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Development evaluation

Aid evaluation

Evaluations play an important role within the aid performance framework to support a high quality aid program. They support:

  • Management – presenting evidence and analysis to guide decisions about new and existing investments, AIPs and aid policies.
  • Accountability – demonstrating the effectiveness of the aid program to stakeholders, including the Australian public, the Australian Parliament, partner governments, implementing partners and the communities DFAT works with.
  • Learning – contributing to the body of knowledge about what does or does not work in a particular context and why.

Evaluations also assist the Department to meet its accountability obligations under the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013, which requires DFAT to assess and report on its financial and non-financial performance.

Evaluation reports – Investment-level evaluations

Investment-level evaluations are initiated and managed by program areas, such as country and sector programs. Programs have flexibility to determine the highest priority issues their evaluations should focus on.

Evaluation reports – Strategic evaluations

Strategic evaluations were independently initiated evaluations managed by the former Office of Development Effectiveness. They were broad assessments of Australian aid that focus on policy directions or specific development themes. They typically examined a number of investments, often across multiple countries, regions or sectors.

The Aid Evaluation Policy

The aid evaluation policy describes the aid evaluation processes followed by DFAT. This includes responsibility for undertaking evaluations, how they are to be undertaken, and the systems in place to support quality and use.

The Annual Aid Evaluation Plan

Each year DFAT publishes an Annual Aid Evaluation Plan. The Policy emphasises that investment evaluations should be commissioned and conducted to maximise the use of evaluation findings and recommendations to improve the effectiveness of the aid program.

Evaluation resources

The DFAT Monitoring and Evaluation Standards

The DFAT Monitoring and Evaluation Standards outline how to articulate consistent requirements to evaluation practitioners and how to assess whether evaluation products meet a reasonable standard of quality.

Good practice note: Managing an evaluation

This good practice research and evaluation technical note draws on a range of source material and practical experience. It aligns with DFAT's own Monitoring and Evaluation Standards and provides detailed guidance to help evaluation managers produce high-quality evaluation terms of reference and manage an evaluation process effectively.

Good practice evaluation examples

Examples of good practice evaluation products (terms of reference, evaluation plans, and evaluation reports) have been compiled for use by aid managers and evaluators.

Useful evaluation links

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