The evaluation work plan outlines future evaluation activity for the program, usually over a five-year period. It forms the basis of the request for tender (see section 3.2: Prepare the request for tender) to commission an external evaluation or to clarify requirements for an internal evaluation.
The work plan details roles and responsibilities, the evaluation methodology (including the program logic, the evaluation questions, evaluation types and data matrix) explains whether the evaluation will be external or internal, the budget and resourcing available, stakeholder communications, ethical considerations, evaluation risks and review. Where appropriate, key stakeholders should be included in these discussions. Specific methodologies for each of the evaluations in the evaluation work plan may need to be refined prior to the commencement of each evaluation.
The work plan also takes into account the strategic importance of the program and the expected level of resourcing for evaluation.
2.1.1. Who should develop the evaluation work plan?
The evaluation work plan is usually completed by the program manager with input from the agency’s evaluation unit and/or DTF. For large and complex evaluations, it may be worth engaging an evaluation team at the development stage to help complete the evaluation work plan (see section 2.5.3: External or internal evaluation and section 3.1: When to engage the evaluation team).
While a program team may be able to develop designs for smaller scale evaluations, evaluation expertise may be required for more complex evaluations. Specialist expertise might be needed to:
- gather data about hard-to-measure outcomes or from hard-to-reach populations
- develop an evaluation design that adequately addresses causal attribution in outcome and/or impact evaluations
- advise on the feasibility of applying particular designs within the context of a program
- identify specific ethical and cultural issues.
If the program manager decides to use an external provider to develop the evaluation work plan, they should commission the design of the evaluation as a separate project as soon as the program is approved to proceed. This would be based on the evaluation overview in the Cabinet submission and would be used to complete the evaluation work plan. Subsequent requests for tender for each evaluation would draw on this work.
Last updated: 14 December 2020
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