CALL for PROPOSALS
CONSULTANT SERVICES on INFLUENCING EVALUATION POLICY
Deadline: November 15, 2012
The American Evaluation Association (AEA) is seeking a consultant
to continue and expand efforts underway to influence evaluation
The Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF) began its work to influence
federal evaluation policy in 2007. To date, it has enhanced the
association’s internal capacity to respond to policy shaping
opportunities; developed collateral materials aimed at policy
influence, in particular the Evaluation Roadmap for a More Effective
Government; positioned the association as an expert resource within
targeted areas of the federal government; and enjoyed some policy
influencing success. Documentation of the EPTF’s work, as well as a
range of supporting materials, may be found on the EPTF web page
AEA is seeking a consultant to lead the next stage of the
association’s policy shaping work. The details of the consultant’s
scope of work may be found in the draft scope of work available
The ideal consultant would possess the following attributes:
Knowledge of the evaluation policymaking process, ideally at
both the federal and state levels
Evidence of multiple connections with policymakers
Experience with government policy development
Experience with public presentations in legislative and
Proven communications and organizational skills
Experience with the field of evaluation and the capacity to
represent the field
Knowledge of the American Evaluation Association and the
capacity to represent the association
Commitment to supporting the mission and goals of AEA
Ready accessibility to Washington, DC
AEA will pay the policy consultant up to $42,000
per year with the assumption of the equivalent of 1-2 days per week
of work depending on the time of year and work underway and on the
experience of the consultant. Given this level of financial
investment, the association recognizes that the work of the
consultant must be targeted and strategic and that influence across
the breadth and depth of the government is not possible. At some
times, there may be the need for rapid response and intense
investment of time over several days in a week for several weeks,
while at other times, the work may be only a couple of hours in a
week when policy makers are on hiatus.
To Apply: Please send by November 15, 2012, the following to
AEA Executive Director Susan Kistler, via a single email to
- A statement of interest that includes a narrative addressing
the attributes listed above
- A resume
- Up to three example work products to which you have
substantially contributed and that illustrate your
communications capacity and policy shaping work
Applicants will be reviewed by the EPTF and Executive Director,
including interviews for final candidates. The EPTF and Executive
Director will make a recommendation to the Board and the Board will
ultimately choose the consultant to be hired.
Questions: Please direct questions about the work of the EPTF
to EPTF Chair Patrick Grasso at
Scope of Work
This Statement of Work describes the tasks that will be
undertaken by an Evaluation Policy Consultant to assist the
Evaluation Policy Task Force (EPTF) of the American Evaluation
Association (AEA) in furthering an ongoing capability to influence
evaluation policies that are critically important to the practice of
evaluation. The following outlines the intended scope of the work.
Focus on Evaluation Policies. This effort should
focus on evaluation policy, rather than policy in general. While
evaluation can help inform substantive policies in a wide range
of areas, and this is a recognized central purpose for much
evaluation, influencing substantive policy is not the emphasis
of this effort. Instead, this work should concentrate on
evaluation policies. Examples of general areas of evaluation
policy might include (although may not be limited to) policies
Evaluation definition. How, if at all, is evaluation
defined in an agency or in legislation? In such contexts,
how is evaluation formally distinguished from or related to
other functions such as program planning, monitoring,
performance measurement or implementation?
Requirements of evaluation. When are evaluations
required? What programs or entities are required to have
evaluations? How often are evaluations scheduled? What
procedures are used to determine when or whether evaluation
Evaluation methods. What approaches or methods of
evaluation are recommended or required by legislation or
regulation, for what types of programs or initiatives?
Human resources regarding evaluation. What requirements
exist for people who conduct evaluations? What types of
training, experience or background are required?
Evaluation budgets. What are the standards for budgeting
for evaluation work?
Evaluation implementation. What types of evaluation
implementation issues are guided by policies? For instance,
when are internal versus external evaluations required and
how are these defined?
