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

Recession, Resilience and Rebalancing Social Economies in Northern Ireland's Neighbourhoods

Project Director: Professor Paul Hickman
Project Duration: 2012-2015

This four year study into recession, resilience and rebalancing in Northern Ireland's disadvantaged neighbourhoods was funded by the Office for First Minister and Deputy First Minister.

An SROI Evaluation of Sheffield Family Learning Generation Link Project

Project Director: Chris Dayson
Project Duration: 2012-2014

We are supporting Sheffield Family Learning to implement an SROI evaluation of their Big Lottery funded Generation Link Project.

Building Capabilities Evaluation and Learning Contract: Formative Scoping Study

Project Directors: Dr Rob Macmillan (TSRC) / Professor Peter Wells (CRESR)
Project Duration: 2014

The Building Capabilities for Impact and Legacy (BC) initiative is a significant and innovative step-change in the way in which support for front line voluntary organisations (FLOs) is organised. It suggests the move away from a supply-side focus which tends to privilege the work of existing voluntary sector infrastructure organisations, towards a ‘demand-led’ emphasis which brings the priorities of front line organisations to the fore. The underlying principle is that providing greater choice and control for FLOs over access to support will lead to more effective interventions to develop their skills and confidence and, ultimately, to improved outcomes for beneficiaries.

Social Investment in Cumbria Research

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2014

This study seeks to explore the viability and feasibility of loan funding for voluntary and community sector organisations in Cumbria. The focus of the study is on loans in the range £5k-50k. This reflects feedback from VCS organisations in Cumbria  that this segment of the social investment market is underserved in Cumbria. The study is being undertaken in partnership with the Charity Bank.

The project team also includes Kiri Langmead, Ellen Bennett (Sheffield Hallam University) and Professor Tony Chapman (Durham University).

Evaluation of the Rotherham Social Prescribing Pilot

Project Director: Chris Dayson
Project Duration: 2013-2017

Evaluation of the social and economic costs and benefits of Voluntary Action Rotherham’s Social Prescribing Pilot being delivered on behalf NHS Rotherham CCG.

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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