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The Gradient Evaluation Framework (GEF)

The Gradient Evaluation Framework is a toolkit to help you assess whether a policy will contribute to greater health equity among children and their families.  It came out of a three-year (2009-2012) collaborative research project involving 12 European organizations in academia and public health.  The project was coordinated by EuroHealthNet and received funding from the European community. 

The toolkit is a flexible collection of checklists, worksheets, activities, strategies, questions and case examples to help you design or evaluate policies aimed at reducing health inequities.  You can download a mobile device application (Mac and Android compatible) from the website.

The application section of the document has two dimensions, each of which informs the design of “gradient-friendly” policy action.

  • Dimension 1 has checklists for each of eight key areas
  • Dimension 2 describes more detailed self-assessment steps and activities

An impetus to design the Gradient Evaluation Framework was EuroHealthNet’s recognition that the evidence base is weak for both effective health equity policies and evaluation frameworks.  Since its creation, this Framework has undergone a formal consensus-building process with external experts from European member states.

A description and assessment of this tool is also available, in English and French, in the National Collaborating Centre for Methods and Tools’ (CCMT) online registry: 

Use this resource to

  • understand the effects of policies on the health of the most disadvantaged, the gap between better-off and worse-off groups, and the social gradient
  • undertake either a rapid assessment or an in-depth review of your current policies to predict their impact on health equity among children and their families
  • design new policies to reduce health inequities

Davies, J.K. & Sherriff, N.S. (2012). The gradient evaluation framework (GEF): A European framework for designing and evaluating policies and actions to level-up the gradient in health inequalities among children, young people and their families. Brighton, UK: University of Brighton.  Retrieved from the Gradient Project website:

Tags: Early childhood development, Evaluation, Healthy public policy, Knowledge translation , Methods & tools, Link

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