Evaluation ethics. What are the policies for addressing
ethical issues in evaluation?
Focus on U.S. Federal (and possibly State) Evaluation
Policy. Efforts currently focus on the federal level because
evaluation policy decisions at that level have broad
implications for many AEA members and for the field generally.
That will remain the primary focus. However, it may be possible
in the future to expand this effort to other arenas (state
government, foundations, international, etc.).
Target Only a Few Specific Legislative and Executive
Policies and on Selected Substantive Areas. Given resource
constraints, it will be necessary to limit the effort to only a
few evaluation policy formulation opportunities. For instance,
we might annually identify one or two major pieces of
legislation and one or two areas where administrative
regulations are likely over the next few years. This work should
focus its evaluation policy shaping activities in areas that are
related to AEA’s history and current emphases.
Be Appropriately Opportunistic.
Given the preceding
thoughts about limiting the work, we recognize the value of
remaining flexible and of responding (thoughtfully and
selectively) as unexpected opportunities arise that might fall
outside the stated initial scope. This effort should look to
take advantage of such opportunities and should consult with the
AEA Board as such arise.
Build on a Strong Foundation.
The EPTF, and AEA’s
past Policy Consultant, have been working to influence
evaluation policy since 2007. Current efforts should build upon
the foundational work undertaken to date. More information about
the work thus far may be found online at
Tasks and Responsibilities
The Evaluation Policy Consultant, directly advised by the
Evaluation Policy Task Force and guided by the AEA Board of
Directors, will address three primary parallel tasks. The first task
will consist of a focused, targeted consultative campaign designed
to identify and provide useful consultation to U.S. federal (and
possibly state) legislators and executive branch staff on
legislation and regulation concerning evaluation. The second and
parallel task will be to enhance the public presence that AEA
projects as an essential source of expertise on evaluation generally
and evaluation policy specifically, in particular through the
development of additional collateral materials that can be utilized
in that campaign, and perhaps through other forms of outreach as
well (e.g., website presence). The third and final task will be
internal education of the membership about the import of evaluation
policy issues, opportunities for them to take action, and the EPTF’s
and consultant’s work.
The Evaluation Policy Consultant is responsible for implementing
these three tasks. The Task Force will provide overall guidance on
the tasks. Some Task Force members may be directly involved in
assisting the consultant in implementation. The Board will approve
policy statements that vary significantly from existing AEA policy
guidance and ultimately the membership will approve policy
statements that break new ground.
Consultative Campaign Task.
The primary purpose of this
task is to influence federal (and possibly state level) evaluation
policy, in a manner consistent with the Mission of AEA and the
Evaluation Roadmap for a More Effective Government, in select areas
identified by the EPTF.
Specific sub-tasks that the Evaluation Policy Consultant will be
responsible for working on include:
Taking the lead, under guidance of the EPTF, in developing
the means for influencing evaluation policies, including:
scanning and identifying prospective policy opportunities;
managing networks of contacts; entering into and managing
specific policy influence efforts; responding to requests for
input on policy formulation; and monitoring policy influencing
Scanning federal legislative and regulatory opportunities
for policies that could be targets for influence, and reporting
on these to the Task Force.
Advising the Task Force on the selection of specific policy
Identifying and coordinating with evaluators within the
federal government who are connected to the specific evaluation
policy contexts that are targeted by the Task Force.
Identifying and communicating with the Task Force on legal
and ethical issues and concerns associated with efforts to
influence evaluation policy.
Managing the emerging network of contacts in both the
legislative and executive branch that can assist AEA in
influencing evaluation policy.
Reporting regularly to the membership, Task Force, and
Board, on the evaluation policy efforts and progress made.
Assisting the Task Force in preparing reports and
recommendations to the Board on progress of the consultative
Because of the potentially broad nature of this work, the
consultative campaign will be limited to only a few policy targets.
