There are many evaluation templates, tools and resources used by entities across the Commonwealth, and in other jurisdictions, that may assist at different stages of an evaluation.
There is no one‑size‑fits all approach – it is important to select tools and templates that are fit for purpose based on the scale, scope, design and purpose of your evaluation. In some instances, expert advice on the application and use of certain tools and templates may be required.
Expand the tabs below to browse tools, templates, examples, case studies and additional resources that can be used to help assess the effectiveness, efficiency and/or appropriateness of government programs and activities. Please note, using these tools and templates is not mandatory.
While these resources are in line with better practice approaches, the application and use of any one tool, template or example for the evaluation of a specific program or activity is ultimately at the discretion of the manager responsible for the successful delivery of results.
Templates, tools and examples
The following templates were adapted from various sources and are in line with better practice approaches. The application and use of any one template for the evaluation of a specific program or activity in a particular context is ultimately at the discretion of the manager responsible for the successful delivery of results. Use of these templates is not mandatory.
- Template 1: Theory of change (outcome mapping) [DOCX 241KB]
- Template 2: Program logic [DOCX 140KB]
- Template 3: Evaluation framework (program) [DOCX 523KB]
- Template 4: Evaluation terms of reference [DOCX 119KB]
- Template 5: Evaluation plan [DOCX 503KB]
- Template 6: Identifying stakeholders and their roles in an evaluation [DOCX 137KB]
- Template 7: Data evaluation matrix [DOCX 166KB]
- Template 8: Data sharing agreement [DOCX 228KB] - Sourced from the Office of the National Data Commissioner (ONDC): Data sharing agreement ONDC
- Template 9: Evaluation report [DOCX 326KB]
- Template 10: Evaluation action plan [DOCX 135KB]
- Template 11: Evaluation closure report [DOCX 328KB]
These curated tools are based on approaches used by entities across the Commonwealth, and in other jurisdictions. The application and use of any one tool for the evaluation of a specific program or activity in a particular context is ultimately at the discretion of the manager responsible for the successful delivery of results. Use of these tools is not mandatory.
- How to develop a program from logic for planning and evaluation (Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS))
- Logic model review checklist [PDF 197KB] (AIFS)
- Enhancing program performance with logic models [PDF 3.4MB] (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
- Explanatory note on program logic [PDF 584KB] (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT))
- Identifying the intended user(s) and use(s) of an evaluation [PDF 795KB] (BetterEvaluation)
- Assessing evaluation question checklist [PDF 337KB] (Centers for Disease Control (CDC))
- Evaluation question bank [DOCX 87KB] (Department of Finance)
- Putting together an evaluation matrix [PDF 156KB] (CDC)
- How to create a baseline for an indicator - overview (Clear Impact)
- Baseline basics(BetterEvaluation)
- Reconstructing baseline data for impact evaluation and results management [PDF 324KB] (BetterEvaluation)
- Developing baseline measures (Community Tool Box)
- Practice guides (Child Family Community Australia (AIFS))
- Checklist on how to analyse and interpret data (Cottage Health)
- Preparing and appraising evaluation reports: A checklist - population health research and evaluation (NSW Health)
- Core concepts in developing monitoring and evaluation frameworks (Anne Markiewicz and Associates)
- Writing an evaluation framework or plan (Queensland Treasury)
- Evaluation Good Practice Guide Checklist (Disability Gateway)
Examples of completed program logic and theory of change models include:
- Example of a completed program logic (AIFS) [PDF 269KB]
- Example theory of change [PDF 60KB] (British International Investment)
- Toc examples (Theory of change community) (Center for Theory of Change)
Examples of evaluation terms of reference include:
Example of a completed data/evaluation matrix is below:
Examples of entity level evaluation strategies, frameworks and policies from across the Commonwealth are below:
- Development evaluation (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)
- DFAT Development Evaluation Policy
- Evaluation Strategy 2016-21 (Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts)
- Evaluation policy 2015–2020 (Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water) [PDF 2.1MB]
- Evaluating our impact (CSIRO)
- Indigenous Advancement Strategy: Evaluation Framework (National Indigenous Australians Agency)
Examples of program or activity level evaluation frameworks and plans from across the Commonwealth include:
- Evaluation Framework for New Income Management (NIM) (Department of Social Services)
- Development evaluation plans (DFAT)
- Monitoring, evaluation and learning - Future Drought Fund (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry)
- Myanmar humanitarian assistance evaluation plan[PDF 401KB] (DFAT)
- Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning Framework (2022) - Australian Volunteers (DFAT)
Examples of evaluation reports from across the Commonwealth are below:
- Evaluation of Australia's humanitarian assistance of Myanmar [PDF 1.8MB] (DFAT)
- Mid-Term Review, Younger People in Residential Aged Care (YPIRAC) Program (Department of Social Services)
- Ex-post economic evaluation of National Highway projects, Case Study 1: Wallaville Bridge (Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics)
- Global Innovation Strategy post commencement evaluation 2018 report [PDF 581KB] (Department of Industry, Science and Resources)
- ODE: Ending violence against women and girls [PDF 3.1MB] (DFAT)
- Good practice evaluation examples (DFAT)
- Evaluation of the Grandparent Adviser programme (Services Australia)
- DVA Health Programs Evaluations Approaches Review Report (2023)
Ethical and culturally safe evaluation
Guidelines for the Ethical Conduct of Evaluations
These Australasian Evaluation Society guidelines for ethical behaviour and decision making in evaluation are intended to foster continuing improvement in the theory, practice and use of evaluation by stimulating awareness and discussion of ethical issues.
