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Adaptive and Developmental Evaluation: Essential Principles and Practice

Online via Zoom, 27 Jun 2024
Georgie Parry-Crooke and Helen Wilkinson

Handling Complexity: Adaptive and Developmental Evaluation – Essential Principles and Practice

Thursday 27th June 2024, 10:00 – 16:00, Live Online Training (via Zoom)

Tutors: Georgie Parry-Crooke and Helen Wilkinson


CECAN Ltd is delighted to introduce this brand new training opportunity! Building on our popular ‘Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation’ series, which is designed to provide you with knowledge and practical advice that allows you to deal with complexity in policy analysis and evaluation.

This new workshop offers an opportunity to reflect on how evaluation can be adaptive and developmental using systems exploration, theory-based assessments of change processes and iterative designs while maintaining a robust and rigorous approach to evidence gathering and sense making in complexity. Many evaluators as well as evaluation managers and commissioners find themselves confronted by complex issues in changing contexts where no one model, approach or set of methods will help them extract the most and the best from a project whether focused on innovation or impact. Embedding flexibility and being agile at any and all turns is becoming an essential element in effective evaluation.

This workshop has been designed to complement the three existing modules in the ‘Handling Complexity’ series but it is not essential to have attended any previous modules and the workshop can be attended individually.

Course Details:

In the context of the challenges complexity presents to carrying out, managing and commissioning policy evaluation, this workshop focuses on how and when taking an adaptive and developmental approach will lead to a better process and a more useful outcome. There is growing recognition that many of today’s problems are playing out in a world of constant change and deep uncertainty, and that evaluation needs to respond and adapt to this, to enable the developmental in policies and programmes to unfold.

Based on a set of essential principles with building trust at the core of this kind of evaluation, the workshop sets out to:

  • introduce participants to the main principles and practice of adaptive and developmental evaluation in the complex environments evaluators and policy makers face today; and
  • explore their applicability to the evaluation activities they are involved in, commission and oversee.


Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • understand how and why these approaches are becoming increasingly important;
  • decide when an adaptive/developmental evaluation would be an appropriate choice;
  • commission, manage and use an adaptive/developmental evaluation to address the challenges complexity presents; and
  • review and quality assure proposals for, or findings and reports generated by, an adaptive/developmental evaluation carried out in a complex environment.


Intended Audience:

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

Note that this workshop is limited to a maximum 16 delegates and places will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

Tutor Biographies:

This workshop is led by Georgie Parry-Crooke and Helen Wilkinson.

Georgie Parry-Crooke is an independent, experienced facilitator, trainer and evaluator, and Professor Emerita at London Metropolitan University where she developed and delivered an MSc in evaluation. Her experience includes project and programme evaluations of social care, health and in particular, mental health services. In 2016, Georgie left the university to join the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations where she carried out evaluation and training before becoming an independent consultant in 2022. In 2019, she led the Tavistock Institute’s team delivering evaluation capacity building for the British Council across five geographical regions and also with IpsosMORI, Department for Transport and Department for International Trade 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 is a co-author of the CECAN Supplementary Guide in HM Treasury’s 2020 Magenta Book “Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation” and of Defra’s Complexity Evaluation Framework.

Course Fees:

Tickets for this workshop are available on an Early Bird Rate until 19th April 2024, as follows:

  • Government / commercial: £300 per person (or £375 if booked after 19/4/24)
  • Staff at academic / charitable institutions: £275 per person (or £325 if booked after 19/4/24)
  • Students (including Postgraduate Researchers): £250 per person (or £285 if booked after 19/4/24)

All prices are exclusive of VAT where applicable.

** NEW ** The CECAN research centre has funding for a limited number of bursaries to support Early Career Researchers and Postgraduate Researchers working across the social and natural sciences to further develop their skills in policy evaluation methods from a complex systems perspective – more information here.

How to Book:

Reserve your place by registering and paying via our Eventbrite page.

If you have any questions, please contact CECAN by emailing training@cecan.co.uk


CECAN Ltd is the commercial arm of the ESRC funded Centre for Evaluating Complexity across the Nexus (CECAN). It offers access to innovative policy evaluation approaches and methods to support decision makers.


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