The EPTF plays a major role in discussing and advising on what
policies should be targeted in this effort. On the
congressional/legislative side, the work of the consultant over the
contract period will involve: identifying major areas of upcoming
legislation and working with the EPTF to determine priorities for
outreach; identifying congressional staff members who are critical
to the legislation; developing contacts and building a network of
personal relationships with staff members; conducting background
research on evaluation policies that currently exist in the area or
other relevant aligned areas; working with the Task Force to
identify potential policies that would enhance evaluation; making
contact with identified staff; and, assisting the Task Force to
respond as needed to any requests for input on policy formulation
(e.g., testifying at congressional hearings; drafting potential
language for legislation, responding to requests for comment). On
the executive side, the work will involve: identifying one or two
major areas where evaluation policy is likely to be formulated
within the next few years and working with the EPTF to determine
priorities for outreach; determining who the major agencies and
people are who will formulate the policies; determining how direct
personal contact will be made with them; advising on the development
of a network of personal relationships; conducting background
research on existing relevant evaluation policies; and, consulting
on potential policy changes or regulatory language. The Task Force
will provide general guidance and advice on these activities, as
well as vet both ideas and documents, while implementation will be
handled primarily by the consultant.
Public Presence Task. The primary purpose of this task is to
support the consultative campaign through efforts that help position
AEA as the leading U.S. association in evaluation and through the
development of additional collateral materials that represent AEA
and can be utilized in discussions with policymakers. While the Task
Force will be expected to advise and provide guidance on this
effort, and may elect to assist in drafting materials that support
it, primarily responsibility for drafting and revision will fall to
the consultant. The consultant will be expected to engage in the
following activities in connection with this task:
Expanding upon existing talking points and the Evaluation
Roadmap for a More Effective Government, in order to remain
current and to adapt to the varying contexts in which policy
influence may be desired.
Responding to media inquiries within guidelines established
Speaking before select external groups about the importance
of evaluation and evaluation policy influence.
Internal Education Task.
The primary purpose of this task
is to ensure that the AEA membership is informed about evaluation
policy and their possible role in policy influence. Working with the
EPTF, the consultant will be expected to engage in the following
activities in connection with this task:
Developing and implementing a plan for leveraging the
collective wisdom and capacity of the AEA membership in
influencing evaluation policy.
Authoring a monthly “Policy Watch” column for the AEA
newsletter, notifying and engaging AEA members regarding
important impending and implemented evaluation federal policy
changes and initiatives.
Developing collateral material for use by AEA members in
policy shaping within their spheres of influence.
The contract will be for a period from January 1, 2013 through
December 31, 2015, with possible renewal in subsequent years.
The consultant is expected to be an integral part of the
Evaluation Policy Task Force and will be expected to take part in
their meetings (held approximately once every two months via
conference call) and ongoing email exchange.
The consultant will report directly to the Executive Director of
AEA and will submit all invoices for contracted work to the AEA
The Evaluation Policy Consultant will be responsible for
providing the following deliverables to the Executive Director and
the Chair of the EPTF:
Within three months of beginning and by each December 31
thereafter, a written work plan for the coming year, developed
in consultation with the EPTF.
A brief quarterly summary of activities undertaken in
pursuit of this contract.
A quarterly detailed record of any meetings held in
connection with this contract, showing the dates, times,
attendees, purpose and outcomes.
Monthly “Policy Watch” columns.
Formal comments and letters, and collateral materials as
appropriate to the policy influencing foci chosen with the EPTF.
A written annual report to the Evaluation Policy Task Force
that summarizes progress on evaluation policy efforts. This
report must be supplied by December 31 of each year of the
contract so that it can be integrated into the Task Force’s
annual report to the AEA Board.
Over the course of the three year timeframe, the success of the
EPTF and the consultant will be judged on: the extent of its
influence on specific policies and policy language; the level and
appropriateness of the activities; the quality and extent of use by
the policy making communities and influencers of collateral policy
influencing materials; and, the quality and potential value of the
network developed that connects AEA, the consultant, and