DFID has a rolling programme of Country Programme Evaluations (CPEs) with 5 or 6 evaluations of countries or regions per year. A synthesis report pulling together findings from 5 recent CPEs is also produced annually. CPEs are challenging evaluations attempting to provide an overview of the entire DFID programme over a 5 year time frame and evaluate whether DFID made appropriate strategic choices in the given context and delivered effectively. CPEs are ideally undertaken in the year prior to development of a new Country Assistance Plan, as they are designed to meet DFID’s needs for lessons that can inform future strategy and programming, as well as accountability for funds spent at country level. CPEs are intended for a wide audience including DFID’s country office staff and partners, senior DFID managers in the relevant regional divisions and members of the public/other stakeholders.
Each CPE is managed by DFID’s Evaluation Department and carried out by 4-6 independent international consultants with a mixture of evaluation and development skills. The terms of reference for the CPE programme include a generic evaluation framework closely linked to standard evaluation criteria; this is customised a little for each individual evaluation (and annexed to the report). For CPEs, interpretation of each of the evaluation criteria is as follows:
Relevance – CPEs should provide high quality, well evidenced material and judgements on whether ‘DFID did the right things’
Effectiveness – CPEs should examine key interventions and partnerships and identify and explain successes and failures
Efficiency – CPEs should tell a narrative around the allocation of resources (financial and staffing) to deliver the results DFID was hoping to achieve
Impact – CPEs cannot produce new information on impacts attributable to DFID, but should consider DFID’s contribution to long term outcomes
Sustainability – CPEs should discuss evidence on progress towards sustainability in terms of ownership of reforms, capacity development and resilience to risks.
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