Identify who will be involved in decisions and what their roles will be

It is important to be clear about who will be involved in the various decisions involved in an evaluation, and what their roles will be.

Who might be involved in making decisions?

Consider the possible involvement of:

  • The manager of the intervention
  • An evaluation steering committee
  • A technical advisory group or some individual technical advisors
  • A community consultation committee or key informants from the community

What will be their role in decision making?

The role of each individual or group in relation to specific decisions can be specified as follows:

  • Consulted - Those whose opinions are sought; they are engaged in two-way communication.
  • Recommends - Those who are responsible for putting forward a suitable  answer to the decision.
  • Approves - Those who are authorised to approve an answer to the decision.
  • Informed - Those who are informed after the decision has been made; they are engaged in one-way communication.

How will decisions be made?

Decisions may be made in different ways; one or more of the following processes may be used:

  • Majority decision making - Decisions are made on the basis of the support of the majority of the decision makers; in contentious decisions, it is important to be clear about who is able to vote including whether proxy votes are allowed.
  • Consensus decision making - Decision making processes that aim to find decisions which everyone can accept; in practical terms, that can mean giving all decision makers the right of veto.
  • Hierarchical decision making - Decisions are made on the basis of formal positions of authority.

Product

  • Decision making matrix

It can be useful to summarise decision makers and types of decisions in a matrix which can be referred to when developing and implementing evaluation processes. It is important to ensure that -where relevant decision making structures and processes already exist- these are incorporated.

An example:

  Technical advisory committee Evaluation steering group Program manager Senior management
Focus of evaluation  Consulted Recommends Approves Informed
Selection criteria for evaluator/evaluation team Consulted Recommends Approves Informed
Choosing evaluator/evaluation team Consulted Approves (included in steering group) Informed
Evaluation design Consulted Approves (included in steering group) Informed
Evaluation report Consulted Approves (included in steering group) Informed
Release of report and data Consulted Consulted Recommends Approves

Example

An Evaluation Steering Group was used for ongoing evaluation of a large multi-donor initiative:

The Think Tank Initiative (TTI) is a major program funded jointly by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad).

TTI’s operations are implemented by the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), while strategic decisions are taken by an Executive Committee composed of one senior member from each donor organization and the TTI Program Manager.

TTI Phase II will be independently evaluated throughout the 5 years.  The evaluation is intended to provide timely and actionable feedback to allow for the adaptive management, as well as rigorously documented and validated learning about the program. This balances both accountability and learning purposes.

The evaluation is being commissioned and managed by IDRC, and the evaluators will have a single point of contact at IDRC with whom to interact on all evaluation-related matters. IDRC is managing the evaluation in collaboration with an Evaluation Steering Group composed of delegates from each of the five TTI funding agencies. Steering Group representatives coordinate evaluation inputs from their respective organizations.

The Evaluation Steering Group is responsible for:

  • reviewing and approving work plans;
  • participating in annual evaluation planning meetings;
  • commenting on and approving evaluation deliverables;and,
  • keeping the TTI Executive Committee appraised of development and progress taking place in the TTI Evaluation.

The TTI Executive Committee is responsible for approval of all interim and final reports.

Further information & Resources

Decision making structures:

Decision making processes:

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