Project Outcomes

Impact of Eval4 on the Wider Policy/ Practice Environment

Impact of the project overall on the wider policy and practice environments can be seen as taking place through three main channels:

Firstly, the extent to which testing exposed a range of stakeholders to new ideas and methods, the process itself leading to some taking up, acting on and disseminating these ideas and methods.

Secondly, the extent to which the overall project approach (of involving practitioners at all transnational events) has contributed to the ideas and methods being taken on board; and

Thirdly, the extent to which the EVAL 4 Network itself (and specifically interaction amongst partners) has spread ideas, led to new and improved evaluation approaches.

Impact Arising from Testing:

While it is true to say that many potential knock-on effects from testing are unlikely to become evident for some time, it is equally important to note the developments that have already taken place. Amongst the most important of these are:

- The mainstream use of the Ludovaluate Game as a teaching tool in four Third Level Education Institutes (in two Austrian Universities, in the University of Krakow, and in the New University of Bulgaria).

- The adoption of SPEAK and the framework for evaluation by the Sligo Institute of Technology (Third Level Adult Education Course on Advocacy).

- The decision of the Learning Region of Bodensee (Germany) to pursue the use of both SPEAK and MENTOR (a follow-up visit involving two EVAL 4 Partners has already taken place).

Impact Arising from Project Approach to Stakeholder Involvement:

Because of the planned approach to the active involvement of key policy stakeholders at all stages of the EVAL4 project, it transpired that:

- The involvement of Irish Government Minister Frank Fahey in the first transnational meeting meant that West Training (P8) became subsequently involved in discussions with other government departments re the implementation of evaluation approaches in other government programmes (most notably and recently re educational and development programmes to address the use of drugs in communities.)

- The involvement of both Mayor and Head of Third Level College in the Greek meeting led directly to the incorporation of SPEAK into a Socarates-supported project addressing quality control in education and training (led by IDEC)

- The involvement of senior civil servants at the Krakow meeting led directly to a meeting being arranged with the (now-former) Deputy Prime Minister of Poland. Discussions here opened the way for further discussion on the employment of best practice in evaluation of ESF spending in Poland.

Interaction and Purposeful Networking amongst EVAL4 Partners led directly to:

- A presentation of SPEAK and MENTOR to Senior Officials in the Welsh Parliament.

- A visit to Ontario, Canada, by the lead EVAL4 partner on the request of two agencies there seeking more information and the opportunity to explore applications of SPEAK in their own programmes.

- A specially convened meeting on Warsaw of senior programme managers in charge of ESF fund evaluation to which two EVAL 4 partners were invited to discuss the implementation of SPEAK and possibly other tools. The delegation from Ireland included a senior Irish Government Official.

Irish delegation to Polish Ministry, including the director of the Family Support Agency in Ireland

Eval4 Project Promoter from Nexus, with Polish colleagues
having made presentation to Polish Ministry of Social Affairs regarding Speak.

Innovation in Evaluation in Practice

It is clear that all these developments (and more that possibly have not become obvious yet) will have implications for many years to come.

It is also clear that the achievement of this kind of impact (reaching actual practice and beyond academic theory) has been possible only because there was an attempt to involve stakeholders as the project progressed. It is extremely doubtful if this kind of proactive involvement (linking theory to practice) could have been achieved through reliance on more traditional methods of dissemination.