DEval sets up a reference group for every evaluation. It includes representatives from the policy-level (usually the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)) as well as implementing organisations such as the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) or KfW Development Bank and civil society organisations. National or international experts and other relevant actors are also consulted if necessary.
The reference group provides an important sounding board in the evaluation process. It advises the evaluation team, provides the necessary data and background information, provides key contacts and comments on the evaluation process. In this way, it ensures that the evaluation and its results are relevant and useful to development policy.
The DEval evaluation team regularly informs the reference group about the status of the evaluation and the group meets when key milestones are reached. An important factor is that DEval’s work is independent. It reserves the right to make decisions regarding evaluation questions, the design and implementation of the evaluation, its conclusions and recommendations.