Rethinking social value

Measuring outcomes and impact

CRESR has substantial expertise in the evaluation of projects and programmes, including assessments of the impact, and economic and social value of outcomes from interventions. We undertake evaluations of complex programmes: for instance, the evaluation of New Deal for Communities, the largest and most comprehensive evaluation of an area-based programme ever commissioned; and the evaluation of Futurebuilders - the first evaluation of a UK government programme to use Social Return on Investment methodology. We also work extensively with agencies in the public and voluntary and community sectors, using a range of methods to identify the impact and value of their work. We take a pragmatic approach to evaluation: not subscribing to a particular tool or approach, but working closely with clients to understand their needs, and using appropriate methodologies to produce robust assessments which can be used to inform service delivery and investment decisions. 

Our expertise includes:

  • development of bespoke evaluation frameworks including tools for self-evaluation
  • measuring and valuing outputs and outcomes
  • establishing impact and additionality
  • calculating Social Return on Investment
  • cost-benefit analysis.
Search our work

Evaluation of the More than Food Programme

Project Director: Chris Dayson
Project Duration: 2016-2018

In June 2016 CRESR was appointed to evaluate the 'More than Food' programme on behalf of the Trussell Trust.

The work of the Trussell Trust, a 400-strong network of foodbanks across the UK, has grown in size and prominence as a response to food poverty in post-austerity Britain.

The More Than Food Programme was developed to offer support to clients beyond emergency food provision with the aim of addressing the underlying causes of food poverty and crises within a single community hub.

The programme, which has received funding from a range of sources, including the Big Lottery Fund and Comic Relief, focuses on four main areas:

  • Money management
  • Healthy eating
  • Holiday clubs for families
  • Tackling fuel poverty.

The More Than Food Programme was endorsed in Feeding Britain - the report of the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into hunger in the UK. The report recommended a formal roll-out of a 'one stop shop' model of delivery, seeking to address the underlying causes and the symptoms of food poverty 'by providing advice, skills and advocacy services, as well as food and human friendship, under one roof'.

Planning hospital discharge to maximise positive experiences and outcomes for frail older people

Project Director: Jan Gilbertson
Project Duration: 2017-2018

The Doncaster Hospital Discharge Pathway study is an in depth qualitative evaluation of two investment areas of the Better Care Fund: the Hospital Discharge Pathway (HDP) and associated discharge pathways. The study follows patients' journeys from hospital discharge in order to track patient and carer experience, impacts and outcomes. It provides a unique insight into what navigating the health and social care system feels like to those who are experiencing it. Detailed case studies and timelines were developed and these are a visual representation of the patient journey. Each timeline contains research derived key messages for the planning and delivery of health and social care services. However, this is not enough to ensure that the evidence gets into policy and practice. The research team have an interest in and experience of doing this and in particular around the use of pen portraits as the means of mobilising knowledge.

Housing+ Evaluation

Project Director: Professor Ed Ferrari
Project Duration: 2016-2018

Housing+ is a new model for delivering an integrated and enhanced housing service to council house customers in Sheffield. The overall aim of this evaluation is to explore whether, and how, the Housing+ service may achieve improvements in health and wellbeing of council housing customers, in comparison to the current service, and identify the associated direct and indirect costs.

Addressing transport barriers to work in low income neighbourhoods

Project Director: Dr Richard Crisp
Project Duration 2017-2018

This research is looking at how transport acts as a barrier to work in low income neighbourhoods, particularly in more peripheral locations. It will use a mixture of mapping and resident interviews to examine employment options and propensity to commute. The findings will be used to develop policy and practice recommendations for overcoming transport-related barriers to work.

An evaluation of Cash Smart Credit Savvy

Project Director: Jan Gilbertson
Project Duration: 2016-2017

The Church Urban Fund's Cash Smart Credit Savvy project seeks to improve financial capability by offering introductory training around basic budgeting skills and through utilizing existing community links and networks to encourage participation. The use of a cascading model is designed to encourage participants to share knowledge with others and spread important financial capability messages.

Get in touch

For further information please contact Professor Peter Wells at or call 0114 225 6262, or Sarah Pearson at or call 0114 225 4902.

Key clients

Age UK
Bolton CVS
Church Urban Fund
CLAHRC Yorkshire and Humberside
Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care for South Yorkshire (CLAHRC SY)
European Women’s Audiovisual Network
Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT)
Heritage Lottery Fund
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
Lambeth Council
NHS England
Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action
Northern Rock Foundation
Oldham Council
Stockport Metropolitan Borough Council
Trussell Trust
Yorkshire Adoption Agency
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