- Publication date
- 9 January 2024
- Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs
- RAN Publications Topic
- Family support
On 13 and 14 September, the RAN Families, Communities & Social Care Working Group convened a meeting among practitioners working in family support programmes as well as evaluation experts in the field of preventing and countering violent extremism (P/CVE). Together they explored challenges and insights regarding evaluation.
Evaluation can foster learning and innovation, but it can also pose challenges. The complex and constantly evolving nature of the phenomena and target groups and the multitude of variables can make it difficult to formulate what is a success and how the support has contributed to the success. Besides this, evaluation is not always part of the funding structure, which may lead to a lack of time and resources for practitioners to adequately prepare for evaluation and register data that is required for a qualitative evaluation. In addition, ensuring a productive relationship between the involved stakeholders can be a challenge, especially when stakeholders have different objectives and/or when funding is contingent on the evaluation advice.
Despite these obstacles, practitioners shared recent experiences during this meeting, as well as good practices and practical steps on where to start. They discussed the following topics, which will be further outlined in this paper:
- A theory of change outlines how and why a programme or intervention will lead to the expected outcome and impact. To create a theory of change, a clear formulation of the objectives of the interventions and programme is necessary.
- Agree on the type and objective of the evaluation. There are different considerations for an evidence based (plan, process or effect) evaluation with an external evaluator or for carrying out a self-/peer review (which is not a formal evaluation).
- While involved stakeholders (practitioners, evaluators, commissioners) may have different motivations and objectives, it is important to involve all stakeholders — including the practitioners — from the start of this process. This may help in getting everyone’s commitment to take an extra step. However, it requires good communication on all stakeholders’ values, needs, fears, preferences and circumstances.
- It is important to reflect on what and how data is registered. This paper outlines some practical suggestions from practitioners and brings forward the importance of ethics and the protection of confidentiality.
- It is important to think about who can and should carry out the evaluation. Make sure the analysis is conducted by people who have relevant professional experience and expertise on evaluation and P/CVE.
This paper outlines the highlights of the discussions during this meeting, followed by key recommendations, relevant practices and suggestions for further reading.