December brings many gifts – one of these is the new Commonwealth Evaluation Policy and Toolkit, which provides a range of useful information and resources to inform evaluation planning, conduct and use across Commonwealth agencies. The gift wrapping is that they are also user-friendly.
These new guidance materials provide a principles-based approach that recognises the diversity of policies and programs delivered across the Australian Public Service and the need to flexibly apply evaluation approaches and methods, so they are fit for purpose in varying contexts.
We understand evaluation works best when it’s not a technical exercise off to the side but one that usefully supports practice from design through delivery. For this reason we always try to grow evaluative thinking practice and capabilities through the approach we take in our work with clients.
“Evaluation is not limited to technical skills and knowledge – it needs to be integrated into the way people across the public sector work and think.” 
To enable this, the Toolkit provides guidance on governance actions to support evaluative thinking and an evaluative culture.
ARTD supports the development of evaluation strategies, frameworks and tools needed within departments to plan for, oversee and measure evaluation capacity building. We work with Commonwealth departments to:
- identify strategic priorities to improve evaluation and evaluation capability
- develop department-specific companion documents to Commonwealth guidance that support staff to understand and follow evaluation standards, practices, processes and principles unique to their portfolio
- self-measure their evaluation maturity and progress in the development of their evaluation practices
- provide mentoring and coaching in monitoring and evaluation, including through applied workshops.
We look forward to supporting people to build their evaluation capability and to align their work with the Commonwealth guidance.