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RFP-- Evaluation of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health’s impact on Public Health practice and policy in Canada

Antigonish, Nova Scotia
Deadline August 1, 2011

Date of Issue Request for Proposals: July 7, 2011
Date Proposal Due: Monday, August 1, 2011

Description of Work: Evaluation of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health’s impact on Public Health practice and policy in Canada

The National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH) intends to evaluate the impact the centre has on public health practitioners, researchers, organizations, and indirectly on practice and policy in Canada.  This Request for Proposals (RFP) is to develop an evaluation plan, including critical path (activities and timeline) and a breakdown of costs for the overall plan and for implementation of each component of the plan.

The opportunity for the contracted third-party evaluator will be to work with the NCCDH to refine its evaluation framework and methods. We are seeking a multi-year relationship until March 2015, utilizing single-year contracts renewable annually upon fulfillment of expectations and NCCDH satisfaction with the working relationship and deliverables.   

1. Background

A. National Collaborating Centre for Public Health Program

The National Collaborating Centres for Public Health (NCCPH) program contributes to effectiveness and efficiency of the Canadian public health system – organizations and programs, front-line practitioners, program managers, policy-makers and researchers. The NCCPH mission is to translate relevant evidence produced by academics and researchers to make public health programs and policies more effective by increasing awareness of new and existing knowledge; identifying and helping address public health priorities; collaborating with established public health networks, facilitating the development of new networks, and identifying gaps in knowledge and relevant applied research.

The NCCPH includes six centres, each of which focuses on different populations or issues. In addition to the NCCDH, the centres address Aboriginal health, environmental health, healthy public policy, infectious disease, and methods and tools (for evidence-informed decision-making). The centres work together to share, expand and bring together networks and strategies to foster knowledge translation in public health. The program was established in 2005 and is funded by the Public Health Agency of Canada.  

B. National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health

Hosted by St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, N.S., the NCCDH supports Public Health to correct inequities in health by addressing social and economic factors that influence the health of Canadians. (1) To fulfill our mandate, the NCCDH uses knowledge synthesis, translation and exchange (KSTE) approaches to assess and analyze evidence, inform our stakeholders, and support adoption of best available evidence regarding public health interventions to address social determinants of health and health equity. One definition of KSTE is "the exchange, synthesis and ethically sound application of research findings within a complex system of relationships among researchers and knowledge users as part of a large process to incorporate research knowledge into policies, and practice to improve the health of a population" (Keifer, 2005).

The NCCDH does not perform research studies. Instead, we gather the best evidence and information. We seek evidence grounded in scholarly research and also gained through practice experience, reflection and evaluation. Our task is to ‘translate’ the evidence making it accessible, available and relevant to our users. Our core users are public health organizations and practitioners. Our niche in the coming period is evidence to help public health know what to do and especially how to take action that promotes health equity.

The NCCDH is in the midst of renewal (e.g. new leadership, staff and strategic approach). As such, we are reviewing and updating our evaluation methods.

Evaluation Planning and Implementation

2. Roles

A. The NCCDH will be responsible for:

  1. Selecting and contracting the primary external evaluation consultant.
  2. Contributing to the development of and approving plans and schedules of evaluation subcomponents.
  3. Providing consultation to the evaluation consultant regarding (but not limited to) recommendations for key informants, documents, survey participants, survey instruments, data sources, data retention.
  4. Translation of major plans and reports from English into French.
  5. Timely input, response and approvals of plans and reports.
  6. Coordination and management of the working relationship with the evaluation consultant (e.g. a single key contact, ensuring strategic input, potentially striking an evaluation committee).

