Evaluation management

The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) follows an evaluation management procedure to steer the evaluation process and for quality assurance purposes. Evaluation management is broken down into several steps.

The Evaluation and Controlling (E&C) Section is responsible for steering the process and ensuring the quality of independent thematic and institutional evaluations commissioned by the SDC's senior management. The evaluations themselves are carried out by external experts.

SDC staff at head office and project managers in the field also commission around 100 project or programme-specific evaluations every year.

Evaluation procedure

The SDC's evaluation management procedure is broken down into a number of different stages, depending on the type of evaluation and areas of responsibility.  

  1. Establish the aim of the evaluation
    The first stage establishes the objective benefit of the evaluation for specific further action. An evaluation must draw on the impact hypotheses of an existing programme logic and provide objective evidence of the impact of a programme.

  2. Establish the terms of reference
    This stage establishes the purpose, scope and specific questions to be answered by the evaluation. Terms of reference (ToR) which include the methodology are drafted to this effect for the evaluation panel. The ToR also indicates a reference group of experts on the topic in question within the SDC so as to ensure ownership and acceptance of the evaluation results.

  3. Select the evaluation panel
    An evaluation panel is selected via an international invitation procedure that complies with the public procurement guidelines for external teams of consultants. The terms of the evaluation mandate must be set out in full in the contract.

  4. Ensure sound methodology and monitor quality
    The SDC's evaluation principles must be observed throughout the process. The competent programme officer or evaluation manager monitors the work of the evaluation panel and ensures that it complies with the terms of reference, remains impartial and meets the evaluation standards. They check the quality and fitness for purpose of the final reports.

  5. Report findings and issue recommendations
    The findings are discussed and validated with experts and the reference group. The final evaluation report must respond to the key questions established by the ToR, and explain the method and the findings. The report must also discuss any challenges and shortcomings in the evaluation procedure, and formulate conclusions and recommendations for future action.

  6. Formal management response and determine course of action
    The commissioning unit issues its position which acknowledges the value of the evaluation's findings and recommendations and formulates a strategic course of action outlining measures to be taken and allocating responsibilities. The evaluation report and management response undergo an internal review and are then published in the Federal Administration's external studies database. The course of action set out in the management response is then implemented by the relevant operational units.