Commissioning decisions should be informed by the best available evidence. This helps to improve outcomes for patients and makes sure that scarce resources are used efficiently and effectively. Likewise, evaluation can help you to consider what works, what doesn’t work and how things can be improved.
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. Watch our short videos to learn more.
Evaluation online network
The Evaluation Online Network provides virtual support and guidance on evaluation activity. It’s an initiative from the West of England Evaluation Strategy Group at NIHR ARC West, and is based on an email group system. Find out more here and contact Jo Bangoura on firstname.lastname@example.org to join the network.
Best practice guidelines
The West of England Evaluation Strategy Group have also developed two sets of best practice guidance on ethics and governance of service evaluation and patient and public involvement (PPI) in evaluation. This guidance is aimed at anyone conducting service evaluations in health and social care. Download the summary guidelines:
For further information and the full guidelines visit the NIHR ARC West website.
Other evidence and evaluation partners
- National Institute for Health Research Applied Research Collaboration – NIHR ARC West
- Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCG Research and Evidence Team
- University of the West of England’s Centre for Health and Clinical Research