Other good resources on ethics include:
- Ethical considerations in quality assurance and evaluation activities (NHMRC)
- National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (2007) updated 2018 (NHMRC)
- AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research (page 7)
- APS Code of Conduct
All evaluations in the APS context must be conducted in accordance with the APS Values, Employment Principles and Code of Conduct. This site provides details about the APS Code of Conduct, including the need for all actions and decisions to be underpinned by honesty, integrity, care and diligence.
- Australian Privacy Principles
- Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021–2031 (Disability Gateway)
AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research
The purpose of the AIATSIS Code of Ethics for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Research is to promote ethical and responsible practice in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander research in Australia, to increase the contribution of Indigenous knowledge to Australian research, to ensure research has a positive impact for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and to continuously improve the quality and standards of research in this area.
AES First Nations Cultural Safety Framework
This Framework outlines the principles of culturally safe evaluation. It provides practical guidance on culturally safe evaluation in all phases of the evaluation process – from design, through to implementation, reporting and translating the learnings into policy and practice – as well as the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders in the evaluation process.
Productivity Commission's Indigenous Evaluation Strategy
This Strategy provides a proposed whole-of-government framework for Australian Government entities to use when selecting, planning, conducting and using evaluations of policies and programs affecting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
The Strategy, and its supporting guidance, puts Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people at its centre. It recognises the need to draw on the perspectives, priorities and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people if outcomes are to be improved.
Indigenous Advancement Strategy Evaluation Framework (National Indigenous Australians Agency)
This Evaluation Framework is a guide for evaluation of programs and activities under the Indigenous Advancement Strategy (IAS), delivered by the National Indigenous Australians Agency. The principles and core values of the IAS Evaluation Framework align with the principles set out in the Productivity Commission's Indigenous Evaluation Strategy.
The goals of the IAS Evaluation Framework are to:
- generate high quality evidence that is used to inform decision making
- strengthen Indigenous leadership in evaluation
- build capability by fostering a collaborative culture of evaluative thinking and continuous learning
- emphasise collaboration and ethical ways of doing high quality evaluation at the forefront of evaluation practice in order to inform decision making
- promote dialogue and deliberation to further develop the maturity of evaluation over time.
Central to the IAS Evaluation Framework is a commitment to working collaboratively, recognising the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and cultures are integral to evaluation in the Indigenous Affairs policy context.
Statement on Cultural Competence in Evaluation
This resource refers to the American Evaluation Association’s Statement on Cultural Competence. Culturally competent evaluation ensures recognition, accurate interpretation, and respect for diversity in evaluation. Evaluators should ensure that the members of the evaluation team collectively demonstrate cultural competence.
Program evaluation standards and cultural competence [PDF 427KB]
This resource from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) outlines strategies for evaluators to increase their cultural competency.
Involving children in evaluation
This article also has a section on how to become familiar with culturally competent evaluation.
Other relevant resources include:
1. Investigate context
Task: Understanding your operating context
The Public Entity Operating Environment
An overview of the different functions and common characteristics of public sector entities that may help you to better understand your operating context. While this site relates to Victoria, many of the contextual factors and considerations also apply in the Commonwealth public sector.
Task: Prioritising what should be evaluated
This Northern Territory Government site provides information about when to use evaluation and how to determine appropriate evaluation scopes, designs and resourcing requirements.
Task: Clarifying the purpose and audience for an evaluation
This site articulates the importance of being clear and specific about the purpose and audience of an evaluation, and the questions that will be addressed.
Strategies to improve evaluation use and influence
This article identifies 3 strategies to support the constructive use of evaluation findings:
- identify intended users and uses of the evaluation
- anticipate barriers to use
- identify key processes and times when findings are needed across a series of reporting cycles.
2. Set evaluation objectives
Task: Clarify exactly what needs to be evaluated
AIFS Webinar: Working with evaluators: What do you need to know?
