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Top tips for an evaluation brief

In this step you will learn to draft your brief.

Three people having a meeting in front of a white board where one person is pointing out something to another person.
It is worth investing time and thought in drafting a brief for your external evaluator. The more comprehensive and relevant the brief, the more likely you are to get high quality responses to the opportunity. 

Make sure you have consulted with all the relevant colleagues you need to when drafting the brief.

Think about how you will advertise the opportunity, which channels you will use, and what sort of evaluator you are looking for: a university or research centre, an agency or an individual freelancer.

Think about your selection criteria – what will you use to decide between the different applicants? Create a clear set of requirements and score each proposal against your criteria, in the same way you would with any other recruitment.

What to include in your brief

Outline of your project or programme

An outline of your project or programme, especially the timescales, and where you are now. You don’t need to go into a lot of detail, but it’s really useful for consultants to understand the scale of what you are doing.

Purpose of the evaluation

The purpose of the evaluation: Why do you need it? Who is it for? 

For example: We are seeking an independent evaluator to help us understand the impacts of the programme, identify our learning, and to report to our funder.

Outcomes, objectives, impacts

Do you already have a clear sense of your outcomes/objectives/impacts or are you looking for the evaluator to help you formulate these? If you do know your outcomes/objectives/impacts, list them. For example: 

The three central aims of the programme are: 

  1. More young people in East London schools engaged in creative activities. 
  2. More schools able to access the wide range of East London’s cultural offer to meet their needs. 
  3. A stronger commitment and practical understanding of how to deliver cultural education across partners.

Evaluation framework 

Is there a particular evaluation framework or approach you would prefer them to use or are you open to their suggestions? See Week 1, Activity 3: Models of evaluation.

Expectations of the evaluator

What are you expecting the evaluator to do? Do they need to design and implement all the evaluation activities, will they be undertaking the data collection? Will they be responsible for analysis and report writing? Are there any internal resources available to support them, for example an existing account with survey software, or volunteers to help with surveying? Do you already have any relevant evidence or data collection already in place? If so, provide some brief details. 

For example: We are collecting feedback after every workshop about what participants have learnt, how the workshops could be better, and how they heard about us. We have 150 completed forms. 

Which evaluation outputs do you need the evaluator to deliver? A framework, or a comprehensive evaluation report? Will the report be for internal or external use? 

What criteria will you use to select your evaluator? What are you looking for? Do they need experience in a particular evaluation approach, do they need knowledge of a particular arts sector? For example:

We are looking for a consultant who has: 


  • A proven track record in the successful completion of evaluation work with museums and/or heritage centres  
  • Experience of research, consultation and plan development
    An understanding of the Heritage Lottery Fund guidelines for evaluation
  • Able to travel to [place] for meetings with staff and consultations with local communities


  • Experience of developing plans for Heritage Lottery applications
  • Experience of community engagement 


What is the fee/budget for their evaluation services? Does it include or exclude VAT and/or expenses? 

What next?

What do you need the evaluator to do next? Be clear about what you need potential evaluators to provide you with. Providing a proposal is the most common approach, sometimes a CV too. If you are trying to expand the range of people you work with, will you accept a video proposal or another format? Are you positively encouraging people who are currently under-represented in the cultural workforce to apply? If so, make this explicit. 

If you do want a proposal, provide an outline of what it needs to contain, this is useful for you to help you compare proposals, and for consultants so they provide what you need. It can also be useful to specify a maximum length. 

For example: The tender response should be a maximum of 6 sides of A4. CV(s) should be included as an appendix.

Your tender response to the brief should include: 

  • A summary of your approach to the work, evaluation methods, allocation of days, timing and budget 
  • Case studies of two similar projects that you have undertaken, highlighting experience, skills and/or knowledge that can inform your approach to this project
  • Brief CV of consultant(s) 
  • Details of two references 

Please submit as a PDF file to:

Refer to the Example evaluation brief attached in the Downloads section below.  

In order to review and refine your evaluation plan, there are certain things you need to consider. We’ll explore this in the next step. 

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Evaluation for Arts, Culture, and Heritage: Principles and Practice

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