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

The Impact of Welfare Reform in Northern Ireland

Project Director: Professor Christina Beatty / Professor Steve Fothergill
Project Duration: 2013

This project assessed the impacts of a raft of benefit changes which occurred as part of the national welfare reform agenda. The study provided estimates of the financial loss and numbers of individuals or households affected by the reforms for each local government district in Northern Ireland.

Foundations Independent Living Trust (FILT) Warm Homes Evaluation

Project Director: Jan Gilbertson
Project Duration: 2013

FILT is a charity set up to help the clients of home improvement agencies (HIAs). Funding for the Warm Homes Service (WHS) is from the Department of Health over winter 2012/13. The WHS aimed to assist older and vulnerable people at risk from cold weather and prevent cold related harm and illness.

The evaluation aimed to i) identify the impacts on health and wellbeing of households in receipt of WHS as seen from the perspective of HIAs and households in terms of physical health, comfort and mental health and wellbeing and ii) understand which interventions have worked well for whom and why.

Measuring Giving in Money and Time by Business at a Local Level

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2013

This project helped develop an understanding of the contribution businesses can make to voluntary and community organisations at a local level. The project worked to address a widely acknowledged gap in evidence.

Our Big Gig

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2013-2014

Our Big Gig was a community music celebration which took place across the UK from the 11th to the 14th July 2013. This annual event aims to bring communities together to celebrate their local musical talents and get more people involved in music making.

All Our Big Gig events are organised by local volunteers on the ground in their communities with support from Superact’s Regional Managers. All events were at least four hours long, free to attend and open to all, providing attendees with opportunities to participate in a range of musical activities.

HMDT Impact Study

Project Director: Sarah Pearson
Project Duration: 2013-2015

Evaluation of the impacts of Holocaust Memorial Day, an annual commemoration of genocide atrocities that have taken place across the world. The aims to uncover impacts of activities on what people know, feel and do with regard to previous atrocities and their future behaviour in relation to discrimination. The project involves longitudinal organiser and participant surveys, in-depth interviews with participants and stakeholders, and focus groups with participants.

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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