One of the key themes to come out of the ongoing reform of government communication is the need for us to improve the way in which we evaluate our work. There are examples of great evaluation already taking place across the community, but for most of us, it’s not even clear what standards of evaluation are expected of us, let alone how we’re supposed to find the time, resource and budget to apply them. Well – the answer (or at least the starter for ten) may be here  - GCN Guide to Communication Evaluation has been published!

The guide sets out principles for effective evaluation of government communication activity, whatever size or type of activity you are evaluating. It also contains a four-stage approach which must be followed as a minimum when you are carrying out your evaluation to ensure that you are meeting standards set out by ERG and in the very soon to come revised GCN Competency Framework for Government Communicators.

The guide takes a practical and pragmatic approach, showing you how to carry out the best evaluation that you can, whatever activity you are evaluating, and whatever budget and resource you have available. It accepts that it may not always be possible to gather all of the data that you need to carry out a complete evaluation, but rather looks at how to make the best of what you’ve got – and how to use your learning to improve future activity. It has been put together with input from colleagues across government – special thanks must go to those in the Evaluation Steering Group and the Home Office Insight and Research team.

For those of you who are new to evaluation, it should provide a helpful overview of how to get started. For those of you who are already evaluating effectively, it should provide the reassurance that you need to ensure that your work is meeting the expected standards. Over the coming weeks, we’ll be adding further content and tips to help you evaluate your activity more effectively – look out for guidance on sourcing press and media data next week. And if you are already carrying out good evaluation, please share any hints, tips or documents – we’d love to share these via the site too!

For more help or information

If you want more help, check out the upcoming courses section of the GCN website for more details of introductory and advanced courses on evaluation which bring the guidance to life.

Alternatively, the specialist evaluation team within the Shared Communications Service are also available to help you carry out evaluation in line with the standards set out in the guide. Contact Tina Trythall or Ian Theo for more information

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