At NIHR CLAHRC West, we worked collaboratively across the region to promote and support best practice in evaluation for health and social care.

Our work in evaluation was developed through the West of England Evaluation Strategy Group, which disbanded in 2017 having achieved its two-year work plan. The group existed to support the spread of and best practice in evaluation across the region.

What is evaluation?

Evaluation is about judging or comparing the merit or worth of something.

Evaluation can range from being very simple service evaluations to complex evaluative research projects. Each service will require a different approach depending on the purpose of the evaluation, evidence base, stage of development, context of the service, and the resources and timescales for the evaluation.

Evaluations can focus on implementation and learning (formative evaluation), how a service works (process evaluation) and whether it has worked (outcome or summative evaluation) – or all of these aspects over the life cycle of a project.

The West of England Evaluation Strategy Group defines evaluation as:

“A study in which research procedures are used in a systematic way to judge the quality or worth of a service or intervention, providing evidence that can be used to improve it.”

What is evaluation and why is it important?

What is evaluation? from West of England AHSN on Vimeo.

Evaluation toolkit – Evaluation Works

The online evaluation toolkit Evaluation Works is for health professionals and commissioners, to guide you through the evaluation process. The toolkit includes:

Evidence toolkit – Evidence works

The online evidence toolkit Evidence Works was created alongside Evaluation Works. It includes:

Both toolkits were developed in partnership with the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and the Avon Primary Care Research Collaborative (APCRC).

Evaluation training

We offer a range of free evaluation courses, from the two hour ‘Getting started with evaluation’ to the one day ‘Introduction to service evaluation’ course. Check our list of upcoming courses and sign up for our training newsletter for more details.

There is also a selection of online training videos to help you develop your evidence and evaluation skills, and even deliver training in your area:

Evaluation Online Network

The Evaluation Online Network is a virtual group for anyone interested in evaluation in the West of England and beyond. It is led by Pam Moule, Professor of Health Services Research (Service Evaluation) at the University of the West of England, and Jo Bangoura, Evaluation & Commissioning Liaison Manager at the West of England AHSN.

Evaluation best practice and guidance

These two sets of best practice guidance on ethics and governance of service evaluation and patient and public involvement (PPI) in evaluation are aimed at anyone conducting service evaluations in health and social care. Ethics, governance and patient and public involvement are well established in research. But service evaluation often isn’t considered from this perspective. So we have produced this guidance, made up of several documents, to address this.

West of England case studies

The evaluation toolkit has a range of case studies to inspire you to do your own evaluation. The West of England Academic Health Science Network also hosts evaluation case studies drawn from the region.

The Principles of Pragmatic Evaluation (POPE) event

As part of the work of the West of England Evaluation Strategy Group’s work, the Principles of Pragmatic Evaluation workshop on Wednesday 16 December 2015 brought together more than 30 people with an interest in evaluation, including commissioners, researchers and the public.

Other local evaluation expertise

APCRC has a wealth of information to support evaluation activity for commissioners.

UWE’s Centre for Health and Clinical Research has an evaluation theme with information on current evaluation activity.

For more information, contact Jo Bangoura on j.bangoura@nhs.net or 0117 900 2370.