Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation Online Workshop: Module One – Complexity and its Challenges for Evaluators

Wednesday 8th September, 10:00 – 16:00, Live Online Training (via Zoom)

Course Details:

This workshop will focus on material presented in the first two chapters of the Supplementary Guide, which describes key features of complex systems and the challenges these present both to policy makers, and to those planning, commissioning and undertaking evaluation of policy interventions.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Be aware of the main properties of complex systems and be able to recognise these in policy-making processes and their own work,
  • Have a shared language for discussing and exploring complexity,
  • Understand the implications of complex systems for policy-making, analysis and evaluation – the importance of context, the limitations in complex settings of ‘traditional’ standardising and controlling approaches and the need for flexibility in managing and delivering evaluations.

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 Martha Bicket and Helen Wilkinson.

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”.

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.

Course Fees:

Tickets for this workshop are £250 per person. However, if you would like to book this course alongside modules two and three, 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)