This one hour webinar discusses the importance of: clarifying upfront if you need an evaluation, and if so, being clear about its purpose, targeted in sourcing the right evaluation expertise, skills and partnerships, and constructive in the way results are used.
Task: Stakeholder engagement
This page provides some useful tools, checklists and worksheets to: identify key stakeholders and determine what matters to them during the planning stage and throughout the evaluation process.
APS framework for engagement and participation
This framework spells out the principles and standards that underpin effective engagement for Commonwealth entities.
Task: How will the evaluation contribute to the achievement of purposes
Who will use the findings of the evaluation
This site describes an evaluation approach that focuses on the end users of an evaluation.
3. Determine scope and approach
Task: Key evaluation question
Specify the key evaluation questions
This site provides information about how to develop key evaluation questions, including further guidance, tools, checklists and examples.
Identifying evaluation questions
This short article is for people new to evaluation who are planning to conduct or commission an evaluation. It focuses on evaluation questions and how to develop and prioritise them.
Task: Developing an evaluation plan
Planning an evaluation step by step
This guide and the accompanying templates will help you to clarify the purpose of your evaluation, select appropriate methods and have a clear plan and timeline for data collection and analysis. It is focussed on children and family programs, but can be generalised to all evaluations.
Key considerations for managing evaluations [PDF 477KB]
This guide outlines key things to consider including evaluation readiness, budgeting, selecting an evaluation team, developing terms of reference and working with consultants.
Task: Determining who should be involved in an evaluation
Commissioning an evaluation project
This NSW Government site focuses on choosing the right consultant for an evaluation and preparing a request for tender.
For Commonwealth Procurement, visit Whole of Australian Government Management Advisory Services Panel.
4. Define evidence and data sources
Task: Selecting measures or indicators for an evaluation
Use measures, indicators or metrics
This site provides context and definitions for common measurement terms.
Using qualitative methods in program evaluation
This article outlines some key considerations for using qualitative methods in program evaluation.
Task: Performance information
This site describes quantitative data and how it can be used to understand the extent of change.
This site describes qualitative data and how it can be used to understand the reasons for change.
Task: Planning what, when, and how to collect data
Deciding what data to collect
This site helps you clarify your goals so that you can decide what data to collect and determine whether the intervention/activity is leading to the desired change.
From Better Evaluation and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent, Baseline Basics is a short introduction to conducting a baseline study, focusing on the key concepts and practices, and pointing to additional resources for more detail. It includes a checklist for planning the study, as well as information on the reconstruction of baseline data
Data collection methods [PDF 637KB]
Outlines how to develop your data collection strategy and ensure the quality of your data.
Task: Designing data and evidence collection
Australian Bureau of Statistics Data Quality Framework
The ABS Data Quality Framework (ABS DQF) provides the standards for assessing and reporting on the quality of statistical information. It can also assist you with the development of statistical collections to produce high quality outputs.
ABS data lab
DataLab is the analysis solution for high-end users who want to undertake real time complex analysis of detailed microdata. All analytical output that you want to use outside DataLab are checked by the ABS before release.
Some datasets that you may have a need to access (depending on your evaluation questions) have been released on a limited basis. This includes BLADE and MADIP, which are available for approved projects for government employees and government contractors.
5. Collect evidence and data
Task: Importance of ethics in collecting evidence
Office of the National Data Commissioner
The site outlines the scheme for sharing Australian Government data - the DATA Scheme. The DATA Scheme is focused on increasing the availability and use of Australian Government data, helping deliver better government services, policies and programs as well as research and innovation.
Task: Ways to collect and/or retrieve data and what should be considered
Collecting and retrieving data
This guidance focuses on the importance of considering the type of information you want to gather and the ways you will analyse that information, before choosing your collection methodology.
Collecting the right data
This site provides a step-by-step guide to planning for impact. Under the “Do” step, you will find practical advice on different collection techniques.
Data collection, access and linking [PDF 2.4MB]
This UK government guidance on evaluation includes a detailed chapter on data collection, data access and data linking (see Chapter 4).
Task: Organising and storing information and ensuring its quality
This site takes you through the principles of good data management including: developing effective processes for consistently collecting and recording data; storing data securely; backing up data; cleaning data; and modifying data so it can be transferred between different types of software for analysis.
Task: Visualise your data
Visualise your data
This guidance takes you through what data visualisation is, how it can help you understand the data and tell your story and the different techniques available to visualise your data.
6. Analyse and interpret results
Task: Theory of change and consistency of results
World Health Organisation Evaluation Practice Handbook [PDF 971KB]
This comprehensive handbook on evaluation provides practical guidance, including the key steps to analysing and synthesising your evidence and data (refer to pages 54 – 56).
Options for analysing the data
This site discusses how to analyse and summarise your data and look for patterns.
