Once you’ve appointed a supplier, arrange an inception meeting with them to discuss the practicalities and agree next steps. At this stage you should also share any other factors that might affect the evaluation, e.g. around staffing, funding, project delivery, IT systems, or stakeholder relationships.
Establishing a good rapport with the supplier will help you enormously, so spend time developing a relationship. Set up clear and practical communication channels, and agree regular progress checks such as weekly email updates or phone calls. It’s best to have a single point of contact to liaise with them, but consider who else they might need to talk to and how – e.g. a steering group or wider stakeholders.
If it’s a long or multi-stage evaluation, hold occasional review meetings (internally, and with the supplier) to discuss how things are going. Don’t be afraid to change things that aren’t working, and let the evaluation evolve if it needs to, provided it will still achieve the objectives.
At the end of the contracted work, evaluate the evaluation! Reflect on, log and share what worked well, and what you might do differently next time.