Complexity Evaluation Framework



30th January 2019

CECAN Ltd is pleased to be working with Defra to develop a Complexity Evaluation Framework that will equip Defra commissioners of evaluation with a checklist of core considerations to ensure that policy evaluations sufficiently consider the implications of complexity theory. A long-term CECAN partner, Defra is one of a number of organisations that has collaborated with CECAN Ltd to give further consideration to embedding complexity thinking into evaluation. Defra is seeking to ensure that evaluations adequately account for uncertain contexts, behaviours, intersectionalities and adaptions which may affect implementation of policies across its remit (which includes the environment, food, farming, fishing and rural affairs). The Complexity Evaluation Framework will provide an actionable toolkit for evaluation commissioners to deliver insights. This will lead to evaluations that both demonstrate the impact and value for money of new policies and also enable rapid feedback to allow for adaptive implementation of policy in changing and uncertain contexts.

CECAN Case Study Report: BEIS Energy Trilemma

Energy Trilemma


12th December 2018

We are pleased to announce that CECAN Research Fellows, Pete Barbrook-Johnson and Alex Penn, have published a report presenting a systems mapping project carried out by CECAN with BEIS between June 2017 and December 2018.

There is a large range of central government policies and programmes that have effects on the energy trilemma (i.e. the interplay between sustainability and greenhouse gas emissions, consumer prices, and security of supply). The sheer number of programmes and policies with close interaction and overlap in this area has led to a crowded and complex policy landscape with a range of potentially complementary and conflicting aims.

CECAN Webinar: Developing Microsimulation Models to Generate Evidence to Support Policy Change in Public Health

Abbygail J


On 7th November, Abbygail Jaccard (Deputy Director of Public Health Modelling UK Health Forum) kindly presented a CECAN Webinar on how the UKHF computer generated microsimulation models have been developed to forecast the health and economic impact of different policy scenarios. Changes to Air Quality and the Introduction of a Sugar Sweetener Beverage Tax were used to illustrate the UKHF multi-disciplinary approach to modelling and impacts such as the incidence of chronic diseases and demand for healthcare services. The UKHF have also developed additional tools to provide evidence at local and national level to support policy change in public health.

If you were unable to join the webinar, you can watch/listen to the session via our Youtube channel below. Abbygail has also kindly made her slides available for download here.


CECAN Webinar: The Pluralistic Evaluation Framework for Policy Evaluation

Richard Gunton


On 20th November, Richard Gunton presented a CECAN Webinar on the Pluralistic Evaluation Framework, a high-level approach to policy design, appraisal and evaluation based on a comprehensive theory of valuing. This framework for policy design and evaluation identifies 15 aspects spanning mathematical, ecological, cognitive, communal and ideological themes. Each of these aspects are assessed from the perspective of stakeholders,  systems affected and values. Coastal Realignment Policy and Defra’s 25-Year Plan were used to demonstrate the application of the framework.

If you were unable to join the webinar, you can watch/listen to the session via our YouTube channel below. Richard has also kindly made his slides available for download, along with a Pluralistic Evaluation Framework template,  here.


CECAN Presentation at the Political Evaluation and Evaluation Politics Questions and Research Lines Conference in Berlin

Berlin Conference


CECAN Co-Investigator Ian Christie presented the programme’s aims, projects and achievements to date in a talk at a conference in Berlin on 17th November on the political dimensions of policy evaluation. The event was organised by the University of Bielefeld and the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin’s Social Research Centre. Delegates included Jonas Schönefeld, of UEA and the University of Darmstadt, who spoke at the 2018 CECAN conference in London in the summer. There was considerable interest in CECAN, and we have several good prospects for collaboration to follow up with German colleagues.

The presentation is available to download here.

CECAN Webinar: Evaluation Under Uncertainty - Use of Bayesian Belief Networks

Dr Martin Reynolds


We were delighted to have Stuart Astill and Simon Henderson host a CECAN webinar on 16th October on 'Handling subjective views and bringing rigour to contribution analysis: Bayesian Belief Networks and evaluating likelihoods in action'. The webinar illustrated how influence maps analysed using Bayesian Belief Networks can be used to add rigour to contribution analysis (and other evaluative judgements) in situations where subjective views rather than objective outcome data is the main source of knowledge. They also reviewed how a well-planned approach can structure and aggregate subjective views using influence mapping, Bayesian Belief Networks (BBNs) and conceptions around evaluating likelihoods.

If you were unable to join the webinar, you can watch/listen to the session via our Youtube channel below. Stuart and Simon have also kindly made their slides available for download here.