RD Comment: The policy document is a draft for consultation at this stage. The document will be revised to accommodate comments received. The aim is to have a finished product by the end of this calendar year. People who are interested to comment should do so directly to Liz Ramage by 16th November.
DRAFT FOR DISCUSSION 24 AUGUST 2012 (Pdf available here)
“This Evaluation Policy sets out the UK Government’s approach to, and standards for, independent evaluation of its Official Development Assistance (ODA).
We are publishing this evaluation policy for Official Development Assistance (ODA) at a time when the UK Government’s (the Government) approach to evaluation of international development programmes is being completely transformed.
This policy covers evaluation of all UK ODA around 87% of which is managed by the Department for International Development (DFID). Major elements of ODA are also delivered through other Government Departments, including the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department of Energy and Climate Change.
The Government is rapidly scaling up its programmes to deliver on international commitments and the Millennium Development Goals. In doing so, the Government has made a pact with the taxpayer that this will be accompanied by greater transparency and commitment to results and measurable impact. Evaluation plays a central part in this undertaking.
In 2011, the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) was established, a radical change in the UK’s architecture and adopting a model which sets new standards for independence with a focus on value for money and results. Reporting directly to Parliament, ICAI sets a new benchmark for independence in scrutiny of development programmes which applies across all UK ODA.
In parallel withICAI’s work, UK Government Departments are placing much greater emphasis on evidence and learning within programmes.
I am excited by the changes we are seeing within DFID on this initiative. We are rapidly moving towards commissioning rigorous impact evaluations within the programmes, with much stronger links into decision making and to our major investments in policy-relevant research.
Not only has the number of specialist staff working on evaluation more than doubled, but these experts are now located within the operational teams where they can make a real improvement to programme design and delivery.
Finally, I want to note that DFID is working closely with Whitehall partners in building approaches to evaluation. This fits well with wider changes across government, including the excellent work by the Cross-Government Evaluation Group including the updateof the Guidance for Evaluation (The Magenta book)”
Mark Lowcock, Permanent Secretary, Department for International Development
1.1 Purpose of the Policy and its Audience.
1.2 Why we need independent and high quality evaluation.
2 A TRANSFORMED APPROACH TO EVALUATION.
2.1 The Government’s commitment to independent evaluation.
2.2 The Independent Commission for Aid Impact
2.3 The international context for development evaluation.
3 WHAT IS EVALUATION?.
3.1 Definition of evaluation.
3.2 Distinctions with other aspects of results management
3.3 Evaluation Types.
4 ENSURING EVALUATIONS ARE HIGH QUALITY.
4.6 How to decide what to evaluate.
5 IMPACT EVALUATION.
5.1 Definitions and quality standards for impact evaluation.
6 USING EVALUATION FINDINGS.
6.1 The importance of communicating and using evaluation findings.
6.3 Learning and using evidence.
7 PARTNERSHIPS FOR EVALUATIONS.
7.1 A more inclusive approach to partnership working.
7.2 A stronger role for developing countries.
7.3 Partnerships with multilaterals, global and regional funds and civil society organisations.
8 DFID’s STRATEGY FOR EMBEDDING EVALUATION.
8.1 A transformed approach to evaluation.
8.2 DFID’s co-ordinated approach to results: where evaluation fits in.
8.3 Mandatory quality processes.
8.4 Ensuring there are no evidence gaps in DFID’s portfolio.
8.5 Building capacity internally: evaluation professional skills and accreditation programme.
8.6 Roles and responsibilities for evaluation.
PS: For comparison, the previous policy document: Building the evidence to reduce poverty The UK’s policy on evaluation for international development. Department for International Development (DFID) June 2009, and the March 2009 draft version (for consultation).