Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation Online Workshop: Module Two – Commissioning and Managing a Complex Evaluation

Tuesday 14th September, 10:00 – 16:00, Live Online Training (via Zoom)

Course Details:

This workshop will focus on material presented in chapter three of Supplementary Guide to explore the particular challenges complexity presents to the management and commissioning of a policy evaluation.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Understand what it means to manage in complexity and how this applies to commissioning and managing a complex evaluation.
  • Have a shared framework for commissioning and managing complex evaluations.
  • Be able to specify the project/programme complexity to contractors, clarify what is expected from them.
  • Understand how the contracting relationship can accommodate the complex nature of the evaluation (e.g. non- linear, adaptive and dealing with the unexpected).

Intended Audience:

These workshops are designed to support policy makers, analysts and evaluators at all levels facing complexity challenges in their current work.

Tutor Biography:

This workshop is led by Richard AllenGeorgie Parry-CrookeHelen Wilkinson and Martha Bicket.

Richard Allen is Principal Researcher and Consultant at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR). He has worked for more than thirty years in the not for profit/NGO and public sectors in a range of roles that include senior management, consultancy, evaluation, project management, quality management and grants management.  He has expertise in the evaluation, and programme management, of multi-site complex programmes in the ‘not for profit’/NGO sector. This includes:  the real time theory-based realist evaluation of UK government’s (BEIS) heat network investment project, in partnership with Risk Solutions; ; evaluation of the joint DoH, DWP, PHE Children of Alcohol Dependent Parents Innovation Fund being delivered across nine sites in England; the evaluation of community-based health care navigation services; community consultation on financial well-being for older people for the Money Advice Services and co-constructing Theories of Change with the Food Standards Agency (Cecan case study) for a major change programme. He has provided Theory of Change Training for the middle management in the British Council.

Richard has researched (MPhil) the use of Theory of Change for the design, planning and implementation of programmes in complex settings. He also has degrees in Law, Criminology, Organisational Psychology and Research Methods.  Richard is a graduate of the TIHR’s coaching programme.

Georgie Parry-Crooke joined TIHR in 2016 following three decades as a social research and evaluation practitioner. She is Professor Emerita at London Metropolitan University where she developed and delivered an MSc in evaluation. Georgie’s experience includes multiple project and programme evaluations of social care, health and in particular, mental health services. From 2012 to 2017, Georgie co-developed and was then co-Director of Project Oracle, funded by the GLA, MOPAC and the ESRC. Project Oracle was set up to support organisations in the demand and supply of evidence of what works or doesn’t to improve outcomes for children and young people. She was involved in the development of the Standards of Evidence and subsequent working groups on the use and expansion of standards more broadly. In 2017, Georgie became Chair of Inspiring Impact, a multi-partner initiative supported by NPC. Georgie is part of the core team delivering the National Lottery Community Fund’s Women and Girls Initiative and (with IpsosMORI and NPC) the evaluation of The National Lottery Community Fund and DCMS’s Coronavirus Community Support Fund. Her work encompasses group facilitation and the provision of support/supervision to individuals from a variety of organisations and she is an experienced facilitator, trainer and consultant. Georgie has worked with multiple organisations on the development of Theories of Change. In 2019, she lead the Tavistock Institute’s team delivering evaluation capacity building for the British Council and is currently leading with IpsosMORI on a Department of Transport evaluation seminar series.

Helen Wilkinson is a director of Risk Solutions’.  She has over 25 years’ consulting experience delivering assignments supporting policy formulation, development of management systems, and all aspects of evaluation and review. She has worked at senior levels for the UK government, reporting for example directly to ministers in Defra. She leads one of two teams delivering quality assurance of the National Audit Office’s (NAO) value for money (VFM) evaluation reports. Helen, with Martha, is a co-author of the HM Treasury 2020 Magenta Book Supplementary Guide “Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation” and Defra’s complexity evaluation framework.

Martha Bicket is a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Surrey and CECAN. Martha works at the interface of research and policy, working closely with senior policy-makers and analysts across local, national and international levels of government towards the goal of better-informed decision-making and policy. In her work with CECAN, Martha has collaborated with academics, practitioners and UK Government departments and agencies such as the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Food Standards Agency (FSA) to advance policy evaluation that is fit for a complex world. Martha is a co-author of the HM Treasury 2020 Magenta Book Supplementary Guide “Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation”.

Course Fees:

Tickets for this workshop are £250 per person. However, if you would like to book this course alongside the other two modules, a 10% discount will be applied. Those who attend all three workshops will also be able to attend two ‘Complexity Challenge Drop In Surgeries’ free of charge.

How to Book:

Reserve your place by registering and paying via our Online Store. Click here to book this course only, or click here to book all three courses and receive a 10% discount. Payment can be made by credit/debit card or by requesting an invoice.

If you have any questions, please contact CECAN by emailing cecan@surrey.ac.uk



Preparation of the Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation training and support series has been partially supported by the ESRC Impact Acceleration Account (IAA)