Complexity Evaluation Framework

Client: Defra

Project Team: CECAN Ltd

On the 5th of June 2019, CECAN Ltd presented a first look at the new Complexity Evaluation Framework (Version 1) to an audience of policy-makers, analysts and commissioners in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The framework has been commissioned by Defra and delivered by CECAN Ltd. Written for analysts and policy-makers who are involved in planning, commissioning, managing and/or delivering evaluation, the framework aims to ensure that complexity thinking is consistently embedded into evaluation – to equip its users with a checklist of core considerations to ensure that evaluations are robust and sufficiently consider the implications of complexity.  

The workshop included a discussion with Roisin O’Brien (Principal Social Researcher – Resources and Waste Evidence) and Tom Pye (Senior Policy Advisor – Resources, Waste and Plastics Strategy), hosted by CECAN Deputy Director Ben Shaw.

CECAN Ltd successfully delivered the new Complexity Evaluation Framework (Version 1), which can be accessed and downloaded on the Defra website.


Systems Analysis for Water Resources

Client: Defra

Project Team: CECAN Ltd with Mott MacDonald 

Between October 2019 and September 2020, CECAN Senior Research Fellows Dr Alex Penn and Dr Pete Barbrook-Johnson worked with Mott Macdonald on the ‘Systems Analysis for Water Resources’ project funded by Defra. The project used CECAN’s Participatory Systems Mapping approach to explore how whole systems and complexity-appropriate approaches can be used to provide insight on, and inform management of, river catchments. The project work took place in the Eden river catchment in Cumbria and the Medway in Kent, to develop systems maps of these catchments. These maps were co-produced and used with local stakeholders, and informed wider learning for Defra on how these approaches can work at the catchment level.

”They [Mott Macdonald] have ensured the project team includes experts from CECAN, who are also pivotal to the success of the project. The genuine interest in the project and desire from the Mott MacDonald and CECAN team to push the boundaries of what has been done before has added real value to the project. The creative ideas and suggestions of how to improve the approach as well as the great efforts they go to build excellent relationships with the participants of the research has been very much appreciated.”  Defra