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Australasia has some excellent evaluators. More than that, we have an evaluation community full of ideas and a willingness to share. The AES has long provided a place for us to come together, at regional events and the annual conference, to develop our community together. Now we’re taking it online! The new AES blog will be a space for AES members – both new and experienced – to share their perspectives, reflecting on their theory... If you have an idea, please contact us on Please also view our blog guidelines.

Developing the next generation AES Strategic Priorities


by John Stoney, AES President

I was a policy and program wonk before I became an evaluation tragic. One of the things that excited me about remaining on the AES Board and taking up the President role was that one of the first tasks would be developing our next set of Strategic Priorities for the period 2019–2022.

The AES is in good shape. This I think reflects a number of dynamics, one of which is previous Boards – together with the broader AES leadership teams and members – developing a set of Priorities that have served us well. They have provided a sound foundation and framework to guide all the work that has occurred in the last three years. This has enabled the AES to prosper. (I would also suggest that the other dynamics are hard work, commitment, vision and a generosity of time from the AES office team, successive Conference Convenors and Organising Committees, the various Board Committees, Board members and our general membership).

By a number of metrics, things look good organisationally. As I type, we are on the cusp of having 1,000 members. Our finances are very healthy. We have a highly successful (and expanding) workshop program and have had a succession of successful (both financially and reputationally) conferences. As an organisation, in the last year, we have launched our first Reconciliation Action Plan, engaged in some key Australian Government review processes and looked to practically implement recommendations from the Pathways to Professionalisation Report, as well as exploring various ways to enhance member value.

Having said that, inevitably the world around us is dynamic, providing both potential challenges and opportunities. The task for those of us with stewardship responsibilities for the AES (and, by association, the broader profession) is to navigate our way through and be adaptive during the next 3–5 years in a way that ensures the AES remains in a good place, in good shape and – most importantly – continues to meet the needs of its members.

For that reason, it's important to hear from members and obtain your feedback on what you think the next Strategic Priorities should encompass in terms of goals and priorities under each of the proposed domains.

To that end, a Consultation Paper has been developed and sent to members. As you'll see, the Board and its various Committees sense that the next set of Priorities are an evolution of the current ones. In some instances, the proposed goals and priorities remain consistent; in others, they have changed to reflect developments under the AES Strategic Priorities 2016-2019, plus the current and emerging context.

I would encourage as many AES members as possible to provide their feedback, and to also consider what they may like to actively contribute to in terms of the key roles, activities and potential projects that will be undertaken to implement our next generation of priorities.

If you’re an AES member and haven't received (or have misplaced) your email invite, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Look forward to hearing from you,

John Stoneyavatar.jpg.320x320px
An internal Australian Government evaluation practitioner by day and the AES President at all other times, John has been on the AES Board since 2016. He has had responsibility for the Influence domain supported by the membership of the Advocacy and Alliances Committee. When not at work or undertaking AES duties, he takes any opportunity he can to discuss matters of evaluation theory, practice and use with fellow travellers (both evaluative and non-evaluative) over a cup of coffee (and maybe a donut).

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