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Complexity Evaluation Framework - LM04107

The primary purpose of this framework is to equip Defra commissioners of evaluation (which may include analysts and policy makers), with a checklist of core considerations to ensure that evaluations are robust and sufficiently consider the implications of complexity theory. The framework is intended to increase the use and usability of evaluation for both commissioned and internally-led evaluation across the department. The final output is intended to be an actionable complexity evaluation framework, accompanied by a supporting evidence report to be used as a resource in commissioning evaluation.
1. To develop a Complexity Evaluation Framework which identifies considerations which commissioners of evaluation should take into account when designing, commissioning, and delivering evaluation in complex contexts. The complexity evaluation framework will be a 1 to 2 page summary of key considerations for evaluations divided into thematic areas and will provide commissioners of evaluation with:
a. Specific, actionable considerations around complexity within environmental, food, farming and rural policy implementation (e.g. how the implementation of a new environmental programme may lead to feedback and subsequent rapid changes in a system);
b. Considerations which can be built into rapid data collection methods, to allow for evaluation data to aid policy implementation;
c. Key questions to be answered by evaluation, based upon the considerations outlined in 1(a) and 1(b) including suggestions for appropriate data collection points, relevant sources of data and data proxies to begin to address these key questions;
d. A common structure to frame learning from evaluation to allow for identification of best practice in policy implementation across environment, food, farming and rural affairs.
2. To produce a supporting evidence report of no more than 30 pages, which will provide commissioners of evaluation utilising the framework with:
a. Further guidance on what can be done to:
i. address the key questions arising from 1(c), and;
ii. deliver the structure described in 1(d);
b. Explanation as to the advantages of, and consequences of not, addressing the aforementioned aspects of complexity thinking;
c. The evidence base for the assertions made including a summary of evidence gathered during the stakeholder interviews and evidence review, (with citations to published literature).
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Complexity Evaluation Framework   (2473k)
• SUM - Summary Report : A3 CEF   (1744k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2018

To: 2019

Cost: £58,304
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Cecan Ltd
Social Research