Inside DFAT’s independent evaluation experiment

When AusAID joined DFAT, it brought one of the federal government’s most successful evaluation teams with it and its only independent evaluation committee. Now the department is considering what other areas beyond foreign aid could do with evaluation.

The key to a successful evaluation unit is the right balance between accountability and learning, according to the bureaucrat who keeps an eye on the performance of Australia’s foreign aid program.

Dereck Rooken-Smith

Dereck Rooken-Smith

Setting up a panel of independent evaluation experts as advisors isn’t a bad idea either, according to Dereck Rooken-Smith, an assistant secretary with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who heads up the Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE).

Unique in the federal bureaucracy, ODE runs all its evaluation and performance assessment work past an Independent Evaluation Committee, which has played a highly beneficial role over the past three years.

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