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

Online via Zoom, 21 June 2023
Stuart Astill and Alex Penn

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

Wednesday 21st June 2023, 10:00 – 16:00, Live Online Training (via Zoom)

Tutors: Stuart Astill and Alex Penn

CECAN Ltd is pleased to be working with the UK Evaluation Society to deliver this workshop for those working in consultancy, NGOs, Government, academia and other evaluation settings.

The ‘Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation’ workshop series provides you with knowledge and practical advice to allow you to deal with complexity in policy analysis and evaluation.

Complexity is present in many social and natural systems and is an important factor accounting for the success or failure of policies. Making complexity explicit can result in better policy development and delivery. Ignoring complexity risks policies that are ineffective, fail or behave in unexpected ways.

Comprising three modules, the training is based on the Supplementary Guide to the Government’s new edition of the Magenta Book on evaluation: ‘Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation’, which was developed by CECAN.

We recommend attending all three modules, which have been designed to complement one another, but this is not essential and the workshops can be attended individually.

Course Details:

This first workshop focuses 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 Biographies:

This workshop is led by Stuart Astill and Alex Penn.

Stuart Astill is an international consultant and trainer with over 25 years of experience working at the heart of analytical, strategic, policy and operational thinking in a variety of settings. He works with public officials, private-sector, third-sector and academic experts, elected representatives and ministers. He has a breadth of experience identifying and tackling emerging high-profile issues and establishing innovative projects having worked with, or within, international governments/NGOs, the World Bank, the UN, UK government and the European Commission. He carried out doctoral and post-doctoral research, as well as teaching, at the LSE, Sciences-Po (IEP, Paris) and Sheffield University as well as being part of the CECAN founding team.

Alex Penn is a complexity scientist working on combining participatory methodologies and mathematical models to create tools for stakeholders to understand and “steer” their complex human ecosystems. As a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Surrey, and a principal member of the CECAN research group, she has contributed to the creation of novel, cutting-edge methods for evaluating policy for complex systems. In particular, Alex has developed participatory complexity science methodologies for decision makers to explore
interdependencies between social, ecological, economic and political factors in “industrial ecosystems”. She is also a strong inter-disciplinarian, with a track record of working across disciplines, with a broad variety of stakeholders from policy makers to industrialists and with members of the public as a science communicator. Alex 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 available exclusively from the UK Evaluation Society (UKES)

  • UKES Student Members £285 + VAT
  • UKES Members £310 + VAT
  • UKES Non-Members £335 + VAT

The workshop is not recorded.

How to Book:

Reserve your place by registering via the UK Evaluation Society website. If you have any questions, please email: hello@evaluation.org.uk

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