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

Our work in evaluation is supported by the West of England Evaluation Strategy Group, which has developed a strategy to support the spread of and best practice in evaluation across the region. The strategy promotes the development of an evaluation culture.

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.”

Helping you with evaluation

We have produced an online evaluation toolkit for health professionals and commissioners, to guide you through the evaluation process. This was developed in partnership with the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) and the Avon Primary Care Research Collaborative (APCRC). The toolkit includes a five step guide to the evaluation lifecycle, an evaluation planning checklist, a set of local case studies and other resources.

The West of England AHSN commissioned the University of the West of England (UWE Bristol) to produce a series of videos explaining evaluation, to support health professionals and commissioners in preparing and undertaking evaluation.

The Evaluation Online Network provides virtual support and guidance on evaluation activity. It’s open to anyone in the West of England and beyond who has an interest in evaluation, and is based on an email group system. Join the network by emailing Jo Bangoura on j.bangoura@nhs.net.

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. If you’re interested in attending, complete this form.

Developing the west of England evaluation strategy

pope event

The interactive Principles of Pragmatic Evaluation workshop was held on 16 December 2015, and was led by Dr Peter Brindle, Evaluation Lead at NIHR CLAHRC West and Leader for Commissioning Evidence Informed Care at the West of England Academic Health Science Network (AHSN). It was jointly organised by CLAHRC West, the West of England AHSN, Avon Primary Care Research Collaborative (APCRC) and Bristol Health Partners. The event brought together 30 people with an interest in evaluation, including commissioners, researchers and the public, with a view to developing a joint vision for evaluation across the region.

West of England case studies

The evaluation toolkit has a range of case studies to inspire you to do your own evaluation. Or, do you have a case study you are willing to share? If so, please contact Jo Bangoura on j.bangoura@nhs.net.

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.