The main purpose of the Italian Evaluation Association (Associazione Italiana di Valutazione - AIV) is to promote the culture of evaluation among the stakeholders involved in the creation and implementation of public policies. In order to achieve its mission, the AIV draws on experts, scholars, public servants and policy-makers dealing with public policies both in the public and the private sector.
About the Association
The AIV, was founded in Rome in February 1997, thanks to the cooperation of several scholars and experts who wanted to promote and develop the evaluation culture (in Italy, back then, there was an increasing interest around the topic of the “evaluation"). Today the Association provides consultancy to experts belonging to both the private sector (the “evaluators") and the public sector (the members of the groups, the researchers), along with those public administrators who are willing to take part in the evaluation processes; moreover, it supports university professors from different disciplines who study and teach evaluation and its related subjects and young people who appear inclined to receive a specific training.
In spite of a certainly different framework the same issues of the past are still valid. How could the culture of the evaluation and the quality of the evaluations be fostered? How to improve the impact of the evaluation culture on the decision-making process? How could the evaluation boost public policies?
The AIV has been expanding from the moment it was founded: it now has around 300 members and is a point of reference for users, evaluators and scholars. Evaluation is being taught in several university courses, post graduate programmes and summer schools. Scientific and methodological publications are growing in number, reversing the trend of the past years. The AIV gave its contribution to this process, thanks to the great effort of its many members and to its essential features:
- multidisciplinary and multi-professional: the Association was created to promote the dialogue among different sectors and professions; it focuses on the evaluation activity which, at the moment, is fragmentary and divided into sectors; it creates interesting occasions in which experiences can be swapped and enriched; economists and sociologists, statisticians and experts of politics, responsible for the administration, health care and social services professionals, trainers, etc. find in the AIV a place in which to discuss and compare ideas;
- vigorous cultural action: being aware of the importance of evaluation has not always led to an equivalent culture of the evaluation. The quantity of studies and evaluation reports over different topics (in terms of object, approach, techniques) increased, yet the places in which to discuss the sense of personal experiences are still rare. The purpose of the AIV is to disseminate and reinforce the evaluation culture in Italy. In order to achieve such purpose, every effort must be made to increase the quality and the use of the evaluation and to convince Institutions and the Public Administration of the necessity to have correct, effective and transparent evaluations. That is why the AIV is promoting congresses, conferences, seminars and other scientific meetings, every four-month issues a review and contributes to the book series published by Franco Angeli;
- ongoing training activity: the AIV has always been active as far as training is concerned, being coherent with its institutional goal that is to “promote and develop the evaluation culture in Italy”. It is precisely for this purpose that, from 1998 the AIV created many evaluation Schools and is starting an e-learning experience;
- clear distinction between association’s actions and professional activities, avoiding any interference: the AIV is exclusively an association of individuals and avoids, according to its statute, to provide services usually supplied by specialized companies;
- strong effort to be an Association which serves its members: the AIV wants to provide for ever-improving services for its members (dissemination of up-to-date and correct information from the sector of evaluation, creation of a central office and a Web site, launch dialogue forums for its members, establish Focus Groups).
The Association aims at those experts who are willing to give their contribution to the training of their professional community comparing and swapping experiences, is thought for the users of the evaluation (senior and public managers, service professionals) that want to participate in the evaluation processes with an improved active attitude, wants to support young people willing to receive a specific training and in general those who, at various levels, appreciate the evaluation culture.
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