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Evaluation Services

Background

Despite the multi-million-pound investment across the UK in public health approaches to crime and violence reduction, only a small percentage of frontline projects are ever evaluated.

The result is that organisations and funders are missing opportunities to ensure that  their investments are making an impact and that the desired benefits of the work are evidenced and sustained.

It also means that the opportunities to continually test and improve access to the service, its processes and outcomes are also lost.

Our mission

Our team is dedicated to ensuring that:

  • Projects we support deliver for their intended target audience.
  • Learning from evaluation research we carry out, is used by our partners to ensure their services are continuously improved, providing the best services they can.
  • The process of project monitoring, reporting and evaluation is as pain-free for our partners as possible, allowing them to stay focussed on frontline delivery while we manage data capture and monitoring, interview and case study preparation, and evaluation reporting in the background.
  • Our partners are able to tell the story of their impact comprehensively for the public and funders, and that their account is substantiated by a robust, independent, peer-reviewed evidence base.
  • Evaluation support is available at prices which are affordable for project providers and not at the expense of frontline services.

Our services

With the vast range of expertise within our team – comprising researchers, business experts, and data analysts – we can provide you with full research design, advice, and consultancy on your project and service evaluations.

We offer a variety of methods for data-collection including face to face interviewing, focus groups, surveys, and a range of innovative online tools.

We will analyse all the quantitative data and qualitative feedback for our partners and will produce full or summary reports supported by case studies, clear data sets and analysis.

Our services include:

Consultation, Advice and Support

Before undertaking an evaluation, we can undertake an initial phase of consultation with our partner’s key project staff to:

  • Ensure we fully understand the aims and objectives of planned project work and the logic model or theory of change that underpins the project;
  • Review the way the project team plans to capture the kind of information which will feed the evaluation work and to carry out a “mapping” exercise to capture the proposed project monitoring and management information-collection methods (including in-house questionnaires and/or assessment tools)
  • Discuss the design and delivery of a project monitoring framework which:
  • is consistent,
  • is easy to use,
  • has potential to generate good quality data,
  • can be harmonised with other systems within the organisation,
  • allows for consistent collection of all the information needed both to oversee and manage the project’s work, and to address key issues central to the evaluation,
  • allows key project members to have access to dashboards and key management reporting to suit their day to day needs.

At the end of that initial phase of work, we will submit a range of options to you, advising on the best framework for data-collection, the various tools which can be used to capture the essential data central to the evaluation and the software that might be used most effectively to house the information and to allow staff to query, monitor and report routinely on the data.

Evaluation

We can design and deliver mixed method evaluation of projects and services with the following components:

Outcome evaluation – to assess the extent to which the proposed interventions generate positive outcomes in relation to individual clients or project-users, families, support networks and others. We can assess intermediate outcomes related to emotional wellbeing and the management of key trauma symptoms, as well as outcomes relating to key areas including substance misuse, involvement in offending, violence or antisocial behaviour, “employability” and subsequent involvement in education and employment, and the acquisition of practical and other life skills.

In order to keep costs low, we arrange for as much information as possible to be generated via routine monitoring, and we supplement this with primary data-collection using direct interviews and focus groups, and a range of online tools.

Process evaluation – this strand of our research is designed to generate evidence concerning the effectiveness of your programme delivery and to identify any implementation issues, and to help you describe the actual functioning of the components of the programme in the short, medium, and longer term. This strand of our work often involves conducting staged  interviews with representatives from key partner agencies during  the evaluation period.

Tracking/case study components – in order to add some depth to the results from the outcome and process evaluation strands, we can design, develop, and deliver a set of carefully chosen case studies, highlighting key individual “pathways” for individuals engaging with the project. This provides a unique opportunity for the evaluation to examine “causal chains” in much more detail and to understand some of the factors that might affect the durability of the impacts that we identify in the short and medium terms.

Assessment of costs and benefits – in our view, it is critical for projects to be able to demonstrate what the cost-benefit impacts of their work might be. We use a set of bespoke tools that we have developed to generate “cost-benefit timelines” for individual participants.  This involves detailing inputs and impacts over time for individual case studies, and using carefully chosen cost estimates drawn from approved sources, to assign values into the model, for:

  • Reactive costs – such as the cost of a typical A&E visit, or for an arrest with detainment);
  • Pro-active costs – such as the cost of the intervention itself, but also the cost of other services which the participant might access;
  • Benefits – such as reductions in problematic behaviour or incidents, or the benefits associated with outcomes achieved in relation to key areas of need such as substance misuse, accommodation, employment and training, or health.

This component of our work has the potential to generate important indicative conclusions about the cost-benefit impacts and social value of our partners’ projects and programmes.

Our Team

Our team members have between them many years’ experience in:

  • the design and delivery of evaluation research,
  • working with voluntary sector and other organisations to design or improve data-collection systems for monitoring and evaluation,
  • delivering research focusing on links between violence and trauma,
  • delivering research focusing on young people (and vulnerable young people in particular) and on families and wider support networks,
  • designing robust tools to measure key intermediate outcomes, and
  • developing theories of change with partners, to inform evaluation frameworks.

Our evaluation work is led by:

Jonathan Green

Jonathan leads the company’s Research and Evaluation team. He has been delivering and evaluating change programmes in the private, public and charity sectors since 2014. He is also a Research Associate at University of West London, where he is studying at a Doctoral level, what interventions work in reducing and preventing violence as well as undertaking research focusing on violence, young people, gang activity, exploitation, and London’s evolving drug markets.

Mark Liddle

Mark has run his own evaluation company (ARCS Ltd) over the last 25 years which has designed and delivered over 200 project and programme evaluations with most of these focusing on offending and young people. Mark has overseen ground-breaking studies such as the Beyond Youth Custody and  ‘Wasted Lives’ research (Liddle, M. 1998 “Wasted Lives” – Counting the cost of juvenile offending –  London: Princes Trust/Nacro)  His team has pioneered the design and use of innovative new research tools and methods, including tools for measuring changes in key dimensions of emotional wellbeing, and for allowing service providers to estimate unit costs for particular groups of clients, and an approach for costing individual case studies and extrapolating to wider cohorts. In work on trauma and offending, Mark has experience of undertaking research focusing on  trauma and young offenders, establishing key features of trauma-informed practice for practitioners, and providing guidance to practitioners about trauma in the backgrounds of young offenders.

ARCS and We Can Work It Out Ltd, have a strong established working relationship which has developed over the course of delivering three separate pieces of research, focusing on violence, young people, gang activity, exploitation, and drug markets.

The wider team

The Evaluation team comprises experienced research staff, data and business analysts, project and programme managers and legal advisers.

Despite specialising in evaluation studies of projects and programmes in the criminal justice sector and public health approaches to violence and crime reduction, the team also has experience of evaluating wider projects and change programmes, If you would like to discuss how we can use our expertise to support you, please get in touch.

Next steps

For free initial and confidential advice on evaluation, or to discuss establishing an evaluation partnership with us, please contact us by: