All submitted projects, which meet the eligibility criteria, are assessed against eight evaluation criteria:
- Innovation: i.e. the novelty of the solution, the degree to which the case shows a leap of creativity in the practice of public administration (which may include intelligent adaptation, update and extension of past practices or actions), and demonstrates something different that goes beyond what currently exists.
- Stakeholder involvement: i.e. the case shows evidence of stakeholder involvement, e.g. evidence of public and civil society cooperation and/or response to consultation, evidence of political support; in particular, evidence of intelligent engagement with stakeholders which can influence the design and production of services, smart partnership and governance models.
- Relevance of actions taken: i.e. the particular needs and constraints of the context, the target groups and final beneficiaries, and how the actions address their real needs.
- Impact/results: i.e. the realisation of planned objectives and activities; the illustration of proven evidence of benefits, visible impact and tangible results, (which may be based on objectively high levels of achievement).
- Sustainability: i.e. the case shows or describes elements which allow it to be sustained beyond an initial period of the realisation of its objectives and of its activities.
- Transferability and learning capacity: i.e. the case has potential value and lessons to be learnt for other entities because it provides the potential for successful replication in other contexts (different Member States and levels of government); it stimulates a learning, innovation and self-improvement culture within the entity.
- Social inclusion: i.e. the case provides evidence of consideration and application of diversity issues, including, but not restricted to, consideration of gender, age, disability and geographical location.
- Effect on financial sustainability and economic growth: i.e. the case is based on an assessment of the effect of decisions made on public finances (e.g. deficit/debt) and future economic recovery (employment, output, skills, etc.).
Sufficient detail must also be provided in the applications to demonstrate the quality of the achievements of the case and the lessons learnt.
The assessment is carried out in an independent and impartial multi-step evaluation process.
In the first step, a set number of projects within a concrete award category is allocated to each evaluator based on their professional background and sector (a mix of academia, the practice field and the private sector), nationality (evaluators may not assess projects from their country of origin or employment) and gender. Each project is assessed online, independently and exclusively, by different experts. The evaluators do not know each other, or how the other evaluator assessed the respective project.
During the Consensus Meeting (Step 2), all evaluators come together to review and discuss the first available provisional ranking based on their individual scorings and possible discrepancies. Furthermore, they unanimously decide on the Best Practice Certificate Recipients and on the top short-listed projects in each award category for the onsite visits.
The third step - the onsite visits – serves to validate and verify the results and recommendations of the previous two evaluation steps, i.e. to spot-check whether the content of the application form of the project corresponds to the “reality”; to find the answers to the un-answered questions raised by the evaluators, to detect possible inconsistencies and to gather additional or missing information and data. EIPA representatives do not re(assess) the projects!
The fourth and final step consists of the Jury Meeting, where five jurors (high-ranking stakeholders and/or political personalities, separate from the evaluators) decide on the nominees and the award winners in each category and the third award based on the short-listed projects of the on-site visits.