Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Rant for today*

A potential client sends out Terms of Reference requesting potential service providers to submit a quotation for an (5 maybe 10 person day) evaluation engagement. Note, they did not ask for a proposal, they asked for a quotation. Given the limited scope of the project, a quotation makes sense. So that is what I submit.

Then potential client reads through the proposals they received and *Horror* *shock* discovers that there isn’t enough information in the quotations to make a transparent decision. (Maybe there was a little problem with the Terms of Reference?) They then set up a meeting in which they expect potential service providers to present to a panel. “For the purposes of meeting with the potential evaluators and ensuring the selection process is fair and transparent”. (Have I mentioned that this is a small job?)

So I go and have a wonderful meeting with the potential client, but in the end do not get the job. My heart isn’t broken or anything. It would’ve been nice to get the job but… ah well, I think they looked for a content specialist rather than an evaluation specialist in the first place.

But hey, I am an evaluator, and evaluative thinking requires me to find out why I was not successful. So I write the “Thanks for the notification, we are disappointed, could you please tell us where our submission was weak… bla-di-blah” email. To which I don’t receive a response. I get my office manager to follow up and get a response of the kind: “We liked your presentation / Sorry we don’t have time to provide feedback / now please just leave us alone”.

What happened to the transparency and fairness thing? Am I unreasonable to think that a two line explanatory email is not much to ask after all of the trouble they put me through?

Ahem… The UK evaluation Society has some guidelines for persons when they commission evaluations at:

Maybe more people should read that?

*Because this is my blog I get to complain here every now and again. I promise that this will not turn into those rant-upon-rant blogs, but I really need to get the following off my chest.

Whew! Its been like how long?

I see I haven't posted anything here since April. That is probably because I have nothing to write about when I have time, and when I have time to write, I can't think of anything to write about. So here are a list of things I would like to address at some stage:

* What people think a focus group is and what it really is
* Rapid assessment methods - differences in approaches (I need to draw up a table based on that AJE article I read yesterday)
* When people should consider appointing an evaluation specialist rather than a content specialist for certain evaluations.
* If evaluators do strategic planning, what is it that they should know about planning AND if planners or anybody else does evaluations what is it they need to know about evaluations
* People say evaluation is a meta-discipline. Why do they say that.
*All this talk about accreditation is just confusing everybody. What does it mean and what about the international body of work that has been done on this aspect?