Events like the National Multiple Needs Summit (22nd April 2015) are always a great opportunity for evaluators like me to have our beloved measures and outcomes illuminated by the personal touch of human experience. Over 300 delegates filed into the circular grand Assembly Hall of Church House in Westminster taking in the impressive glass dome and oak panelled walls. The building was used by the two houses of parliament during the second world war and has echoed to many an historic speech, including Churchill announcing the sinking of the Bismarck, no less.
What’s the collective name for a group of evaluators? A measure of evaluators perhaps? Or how about a puzzling of evaluators? A squabbling of evaluators? Hopefully not the latter. I recently met with fellow evaluators working on strategic investments funded by the Big Lottery Fund. The investments vary from the very young (A Better Start) to old (Ageing Better), from specific needs (NEET young people) to multiple needs (homelessness, substance misuse, offending and mental health). However, there is much common ground in relation to evaluation, with those involved seeking to measure the true impact of those investments and find out ‘what works’, for whom and in what circumstances. […]
It’s not uncommon for evaluators to be called in at the last minute when a service or project is coming to an end (and running out of money) and being asked to ‘prove that it works’. And preferably by the end of the month please! So you appreciate you’re onto a good thing when you get the chance to work on a large-scale evaluation over an eight year period and you get involved in that work before the service delivery actually starts.