TWG 4 – Professionalization of Evaluation

TWG 4 – Professionalization of Evaluation



Progress is being made by IOCE towards implementation of the third leg of the Global Evaluation Agenda (Professionalization). It now hosts a discussion forum and a document repository. Both can be accessed from the IOCE front web page:: John Gargani, AEA President, has nominated two representatives to work on professionalization under the IOCE umbrella. RelaC and AES plan to participate. Several other individuals have also joined. A webinar meeting of the IOCE professionalization group that includes Riitta Oksanen, EES President, will take place in April-May 2016 to agree on next steps and responsibilities. 

Professionalism evokes expertise, credibility and concern for human welfare[1]. An occupational group cannot aspire to the professional label without public trust earned through ethical safeguards; proven capabilities; occupational self management and credentials. To promote evaluation professionalism and to reach for excellence in evaluation practice this TWG aims to identify and promote collective actions needed within Europe and beyond. The challenge involves accelerating the harmonization of ethical, quality and capability standards, increasing the autonomy and independence of evaluators and helping to ensure that evaluators have the qualifications needed to perform quality work.

The ‘long march’ towards evaluation professionalization in Europe has begun. There is still a long way to go and the EES thematic working group has contributed to progress along this road. TWG members recognize that evaluation has acquired distinctive characteristics as a discipline in its own right. It has developed a well defined body of knowledge, a set of specialized skills and a host of ethical guidelines. It displays trans-disciplinary features that allow it to support all the social sciences through a well stocked tool kit of proven methods and processes. Thankfully doctrinal conflicts that held back cohesive progress in the evaluation community have largely abated and evaluation associations are growing in number and influence.

In line with its mandate the Professionalization TWG has validated an evaluation capabilities framework. It lays out the knowledge, experience and dispositions required to do good evaluation work (EES Surveys). With respect to issues of self regulation and accreditation that are critical ingredients of professional autonomy and independence the Canadian Evaluation Society has implemented a designation process for evaluators (see Martha McGuire’s article in the Connections December 2012 issue.

An evaluator qualification initiative adapted to European circumstances has also been endorsed. Originally put forward by Pam Oliver, former Convenor of the New Zealand evaluation society (ANZEA) and EES member it was validated by the EES membership.  A questionnaire addressed to TWG members elicited broad support for the initiative. The EES board reviewed this positive feedback on July 3 2013 and decided to secure the views of the full membership.

The web-based survey elicited strong support for the scheme and, as follow up, EES (together with UKES) co-sponsored a workshop that took place in London on April 8 2014. The workshop chaired by Ian Davies, former EES President, recommended piloting of the VEPR scheme in the European space and the EES board approved the recommendation on May 10, 2014. It also endorsed broad based dissemination of the complementary Evaluator Capabilities Framework that had previously been validated by two membership surveys.

A working group assembled by EES is in the final stages of designing detailed specifications for the Voluntary Evaluator Peer Review (VEPR) pilot. After validation at a workshop funded by EvalPartners in London (April 2014) the VEPR concept was presented to the 11th EES Biennial Conference held in Dublin in October 2014 . The well attended session concluded that it would be highly desirable to adapt VEPR designs to diverse regional, national and thematic contexts while at the same time encouraging coherence among evaluation societies and associations interested in adopting the VEPR approach (the "Dublin Consensus"). 

Based on the work of this TWG your Society, under the leadership of Riitta Oksanen, has been an active participant in the EvalPartners process that led to the adoption of a Global Evaluation Agenda. The Agenda recognizes the value of the capabilities approach adopted by EES. The approach has a deliberate learning orientation. It focuses on professional development focused on knowledge, practice and dispositions. It is grounded in reflective practice principles and it complies with draft Guiding Principles displayed in the Global Evaluation Agenda document. They stress the importance of (i) voluntariness; (ii) autonomy; (iii) legitimacy; (iv) pluralism; (v) transparency; (vi) equity; and (vii) quality assurance..The next stage in the professionalization journey involves engaging other societies in principled partnerships focused on the adoption of ethical guidelines, capabilities frameworks and voluntary evaluator peer review  processes consistent with the Guiding Principles. Extracts from EvalAgenda 2020 relevant to evaluation professionalization can be found in the last document on the list below.

 For more information please download the attachments below


[1] Robert Picciotto, The logic of evaluation professionalism, Evaluation, 17(2) 165-180, April 2011