Guidance on producing quality analysis for government [PDF 1.0MB]
This UK government guidance focuses on how to produce and assure the quality of your analysis.
Task: Checking for patterns, themes and/or trends in the evidence and data
This site introduces you to the concept of thematic analysis.
Compare your data
This site explores how to place your data in context.
7. Report findings
Task: Making the most out of evaluation
This site outlines the final deliverable of a program evaluation project - the written report.
Making the most out of your evaluation
This resource describes some of the different ways you can use an evaluation, and presents nine principles to apply to your evaluation to make sure it gets used.
Task: Turning results into meaningful information
This site provides some examples of evaluation reports. It can be used in conjunction with some of the sites identified in step 6.
Developing an effective evaluation report [PDF 9.6MB]
A comprehensive overview of developing a final evaluation report - presenting findings, conclusions, and recommendations.
Task: Sharing your findings
Review your findings
This site discusses how to use your findings to review and improve your work.
Share your findings
This site is a simple guide to helping you convert your evaluation into findings that make sense to whoever’s reading it. Sharing (where appropriate) your findings within your own organisation and with stakeholders is important for reviewing your entity’s performance against key goals. You can develop a learning culture where staff focus on how to adapt and improve programs or services.
8. Implement improvements
Task: Using the results of the evaluation to support performance reporting
Developing good performance information
This guide provides practical information to support officials of Commonwealth entities in developing good performance information. It also provides guidance on the requirements, as prescribed by section 16EA of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule), for performance information developed by entities.
Annual Performance Statements
- provides guidance to assist accountable authorities to prepare and publish annual performance statements for their entities as required by section 39 of the Public Governance Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (PGPA Act);
- outlines the minimum requirements, prescribed by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Rule 2014 (PGPA Rule) in section 16F, for entities producing annual performance statements.
Task: Supporting learning and continuous improvement across the APS
Supporting the use of evaluation
This site outlines the steps that will help you support the use and influence of the evaluation.
Support learning from an evaluation
Your evaluation may contain useful information for informing practice within your organisation or more widely across the APS. The use of this information can be supported by preparing specific communications such as guides or training outlines that targets practitioners and focuses on practice issues.
Below are links to evaluation guidance from other jurisdictions:
- Making sense of evaluation: A handbook for everyone (New Zealand Government)
- The Magenta Book – HM Treasury and Evaluation Task Force (UK Government)
- Evaluation in the Government of Canada (Canadian Government)
- Evaluation Toolkit – Premier & Cabinet (NSW Government)
- Evaluate a program – Department of Treasury and Finance Victoria (Vic Government)
- Program Evaluation Unit – Department of Treasury and Finance (NT Government)
- Program evaluation (WA Government)
- Report and Review – Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (ACT Government)
- Guidelines for the evaluation of public sector initiatives - Part A Overview [PDF 278KB] | Part B Investment Evaluation Process [PDF 1.4MB] (Department of Treasury and Finance, SA Government)
- Queensland Government Program Evaluation Guidelines – Queensland Treasury (Qld Government)
Audit Insights: Performance Measurement and Monitoring – Developing Performance Measures and Tracking Progress
Published by the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) in November 2020. This edition of audit insights summarises key messages from a series of ANAO performance audits assessing performance evaluation frameworks and success measures. It discusses the importance of both keeping entities accountable and their performance transparent.
Audits of the Annual Performance Statements of Australian Government Entities - Pilot Program 2020-21 (ANAO)
This report reflects on the outcome of the ANAO's annual performance statements audit pilot program and offers lessons learned to improve an entity's Annual Performance Statement.
Evaluation in the Australian Public Service: current state of play, some issues and future directions
An ANZSOG research paper for the Australian Public Service Review Panel published in March 2019.
Evaluators and enhanced Commonwealth Performance Framework
Published in Evaluation Journal of Australasia (EJA), September 2018.
Strengthening Evidence-based Policy in the Australian Federation
Outcomes of a roundtable convened by Productivity Commission in 2009.
Approach to performance measurement - Report on Government Services - Productivity Commission
Provides information on the equity, efficiency and effectiveness of government services in Australia to inform planning and evaluation of policies, for budgeting (including to assess the resource needs and performance of government agencies) and to demonstrate government accountability.
Systematic reviews, evidence synthesis (Campbell Collaboration)
The Campbell Collaboration is an international social science research network that produces high quality, open and policy-relevant evidence syntheses, plain language summaries and policy briefs.
Cochrane is an independent international network of health experts from more than 190 countries who gather and summarise (in plain language) the best evidence from health research.
COVID-19 Global Evaluation Coalition
The COVID-19 Global Evaluation Coalition is an independent collaboration made up of evaluation units from bilateral development co-operation providers, multilateral institutions, United Nations agencies and partner countries.