The successful evaluation consultant will be responsible for the following tasks:

  1. Working with the NCCDH to refine our existing evaluation framework (2) as a foundational document for the evaluation plan.
  2. Providing an evaluation plan. (See next section regarding evaluation expectations.)
  3. Implementing the approved plan; conducting the evaluation.
  4. Provision of all necessary staff and equipment to carry out the evaluation, including, but not limited to, microphones and recording devices, transcription, survey software and analytic software, as required.
  5. Ensuring an appropriate schedule and staying to timeline. (Note that the evaluation plan and major reports will be produced in both official languages; the evaluation consultant must schedule sufficient time for translation.)
  6. Coordination and management of the working relationship with the NCCDH.

B. Evaluation plan expectations

The plan that the successful evaluation consultant will develop with the NCCDH is expected to include:

  • Significant attention to outcomes, as well as means to measure outputs, client reach and network growth.
  • Utilize both quantitative and qualitative indicators and data sources.
  • External review, including international input (currently anticipated in 2011-12).
  • User and stakeholder assessment, e.g. focus groups, interviews, survey (currently anticipated in 2011-12 and 2013-14). This is anticipated to address perception of value add/gain, satisfaction, etc. and how evidence and resources provided by the NCCDH are being used, with analysis of changes over time (e.g. cohort or interrupted time series).
  • Staff and advisory board informants’ reflection.
  • Consultation with others who are evaluating knowledge translation in public health in Canada (currently anticipated in 2011-12).

Note that the NCCDH’s internal language of business is English. Our clients, however, include unilingual Francophones, and our funding requires fulfillment of Federal official language expectations. Accordingly, the successful evaluation consultant must demonstrate ability to assess outcomes for and obtain input from Francophone users.  

Although at the current time the NCC evaluations are at the centre-level, it is anticipated that coordination, cooperation and collaboration regarding NNCPH and cross/joint-NCC evaluation will increase in 2011-12 and over the period between now and 2015. The evaluation plan and the evaluation consultant should demonstrate flexibility to accommodate changes as the NCCs evolve as a ‘federated network’ with common interests and mandate.   

3.  Proposal requirements and selection

A. Submission components

  1. Your approach to developing and implementing the evaluation plan, including critical path, timelines and cost estimates (overall and for each component, e.g. days per component at daily rate).
  2. Primary person responsible for developing the plan and conducting the evaluation.
  3. Access to two outcome evaluation reports done for other groups.
  4. Three references with whom you have conducted outcome evaluations. You may provide either name, email and phone number or letters of recommendation which include name, phone number and email contact information.

B.  Selection Criteria and Process

The following are the criteria we will use in the selection process:

  1. Detailed plan, timeline, ect. to develop an effective multi-year evaluation plan.
  2. Potential for excellent working relationship, including flexibility.
  3. Demonstrated evidence of high standard of outcome and related evaluation.
  4. Experience working with clients in the public health, not-for-profit, educational, community/social or other related sectors.
  5. Proposed cost (overall and for each component).
  6. The proposal must demonstrate ability to obtain appropriate input from Francophone stakeholders and sources; bilingual capacity within the core evaluation team will be considered an asset.
  7. Strong recommendations from at least 2 references.
  8. Compliance with deadline.

The RFP will be reviewed in detail according to the above criteria. Selection will be made by August 19, 2011 and all applicants will be promptly notified.

Your submission should be limited to 10 pages and sent on Monday, August 1, 2011 by email to Faith Layden at flayden@stfx.ca, with a copy to Dawna MacDonald at mdmacdon@stfx.ca

If you have any questions, please contact Faith Layden, Program Manager, National Collaborating Centre - Determinants of Health at flayden@stfx.ca or 902-867-6136

Endnotes
(1) The range of social, economic and environmental factors that determine the health status of individuals and populations are referred to as ‘social determinants of health.’ ‘Health inequity’ refers to differences in health status that are unnecessary and avoidable, and thus, unfair.

(2)   In early 2011 the NCCDH developed a preliminary evaluation framework, including a logic model and is available for review. If you are interested, please contact us: nccdh@stfx.ca.  It is expected that your proposal will indicate, at a high level, the extent to which this preliminary framework will guide your approach and include suggestions about how you, working with us, would strengthen the framework.