Rethinking social value
CRESR

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.
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Evaluation of the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War Centenary activities

Project Director: Dr Will Eadson
Project Duration: 2014-2020

Evaluation of the HLF’s grant-making activities aimed at supporting activities by community groups and heritage-based organisations focused on the commemoration of the First World War Centenary.


Evaluation of the British Red Cross First Call Service

Project Director: Ian WIlson
Project Duration: 2017-2020

The overarching aim of the study is to evaluate delivery of the First Call service including its impact on beneficiaries and the volunteers delivering the service. The First Call service aims to deliver low-level support to older people, taking a time-limited and key worker approach to assisting with issues such as social isolation, budgeting, coping with bereavement, moving home and managing ill-health. Red Cross plans to deliver First Call in four areas during the period of the evaluation.

The objectives of the evaluation are to assess

  • if the use of volunteers to deliver services is well defined, clearly active in service delivery and effective in supporting outcomes for service users.
  • the effectiveness of approaches to provide a service to hardest to reach groups and the impact on their outcomes.
  • if service users have increased independence and confidence to manage at home.
  • if service users have improved well-being and increased social connections.
  • if service users have increased sense of security and reassurance.
  • if the service reduced service user demand on statutory services.

Early Action Neighbourhood Fund Evaluation and Learning Contract

Project Director: Sarah Pearson
Project Duration: 2015-2020

The Early Action Neighbourhood Fund (EANF) is an initiative aimed at supporting pilot projects to test early and preventative action in order to develop a better case for prevention and early action among commissioners and funders. The programme is being delivered by a collaboration of funders (the Big Lottery Fund, Comic Relief, Esmee Fairbairn, Barrow Cadbury Trust, Legal Education Foundation), under the banner of the Early Action Funders Alliance.

Three pilot projects have been supported in Phase 1. The evaluation will demonstrate programme effectiveness and identify best practice which can be used by EANF grant holders. It will also evaluate the  effectiveness of programme design and delivery in providing the right conditions to support transformational projects.

The evaluation is using a mixed methods approach including collation and analysis of quantitative project and outcome data, and interviews with stakeholders and beneficiaries.


Evaluation of Children’s Communities

Project Director: Sarah Pearson and Mike Coldwell
Project Duration: 2017-2020

A Children’s Community is:

A NEIGHBOURHOOD: Children’s Communities are located in disadvantaged places with a history of partnership working for children and a collective commitment to take this to the next level.


Talent Match Evaluation and Learning Contract

Project Director: Professor Peter Wells
Project Duration: 2013-2019

Talent Match is a Big Lottery Funding initiative of up to £100 million. It is investing resources in a number of areas in England where youth unemployment is a significant issue. BIG will invest for a period of up to five years to improve the lives of people aged 18-24 who have been out of education, employment or training for 12 months or more. The aims of the evaluation and learning contract are: to track the success of the programme and projects within it; to identify what works well, for whom and in what circumstances; and to share learning and improve practice.


Get in touch

For further information please contact Professor Peter Wells at p.wells@shu.ac.uk or call 0114 225 6262, or Sarah Pearson at s.pearson@shu.ac.uk 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)
GMCVO
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
United Utilities
Yorkshire Adoption Agency
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