3. Engage the evaluation team

This step will explain how to select the right evaluation team and apply the procurement governance policy.


The timing of engaging the evaluation team will depend on size and complexity of the evaluation. For large and complex evaluations, it may be worth engaging an evaluation team at the development stage to help complete the Evaluation work plan template. For smaller evaluations, the program team may prepare the evaluation work plan and then engage evaluation teams for the evaluations, as required.

The commissioning agency should consider expertise, resourcing and cost when determining engagement timing.

The request for tender (RFT) outlines the purpose of the evaluation, roles and responsibilities of the evaluator and contractual requirements.

It should include:

  • background
  • purpose, objectives and rationale for the evaluation
  • intended uses of the evaluation
  • key evaluation questions
  • methodology
  • roles and responsibilities of evaluators and stakeholders
  • reporting requirements
  • timelines.

Steps for the development of the request for tender:[1]

  1. Clarify who will provide direct input, review and approve the RFT.
  2. Decide whether the evaluation will be conducted internally, externally or by a mixed team of evaluators.
  3. Determine the selection criteria for the external evaluator(s). What will be ‘essential’ and what will be considered ‘desirable’?
  4. Clarify if the evaluation design will be included in the RFT. Select from these two options:
    1. the RFT clearly states the methodology that the evaluator will need to use
    2. the RFT requests the external evaluator to design the evaluation and select the most appropriate methodology. It is important to specify in the RFT the values and principles that need to be upheld.
  5. Draft the RFT
  6. Obtain feedback from relevant stakeholders
  7. Obtain sign-off from senior management

Territory Government procurement framework must be followed when commissioning a program evaluation. A panel contract for commissioning professional services is currently under development including RFT templates appropriate for program evaluation.

[1] BetterEvaluation: Manager's guide to evaluation – 3. Develop the Terms of Reference (ToR)

The selection of the evaluator or evaluation team should be a transparent process.

The expertise required for the evaluation will be dependent on the type of evaluation. Table 18 below lists broad essential evaluator characteristics.

Table 18: Essential evaluator characters or qualities matched to the main purpose of the evaluation[1]
Main purpose of the evaluationEssential evaluator qualities
Accountability: Emphasis on determining the worth or merit of a project/program.
  • Should possess qualitative and quantitative expertise and experience.
  • Independence and credibility is of central importance.
Learning: Emphasis on facilitating project/program improvements.
  • Must be reflective, familiar and comfortable with concepts of adult education and organisational learning, and willing and able to take the role of facilitator.
  • Should possess qualitative and quantitative expertise and experience.
Innovation: Emphasis on facilitating the design of new projects/programs based on what works.
  • Should be a strong leader but also a team player.
  • Should possess good analytical skills.

The Territory Government guide to procurement sourcing provides information on the assessment and negotiation process. The qualities across the team should also include a good mix of:

  • quantitative and qualitative research skills
  • multidisciplinary skills (for example, economic, demographic, environmental, sociological)
  • thematic and contextual knowledge and experience
  • gender and cultural balance
  • language skills.

[1] BetterEvaluation: Manager's guide to evaluation – 2. Scope the evaluation: Determine the evaluator qualities

The contract should clarify:

  • who will perform the evaluation tasks
  • the level of contact and expectations around communication between evaluator and agency
  • specific milestones, deliverables and timeframes
  • agreed total cost
  • who owns the evaluation information and who it will be released to (including data, reports, other publications)
  • legal issues such as amendments to contract or conditions for terminating the contract.

For further Territory Government specific guidance, see the guide to contract management and related documents.

Ensure the evaluation team has clear guidance around evaluation logistics. If logistics are poorly thought out or underfunded, even the best evaluation team will not be successful.

Critical logistical planning may include: negotiation of site visit dates, objectives and on the ground requirements (such as staff availability, access to documents/data etc.); necessary notification of officials or community leaders to ensure access and cooperation/collaboration; requirements for transportation, lodging, food, office space and other facilities; requirements for translators or other specific services (such as security).

The commissioning organisation may take on the logistics for the evaluation fully or partially, regardless of whether internal or external evaluators are used. In either case, a designated evaluation logistician should be identified to ensure everything runs smoothly and to problem-solve where needed.[1]

[1] BetterEvaluation: Manager's guide to evaluation – 7. Manage implementation of the evaluation

Last updated: 14 December 2020

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