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ETHICAL AND POLITICAL CONSIDERATIONS

Evaluation is inextricably linked to ethical and political issues. As has already been stressed, an important consideration when agreeing to carry out an evaluation is the existence of an intention to use the findings in some way. Typically the intended use is by makers of policy when making decisions about the program being evaluated. There is, of course, no guarantee the findings will actually be used. Policy-making is by definition political. A small-scale evaluation focusing on some possible change of practice in a work setting concerns the exercise of power which can affect the working life and conditions of those involved. Evaluations in public services are linked to social policies and priorities, at root deriving from party political (Politics with a large P) initiatives, as well as within-service uses of power. Cheetham et al. (1992, p. 149) discuss these links in the context of social work where there is an ...

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