Neutral Assessments of the Evaluation Function


Neutral Assessments of the Evaluation Function

In 2009, the Policy on Evaluation required, for the first time, that federal departments and agencies conduct a neutral assessment, every five years, of their evaluation function. This requirement was reiterated in the Policy on Results (2016) which replaced the previous policy. This assessment can be conducted in various ways and should focus on the capacity of the evaluation units to meet policy requirements. The purpose of the proposed study is to take stock of this practice since its introduction and to summarize key findings from across government. More specifically, the study will examine trends in terms of neutral assessment methodology, findings, and utilization by evaluation units and senior managers.

Overview of results

Video: Bourgeois I, Maltais S (2021) Ten Years of Neutral Assessments: What have we learned?

Presentation file :Bourgeois & Maltais – Neutral Assessments 


  • Bourgeois, I., & Maltais, S. (2022). Evaluating the evaluators: What have we learned from “neutral assessments” of the Canadian federal evaluation function? Canadian Public Administration, 65 (1), February, 122-143,
  • Bourgeois, I., & Maltais, S. (2022). Translating evaluation policy into practice in government organizations. American Journal of Evaluation, December,
  • Fraser, M., Tremblay, G., Bourgeois, I., & Lahey, R.E. (2013). Neutral assessment of the National Research Council Evaluation Function. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation 28 (2), 85-96.

Our work on neutral assessments fits within a broader research program focusing on the federal evaluation function. Amongst several different projects completed in this area, we highlight the following, that share a common interest in evaluation utilization.

  • Bourgeois, I., & Naré, C. (2015). The « usability » of evaluation reports: A precursor to evaluation use in government organizations. Journal of Multidisciplinary Evaluation, 11 (25), 60-67.
  • Bourgeois, I. (2016). Performance measurement as precursor to organizational evaluation capacity. Evaluation Journal of Australasia, 16 (1), 11-18.
  • Bourgeois, I., & Whynot, J. (2018a). The influence of evaluation recommendations on instrumental and conceptual uses: An exploratory study. Evaluation and Program Planning, 68, 13-18. DOI:
  • Bourgeois, I., & Whynot, J. (2018b). Strategic evaluation utilization in the Canadian federal government. Canadian Journal of Program Evaluation, 32 (3), 2018.
  • Bourgeois, I., & Leblanc, L. (2019). L’élaboration et la mise en œuvre des recommandations issues d’évaluations de programmes au gouvernement du Canada. Canadian Public Administration, 62 (2), 294-311.