Action learning on assessing organisational capacities: PSO thematic learning programme on OA

This document is the result of an action learning initiative in which six Dutch Development NGOs took part in a Thematic Learning Programme on Organisational Assessments (TLP OA), focused around implementing the the 5C framework in organisational assessment.

The information provided was supplied by Wouter Rijnevald, Resultante.

Authors and their affiliation

Mayke Harding and Petra Staal, and the TLP OA group: Relinde Reiffers, Akke Schuurmans, Sander Schot, Agnes Schaafsma, Matthijs Nederveen, Jos Brand, Leen Stok, Merlijn Kouprie, Marguerithe de Man, Jenny Pearson, Wouter Rijneveld and Arjan Luijer.

Key features

In 2011, the Dutch government made it mandatory for NGOs and trade unions receiving subsidies to use the 5C framework in reporting about capacity and performance of their partners. This led to many efforts to operationalise the framework. This action learning document reports some of these experiences and  was the outcome of an intensive action learning with several organisations in the Netherlands in 2012.

The document consists of three parts:

  • In section one, the report introduces the Thematic Learning Programme on Organisational Assessments (TLP OA) and briefly describes its context and rationale. It provides an overview of the programme, and of the six participating Dutch organisations.
  • Part two of the document shares reflections and learning on each of the six core questions which framed the TLP, with a strong focus on values and practice.
  • Part three of the document consists of 16 separate practice sheets based on the participating organisations’ experiences during the TLP OA.

Each practice sheet elaborates on an OA practice question and details the answers the organisations came to during the TLP. Each practice sheet ends with practical tips and is offered as food for thought to those engaged in OA.

A summary can be seen in this video: 


How have you used or intend on using this resource?

The document reflects many learnings that take place when you engage deeply with organisational assessment and its relation to organisational development. In my work, I often still use the practice sheets to refer to such common lessons. For example the fact that, when using self-assessment, people might rate themselves lower during a second assessment, because once they started working on the issue they realised they still have a long way to go.

I also use this document when I need a quick and readable explanation on the question whether or not to use quantitative scoring. 

Why would you recommend it to other people?

In my evaluation work I still refer to this resource regularly. I would like to draw particular attention to the 16 "practice sheets' (from page 53). I honestly think they are quite good (at least some of them) and capture lessons that many organisations and evaluators experience.


Harding, M., Staal, P., and the TLP OA Group (2012) Action Learning on Assessing Organisational Capacities: PSO thematic learning programme on OA. The Hague, PSO 
Note: The attached PDF document has been shared with the permission of Wouter Rijnevald (July 19, 2016)

'Action learning on assessing organisational capacities: PSO thematic learning programme on OA' is referenced in: