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Date and time: Wednesday 1st May 2019 12:30 - 1.30pm
Topic: Reflections on system-level evaluation
Presenter: Sarah Stamp, Principal Advisor QLD Family and Child Commission (QFCC)
Venue: Community room at the Brisbane Square Library, 266 George St, Brisbane
Register online by: 26 April 2019

This is a free seminar organised by the QLD Regional Network Committee of the AES. Our monthly seminar series provides an opportunity for you to meet with AES members and others in Queensland and to share and learn from the experiences of fellow evaluators. Members are encouraged to bring along colleagues with an interest in the topic even if they are not yet members of the AES. Please forward onto your networks.

Seminar overview

Most evaluation theory and practice is positioned at the program, project or policy level. Few evaluations assess systemic performance, outcomes and impact. While there are similarities between evaluating a program and evaluating a system, there are considerable differences that require the evaluator to draw upon different conceptual and theoretical frameworks. The evaluator must persistently and vigilantly lift analyses to a system level, which can be difficult when one is used to thinking at a program or project level.

System level evaluations are potentially more challenging than traditional evaluation approaches due to the expanded scope of the evaluand. Programs are smaller in scale and scope than the systems in which they operate. Systems, on the other hand, not only encompass broad suites of programming, they also have multiple subsystems interacting within their boundaries. For this reason, systems thinking can be a useful guide for evaluators in conceptualising, designing and implementing system level evaluations.

Given the QFCC’s systemic evaluation function, this seminar will reflect upon the strengths—and the challenges—of conducting evaluations at a system level. This session will explore the core differences in evaluating discrete evaluands (like programs) and evaluating complex, adaptive systems. Sarah will share insights on how to think systemically when designing and implementing an evaluation of this nature. 

Presenters background

Sarah Stamp is a Principal Advisor with the Evaluation team of the Queensland Family and Child Commission (QFCC). The QFCC, as an independent statutory authority operating in the child and family support system, has a legislative function to evaluate, at a systemic level, policies and practices relevant to the child protection system. The QFCC also has a capacity building function, assisting relevant agencies to evaluate the efficacy of their programs and identify the most effective service models. Sarah brings diverse evaluation experience to bear in performing this role and maintaining a systems perspective.


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