The Commonwealth Secretariat (Commonwealth Secretariat) delivers technical assistance TA) on behalf of Commonwealth members, largely through the Commonwealth Fund for Technical Co-operation (CFTC)1. A range of tools and approaches are used to deliver TA, one of the main ones being training, which accounts for 30% of the budget.
In recent years, several training-related evaluations have pointed to the need to undertake a detailed examination of training programmes being delivered in order to determine their effectiveness and relevance as a means of development. The Strategic Planning and Evaluation Division (SPED) Issues Paper in 2008 reviewed the focus of training, workshops, approaches and methodologies and discussed some of the limitations of training as a modality to deliver capacity building outcomes. The Issues Paper
was circulated to all Divisions for feedback, and a consultation seminar was held. This current evaluation builds on the analysis and information compiled by the Issues Paper and elsewhere.
The Terms of Reference (ToR) for the current evaluation set out five objectives for this study.
1. To review current thinking on the relevance, effectiveness and sustainability of training and in the light of this, assess the Secretariat’s strategy and approaches to development through training;
2. To examine the rationale, design and assessment criteria used in the development and delivery of the training activities and identify appropriate changes to enhance
effectiveness and impact;
3. To review management procedures and systems for quality control and performance reporting and the contribution to improved organizational learning, feedback and improvement;
4. To examine the criteria and information base for effective resource allocation and programme planning, in particular the effective use of results information to guide
5. To assess the efficiency of management controls, coordination procedures and contractual arrangements used in delivery of training programmes.
This evaluation explores responses to these objectives in relation to three core areas – strategic planning, operational approaches and the use of results-oriented focus on
outcomes and impacts.
The evaluation took place in four phases and engaged with Commonwealth Secretariat advisers, stakeholders in training in six countries in four regions and in institutions engaged in the two Third Country Training Programmes.