The AES Awards for Excellence in Evaluation recognise exemplary evaluation practice, evaluation systems or evaluation capacity building in Australasia. The annual awards provide significant peer recognition for leading evaluators, leading evaluations, evaluation best practice and emerging evaluators.
The AES views evaluations as a partnership between the commissioner, the evaluator and the participants of the project. For evaluative projects, the awards recognise the role of all the partners, not just the evaluators.
The AES encourages all Award recipients to play an active role in promoting excellence in evaluation. Award recipients will be asked to consider ways in which their knowledge and experience may be shared with others..
The Awards are announced and presented at the AES International Conference Awards Dinner each year. All nominees are invited to attend the conference or nominate someone to attend on their behalf. Recipients are published on the AES website (click here for previous recipients).
The 2018 Awards were announced and celebrated on the evening of Wednesday 19 September 2018 at the Gala Awards Dinner, held in conjunction with aes18 International Evaluation Conference at the Albert Hall Launceston, Australia.
Presentation of recipients
Evaluation Study or Project Award: Queensland Government’s Office of the Commonwealth Games, Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development, and the Commonwealth Games; and the evaluation team of Mark Douglas, Robert Grimshaw, Nicolette Pavlovski, Sean Conway, Kelly Reynolds, Joanne Ryan and Meghan Purcell – for the Evaluation and Monitoring Framework for the Embracing 2018 Legacy Program
Indigenous Evaluation Award: Gill Potaka-Osborne and Lynley Cvitanovic of Whakauae Research Services; Maaki Tuatini and Roberta Williams of Te Oranganui Trust; and Raetihi Pah – for the Te Puawai O Te Ahi Kaa Evaluation
Outstanding Contribution to Evaluation Award: Dr Jess Dart
Queensland Government’s Office of the Commonwealth Games, Department of Innovation, Tourism Industry Development, and the Commonwealth Games; and the evaluation team of Mark Douglas, Robert Grimshaw, Nicolette Pavlovski, Sean Conway, Kelly Reynolds, Joanne Ryan and Meghan Purcell – for the Evaluation and Monitoring Framework for the Embracing 2018 Legacy Program
This year, the AES Award for Excellence in Evaluation is given to a government organisation and the evaluation team that were part of an evaluation of a major international event. The Award recognises in particular the broader effects and legacy of this evaluation, as well as the high level of professionalism involved and the evaluation’s results.
The nomination was for an innovative evaluation and monitoring framework for the Queensland Government’s Embracing 2018 Legacy Program. This program aims to ensure the Queensland community realises lasting benefits from hosting the 2018 Commonwealth Games. The reach of this event extends beyond the Games host and event cities to provide measurable outcomes for Queensland and Australia. An Evaluation and Monitoring framework for this program has evolved since 2013 and is designed to guide implementation of the Embracing 2018 Legacy Program and assess its outcomes over a 10-year period.
The assessors were impressed by the evaluation’s sound use of evaluation theory and approaches, including the ability to incorporate emergent findings into a results’ framework and ensure ongoing connections between projects. There was evidence of strong and sustainable connections being developed; for example, with the evaluation team building on work started in Glasgow with the 2014 Commonwealth Games, and their commitment to developing a framework that can be used by future hosts of the Commonwealth Games. The assessors noted the evaluation team’s commitment to publicly share the methods behind their framework.
Gill Potaka-Osborne and Lynley Cvitanovic of Whakauae Research Services; Maaki Tuatini and Roberta Williams of Te Oranganui Trust; and Raetihi Pah – for the Te Puawai O Te Ahi Kaa Evaluation
This year, the Indigenous Evaluation Award is given to an exemplary New Zealand evaluation conducted by a team with strong representation and expertise in Indigenous evaluation, as well as technical aspects related to a health program supported by the New Zealand government. The evaluation used a collaborative capacity building approach and participatory methodologies to fully involve Indigenous communities in the design and conduct of the evaluation.
The evaluation captures the true essence of what Indigenous evaluation is about and what it should reflect – done by, with and for Indigenous people. It gives Indigenous people a powerful voice and platform to determine their future and destiny by encapsulating the community beliefs and traditions. These are highly valued and prized as an asset.
What the judges found most exciting about the evaluation is that it utilised Indigenous perspectives, languages and worldviews in each aspect of the evaluation, from concept design to stakeholder engagement. The evaluation thereby provides a model for practitioners in Australasia to do evaluations with Indigenous people by drawing on Indigenous people’s knowledge and insights.
Dr Jess Dart
This year’s Outstanding Contribution to Evaluation Award goes to a recognised leader in evaluation who has over 25 years of experience in the collaborative design and evaluation of programs that seek to bring about a more equitable and just society. The judges were impressed by this nominee’s sustained application of authentic inclusivity, and her high level of ethical standards so clearly evidenced through her practice.
The judges noted this nominee’s skill in being able to combine deep evaluation knowledge and theoretical understandings with straightforward communication. She has undertaken more than 30 external evaluations and overseen over 120 evaluations in countries around the world. The judges noted the high level of professionalism and stakeholder satisfaction evidenced in this nominee’s work.
As an ‘evaluation entrepreneur’, the judges were impressed by this nominee’s capacity to constantly scan the horizon for where evaluation is headed, and to create fresh approaches and techniques. The judges were impressed by her pioneering work on no less than five innovative approaches.
The judges were impressed by this nominee’s other contributions to evaluation knowledge. She is a contributor to evaluation textbooks, an author of refereed journal articles including publications in the American Evaluation Journal and New Directions in Evaluation, and a prolific trainer who has reached more than 1,000 participants, including many AES members.
This nominee has been an AES member since 1997 and a Board member since 2014 in the role of treasurer; and this year, she has been involved in the aes18 International Evaluation Conference as convenor. The judges acknowledged this nominee’s significant contribution to the AES.