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Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation Online Workshop: Module Two – Commissioning and Managing a Complex Evaluation

Online, 9 Mar 2022
Richard Allen and Georgie Parry-Crooke

Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation Online Workshop: Module Two – Commissioning and Managing a Complex Evaluation

Wednesday 9th March 2022, 10:00 – 16:00, Live Online Training (via Zoom)

Tutors: Richard Allen and Georgie Parry-Crooke

Due to popular demand, our ‘Handling Complexity in Policy Evaluation’ workshop series is returning for 2022; providing 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 second workshop of the series will focus on material presented in chapter three of the Supplementary Guide and explores the particular challenges complexity presents to the management and commissioning of evaluation.

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Understand what it means to manage in complexity and how this applies to commissioning and managing a complex evaluation.
  • Have a shared framework for commissioning and managing complex evaluations.
  • Be able to specify the policy/project/programme complexity to contractors and clarify what is expected from them.
  • Understand how the contracting relationship can accommodate the complex nature of the evaluation (e.g. non- linear, adaptive and dealing with the unexpected).

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 Richard Allen and Georgie Parry-Crooke.

Richard Allen is Principal Researcher and Consultant at the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations (TIHR). He has worked for more than thirty years in the not for profit/NGO and public sectors in a range of roles that include senior management, consultancy, evaluation, project management, quality management and grants management. He has expertise in the evaluation, and programme management, of multi-site complex programmes in the ‘not for profit’/NGO sector. This includes: the real time theory-based realist evaluation of UK government’s (BEIS) heat network investment project, in partnership with Risk Solutions; ; evaluation of the joint DoH, DWP, PHE Children of Alcohol Dependent Parents Innovation Fund being delivered across nine sites in England; the evaluation of community-based health care navigation services; community consultation on financial well-being for older people for the Money Advice Services and co-constructing Theories of Change with the Food Standards Agency (Cecan case study) for a major change programme. He has provided Theory of Change Training for the middle management in the British Council.

Richard has researched (MPhil) the use of Theory of Change for the design, planning and implementation of programmes in complex settings. He also has degrees in Law, Criminology, Organisational Psychology and Research Methods. Richard is a graduate of the TIHR’s coaching programme.

Georgie Parry-Crooke joined TIHR in 2016 following three decades as a social research and evaluation practitioner. She is Professor Emerita at London Metropolitan University where she developed and delivered an MSc in evaluation. Georgie’s experience includes multiple project and programme evaluations of social care, health and in particular, mental health services. From 2012 to 2017, Georgie co-developed and was then co-Director of Project Oracle, funded by the GLA, MOPAC and the ESRC. Project Oracle was set up to support organisations in the demand and supply of evidence of what works or doesn’t to improve outcomes for children and young people. She was involved in the development of the Standards of Evidence and subsequent working groups on the use and expansion of standards more broadly. In 2017, Georgie became Chair of Inspiring Impact, a multi-partner initiative supported by NPC.

Georgie is part of the core team delivering The National Lottery Community Fund’s (TNLCF) Women and Girls Initiative and in 2021, (with IpsosMORI and New Philanthropy Capital) delivered the Learning Strand of the evaluation of TNLCF and DCMS Coronavirus Community Support Fund. Her work encompasses group facilitation and the provision of support/supervision to individuals from a variety of organisations and she is an experienced facilitator, trainer and consultant.

In 2019, she led the Tavistock Institute’s team delivering evaluation capacity building for the British Council and also with IpsosMORI, a Department for Transport evaluation seminar series.

Course Fees:

Tickets for this workshop are £250 + VAT per person. However, we are offering a 10% early bird discount for those that book their place by 7 Jan 2022.

How to Book:

Reserve your place by registering and paying via our Eventbrite page. Payment can be made by credit/debit card, Paypal or by requesting an invoice.

If you have any questions, please contact CECAN by emailing admin@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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