Review of the Danish Evaluation Institute

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Restricted independence

The EVA Act affirms the independence of the evaluation institute in relation to the ministries and this was also made clear during the site visit. The lack of interference by both ministries in EVA’s evaluations was adduced by EVA’s management as one example of this independence: the contents of the reports are the responsibility of the institute itself.

But the expert panel feel that other forms of dependence may exist. Both ministries exert influence over EVA’s operations. This may not be surprising in the relationship between a state agency and the Government. What makes the issue of independence particularly pertinent where EVA is concerned is above all the complexity of the relationships the institute has in the educational system and to the government – EVA has links with every educational sector and several ministries – as well as the various and changeable conditions that apply to these relationships both with the sectors and the ministries.

EVA’s position in relationship to the ministries appears moreover to be unclear. It seems as if it is difficult for the government to decide what EVA’s role should be – an agency serving the government’s needs or an independent evaluator.

The opinion of the expert panel is that independence from the powers-that-be is decisive for the long-term results of an evaluation organisation.

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