Winner, Award for Contribution to Evaluation in Canada, 2004
This CES prize is awarded to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the theory and/or practice of evaluation in Canada. This contribution is typically a cumulative effort over an extended period of time of theory and/or practice of evaluation in Canada in a significant manner.
Mr. Robert Lahey's nomination for the 2004 CES Contribution to Evaluation in Canada award was submitted by a broad cross-section of the evaluation community. The list of individuals supporting his nomination included Senior Public Servants who have played key oversight roles in the federal government; former CES Award winners, and a cross-section of Heads of Evaluation of federal departments and agencies.
Bob has contributed significantly to the federal evaluation community, particularly over the last three years as Head of the Centre of Excellence for Evaluation in Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS). Challenged with the need to revitalize the evaluation function in government, Bob spearheaded a broad set of community development and capacity building initiatives, including an Evaluator Internship Program for the federal community. In addition to helping rebuild evaluation capacity across the federal system, this has served to put a focus on both the short- and longer-term needs of the Evaluation function in the federal government. Additionally, the securing of $15 million for the function (on top of the $11 million that had already been invested ) was due in large part to the effort that Bob personally led in making the case for the Evaluation function in the public sector.
Bob's work around evaluation and performance measurement and monitoring has been significant to the practice of evaluation in the federal sphere. Nearly ten years ago, while Head of Evaluation and Performance Measurement at the Public Service Commission (PSC), Bob used the impetus of the government's initiative to foster 'improved reporting to Parliament' to introduce a broad set of concepts and tools around performance measurement and evaluation that have been replicated many times over across the system and can be found embedded in the underpinnings of the government's revised Evaluation Policy. He used this, as Head of the Centre of Excellence for Evaluation, to develop guidelines and promote a learning strategy to increase the understanding around the important but changing role played by evaluators in the government's vision of 'results based management'.
Associated with this was the roll-out of the Results Based Management and Accountability Frameworks (RMAFs), a concept that implicated Evaluators, but one that was not well understood by the system in general at the time that TBS was introducing it. Bob's strategy was not the typical TBS approach. He recognized a need to be proactive in informing/educating a variety of audiences beyond the traditional evaluators that also included program managers in departments and analysts in TBS. Guidelines which were recognized at the outset as being 'evergreen', were complemented by a broad program of workshops and learning events, many of which were delivered in partnership with the CES. He essentially put into effect a 'continuous learning strategy' that fundamentally recognized the need to learn from the experiences of one another and feed this into deliberations of the Policy Centre within TBS.
Bob has volunteered his time to the profession in a variety of ways that have served both to promote good practices of the profession and to teach and mentor evaluators at all levels. Over the past two decades he has been a regular presenter to the CES annual conference as well as to local chapter and other professional events in the NCC. He was part of the original CES team that designed and presented the 'Essential Skills Series' on 'Understanding Evaluation' to the NCC community. He has recognized the importance of succession planning for evaluators and, over his last three years while Head of the CEE, has taken a supportive role for the CES Student Case Competition as well as directly contributing to any and all learning events asked of him that involved interns and public administration students.
Bob's work and stature have been recognized by the international community, as he has twice in the last three years been invited to speak as the Canadian representative to international conferences and participate in workshops on evaluation and performance monitoring.
I ask you to join me in recognizing Bob Lahey as a most deserving recipient of the 2004 Contribution to Evaluation in Canada award.