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Last updated: 14/01/2006

Methodological bases


The players, their roles (who?)


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Distribution of roles

The three key players are the evaluation manager, the reference group and the external evaluation team.

The distribution of roles is specific to each phase and each stage of the evaluation.

Evaluation manager

The evaluation manager is a member of the service in charge of the evaluation. He/she manages the whole process from A to Z on behalf of the commissioning body. His/her main functions are:

  • To set up and preside over the reference group.
  • To draw up the terms of reference.
  • To recruit the evaluation team in accordance with the applicable rules.
  • To approve of the successive reports on behalf of the Commission and under his/her hierarchy control.
  • To control the evaluation quality.
  • To carry out the dissemination
  • To ensure the follow-up of the recommendations.

Reference group

The reference group is presided over by the evaluation manager and provides assistance to the latter in controlling and supervising the evaluation. It is composed of members of the European Commission's services and representatives from the partner countries whenever that is possible.

Its main functions are:

  • To discuss and comment on the terms of reference drawn up by the evaluation manager.
  • To aggregate and summarise the views of the Commission services and act as an interface between the evaluation team and the services, thereby supplementing bilateral contacts.
  • To ensure that the evaluation team has access to and consults all information sources and documentation on activities undertaken.
  • To validate the evaluation questions.
  • To discuss and comment on notes and reports produced by the evaluation team. Comments by individual members of the reference group are gathered by the evaluation manager and subsequently transmitted to the evaluation team.
  • To assist in feedback of the findings, conclusions and recommendations from the evaluation.

External evaluation team

The external evaluation team is responsible for data collection and analysis as well as for the articulation of judgement in response to the evaluation questions. This team writes and is responsible for the evaluation report. It submits its work regularly to the reference group and to the evaluation manager, and takes their comments into account.

Its main functions are:

  • To put forward the evaluation questions.
  • To put forward the judgement criteria.
  • To put forward the indicators as well as data collection and analysis methods.
  • To carry out data collection, analysis and synthesis.
  • To articulate both, the conclusions and recommendations.
  • To participate in the various meetings and discussion seminars for the report.


Quality assistance

If the manager does not have enough experience with the evaluation, he/she may be assisted by a qualified person in order to assess the quality of the reports submitted by the external evaluation team.


The stakeholders are individuals, groups or organisations that have a direct or indirect interest in the assessed intervention and in the evaluation itself. They may be affected by the intervention or not.

Some stakeholders may be involved in the reference group, especially when the evaluation is managed in a partner country. More generally, stakeholders are involved through other channels like:

  • Consultation by the evaluation team in the first stages of the process
  • Gathering of participatory workshops, focus groups or expert panel(s) during the evaluation process
  • Discussion of the draft evaluation report in a widely attended seminar in the partner country (when relevant)