and practical way for your views and interests to be represented. It also means therefore that, you the citizen can hold the government more accountable for the decisions it makes by assessing how well those decisions take into consideration the interests of the majority.

How does the CSAP Tool work?

The CSAP outlines a set of questions that covers all aspects of sustainable development (economic, social and socio-cultural, environmental, and governance) against which policies, programmes and projects are measured. It also provides a way of identifying the different groups of people which the proposed intervention will affect e.g.youths, the elderly, persons in poverty, women and men and an analysis of the risks involved.

The process is set out in a tabular form which allows for the various areas/factors under consideration to be worked out methodically and a score for each section generated in order to use empirical evidence to weigh the benefit of the proposed policy.

How was the CSAP developed?

Development of the CSAP tool involved rigorous consultation with a cross-section of communities and groupsin order to generate a comprehensive capture of a range of interests.Consultations were carried out island wide with groupings such as the youth,community groups, non-governmental organizations, judges. The tool was then tested using the National Transport Policy and the Sexual Harassment Policy and further refined.

How has the CSAP Tool been used?

The Tool has been applied and tested on the Sexual Harassment Policy and the National Transport Policy.

Will it be utilized in all ministries, agencies and Departments? When?

*It is now being used in various ministries, departments and agencies and will be incorporated across government following Cabinet’s approval. A Cabinet Submission is to be made by the middle of this financial year.

View Modernization Publication