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Tuesday, September 17 • 11:00am - 12:00pm
The challenges of establishing and growing an internal evaluation unit: Experiences from two large state government departments

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Eleanor Williams (Department of Health and Human Services), Josephine Norman (Department of Health and Human Services)

A number of government departments and agencies across Australia have established new evaluation units of varying sizes and function within the past decade, all with some objective of unboxing evaluation and evidence for use in policy design and implementation.

In Victoria, two large state government departments have made significant commitments to new internal evaluation units with functions that extend beyond traditional capacity building and oversight roles to direct delivery of evaluations and cross-portfolio evidence reviews. The two presenters have played a leading role in the establishment and growth of these units.

While there has been significant research into what constitutes effective and efficient evaluation capacity building activities, less attention has been given to what is required to establish and grow an internal unit.

In this presentation, these two Victorian departments reflect and share practice examples on challenges and successes of developing and maintaining an internal delivery function. The moderator will highlight and contrast experiences including:
  • Determining the unit's value proposition Will key stakeholders get excited about your value proposition and believe in what you are doing?
  • Getting the right people (and the right mix of people). Are new staff skills and competencies needed?
  • Delivering proof of concept early to key stakeholders. How to get your stakeholders confidence and become seen as the 'fuel not the brakes'?
  • Designing fit-for-purpose products: Answering difficult questions - How will you know if the unit's work is independent, quality, and fit-for-purpose?
This presentation aims to advance the national discussion about strategies for pragmatic implementation of increased in-house evaluation based on theory and practice.

The session will feature a strong participatory element where attendees will be invited to share lessons learned, success stories and examples and challenges from their own organisations.

avatar for Florent Gomez

Florent Gomez

Manager, Planning and Evaluation, NSW Department of Customer Service

avatar for Eleanor Williams

Eleanor Williams

Assistant Director, Centre for Evaluation and Research, Department of Health and Human Services Victoria
In my current role as Assistant Director of the Centre for Evaluation and Research at the Department of Health and Human Services, I am working to build an evaluation culture across a large government department of over 12,000 employees. My team and I aim to improve the use of data... Read More →
avatar for Josephine Norman

Josephine Norman

Manager, Centre for Evaluation and Research, DHHS
I’m endlessly optimistic about our profession & the ways in which we can contribute to better outcomes, particularly in my context, for vulnerable Victorians. I’m always interested in finding new ways to give better advice, based on increasingly good evidence. I am fortunate to... Read More →
avatar for Amanda Reeves

Amanda Reeves

A/Manager, Performance and Evaluation Division, Department of Education and Training
Amanda is an experienced evaluation practitioner and policy analyst at the Department of Education Victoria. Amanda has led evaluation projects in a variety of roles in government, the not-for-profit sector and as an external consultant in education, youth mental health and industry... Read More →

Tuesday September 17, 2019 11:00am - 12:00pm AEST