Evaluations

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How Evaluations are
Done at NRCan
Strategic Evaluation Division
Natural Resources Canada
Purpose

To provide information on how evaluations are planned,
costed and conducted once they are on the five-year
departmental Evaluation Plan.
2
The Cycle for Evaluation Reports
Implementing
Change/Follow Up
DEC Approval
Internet Posting
(2-3 months)
Management
Responses
(1 month)
START
Evaluation
Assessment
(2-3 months)
Terms of
Reference
Large evaluations typically
take 12-18 months to complete.
Some phases may overlap.
Report &
Recommendations
(2-4 months)
Contracting
(3-4 months)
Field Work/
Analysis
(6-8 months)
3
Evaluation Assessment
 Evaluation Assessments are prepared based on:
 program profiles (e.g., objectives; logic models; organization and
governance; expenditures; an assessment performance information);
 the calibration of the evaluation based on risk criteria, as part of overall
5-year Plan
 (i.e., program renewal; materiality; context and need; visibility;
management practices and structure; policy and delivery complexity;
performance measurement; and past evaluation and audit findings);
 the evaluation questions (TBS Policy identifies the generic questions
and these may be supplemented by others identified by Program);
 an initial plan on how to conduct the evaluation (i.e., methods to be used
and levels of effort; contracting strategy; timelines; and estimated costs).
 Evaluation Assessments are developed based on experience and
professional judgement.
4
Scope/Costing Considerations

Based on evaluation assessment, the scope and costing are developed,
taking into account:
 TBS policy’s minimum standards and required "multiple lines of evidence"
(e.g., documents; interviews; administrative data; survey results; case
studies; focus groups).
 SED’s internal risk assessment based on additional methods support quality,
rigour & richness of the evaluation.
 Sufficient level of evidence to be collected to allow conclusions to be
drawn on each program (especially G&C programs).
 There are many risk-factors (previous page) and considerations, e.g.:






number of programs, availability of data, past evaluations;
enough interviewees to ensure the full story;
in-person interviews are always better than over the phone
surveys provide less in-depth information from many people;
case studies provide in-depth knowledge of one project and how projects
contribute to the achievement of program objectives.
Need for contracting
5
Contracting

Contractors may be used as part of the evaluation team, based on:




Value for money (optimal mix of internal and external resources) is determined through:




The availability of internal staff to meet coverage requirements; and
The competitive procurement process designed to achieve the best value for the Crown
Evaluation has a Supply Arrangement with nine evaluation firms* based on a
competitive process to qualify the firm and contractors.



The need for subject matter expertise;
Internal capacity and timing considerations; and
The need for third party (non-NRCan) involvement
Based on the TOR, an RFP is sent to a minimum of 4 firms.
Contracting takes at least 3 months from SOW to signed contract.
Responses to the RFPs, provide suggestions for altering the SOW and what the
company is prepared to do for the available budget.
If a subject matter expert is required, Evaluation will contract directly with the expert to
be part of the team (e.g., nuclear expertise).
* KPMG; Science Metrix; PMN; PRA; Goss Gilroy;TDV Global; Boulton; Baastel; and CPM
6
.
Terms of Reference
 The TOR are derived from the Evaluation Assessment and
scoping/costing analysis.
 TOR must be approved by the Evaluation Committee.
 TOR include:







overview of the entity being evaluated;
evaluation issues and questions,
methods (e.g., interviews; surveys) to be used;
contracting approach (i.e., in house; contracted out; or hybrid);
timelines;
resources required (e.g., estimated contract cost); and
governance (e.g., a working group of program and evaluation
officials).
7
Field Work
 Evaluators work on several projects simultaneously.
 Field work presents many challenges:
 field work requires the input of programs;
 contact information for surveys & interviewees not always readily
available;
 unplanned delays are very difficult for contractors to manage;
 work around seasonal cycles: e.g. interviewees not available during the
summer; contractors and programs are extremely busy prior to March 31.
 Technical reports are usually produced for each method (e.g.,
interviews). All information is analyzed by evaluation question.
 Preliminary findings are presented to programs to confirm findings
and seek any additional information.
8
Report and Recommendations
 Preliminary findings serve to highlight and validate key issues from
collected evidence, and provide basis for the outline for the report.
 Based on the findings, the report is written and the recommendations
are developed.
 The draft report is vetted with the Program and discussions take
place on the recommendations (do they flow from findings; do they
make sense; can they be implemented).
 Report length is influenced by complexity of subject (e.g., one
program or many) and need to present evidence.
 Management responses and action plan are drafted by the program
and ADM approval is sought.
9
Approval & Posting of Reports
 The DEC advises the Deputy Minister (DM) on the report and
management responses action plans. The DM must approve.
 DM-approved reports are provided to TBS and may be examined for
quality during the annual MAF assessment of evaluation.
 The Evaluation Policy requires, complete, approved evaluation
reports along with management responses and action plans to be
posted in both official languages in a timely manner (i.e., 90 days).
 Reports are reviewed by ATIP and Communications.
 If required, Communications and the program prepare media lines.
10
Management Responses & Follow Up
 ADMs are responsible for implementing the action plans for
each recommendation.
 The Evaluation Division follows up with Sectors on the
implementation of action plans and updates DEC.
 DEC decides if the management responses have been
satisfactorily implemented and when the file can be closed.
 The activity/program is re-considered as part of Evaluation Plan
in the following evaluation cycle.
11
What Does Evaluation Add?
 Accountability (posted reports and input into DPRs)
 Strategic input into program decision-making and development
(e.g., assistance in developing logic models and performance
measurement strategies)
 including information for MCs and TB Submissions
 Neutral perspectives and additional data collection methods
 Evidence for internal reviews (Strategic Reviews/SOR etc.)
 Corrective change, starting before the evaluation is over
 Follow up on recommendations
12
Conclusions
 We hope this presentation has provided a better understanding
of how evaluations are planned, costed and conducted.
 Questions? send to [email protected]
13
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