Established in 2006, the Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE) at AusAID builds stronger evidence for more effective aid.
ODE draws its evidence from in-depth evaluations and reviews of Australian aid, analysis of AusAID performance systems, and collaborations with leading international think tanks and research organisations to influence and advise the Australian aid program.
In 2012, ODE formulated a new policy to guide its evaluation work. This evaluation policy aims to provide clarity to AusAID staff, partners and the broader public about the purpose of ODE’s work, how it identifies evaluation priorities, the types of evaluations it conducts, and its approach to conducting evaluations and communicating their results.
In recent years there has been increasing interest in the use of evaluation to contribute to the evidence base on what works and what doesn't in aid. As an independent unit within AusAID, ODE is uniquely placed to assess performance across the Australian aid program and bring international best practice to bear in identifying new and better ways of working. The evaluation program for ODE is framed in this context and targets areas where effectiveness can be improved.
In conducting these evaluations, ODE is guided by relevant professional standards including the Australasian Evaluation Society's guidelines for the ethical conduct of evaluations [PDF 373kb], and the DAC quality standards for development evaluation [PDF 1.77mb].
ODE manages a program of flagship evaluations, usually led by senior, internationally recognised figures. ODE's evaluation program is based on the following criteria:
- relevance to policy or budget priorities
- whole of government interest
- cross program relevance.
In its new aid policy statement responding to the Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness, the Government agreed to establish an Independent Evaluation Committee that will work with ODE to oversee a small number of high quality independent evaluations and an annual synthesis and quality assurance report. ODE is preparing terms of reference for the committee, which will be in place in July 2012.
ODE analyses and reports on performance information generated through the aid program's quality and program management systems. ODE works closely with AusAID’s Program Effectiveness and Performance Division to improve systems for performance management and reporting of the aid program.
ODE has published three Annual Reviews of Development Effectiveness (ARDE) since 2008, which draw on evaluation findings and analysis of data from AusAID’s reporting and performance management systems. The annual review contributes to the transparency and accountability of the Australian aid program and provides a link between increasing budget allocations and increased aid effectiveness.
The 2011 Independent Review of Aid Effectiveness recommended the Annual Review of Development Effectiveness be discontinued. In response, the Government has thus decided to publish an annual synthesis and quality assurance report instead, which will be overseen by the Independent Evaluation Committee.
ODE collaborates with international leaders in analysis of aid effectiveness and impact to bring international experience and learning to the Australian aid program. ODE’s partners include the International Institute for Impact Evaluation (3IE), the Brookings Institution, the Centre for Aid and Public Expenditure (ODI-CAPE) and the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group’s Regional Centres for Learning on Evaluation and Results (IEG-CLEAR).
An Independent Evaluation Committee (IEC) has been established to strengthen the independence and credibility of the work of the Office of Development Effectiveness (ODE).
4 October, 2012